Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Leiden meetings live

Last Thursday we had the pilot for our new format of Leiden meetings, and I'm proud to announce you'll now find us in Cafe Olivier every first Friday of the month. After the numbers started dwindling of people visiting the weekly meetings on Monday at Odessa, we had a few pub crawls to find the nicest place, and finally we decided to have our Monthly meetings at Olivier, and that it would be on the first Friday. At our pilot we had about 15 people, and a nice atmosphere. Here's hoping it's even better on Friday, February 6th! (I will, however be in Paris that day, so I still have to find a co-organizer)

A bunch of us at one of the pubcrawls

Antwerpen "Kick Off" the new year

I arrived just in time, after riding through some amazing landscapes, for the Antwerpen "Kick Off" 's submeeting "Saturday - Treasure–hunt", unfortunately my leg was a bit messed up so it was a bit less pleasant than it could have been, but it was still really awesome getting to see Antwerpen a bit, and hanging out with fellow surfers.

Beautiful winter landscape around Kalmthout, in Belgium, on my way to Antwerpen

After the trip around the city there was a big Christmastree bonfire, with a few stands selling gluhwein, pancakes, and some other stuff, some of which I would deem edible.

Christmas trees burning brightly

Then after all this it was time for the main party, which was moderately fun, and I saw a lot of neat people there, and made some my loyal subjects.

Marie-Line is my loyal subject
Finally, quite late, I made it to my surfer's place with fellow surfers Benedicte, Amir, and Philippe. I ended up staying with Nelli for 3 nights and it was complete awesomeness, she made me feel so welcome, took care of my broken lips, and cooked me/us delicious Гречиха (boekweitgrutten).

L2R: Benedicte, Me, Phillipe, Amir

There was also a brunch on Sunday, but since we were all to busy having a blast at Nelli's, I was too late, and there wasn't much going on there because everyone was tired from the night before. Here's a picture nonetheless though:

After all this, On Tuesday I made it back to Roosendaal with my bike and I've been pretty much relaxing eversince.

Bike-trip to Antwerp : Last stop @ Roosendaal

The bike trip that started in Leiden down to Antwerp had one more stage to go ( I had already biked from Leiden to Dordrecht, and then Dordrecht - Zevenbergen, and Zevenbergen - Roosendaal). The night before I decided to try and surf, and got a couch at Roosendaal's no. 1 surfer (at least in my book) Edwin. He showed me a neat pub with some great live music and I met his crazy crew of friends, and I had a great time!

Edwin on the right, and we'd decided that straws would look good in this guy's hair!

Dave's new year's party & New Year's plunge

One thing I haven't been able to find photos of (I'm sure they're out there, and if I find them this entry gets an update) is Dave Ip 's New years dinner party, which was great. Good food, good people, good atmosphere, and most of all, an annoying little chinese man going on about a dutch circle jerk party. :D After a while we moved down to Mike's for more fun, and we got to see some great fireworks from his roof, followed by a parade of drunkenness with super drunks Jim and Jonas, relatively sober Isa and myself, and I ended up surfing at Isa, and joining up with her and some others in the morning to see them haul their freezing asses into the freezing water of the kromme rijn.

Our three "heroes" doing a quick warm-up before jumping to their deaths

Unfortunately, Stephen, our fourth hero didn't make it due to a series of misunderstandings, but he did surf here for a night, and left this neat semesterticked from DB (he was just done studying in Germany and was about to go back to the US) for my CouchSurfing Wall, which I haven't photographed yet, so it's not in the album yet.

New CouchSurfing Wall Items

I finally put up some new items on the CouchSurfing Wall, aswell as a little symbol saying "The CouchSurfing Wall" To read about what the items actually are, click the link a little higher which is an album with descriptions for every item.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dusseldorf & Cologne Christmas market

I went out to Germany for, among other things, the awesome Christmas Market Crawl meeting in Cologne, though I'm not the #1 fan of all things Christmassy, I had an amazing time regardless. Specifically the ending part at the früh brewery was awesome, the place is pretty much a maze, gigantic, and quite beautiful. Ulf, a global ambassador located in Cologne is a pretty crazy guy. All in all, had a great time.

Some of us having some Gluhwein at one of the Christmas markets (stole this off of someone's facebook)

Sinterklaas meeting!

Man, so the Sinterklaas meeting was huge and a lot of stuff went my way this meeting. We started out with a great welcome dinner at "Cambrinus" which was quite full, with some good food and drinks and great people.

A picture at cambrinus centered around one of Rotterdam's city ambassadors Paul
More pictures of the welcome dinner submeeting

Next we had to pretty much rush to the Speed Dating meeting just to get there in time. The speed dating meeting wasn't so much dating as it was just a fun and playful way to get to know other surfers. We all got an A4 paper on our back and a card with a question on it. You found a surfer (generally of the opposite sex) and asked them the question, then you'd draw/write something relating to their answer on the paper on their back, of course resulting in relatively hilarious comments. You then switched question cards. At the end of the night it was really fun to read the silly drawings and comments on your back.

Menno (one of Amsterdam's City Ambassadors) and what appears to be his harem
More pictures of the speed dating submeeting

And finally there was the main meeting at "De Unie" where first Sinterklaas' daughter showed up, followed by some black piets, one of which was me (in orange) again an event I didn't take pictures of because, first I was too busy being in costume and changing out of it, then later enjoying the party. But again it's CS Rotterdam's flickr to the rescue with this set of photos.

Me and Jonas (I still look a bit weird, after all the blackface from being a Black Piet)

Next up, quite early, there was a really tasty brunch at "Dudok" that I didn't take any pictures of myself, but I did, after looking around found that this flickr set does contain some. including one that has me in it.

And finally after that there was the "(boared) games meeting" headed by Tara, who can also be seen in the picture above. We had some trouble because the pub we wanted to do it at was actually booked, but we scooted over to Rotown instead.
We had a lot of fun playing games like Settlers of Catan, Set, Jungle Speed, and so on.
It was a great end to a great weekend!

Benedicte is obviously very happy she's ruling Catan

New bike, hells yeah!

So quite some time ago (I'm writing a few blogposts at once and a bit late) I bought a bike again since my last one got stolen) , and this bike is awesome, so far it's seen a little under 550 kilometres (~340 miles) As I've ridden it down to Venlo (taken it back by train) and to Antwerpen, with some small detours, aswell as a few small trips to Noordwijk and The Hague. I aim to ride it to Paris at some point in the future, so I'll be training to the point where I can ride ~125 km/ day, so far the most I've done has been an 80 km trip over the course of 4 and a half hours, so I'm confident it won't be a problem on one day. I'm just not sure yet about 4 days of this in a row, and I'm also not able to train for the terrain of some of France, since everything here is flat.

I'm a bum on the streets

So after the nov 19 Rotterdam Weekly CS meeting (pictures) I went home in the same train as Lorraine, The Hague's city ambassador, and I ended up walking to her au pair home with her because we were discussing something, and on the way we made some great pictures we could use to blackmail eachother. Here's one proving I'm actually a homeless bum on the streets who steals people's laptop and wireless to post in this blog!