Away again

29 07 2009

away again

Oh, yes, after making a solemn vow that I really want to stay home for a while now, I am going away again.
I had forgotten I had brought a ticket to Wacken Open Air all the way back in January…

Wacken is a tiny village in the north of Germany, about 2000 inhabitants, which happens to host the biggest heavy metal festival in Europe, attracting around 60.000 metalfans.
And one clouddragon.

It’s going to be really fun, (I hope) besides a lot of music there’s so much to do: food, drink, a midieval village, vikings, knights, roleplaying games… I am really looking forward to it.
Naturally the report will be somewhere next week when I am home and have recovered.

away again vikings

There are many, many, many bands….
Motรถrhead is one of them, Ace of Spades when they played at Wacken 2006

There will be a life stream if you want to see if you can find me on camera ๐Ÿ˜‰





Clouddragon in Houston 2

20 06 2009

So, while in America I have been visiting supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals and museums. And a lot of restaurants! I had planned to do a lot of healthy cooking for Bedu, but in the end Q took us out for dinner quite often! We were so tired at the end of the day. However, I did cook, and felt very good about it, very domestic! :mrgreen:

I have been everywhere, from a high end lovely restaurant in the Dallas museum, to a diner, to the hospital restaurant, and a hookah bar! You know, except perhaps for the diner, which was far more interesting as tasty, I had some really nice food! I had been expecting very unhealthy ”American fastfood” would prevail, but we did have very nice dinners!
One or two restaurants were soooo very cold that it detracted a bit from the fun… Next time I really need to bring a blanket to these places….
I actually got nosebleeds after a few days because of those airconditioners!

hookah rubyWe went to a hookah-bar, that was a great treat for me and on my list of ”things to do”. We sat outside in the warm evening air, and had lovely food, and smoked hookah. There were many different dishes, and they were all very nice. I loved it.
There was so much and so many things to eat that I was absolutely stuffed!
I was a bit tired.

My photo’s have come out very vague, so here’s to the left my dream hookah!
Because I have now learned how to smoke hookah, and one day I’m planning to have one of my very own ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s quite difficult to do it absolutely right….
But lots of fun!
I am sinking: I’ve smoked hookah, next time I’ll probably start drinking alcohol, and God only knows where it all will end!

At the Houston Museum there was a very lovely exhibition on ”Treasure of Afganistan” These were excavated in the thirties and sixties of the last centuries.
I had a quick runthrough allready with Carol on the second occasion we went AWOL. Not only that, Carol also took me to her favorite icecream parlor for some very tasty icecream. We had to be back in time to relieve Q from his hospital duty, but we also took the time of exploring a very nice small lingerie shop. I brought a perfect little top.

houston bactrian headdress

Q-car2 klein

On my very last day I went to the Museum again, this time with Q.
Here you see Q and his car, the museum was across the road.
Q has a very nice car, not such a huge one, very elegant. Quite the right car for me to be driven in. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Feeling Hyacinth Bucket-like now)

Q is holding a can of diet-coke. One of the benefits of hanging around with Q is that one is nรฉver out of Diet-coke! ๐Ÿ˜€
We roamed the museum all morning, I had another opportunity of visiting the wonderful Afganistan exhibition. It was the last day. The Houston museum has a very nice collection: they have at leats one work by about every great artist of the last few hundred years!
We had another nice lunch, it is quite possible to make some very healthy food choices in America.
The only thing I didn’t like were the softdrinks: they all come from a tap with added sirup, not a bottle, and all smell and taste very strongly of chlorine. So I kept to mineral water.

I was very sorry not to have met up with Lofter. ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  I was so looking forward to it, but in the end we couldn’t make it. I had also been looking forward to meeting other people from blogsphere, Carol had planned we would meet up with houstonian for example, and that didn’t work out either. We have been sรณ busy! But I was most sorry for not meeting Lofter !ย  ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

My lovely visit was at an end, and I had to say farewell to Carol… ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  Q was going to drive me back to Dallas. Here you can see the enormous (naturally, in Texas) statue of Sam Houston! We passed on the highway.

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Another fascinating view of an American highway: every small town has their own watertower!

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We had left very early, so as to be prepared for any eventual problems. We also needed to stop for some gas, and after we filled up the tank we stumbled upon the most famous beefjerky producer in Texas! Woody’s smokehouse.
woodys beef jerkyOf course in Texas you always have to be prepared to be charmed by some extremely friendly Texan, and this was no exception. After getting my lil’ brother a T-sjurt, some Jerky and a cap, (I was bound in honour to bring him gifts and had had no time for shopping other than grocery-) I was caught in the clutches of a huge Texan Beef Jerky Master Chef! Who fed me several different pieces of fascinatingly differently prepared Jerky, including his latest invention, and so ofcourse I had to buy more of the best jerky on the planet! I had no idea there were so many different kinds of jerky!

