Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bevrijdingsfestival Wageningen

Only five days after the renowned Queensday celebration, there is another great public celebration in Holland, the liberation day. All over Holland, on May 5th, the Dutch celebrate the end of the German occupation during WW2.
One of the biggest events is the festival in Wageningen where the capitulation documents were signed. Here they transform the whole city to present live music of all sorts, from jazz to heavy to techno to world music. In the park they have artists performing clowns acts, acrobatics, capoiera, flamenco music and dance. My favourites this year were the enticing rhythms of the samba band, and the lively show of Grupo Azul!

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Encounter in the dark

I got an unexpected visit from two friends (Allantech and Graffen) from Denmark. They informed me only last week that they would visit me this week from Tuesday to Thursday. What a pleasant surprise! I took the day of Wednesday, and we went sightseeing in Nijmegen.
One of the most interesting sights was not a sight at all: we went to the MuZIEuM to experience what it is like to be completely blind. Guided by Bart, we walked through an office, a back yard, a park, a marketplace and a cafe in complete darkness. Our only aids were our canes and the comforting voice and support of Bart. The experience 'opens your eyes' for another way of 'viewing the world', namely with your hearing, your sense of smell and subtle differences in touch and feel of things. I can really recommend this museum for future tourists in Nijmegen.

Visit the MuZIEuM online.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Last chance to see

I went off the beaten track, just one more block west, and walked down 9th avenue. The streets were not very busy and the sun was shining. At a local flea market I found one more New York souvenir: a small box of NY photos from the 1930's. By the time I finished browsing the stands, I was freezing cold, so on my way further I stopped into every deli on the way to get a cup of tea. Now it is snowing and I am on my way home.

Titel courtesy: Douglas Adams

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Walking in Harlem

It is funny how NY appears a totally different city when you visit a different district. In East Harlem, you have to be black or mexican and wear a The North Face jacket and gold chains for men, big shiny earrings for women. Quite a different street picture than when you stroll down the gay chelsea district: Even the waiters in the restaurants wear tight pants and slim cut designer shirts.
Illustration by

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Modern Art is Fun

Lots of exhibits at MoMA made me smile or laugh out loud! I really enjoyed the 'Comic Abstraction' special exhibition, and the floor to ceiling photos of Jeff Wall was a whole new experience for me. Tips for visitors: don't go with an empty stomach, and make use of the water fountains to keep you fresh for the several hours it will take you to enjoy everything.

Photo courtesy: Wiki - Modern Art

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Spoiled kids?

After visiting Neue Galerie (Schiele, Klimt, van Gogh etc.) I met up with Luna at Starbucks behind the MoMA. We went to get a true NY manicure and nail extensions (no extensions for me, please) and went cruising round town with our flashy nails. We spent a lot of time in the M&Ms world: imagine a three storey shop containing only, and I say ONLY, M&Ms merchandise! So what should it be? An M&Ms towel, an M&Ms purse, an M&Ms t-shirt or M&Ms plates and cutlery? Of course you can also buy any amount of M&Ms, in any colour you choose.

Illustration: M&Ms

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

More sights

Wednesday I saw a woman with eyes as big as Michael Jacksons. I got interviewed by a man with a camera. I blogged from the most beautiful library I have ever seen and in the middle of the night I saw a coconut lying on the ground in an otherwise deserted parking lot.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tuesday sights, work and salsa

I went for a walk past the World Trade Center site, and continued to the very south of Manhattan, where I wiggled my toes at the Statue of Liberty. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I shot a lot of nice photos, mostly of tourists in the sun.

In the afternoon I visited the Computational Biology unit at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where I gave a talk on microarray chip design.

Straight after that I went to the famous Copa Cabana club, where Oscar d'Leon was playing. I made the mistake of walking all day in hard boots and then wearing new dance shoes in the evening. Result? Sore feet and blisters, and painful dancing. It is a beautiful club, very big, and with a huge dance floor. Unfortunately for dance enthousiasts it is rather too crowded to move around, and most of the people there come for the atmosphere and the music rather than dancing.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sightings in NY

Yesterday I saw an albino black woman. Next to Empire State Building I met a man who works there, writing movie scripts. I saw a street fight break out in Harlem, and in the subway I saw a great performance by a couple drumming big empty plastic paint buckets.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007


A colleague asked me the other day about which parts of Holland I have been sightseeing during my time here. I had to answer him honestly: I have mostly seen the big cities that host the good salsa parties. And then of course, I have only seen the cities by night.  


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