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Avengers: Endgame (Or: Seen it!)

Just got back from the midnight showing. Totally worth it!

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Categories: Friends&Family | Tags: | 2 Comments

Happy Easter! (Or: Bunny butts?)

Happy Easter! Here is a card that Marco and I received:

The card was designed by Marco’s father and his wife.

Both Marco and I were amused by the bunny butt…

Categories: Friends&Family, Holidays | Tags: | 1 Comment

Warm weather (Or: Who needs a jacket?)

Yesterday I had the day off so I went for a walk. The weather has been great for the Easter holiday: 70-75F with a ton of sun. One of the places I walked through is the Binnenhof, a place mentioned a lot on this blog. I like going there and watching the tourists, actually. It’s weird to live somewhere that tourists visit. So I go there and watch the families and friends excitedly taking photos of this and that…

Here is my photo, with the beautiful blue sky behind.

Categories: Culture, The Hague | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

SET restaurant in The Hague (Or: Experiencing Japanse cuisine)

A few weeks back Marco, Roger and I went to SET restaurant in The Hague. We have been there a few times, but every time I went we have just had the lunchtime bento box. This time we sampled from the sushi side of the menu. We also sampled a few Japanese drinks: Calpis (a soft drink) and cold sake.

The blue plate really ties it together… In the foreground is sushi with eel, in the background shrimp.
A look out the window from our seat. The restaurant is near the Grote Kerk (Big Church or St. James church).

I loved where we were seated. It was its own cubby hole. The table was also sunk into the ground a bit (you had to step down to get to it) so it made it seem like you were sitting on the ground without actually sitting on the ground.

And we can’t forget the dessert! So cute.

Ice and sand chocolate dessert

The chocolate sauce drawing was a nice (unexpected) touch. My dessert was called Ice and sand chocolate and was chocolate ice cream. It was quite frozen, which did give it a sort of crumbly texture, so the “sand” part of the name definitely made sense. It was quite tasty.

I can definitely recommend this place. Everything we have had there is delicious, from the drinks to the sushi to the bento boxes. And now I can add the desserts to that list!

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Pizza dough (Or: Is it really pancakes…?)

Here’s an example of things that can be very confusing for non-native speakers:

So the top blue arrow points to the description Mix voor Pizzabodem or Mix for pizza dough in English. So we’re making pizza…

…but the second blue arrow says that the prepared product will make about 20 pancakes. What? It’s just logical enough that it could work – here’s a Dutch recipe for pizzas made with pancake batter. But still, it doesn’t seem right…

I’ve asked a few Dutchies and they all think it is a typo. What do you think?

Categories: Everyday purchases, Food, Reading | 3 Comments

Improvements by Albert Heijn (Or: Shorter receipts)

One of the better improvements for Albert Heijn, a local grocery store, is the option for self-scan. And not the version I’ve seen in the United States where you need to weigh each item as you scan it to make sure there’s no thievery going on. Here it is simply scan each item and then pay at the end. Though I do understand the need for the US system.

Self-scan at Albert Heijn is wonderful. It’s no longer horrible to go right after work, when its crowded and the lines are 5 to 7 customers long. Seriously – before self-scan I would always swear a bit if Marco asked me to pick up something after work, it was that bad. Those days are long gone, as I can count on one hand the times I’ve had to wait for an available self-scan register, and even that was never longer than 30 seconds.

The only problem with self-scan: You are required to print out a receipt, since you need to scan the receipt to allow the exit gates to open. I almost always said no to a receipt previously, when going through a “manned” line with a checkout worker. Why waste paper?

That is also now a thing of the past!

Longer, full receipt (for ONE item!) on the left, versus the short receipt on the right.

This week after paying I was greeted with the question “Would you like a full receipt, or only a short receipt to open the gates?” Very nice. You can see the difference above, with the bar code removed. A great improvement, Albert Heijn!

Oh, and for the people who read small font really well, yes, the receipt says “1 insecten”. I did not win or buy an insect, rather, Albert Heijn has a promotion where you can receive insect stickers and fake insect tattoos for every 10 euros spent. The receipt lets the worker know that I can receive 1 set because I’ve spent more than 10 euros.

