Published: February 17th 2012February 13th 2012
they used to execute people here
There are few moments in the course of human history when one man (or woman) has changed the world; Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and if I had to include a woman too I guess I’d say ummmm, I dunno Oprah? No I hate her. No women have changed the world.
The point is, circa last Friday I changed the world. This occurred at approximately o-seventeen hundred hours Tilburg time when Daniel Waldmann transformed Jenga into a drinking game.
Now initially there were a lot of naysayers saying “no Daniel I just bought that Jenga set, don’t draw on it” and “that’s already been done Daniel, it’s not that good of an idea”. However if there’s one thing I don’t take for an answer its nay. So I explained to them the beauty of my Jenga Drinking Game Hypothesis or ‘UNICEF’ for short.
Take your Jenga set. Now take the world popular drinking game ‘King’s Cup’. Now replace playing cards with Jenga Bricks. Now play my new drinking game; ‘drinking game’
If you have doubts as to whether this will be enjoyable let me tell you this: those are valid doubts and I retract
my earlier statement about women not changing the world, without cows we’d be both hungry and thirsty.
After googling jenga drinking game I had my worst nightmares confirmed that after my drinking game becomes a worldwide hit, making me billions which I use to invent a time machine, make further billions but then someone goes back in time and invents jenga drinking game before I can, I took out some hair clippers and shaved my hair off.
Unfortunately giving one’s self a haircut is not as easy as they make it seem in jail and so I have a few bald patches here and there and dark patches around the back. Luckily I normally wear 3 hats so no one hasn’t not mocked me today.
I was feeling refreshed after my traumatic episodes and so decided I would organise a trip this weekend.
Naturally I forgot how much I hate organising things and having anyone rely on me in anyway and so the whole process was very unpleasant.
Sending out messages, making a facebook event, waiting for people to confirm, hoping a decent amount confirm so I don’t look like a loser then once people
confirmed booking a hostel and looking up train times was sooooo hard.
However eventually I had 13 people going to The Hague!!!!
I can’t believe it. I organised an event and people are going to come to it! This doesn’t make sense. Whenever I organise an event it fails because I suck.
Not this time. Now I just need to let down 13 people and the balance should be restored.
I awoke on Saturday hoping that something horrible would happen so I could get it out of the way. Nothing I just ate some All Bran and went to the train station. We missed the train, but it wasn’t my fault so that sucked. Eventually we got there and went to our hostel, which was really really good. Actually this may be the first time of my 9 blogs that I’m actually going to say something remotely useful to anyone travelling in the Netherlands. Stayokay Hostels are really good, 26 euro for Saturday night, breakfast was included and it was a good breakfast and the rooms were clean, our own showers, internet etc I was really pleased.
Then once we were checked in we got
some pancakes and headed to the Binninhof. Now The Hague is where Dutch parliament is and the Binninhof is where the Senate is and where the House of Representatives used to be. It dates back to the 1200s and is essentially like a castle come church with a square in the middle where people used to be executed. So naturally, with all the history there, I couldn’t help running my hands over the incredibly old walls to connect with the rich history of each stone and simultaneously soak up 800 years’ worth of bacteria. We learnt that there would be a tour in English the next day so decided to postpone breathing in remnants of the plague for another day.
We then decided to split up, 10 of us decided to go to an art gallery while the other 3 went to go try and find a football game to watch. Of course I was torn; why do people still watch art when now we have pictures that move? Similarly, why would I want to watch some skinny Italians kick a ball around for 90 minutes?
I decided that watching TV in a bar was the only way
on the peir
I was ever going to truly make the most of my exchange so I joined 2 others to look for a bar that was showing whatever game it was. Luckily for me we found an English bar with heaps of Ned Kelly posters that was showing the game. I love pubs with English ex-cons who speak in indecipherable English, hands covered in tattoos and who idolise a demented Irish criminal from the 19th
century and likewise they love poofy Australians who walk into their bar and order tea. It was a match made in heaven, if in heaven they think Dustin Diamond should have had a role in the Sopranos. After the game finished we could finally leave the bar/knife dealer and meet up with the others.
They now wanted to go to a bar but fortunately none of them seemed eager to step into one where they also sell organs. We found a classy joint and had some warm wine, which just tastes like wine.
Time was flying by and we decided to get some drinks and ‘pre-drink’ at the hostel. Now no one had brought a Jenga set so we had to adapt ‘drinking game’ to
cards in what I call ‘King’s Cup’.
Essentially all this is is a dumbed down version of Jenga Drinking Game but instead of using bricks you use cards. I know, lame right? But it went ok until finally my moment of retardosity finally arrived.
While buying drinks at the supermarket I thought everyone might enjoy a little cheese and crackers during the drinks. Now in my defence, everyone was quite excited when I pulled the cheese and crackers out. However all that enthusiasm soon faded as my hand somehow became infused with the soft cheese rendering it both hideous and unsanitary and only for me. It may have destroyed the hopes of everyone else to partake in the cheese but at least I had finally let everyone down.
Then we went to a club where I danced like a spastic chimp trying to seduce a poster of another chimp. I dunno how that analogy works but that’s what I did.
After I woke up and enjoyed Stayokay’s tremendous breakfast we went to the beach. The beach? The beach.
I was astounded. Now I’m a surfy mate, so when I saw snow on the beach I
was like ‘crikey champ this Uluru has white shit on it!’ yep, if that sentence means what I think it means then the beach was covered in snow. I was genuinely taken aback. And then fakely taken aback to make it seem like I’m immersed in beach culture.
