Everyday purchases

Loot! (Or: Kelly’s expat store)

What does one do when they have a day off? They go to Kelly’s expat store, of course!

Here is my loot:

We have:

  • 4 bottles of Cholula’s chipotle hot sauce
  • 2 bottles of Cholula’s sweet haberno hot sauce
  • 1 bottle of Cholula’s chili garlic hot sauce
  • 2 bottles of Red’s devil wing barbecue sauce
  • 1 bottle of French’s yellow mustard
  • 3 bottles of Coffee-mate, French Vanilla flavor (liquid, of course… the powdered version is not worth it)
  • 2 boxes of Ritz crackers (best eaten with Fabi Lobi peanut butter… that is peanut butter made with Madam Jeanette pepper. So spicy, but oh so tasty!)
  • 2 boxes of Old El Paso’s “stand ‘n’ stuff” taco boats
  • Taki’s (Mexican chips), blue heat flavor – impulse buy #1
  • Mini baking marshmallows – impulse buy #2
  • 1 box of sultana raisin scones – impulse buy #3

That is way more than I expected to buy, but it was worth it.

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Covid tests at the local supermarket (Or: Quite a supply)

Covid quick tests for home use have been available at Dutch supermarkets for the last month or two. Today I noticed a pile of tests by the self-checkout. I am sure they have always been there and that I just hadn’t noticed them.

The government has a page (in Dutch) listing which quick tests are officially recognized in the Netherlands.

In other news: five new islands have been added to the Netherlands in a 78 million euro project. The Dutch are known for reclaiming land from the sea, as you probably know. This dutchnews.nl article says the islands have been reclaimed for use in nature.

Also: Golden Carriage arrives at Amsterdam Museum after restoration from dutchnews.nl. The golden carriage needed to be maneuvered into position with a crane, as the carriage was placed in the (inner) courtyard. The museum used to be an orphanage and orphans had helped design the carriage back in 1898, hence why it is going on display there after a five year renovation.

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Chai latte (Or: With an extra espresso please)

Last weekend Marco and I stopped by FOAM restaurant here in The Hague to have a coffee. I would say we were also trying to grab a few moments of sunshine, but to be honest it was pretty cloudy and quite windy the whole time we were there. Hopefully next time will be better?

I ordered a chai latte (plus extra espresso!) and Marco ordered a matcha latte. I really liked my chai latte – it was sweet but still had a nice kick of coffee behind it.

Tomorrow Marco and I both have the day off. I have an appointment at the hair dresser for a touch up. Someone please remind me why I scheduled it so early? There is no opportunity to sleep in at all. But that also means I have more of the day to enjoy after my hair is done… so that is good, right?

I am looking forward to the change in weather, as it should start warming up a bit tomorrow. Perhaps it won’t be full sunshine yet, but at least it won’t be cold like it was this morning. How could it almost be June but still be so windy and cold?

In other (slightly crazy news): the police in Zwolle arrested a driver who was in possession of 550kg (1,200 pounds) of laughing gas (!). The article is from nos.nl in Dutch. If you want to transport more than 2 kilos of laughing gas you need to have a special permit. It is considered a party drug in the Netherlands; every few weeks there is a car crash reported in the news where the driver had laughing gas in the car.

Usually it is not 550kg of laughing gas, though…

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The promise of thunderstorms (Or: A low rumbling)

As I write this, thunder rumbles in the distance. I miss a good thunderstorm; they aren’t as prevalent here in the Netherlands. Or when you do have them they are not loud enough. I did find a website which shows lightning strikes in realtime (from blitzortung.org). It is just a bit hypnotizing to watch.

Did you ever expect to see popcorn in the breakfast aisle? I did not, but here is a photo from a local grocery store:

That is a granola based cereal with oat, corn flakes and crisps. And popcorn…

I already knew things were going downhill 20 years ago when I saw Reese’s Puffs for the first time, which according to Wikipedia was first launched in 1994. My, how time flies. That cereal is flavored with chocolate and peanut butter, which seemed excessive to me.

I can’t complain, though. One of my best “cereal” memories was of a paper slide built into the back of a Cocos Puffs cereal box. You could roll pieces of cereal down the chute and then eat them. Or there is the memory of me as a young adult eating (dry) cheerios with a diet Dr Pepper on the side for lunch. I loved it.

I guess we are all weird in our own way.

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When does air equal water? (Or: A riddle for you)

Last week Marco picked up some pancake mix from the local grocery store, Albert Heijn. The brand was Pondan, an Indonesian company.

I was slightly confused when I looked at the back of packaging to see what extra ingredients were needed (top left with the red arrow):

What? I need 100ml air? How does that work?

And then my brain kicked in and my eyes started working. Air in Indonesian is water in English. How confusing!

