Belgium

New Builds

It is yet another nieuwbouwzondag (New Build Sunday) on this lovely spring day in March. In the afternoon, D and I visited several newly built apartments, compact houses and one lived in villa. Our interest and focus were mainly in finding out how things are done (built) these days. Keeping ourselves updated with the most recent methods in building and maintaining a property.

Wondering about my conclusion and feelings after seeing all these brand new properties? No complaints, no jealous longing and no regrets from me. I am quite content with what I have, knowing that we have the time and capability to improve. The eight year old house which D and I call home, is still pretty awesome.

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Belgium, Events, Food & Drinks

E3 Harelbeke 2017

Yesterday was the 60th edition of E3 Harelbeke. This is probably the most important event of the year for Harelbeke. Schools were closed, some shops as well, and the streets were filled with people. Like all Flemish events, this one was not short on its food, drinks and music.

D and I walked out of our home before eleven in the morning. By the time we were satisfied gawking at the bus row of different cycling teams, it was time to witness the start of the race. After the cyclists were off, the public was offered free fries and small dishes from Michelin star restaurants! Before we left the house, I told D that I will not stand in lines getting push around by idiots clamouring for a sorry portion of fries. Well, luck was on our side and getting these free food turned out to be not difficult at all. I ended up having a pretty decent lunch. I had an entire portion of fries to myself, a lamb and peas dish, two egg dishes and a chicken dish. I also drank two local beers paid by D’s mom.

The best things in life are for free?!

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Belgium

Are You Chinese?

It is windy but dry this Tuesday afternoon. A good time for my library grocery errand walk.

On the way to the library, I came across a group of first or second year primary school children. And just like most of my previous experiences with young ones at this age, I got friendly smiles and enthusiastic hellos. A couple of boys even asked if I am Chinese. To which I answered, ‘No, I am Malaysian’. I don’t care if they do not know about Malaysia. Ah, they are funny at this age.

I am glad it was not a sudden and strange China looks upon your face remark.

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Belgium

Free Mini Pancakes

It is that time of the year again. The local home and garden store is having its annual open door day. So, it is free drinks and mini pancakes for D and I. Since it is still alcohol-free-February, I only drank lemonade while D decided to drink a cola lemonade mix he fondly called Spezi. Spezi is a generic term turned into a brand. Reminds me of Shandy, a drink which can be made by mixing ginger ale and beer.

The long lines of people resulted in hurried and undercooked mini pancakes. Thus, we did not eat that many this time. And they were never free because I always buy something in the end. Books, kitchen utensils, food, home and garden stuff … these things make my wallet lighter all the time!

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Belgium, Events

Sunday Chauffeur

Yesterday evening, D and I went to the 2017 Bruges Beer Festival. This was our third time attending the annual event. The venue is changed this year, making our walk a bit longer than the previous two times. But that was not a problem. Parking was free and a bit of walking will not hurt.

Another thing worth mentioning here is that I have unofficially participated in Tournée Minérale. It is a campaign supporting the cancer society by making February an alcohol free month. So, D was left attending a beer tasting (drinking) event without his drinking buddy. Despite the fact that I was not drinking along, we did have fun. We even found two extra tokens laying about. Yikes uh-oh, two extra drinks for D!

Eight beers, an active bladder and a long walk in the rain later, it was decided that I should DRIVE home. Yes, this one whom the optician advised to wear glasses when driving at night. Yes, it was raining. Yes, I could not see shit at the beginning due to fogged up wind-shields and wet roads. Yes, my 46 year old brain had to deal with manual transmission and a car that had stayed in the garage for a month in 2015. But the cold hard facts were compelling enough that the Vulcan logic kicked in. I have a driver’s license. I did not have a drop of alcohol in my system. And I do have years of driving experience in all sorts of conditions – rain, snow, sleet, sand, dust, water and wind gusts.

Well long story short, I am sitting at home writing this. I (We) have survived my overnight appointment of a Sunday Chauffeur and a BOBBewust Onbeschonken Bestuurder” (deliberately sober driver). Yeah to me!

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Belgium, Events, Malaysia

Gung Hei Fat Choi

As I age, I find myself getting increasingly sentimental over festivals and rituals which I grew up knowing in Malaysia.

Yesterday, I cleaned the house so that I do not have to perform my Saturday chores on the first day of Chinese New Year. I even cleaned the windows, and tidied up the front and back yards. That’s not the end of my festive craziness. I prepared a Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner consisting of five different dishes plus steamed rice. The names of these dishes have good meanings. And the number ‘six’ is considered lucky.

Today, the celebration continues. Cheers to a happy and prosperous year of the rooster. Gong Xi Fa Cai! Gung Hei Fat Choi!

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Belgium, Jibber Jabber

Hungry Birds

I have been seeing quite a number of birds foraging in the backyard these days. This must have something to do with the sub-zero temperatures that we have been experiencing in the last two weeks. Insects cannot be found, fruits all eaten up, and worms are unreachable under the frozen ground.

In the effort of helping these hungry birds, I have been tossing whatever bread crumbs and leftover pieces of food out into the garden. I wish I know how to use our old frying oil as basis ingredient in making a decent bird feed. Even though D and I drop these used frying oil off at the recycling centre, I personally feel that I should do more at my end.

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Belgium, Events, Jibber Jabber

Neighbourly Gatherings

Yesterday evening, we attended the ‘Winter BBQ’ organized by our neighbours. This time was not exactly a barbecue, but a hired food truck serving fries and deep fried meat. Food was okay and drinks were plentiful. But the most important thing is that we met up with our neighbours and reinforced our neighbourly ties. Having skipped the last two gatherings in winter of 2015 and summer of 2016, I was quite taken aback on how much some of the little ones have grown. Kids, we do not call them spuds for no reason!

Today, we rest…

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Belgium, Simplify

Belgian Public Transportation

This morning, I took the bus to Kortrijk to meet up with my friend, M. I really cannot recall when was the last time I took the bus. It was that long ago!

Despite the usual waiting, a strange character or two, and plenty of potential uncertainties, I still do love the public transportation here. For only €1.40 with the bus card, one gets a chauffeur who drives you safely from one city to the next. That, to me, is pure luxury.

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Belgium, Events, Travels

Putteke Winter

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Last evening after dinner, D and I biked(Yes, I did?!) to De Gavers for Putteke Winter. We did the 5 kilometre walk along the forest path, saw some light shows, music performances, and took pictures. All the walking in this cold weather made D hungry, so he ate fries and drank a beer before we biked back home.

De Gavers is one of my favourite places on Earth. Now I can say that I love it by day as well as by night.

Happiness is when one does not need to travel very far to witness an interesting and lovely event. That and not falling off my bike in a dark and rainy winter night.

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