So, anybody who travels on interstate 45, between Dallas and Houston, Centerville, exit 164: do go there! You will not be dissappointed. Needless to say I relished the whole experience ๐Ÿ˜€

Dallas…

More highway…

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Now Q said I still had not eaten some real TexMex food, and so he dragged me to this great restaurant!.

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And of course I had another lovely lunch. My last one with Q… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

After the lunch we had to go to the airport and I had to board my plane back to Holland.

I miss you Carol, I miss you Q, and I miss all the lovely Texans!

(but I don’t miss the Polarblast-airconditioning)





Clouddragon in Houston

17 06 2009

After the Tutanchamun exhibition Q and I drove to Houston, night was falling and the full moon rose, it was a very nice drive.
Houston by night:

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And at last I met Carol!!!!! Big smiles, big hugs, but because it was late it was also time to go to bed. ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  The next morning Carol went to the hospital to be with her relative, and Q and I went to a wallmart to get some groceries in. Something which really touched me while in America is the extreme friendliness and helpfullness I encountered almost everywhere in Texas. ๐Ÿ˜€

And of course it was also very nice to have my own personal driver and guide: Q!
While in America I have been to three supermarkets, two pharmacies, hospitals, (almost every day) and two museums….

While visiting Carol’s relation we had to wear yellow paper abayas and duckbill niqabs, blue plastic gloves, and disinfect for about half an hour before we could enter the room.

hospital

I did my best to help brighten the room up, I wanted to do a lot of different things, but in the end I didn’t have the time needed, anyway:

Arab horse

Carol and abdullah 3

Wish

Carol and abdullah 2

The day Carol got to do her tests we spend the whole day at a different hospital.
There is a weird obsession with airconditioning in America; although it was allready very hot and humid outside, and a slightly cooler atmosphere would defenitely have been appreciated, all internal spaces are very, very, very cold. Setting the airconditioning on ”Polarblast” isn’t really more comfortable folks!!!
I was forced into the habit of bringing coats everywhere I went. And even that wasn’t enough at times; I was still either sweltering outdoors, or freezing inide! It’s like being in the Netherlands only the other way around!
The other hospital was even colder! We were running around all day in that hospital. We had expected to have many waiting sessions, and there is wifi inside the hospitals ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€
We had brought our laptops, but in the end only used them for 15 minutes as the running around process, and waiting while they can call you out any minute, didn’t really accommodate relaxed surfing….

Snatching a very quick lunch while warming up on the terrace of hospital 1. It was great to go outdoors and snatch some much needed warmth outside.ย  All those huge buildings: whole city-blocks of the city of Houston, are only hospitals!!!! And they keep on building as you can see.

carol

Carol and me warmed up and able to smile again later in the afternoon. We were actually AWOL: we were back from hospital 2 and should be reporting at hospital 1 but we were in a rebellious mood and decided we needed another warming up session and some private talk! We hardly had time, or opportunity, to have a real girly-chat while I was in Houston! I must mention that while we were running around on all the different floors of hospital 2, Q took over the duty of sitting with Carol’s relation, all dressed up in yellow abaya, duckbill and blue plastic gloves all day! Trust me, two hours and you think you are in hell wearing all that stuff!
Q is a hero!

Girlfriends warming up!

carol 1

nerdsd Want to see something really, really pathetically nerdy?
Here you are: Three nerds having a tea-break!

From Left to right: Q, Aafke, and Carol. Three nerds, sitting behind their computers and actually: really enjoying themselves!

We used to pop over and have a look at each others laptops, and we did actually talk as well!
Almost like normal people….

One night Q took me to The Houston Imax to watch the new Star Trek movie…
For another date….
I actually managed to stay awake for most of the time.

star_trek_movie

But that wasn’t all my fault: I was suffering from hypothermia, which makes you fall asleep before you freeze to death. Talk about ”Polarblast”: That theatre was sรณ cold that I was getting frostbite! I had to snuggle up close to Q to stay warm…..





The contraband apple

12 06 2009

red apple

Before boarding the train to Schiphol, my first stop in my travel to America, I had been given an apple by the friendly friend who looked after Zora and took me to the station.

Now, I was very tired, hadn’t slept the night before, and wasn’t so hungry in the train. I arrived at Schiphol after 07.00 and still wasn’t hungry. I boarded the plane and got snacks (yuk!) and dinner (????) and spend most of my time dozing and watching movies half remembered.

Completely forgot about the Apple…

I arrived in Dallas. The customs person asked me if I brought this, and that, and ”agricultural produce”
”Is an apple ‘agricultural produce’??? Whooops! I was whisked away, put onto a different track, all alone (snif!) armed guards, came to a desk, and brought out the offending apple.
My apple was confiscated!
After leaving my lovely apple behind, and answering more important questions, for which they took me at my word (!) I was let free.