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Everyday purchases | Tags: | 2 Comments

Time to vote! (Or: 2019 provincial elections)

Today the Netherlands can vote for the 2019 provincial elections and for the local water authority (English Wikipedia link). The first election is also indirectly important because the provincial members elected today will vote for the Senate members in May.

Voting at The Hague’s city hall

There are many places to vote, including 68 train stations (link in Dutch) as well as in the two Dutch parliamentary buildings (Eerste Kamer, Tweede Kamer, or Senate and House of Representatives in English). It’s the first time the Senate has been open as a voting location. But for me, I like the city hall as it is quite photogenic.

As you might have guessed, “stem” means vote.

Personally I can only vote for the local water authority, as the provincial elections are only open to Dutch nationals. This makes sense. But it is still nice to be able to vote for the water authority and (back in March 2018) the local government.

Voting was very fast – when I arrived there was no line. Of course, I deliberately waited until a bit later in the morning. When I left a line had started to form, so it is simply a question of luck.

There was also an elections desk where you could go with questions and for voting-related arrangements. I realized later that this was the help desk in the weeks leading up to the election (therefore it was not in use today).

Not sure what that apple is doing on the ground. When I took the photo I hadn’t even seen it.

Categories: Daily Dutch living, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

A late night (Or: Ajax football and Captain Marvel)

Note: there are no spoilers for Captain Marvel in this post.

Last night was a fun night with Marco and Roger. First off, we watched the Ajax-Real Madrid Champions League football game. Amsterdam’s Ajax team lost the previous match against Real Madrid 2-1 so they needed to win by at least two goals last night to proceed to the quarter finals. And that they did – winning 4-1! The coolest goal was the last one Ajax made (YouTube).

The best part about the game was that it started at 9pm and ended around 11pm. Which was really good for us, since after that we were going to a midnight showing of Captain Marvel. Generally movies premiere on Wednesdays in the Netherlands, and since 12:01am is also Wednesday… yeah.

Fun thing: I noticed that the movie theatre had ruby chocolate KitKats. If you’ve never tried ruby chocolate, you should. It is a bit sour, but still sweet like chocolate.

movie theatre snacks!

While we were waiting in the downstairs lobby (the upper part was roped off so they could clean the theatre from the previous showing) I took a picture of The Hague’s library:

looking down at The Hague Central Library (library=bibliotheek)

The movie was pretty good. I liked it and was definitely entertained even though I was sleep deprived. I thought the cat stole the show. More about the cat here, with a few minor spoilers if you don’t read the Captain Marvel comics.

And lastly: of course there is a Stan Lee tribute. The theatre clapped for that.

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Sweet store displays (Or: Valentine’s Day by Hema)

❤ Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤

Valentine’s Day display at Hema in The Hague

Marco and I exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts this morning. He got me a small bottle of cava (a Spanish sparking wine), a bag of Haribo gummy bears and a chocolate rose. ❤

I got him Winter-in-lov, a chocolate and rooibos tea, with additional spices like cinnamon, ginger and licorice. If you like tea with chocolate notes, I can highly recommend it.

Categories: Holidays, Marco&Niki | Tags: , | Leave a comment

A bit of color in the city centre (Or: Chinese New Year 2019)

This past Saturday was the celebrations for Chinese New Year in The Hague. I took some photos of the “statues” that represent the holiday. Upon closer inspection, I noticed these are mostly the same statues used back in 2013 for the first Chinese New Year I attended (scroll down to the second-to-last photo).

I’ve taken some better, close-up photos of some of them this year. For example, my favorite:

with the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in the background, and a bird flying past too!

For some of them it was actually a bit hard to tell which of the 12 animals they represent, but because a few stripes on the top of this guy’s head (above), I think he might represent the year of the tiger.

Year of the ox
Click here to see the rest of the photos for Chinese New Year 2019…
Categories: Holidays, The Hague | Tags: | 4 Comments

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