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Thursday, July 22, 2010

In DR!

Arrived in Cabarete, yesterday.
Tuesday my parents dropped me off. After a sad goodbye and a big hug I sat down at the gate and hear my name being announced. I report at the stewards and ask what is the matter? Seems they where overbooked and they gave me a different seat. Business class!
So the flight went smoothly, stretching my legs, enjoying excellent food and lots off goodies. At my arrival at Punta Cana, customs wanted to check my bags. Wondering what I was doing in a holiday destination with three suitcases. All was fine and everything went smooth. Contacted my new friend and drove to Bavaro to meet her.
After a quick shower I enter the local baristo and was struck by how dead this little place at the beach is. I sat down next to a Canadian woman who was sitting alone outside. Enjoyed my Presidente and struck up a conversation about DR and what it's like for her.
Soon two more people joined and I found out first hand how some Dominicans are so narrow minded about Haitians. One was Haitian, the other guy was Dominican. Of course in the eyes of the Dominican guy this particular Haitian was OK. Maybe because he was half Haitian, half Dominican.
The woman and me tried in vain to explain that you just can't judge a person on his colour or where the person is from. Luckily we all got distracted by a sweet little girl dancing and joking around. After enough beers I was tired enough to hit my bed and take a good rest.

The next day I was picked up by my chauffeur in a nice Mercedes to drive me to Cabarete. Of course it was cheaper to take a bus, but first of all it would take me hours more and second I needed to drag my three suitcases between at least three different busses and two or three taxis before I would arrive in Cabarete.
Apart from the smooth quick ride I was able to talk business and perhaps have a client that needs help with some websites. The country side was lovely and between the rain I enjoyed the lush green land with palm trees, hills and potholes.
Arrived a bit later than planned in my new gaff: Nice simple one bedroom apartment, more like a little house with a pool three steps from the front door. Life is sweet!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why did I leave the Netherlands?

Currently there is a hot debate in the Netherlands because a very orthodox protestant farmer lost a high court case against the local 'welstandscommissie'. This is a comity that advises the local counsels about architectural design and looks of buildings in a community. Basically it means that if you want to alter your house, they decide if it fits in with the neighbourhood or not. If not: Though luck.
They didn't like the bright white letters on the roof of this farm stating: "Jesus saves". Not the expression but the grade of white is disapproval! This committee is suggesting that a shade of grey would be better. The farmer doesn't want to change it and is planning to appeal with the European court.
Quibbling. As the majority of the Dutch are saying.

In other news today where the after effects of the arrival of the Dutch football team in Amsterdam. They had a nice ride through the canals on a boat holding beer. "Wrong example to the youth! They should be an example" some anti-alcohol organisation is saying. Even questions in parliament are raised.
Now I don't agree with the whole excessive welcoming of the Dutch football team at all, but to point out the use of big pitchers and lots of bottles of beer by the Dutch team on the boat is just pathetic.

How well organised the Netherlands is, this quibbling is just making me cringe. Glad I'm leaving in a few days.
Now tell me, do these guys look like happy losers or not?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back home

Being home feels familiar again. I'm happy with the good clothing shops, because Dutch fashion does look a lot more divers than the Irish fashion. Then there is the Dutch efficiency, and my personal favourite: vla. This last product is not equal to custard. It tastes slightly different.
I still have to get used to the large amount of cyclists, but enjoy a city without cars.

Today I picked up my birth certificate. Wait twenty minutes, ask for the certificate, pay and half an hour later I'm outside on my way to the courthouse to get it apostilled. All in all it took one hour. Compared to getting a police certificate in Ireland it's very fast. In Ireland I only needed to wait three weeks for that.
So all legal requirements are met and now I can focus on my Spanish and enjoy a few more weeks in NL. Also nice that the Dutch football team reached the finals of the world cup. Although I don't take a big interest in it. Especially all the orange stuff you can buy in the shops.
Apart from the obvious flags, horns, and clothing there is: orange vla, orange cakes and loads of other items that have special orange packaging just because they can and people are stupid enough to buy it, even if it costs more. Crazy Dutch... Retailers are happy, though.

I'll just keep on doing my exercises, enjoy the good weather and practice my Spanish. All is set for the Dominican Republic and I can't wait to get there. Just for the sake of being released from all that orange stuff!