I don’t know, but I’m sure they ate my apple.





Belgium

6 06 2009

Sorry people I know I should be putting up the Houston visit now.
But I’m in Belgium at the moment. ๐Ÿ™‚
In Brussels to be exact, I am doing a special ”Tao cultivation”-course. At the Chiness Centre. It’s women only, (no men allowed at all, not even in the other rooms!) and I am having a very enlightening time! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s evening now and tonight I’m staying with Arlette in her romantic country house outside of Brussels. She was very kind and invited me tonight! It’s very lovely and peaceful here, and I’m going to crash very soon!

Arlettes garden





Clouddragon in America

4 06 2009

Ok, so I have been to America, it wasn’t on holiday, I went to see a dear friend and hopefully be of some use to her.
Carol, for that is her name, is being a wonderful caretaker for a relation who is being treated at a hospital in Houston. I couldn’t get a good flight to Houston on such short notice, but a friend adviced me to try Dallas, and he would drive me over to Houston, it was only 4,5 hours drive…..
The promise of being able to go and visit the Tutanchamun exibition was what won me over to the idea! So, on to Dallas. I flew KLM, one of these is mine:

1

I arrived at Dallas, and was picked up by my friend Q. I noticed that Texans like very large cars… I mean, one knows that, but to be surrounded by them is a bit overwhelming…

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Q took me to my hotel, and was going to take me to a restaurant. A date! For those who read American Bedu, you’ll know how evil/fitnah that is!!!!!! Unfortunately, I had been awake of about 36 hours by that time, and while perfectely situated for a romantic and flirtatious dinner, by the time it arrived, something weird happened: I literally fell asleep sitting up! I managed to wake up in intervals, shove some food in, but then fell alseep again…
After what seemed like an age, Q dragged me to the car and drove me back to my hotel. I staggered to my room fell on the bed, and passed out. Somehow I woke up in the morning, after I managed to keep awake, Q took me to the Dallas Museum (second date!!!!) where we had a lovely lunch, really absolutely lovely! It’s a beautiful elegant restaurant as well. This was my first encounter with American ”service”. It is really lovely, one feels ”cared for”, almost everybody I met in Dallas and Houston is sรณ nice and friendly and helpful!

Yummieeee! And totally healthy as well!

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We roamed the museum, waiting for our time-slot for the tutanchamun exhibition, which has a lot of good stuff, I particular noticed this very elaborate horse-bit!ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We had a drink in the cafeteria, which has an enourmous glass wall, decorated with huge glass objects,

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At last our time had come! We could enter the exhibition, we still had to que for (what seemed like) ages, but at last we were in!!!!!ย  It was so wonderful, finally seeing some lovely pieces from Tutanchamun’s tombe, and those of his immediate family was for me a dream come true!
Q, thank you so much for making that possible!

KingTutankhamun

After going through the exhibition we left Dallas, and drove towards Houston and Carol!

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Back, again…

25 05 2009

So, right after I got back from America I went onย  a trip with my horse and my friends and I have just returned from a lovely weekend!

Very relaxing

weekend





Easter weekend, day 2 and 3

25 04 2009

We’ll skim quickly through the rest of the weekend, we rode the whole day on Saturday, had lunch at a pancake restaurant. There was something weird there… They arrived in like 10 minutes… All six! Which is far to quick to bake 6 pancakes. And they tasted very flat… we think they are old, they keep them in a fridge and reheat them, yuk!

Unfortunately I was hungry and ate it. Our horses chilling!

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On easter sunday we had an egg-race! To be done without saddle. I was thinking I might not do well holding the egg, so I thought I’d impress by going without a bridle as well. That worked really well :mrgreen:
Except the last ”obstacle” a patheticly low ”jump”, and Al Tarq got the Heeby Jeebies, and absolutely refused to walk over that ”jump”….
At leas I managed to keep the spoon and egg….

Zig-zag around the cones:

aafke2-3

a small cricle around the jumping posts,

aafke2-4

Backwards between the white bars,

tarq-achteruit

And the small ”jump”.
Sigh….

tarq-weigert2





Spiders and mistletoe

18 12 2008

I have just survived a nightmare-come-true!!!!!

I was being domestic, eg. cleaning, washing, emptying wastebaskets, and while I was emptying the kitchen one, I felt something tickling in my hair, I looked into the mirror, and saw a GIGANTIC SPIDER CRAWLING ON THE TOP OF MY HEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aaaaaargggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

spiders-and-mistletoe3

You see I am a bit arachnophobic.
To use an understatement.
So I was also holding a shawl and I brushed it off from my head with the shawl while still screaming, and then SQUASHED it!!!!!!!!
In the nano-second before I squashed it I seemed to have the impression it was a male Tegenaria domestica. Or: common European house spider (I don’t like the denomination ”common”). The males of the Tegenaria domestica’s spend more time lounging around in the open in search of a female. Especially around this time of the year.