After people stopped caring that I was astounded by the snowy beach we took a tram to the International Court of Justice and stood outside taking inappropriate photos in front, pretending to kill each other etc, while I made remarks about how certain members of the group should be better at imitating war crimes (Poland).
Then it was our tour of Binninhof. We watched a movie about the origins of the place and then went into the gallery of the Queen’s room where her throne is where she goes once a year to give an address to the nation.
After walking through the Binninhof it started to snow down again (it snowed that morning, guess I should have said that earlier but it would ruined your surprise when I told you the beach had snow on it so you could feel how I did, which is why your reading
this, to live through me. I watch entourage, you read my blog and so the cycle of life continues).
Then we went to the M.C. Escher Museum. Now, normally I hate stuff but this place was the exception. I thought M.C. Escher was a member of the Beasty Boys but actually he’s the guy who draws the infinite stairs and plenty of other cool stuff. Yeah this was neat. I liked it. Recommended.
Then we went to find some North African people to make us Italian food which in this part of the world is really easy. Admittedly they might have been Italian people with a North African background who moved to Holland either way so long as their hands weren’t covered in tattoos they got from a microwaved pen while in jail I was happy.
We then took the train home.
A fairly harmless weekend was surely a reprieve from what would undoubtedly be a disaster on Tuesday. As I’ve mentioned every Tuesday two people cook for two mentor groups something from their culture and this Tuesday it was me and the other Australian guy.
I had had some vegemite and tim tams sent
nothing safer than a group of guys standing on some mossy rocks after its been snowing!
over by some Romanian people in Sydney and so we had that much of the meal covered. The dinner was at 8 so at 4 we decided to bike over to the big shopping centre and stock up. In order to figure out what to make for 40 or so people we analysed our combined cooking skills and determined that the meal with lowest satisfaction to likelihood of screwing up ratio was sausages and frikandelen (what is frikandelen? What is the sun, what are clouds, how does grass grow, who is this Syria chic that everyone is going on about? I don’t know. They say its processed pig parts that no one eats).
Considering my diet here has consisted of no less than salads, cereal and pasta I agreed that frying hunks of meat was the best course of action.
So at 4 off we went and sure enough 30 minutes later my backpack was choca block with sausage. The ride back was pretty rough, my bag weighed AT LEAST several kilos and once we got back we went to buy the beer which also weighed in at an impressive multiple kilos. So I was pretty sweaty.
By about 5 we arrived back at my flat where the dinner was to take place and by about 5:05 had set everything out ready to be made in 2 hours and 45 minutes.
2 hours, 45 minutes and like 6 family guys later we could start cooking. I began by making the vegemite sandwiches completely forgetful of the fact that no one likes vegemite. Afterwards we began frying up the sausage which has developed a unique defence mechanism against being fried which is to spit hot oil onto the forearm of whoever tries to turn them.
People began to arrive and the more people who arrived the more numerous the complaints about the vegemite became. So long as the complainers were Finish I didn’t care, after I tried one of their ‘Turkish Peppers’ or ‘Salmiakki’, which tastes like an ant colony are shitting in your mouth.
However once the masses started digging into their sausages and Frikandelen everyone was happy and presumably even more happy after I plugged my ipod in and treated them to my specially crafted playlist featuring everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top (but not AC/DC or ZZ Top).
The night went
very well I have to say and once the tim tams started circulating I knew I had won. Won what? The battle. What battle? The battle against time. Why am I battling time? because time waits for no man.
Luckily time flew by and I was able to clean up and get out of there pretty gosh darn quickly
Carnaval. Many of you have no doubt heard of the Carnival famous in Brazil but have probably never wondered whether they also have carnival in Holland.
Of course they have carnival here, this is Holland it’s basically Brazil just with different language, climate and culture.
Carnival kicked off for us on Thursday night in a way no better designed to embarrass me than I think I could have ever imagined. Drinking, costume and a volleyball tournament all at the same time.
My flat had entered a team and gotten us costumes that didn’t really correspond to any theme besides maybe ‘futuristic rainbow wedding’ which isn’t a theme.
I tried to calm the fire by constantly reiterating to everyone that I’m really bad at sport but they would all just reassure me ‘it’s just
for fun don’t worry about it’ but how could I not?!
I’ve spent over a month here carving out a persona for me of the cool, calm, talented Justin Beiber of exchange and I can’t have that stolen away from me by some drunken sports event.
Luckily it wasn’t evident in our first game in which we got creamed by . . .i don’t know, they may have been pirates I’m not sure.
In our second game, however, we annihilated the ghost busters “who you gonna call, ghostbusters?!” is what I should have said in hindsight.
Afterwards we played a team with guys and I feared we had our work cut out for us. The game was intense with neither side prepared show their hand by being any good. It came down to 15 all, only seconds remaining, waldmann up to serve. He serves, the ball flies over the net, the horn blows, time out, 15 all, flat 30 miss an opportunity to win their second game because the young rookie waldmann insisted on emulating Novak Djokovic by bouncing the ball 10 times before serving even though Novak Djokovic is a tennis player and he was
Well one win, one loss and one draw with one game remaining it would take more than a win on our part to make it to the finals which no one cared about by this stage of the night most likely due to the drinking of the beer. Our last game was awesome, we totally dominated even I scored a few points and although I again lost the very last point I don’t think anyone cared because we won and my image as the Justin Beiber of Tilburg was left unscathed with a night of dancing to Dutch folk music ahead of us followed by a huge drama when we got back to the flat about whose cheese belongs to who. It made for a fun night.
There are more photos below