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Frozen in Friesland

This week I found myself suddenly trapped in Friesland as snow and ice descended upon the province, transforming it in to Freezeland. Our first warning of the approaching winter weather had actually happened on the Sunday, a full day...Show More Summary


Metaphorically speaking, if any group of people in the world epitomizes the West African proverb "Speak softly and carry a big stick," which was popularized by Teddy Roosevelt, it is the women of the GCC countries.If you have any doubt...Show More Summary

A Taste of New Orleans in Utrecht

This morning, before lethargy and two jobs could distract me, Charlie and I headed out to the market at Vredenburg in search of some okra. I knew that there used to be a vegetable stall there that always had okra, … Continue reading...

Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?

This Sunday, come rain or shine — just like Mardi Gras — I’m gonna laissez les bon temps roulez! Utrecht is getting its very own Klein New Orleans (Little New Orleans) for one day. Breedstraat is going to be turned … Continue readin...

A Square That Should Not Be

Originally posted on A Flamingo in Utrecht:The other week, as part of the city’s anniversary celebrations, the Domtoren was playing a variety of songs, including popular local songs. One of my favourites, and the one that you can he...

The Twisted Reality that is Saudi Arabia

I’ve written many times about the confusing contradictions about living here in Saudi Arabia. Things really haven’t gotten any better - except that women are now employed in sales positions around the country and we women are no longer required to purchase bras and panties from strange perverted men! - and life continues to be as confusing as ever. Show More Summary

A Night of Lights and Music at VJ op de Dom with Kypski

Last night I was awake and up late enough to finally make it to this year’s edition of VJ op de Dom, an annual mix of light art and music. Each year a variety of musicians/DJs perform, while light, art, … Continue reading ?

The Domtoren Lights Up the Night

One of the things I love about living in Northern Europe is the long hours of daylight in the summer. By April and May, it starts to stay light until 9 or 10 at night. By the middle of summer, … Continue reading ?

Pink Saturday in Utrecht

Everywhere you look in Utrecht today, you’ll see pink. You’ll also see balloons, pink limousines, stalls, crowds of people, stages in all the big squares, and lots of rainbow-colored items. All of this and more is because today is Roze … Continue reading ?

Amsterdamned and Utrecht Blessed

At various points over the years, I’ve seen and heard references to the film Amsterdamned, a 1988 Dutch horror film focused on the canals of Amsterdam. The reason why I’ve heard about the film is because of a famous boat chase. Two speed boats — one with the masked killer and the other with the […]

Time Travel: Utrecht’s Liberation

It was on this date — 7 May 1945 — that Canadian and British forces arrived to officially liberate Utrecht from Nazi control. Although the main liberation of the country was 5 May, it took time for all cities to be fully liberated. Some transitioned relatively smoothly, while other cities, such as Arnhem, suffered under [...]

Don't Miss It! Head Over Heels in Saudi Arabia

Dr. Maisah Sobaihi (photo: Vimeo) "Head Over Heels in Saudi Arabia" is a one-woman comedy show written and performed by Dr. Maisah Sobaihi, exploring the lives and loves of Saudi women with humor and insight. I had the pleasure of seeing this delightful show and writing about it several years ago in 2008. Show More Summary

Even the Santas Are Tall

We went for a wander through the kerstmarkt on Twijnstraat today and had a festive time. The market was even bigger this year and there were some really lovely items, as well as lots of tasty food and drink. We had our first gluhwein of the season, sipped after heading down one of the narrow [...]

A Whole New Take on Tubular Bells

Last night was the last of the Domtoren carillon summer concerts. To close out the series, carillonneur Malgosia Fiebig, along with pianists Sandra Mol, Jeroen van Veen, and Marcel and Elisabeth Bergmann, performed Mike Oldfield’s classic Tubular Bells. Even if you’re not familiar with Mike Oldfield, you’re probably familiar with the part of Tubular Bells [...]

24 Click-Worthy Japan Links From the Past 2 Weeks - July 15

It suddenly got ridiculously humid here in Shizuoka, and it feels like a big choke hold. Here's another round of Japan links, including how to wear a yukata, Hokkaido's abandoned rail, how to travel cheap by train without a Japan Rail Pass, and more. Show More Summary

45 Japan Links and Tips to Check Out From the Past 2 Weeks - May 20

Wisteria and a bee at the Wisteria Festival in Fujieda, Shizuoka There has been a lot of information the past two weeks, so much so that I've hardly been able to share everything via Twitter or Facebook worth sharing. So today we've got 45(!) links, tips, and news about Japan. Show More Summary

What to do if You're in a Car Accident in Japan - Part 3

Editor's note: This is part 3 in the "What to do if You're in a Car Accident" series, written by David Thompson. If you haven't yet, be sure to read part 1 and part 2. This series is a must-read for anyone driving in Japan. -Ashley I wish I could tell you that the beginner driver’s course was a great experience. Show More Summary

Elbow in Amsterdam

We bought the tickets months ago, but there was no way we were going to risk missing Elbow’s concert in Amsterdam last night. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for years, having been incredibly frustrated to learn that they were playing in Amsterdam — at the picturesque Paradiso — shortly after we first moved here, [...]

A Libertarian Vent: Do You Remember 9/11? I Do.

I found the following essay as I was reading various articles about 9/11. It was written last year on 9/11 by a young man who writes as J-Victus on his blog called "A Libertarian Vent." His understanding of why 9/11 really happened impressed me and I wanted to share it with you... Show More Summary

Caturday: The Ginger Edition

It’s not uncommon to see a variety of cats out and about. They wander the streets, walk the walls by the post office, and curl up adorably in shop windows. Last weekend, while enjoying a drink and some bitterballen at one of the cafés near Neude, I spotted this adorable cat in the window across [...]

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