Which brings me to my newly aquired mistletoe.

spiders-and-mistletoe

How did this hunting spider get onto the top of my head? Was Mr Suicidally Stupid Spider holding on to the mistletoe, waiting for an opportunity to find a lady-looking-for-love (yeah, that’s me) and landing on her head? And can I expect more lovestruck spiders to land on the top of my head? I just say: I’m not even comfortable anymore sitting behind my computer typing this!!!!!

Naturally Mr. Suicidally Stupid Spider is now thoroughly squashed.

spiders-and-mistletoe2

And please remember Mr Suicidally Stupid Spider was three times larger before I landed with my full weight on top of him!
Any less arachnic males are welcome to walk underneath my mistletoe: this is the one time of the year you may be granted a kiss instead of a straight left one to the jaw.

Ooooh, I can still feel a tickling sensation on my head!!!!





From the Beginning to the End

11 11 2008

Yesterday I thought it would be fun documenting one of our outings from beginning to end. We were not quite sure if we would be going at all, as the forecast was for heavy rains. But, as so often happens, wholly against expectations, the weather turned out completely different. In this case; ”Brilliant”!!!
The Tarq behaved excellent, bar two enormous jumps sideways for no discernable reasons.
Today the dentist did his teeth, and he was the model of perfection again?
What has happened to my horse???

Anyway: The Beginning
J and M at the farm, adventure starts at 11.00!

nov9-1

The sun was out, but it was very cold! Moreover, there was a very cold, very strong wind! I was well prepared รก la Hercule Poirot: with pullover, vest, wintercoat, gloves, and shawl! I was not cold! ๐Ÿ™‚

nov9-4

We started soon with some serious trotting, as we were planning to go for a long distance. Tarq is very happy here! It is aways a problem to keep the Tarq at ”fresh” speed, instead of ”ludicrous” speed!!!

nov9-11

Here we are already at the back of the next village.

nov9-12

As the harvest is in, we have the opportunity to gallop across the empty fields! This was a long one, and to Tarq’s enjoyment we could do a reallhy fast gallop here! For the rest of the trip he decided any increase of speed should be interpreted as a licence for gallopping!
It is around twelve o’ clock here, but look at the long shadows: the sun is very low at the horizon!

nov9-16

Another village, from here J has discovered a lovely new route we didn’t know of.

nov9-17

Here we are being illegal again, crossing a small copse by a lovely romantic trail. It seems hardly used, this is one of those moments you could easily imagine being on a ”Lord of the Rings” quest!

nov9-19

Tarq trying to go ”ludicrous-speed” again!

hubertus-7

A dolmen! A dolmen, or cromlech, is a neolithic chamber tomb about 6000 to 7000 years old. It is a stone burial chamber, covered by a mound, the mound erodes, or is excavated, leaving the stone skeleton of the burial chamber exposed. There a quite a few of these around in the north of the Netherlands.

nov9-21

Tarq is having a closer look, he thought this a weird place. But then he tried to eat the lichen of the stones. Tarq will try any food he comes across…

hubertus-8

Some sort of white stuff was put across the soil here, it suddenly felt as if we were in the desert!

nov9-23

Turning the corner, and now we are on the way back! And, I recognise this bit! Usually I just follow M and J and have no idea where we are or where we are going!
It’s a gift…

nov9-26

If you look at the last bend in this small canal, you see a white speck: That was a beautiful swan!

nov9-28

Here you can see the wide grass border most of these small roads have, very nice for us to ride, this way our horses can walk on grass. Although sometimes they actually prefer the tarmac.

nov9-27

Tarq is having a nice long piss here. I’m leaning forward to relieve weight from his back. It’s quite important a horse feels relaxed enough to do take a piss when they need to: it is very unhealthy if they ”keep it up”. So I’m quite happy to have Tarq ”taking a leak” whenever he feels like it.
Look at his happy face!

nov9-321

We are almost home, and saying goodbye to J and Dior, Dior lives at ”Castle Woodview” hidden in the trees to the right.

nov9-34

And here we are crossing the Brink of our home-village, and Tarq’s lodgings are right in front! It is now 15.30!

nov9-38

Tarq diving in to his well-deserved happy-meal! Because I don’t want his back to cool off too quickly, I put a clean saddle pad on his back while he is chilling.

nov9-39

And after eating, chilling, and munching hay, back into the meadow for a few hours. First a nice long drink. Unless absolutely parched, our horses never drink from their waterbowls in the stable: the water in the trough outside tastes much better!
Goodnight Tarq!

nov9-42

***THE END***