Re: Tag!

December 22nd, 2006 by James

Sorry Yin, I really don’t like to disappoint you, but I’m not much of a blog meme fan and I also don’t want to get too personal on my blog. Thanks for the tag though! As for a blog update, that I can do. ;)

  • I’m busy with my bachelor’s thesis.
  • I’ll be spending New Year’s with a small group of friends in the middle of nowhere near Enkhuizen.
  • In the first week of 2007 I’ll have a job interview at a well known Dutch ICT company.
  • I’m spending way too much time on adding new gadgets to Fuzzy Travel.
  • I recently opened a geek blog at Wordpress.com, where I will post geek stuff once in every while.

To whoever is reading this (and I can’t blame you if you’ve abandoned this blog by now because of the extremely low posting frequency): Happy Holidays and a Wonderful 2007!!!

Spanish Night Train Encounter

October 4th, 2006 by James

Like what happened with The Heat of the South, I found another travel story that has been sitting quietly on my harddisk without ever having been published. I wrote this quite a few years ago, based on my Europe travels in 2002/2003, before I even started studying in Amsterdam. The story is very much unfinished, so don’t hold your breath — especially at the ‘end’ it lacks a number of paragraphs I suppose. I just want to have done something with it, instead of it just ‘gathering dust’ on my laptop. Posting it on my blog is the best solution for that I reckon. Here it goes.


Spanish Night Train Encounter

Barcelona is a blast. Decorated with wonderfully weird architecture of Antonio Gaudi, filled with culture, parties, and backpackers from all over the world.

Some people don’t like to travel overnight. I do. I can sleep just about anywhere in any condition, and it saves the cost of a night’s accommodation. On one of my many overnight long distance hauls, I took the train from Valencia to M├ílaga. The train didn’t arrive when it was supposed to, which was around midnight if I remember correctly. I got a bit worried, as the signs indicated that everything was perfectly on schedule. With my poor knowledge of Spanish I came to find out there was a delay of approximately ten minutes. Those ten minutes turned out to be more than an hour and a half. I could have headed up to a bar, but the Barcelona parties had just about drained my budget, and everything was just about to close anyway. So I just sat there on those uncomfortable steel benches along with the other waiting passengers in the cold and windy train station, while the cleaners on nightshift walked around, smoking their el cheapo cigarettes, and once in a while sweeping the floor for a bit.

Finally, the train did arrive. As turned out, my seat was right next to a girl who was as beautiful as one could imagine. Long black hair, nice Mediterranean skin, and the brightest green eyes.

She listened to some of the Dutch music I’d brought with me on my journey. She said she loved the music and the language, but couldn’t understand one bit of it of course. I attempted to explain in Spanish what the songs were about, but utterly failed to use the right words or grammar. She responded to my attempt with a sweet smile. Not long after that, we both started dozing off, as by now it was already quite late. She fell asleep on my shoulder,

She hastily pressed a kiss against my cheek and left the train. I never saw her again.

Back - an update from then till now

September 26th, 2006 by James

Well I’ve been back at home for a month and a day, and I figured it would be time to write something in this blog again.

Geek stuff first :)

[geek]

During my two-month travels in Australia and Southeast Asia I’ve been blogging somewhere else, as most of you readers probably know. With my own and others’ experiences I’ve now launched an improved version of this online travel journal service. It now also has its own domain and it’s called Fuzzy Travel (how I came up with that name I can’t really recall). It’s freely available for everybody who wants to keep an online travelogue / diary, and it has loads of nifty features. Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think. Programming this web service has eaten up a significant amount of my spare time since my coming home, but personally I’m quite pleased with the results.

[/geek]

Although I haven’t written about it, while I was in Melbourne me and my brother Tristan made the plan to go and travel the Trans Siberian Express through Russia, Mongolia and China in October. Due to ’stuff’, this turned out to be a no-go in the end. So after I came back to Amsterdam, I re-enrolled at the University of Amsterdam to continue my studies. The only thing I can do in this semester, is writing my bachelor’s thesis. As I came to find out, that course doesn’t start until the second block of this semester. In other words, until the end of October I have (and have had) a fair amount of spare time.

I’ve been using my time so far with working through stacks of mail, showing Amsterdam to Ramona, seeing friends and family, fighting the Amsterdam Tax Services, cursing the weather, enjoying the weather, moving people, finding a new room, visiting Ramona in Munster, and well… programming. The search for a new place to live turned out quite well by the way. Within a month I’ll have moved to a new room: more central, cheaper, more social, albeit less square meters. Tomorrow I’ll sign the contract and get the keys. Yay! :D

That about sums the ‘blog-gap’ up until now I think. The last topic I’d like to cover in this post is the following. I continuously get the question ‘How does it feel to be back in NL again?’, so I’d like to answer it publically. It feels extremely familiar to be back again, too familiar perhaps. Just an hour after landing at Schiphol Airport it felt as if I’d never been away. Whether that’s to blame on my relatively frequent leaving & coming-back-again or simply on the familiarity of Amsterdam, I’ll leave up to you. But although it feels like the six months I’ve spent abroad were merely a dream, I’ve had an absolutely great time on the other side of the planet, and I hope to carry those memories with me for as long as I can.

Moved Temporarily (302)

June 19th, 2006 by James

As mentioned before, but just for clarity, new blogs posts in the coming months will appear at http://my.worldbackpackers.net/james/

Goodbye Melbourne

June 18th, 2006 by James

I realize it’s been a bit quiet on this blog lately. Let met assure you that this is not due to a lack of interesting experiences or things to blog about. On the contrary, I still have a fair number of blog posts lying around on my desktop which are only half-finished. I’m such a lazy bastard sometimes… Those blog posts will have to wait for a bit though, because I’m off for travel!!!

Yes, I’ve officially concluded my exchange period and am now free until the end of August to explore this continent and its surroundings. This evening I’ll be Greyhounding up to Sydney.

My basic travel plans are as follows: go up the East coast to Cairns by bus. Then fly to Alice Springs from where I’ll be visiting Uluru, aka Ayers Rock. Then per train (The Ghan) to Adelaide, and head back to Sydney. For the biggest lag of this trip I’ll be travelling together with Ramona, a sparkling German personality of the Dinner Club.

On the 30th of July I’ll fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I’ll have about 3.5 weeks to set my first steps in Asia (I hope to visit Thailand as well). And in a bit over 2 months, on the 25th of August to be precise, I will be back in Amsterdam again.

Well, what can I say. Melbourne has been a blast. It is a great city to live in, and I wouldn’t have minded one bit to spend another semester here. I had the greatest times and have met such great people, some of whom I definitely hope to meet up with again some point down the road.

On the flipside, I’m also happy about leaving. I finally have the opportunity to see a bit more of this huge country - which I hear has so much amazingness to offer - and I wouldn’t mind some higher temperatures either (it is winter here on the other side of the world after all).

Anyway, I really should get back to packing up my room now. A final announcement: in the coming months I’ll be blogging from another place, namely http://my.worldbackpackers.net/james/