But I must admit I love the fact that most packaging is not just in Dutch. Usually you see Dutch and French, because the two main languages in Belgium are Dutch and French. My contact solution bottle has 10+ languages on it. It’s so different from packaging in the United States. For logical reasons of course, but it still is something that makes me pause sometimes.

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Fridays and lattes (Or: Turmeric in your coffee?)

Today’s photo is of a turmeric latte that Marco ordered last week at FOAM restaurant in The Hague. Check out the vibrant colors:

And of course I had to be boring and order a sparkling water. Next time I will look at the menu faster, but I was busy taking a photo of the “this table is reserved” spoon!

In other news: Naturalis (a museum in Leiden) was named as the European museum of the year for 2021 (naturalis.nl, in English). I have never been there, but considering Leiden is only 15-20 minutes away by train, perhaps I should consider it. Once things calm down a bit, of course… One of their most prized assets is the T-Rex skeleton named Trix.

Netherlands in 9th for EU Covid vaccines; 6.1 million shots estimated from notices.nl. But keep in mind the Dutch minister of health wants to be administering 2.5 million vaccinations per week by the end of this month (!). Hospitals will be responsible for up to 500,000 shots per week (article from nos.nl in Dutch). This was always part of the plan but it will be interesting to see if they get enough workers to be able to pull this off.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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My favorite color scheme (Or: Water pitcher by Blokker)

You know how as you get older you want to purchase new cups, plates or bowls because they look pretty? But you realize that would be silly because you have perfectly fine tableware at home (especially tableware that you also think is pretty)? And then you don’t buy it, because it isn’t logical to buy yet another cup just because it looks pretty.

If I could start over (and no Marco, I don’t want to start over! I like what we have too!), I would go with this color scheme:

It is a water pitcher by Blokker. I have no interest in buying a water pitcher, but I’ve seen this color theme with cups at other stores. Every time I see it, I love it.

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Early morning shopping (Or: It still feels weird)

Early morning shopping was on the menu today. Early morning being in the city centre around 09:00, when shops were just opening and practically deserted. I didn’t go to any “popular” stores as that would be the epitome of silly. For example, here was the line at Primark around 09:30:

Note that this is a double line that starts on the left side, goes to the right, snakes down the side of the building and wraps back around to the entrance (the door directly in the picture is the exit in corona times). But it won’t be the first or last time I take a photo of the line outside of Primark. It is always crazy long.

I went to Blokker and Xenos – both were practically empty. I then went to Hema, which was a bit busy but doable. I did take a photo of the smartphone cases at Hema as I thought it was a cute display idea:

Those hands would also make for great models for drawing.

I did end up buying a few minor things – a few dish cloths, a new loofah, a spicy ginger tea and a small bag of jelly beans for Marco – but nothing too special. But still, it was weird to be back in “non-essential” stores again. Oh, and I randomly saw a coworker who I’ve spoken with once (!) in the last year. That was strange too. We had a short conversation in Dutch and then parted ways again.

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Way more people than usual (Or: Even Google can’t handle it)

Today was the first day of relaxations for corona measures. Think of things like:

  • The curfew has been lifted.
  • Restaurant terraces are allowed to open from 12:00-18:00 daily.
  • Appointments are no longer required for shopping at non-essential stores.

Some stores (especially Ikea and Primark) have been bombed with an influx of clients due to the restrictions being lifted today. Primark is a discount clothing store – it is quite easy to find a T-shirt there for €2-3.

Enter Google trying to tell you exactly how busy it was by the Ikea in Delft (screenshot was around lunchtime):

Check out that red bar on the left. It can’t even fit on the graph. I checked 10 minutes before they closed and it still looked like that, although it didn’t dip quite as far below the graph. But that could be because they were closing in 10 minutes…

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Flowers by Rabbijn Maarsenplein (Or: A touch of Spring)

It’s still not that warm yet in the Netherlands. Maybe 10C (50F), depending on the day? But you can still find color if you wander through the city centre. For example these flowers at the Rabbijn Maarsenplein (a plaza):

The heavy stone planters were added by the city sometime this month, as they weren’t there the last time I wandered through this area. (You can see the major shopping street Grote Marktstraat in the far distance.)

In other, very random news: Poolse vrouw bang voor onbekend schepsel in boom, blijkt croissant te zijn from nu.nl. Or, Polish woman afraid of unknown creature in tree, turns out to be a croissant. Not sure why her being Polish matters, but okay. Apparently the “creature” was resting in the tree for a few days.

T Rex walked the earth slowly but was helped by its tail, Dutch researchers find from dutchnews.nl. Similar to how humans swing their arms and legs when moving, the dinosaur could have also been swinging its tail up and down.

The chips brand Lay’s has three new flavors in the Netherlands: Subway teriyaki, KFC original recipe chicken and Pizza Hut Margherita (lays.nl). I haven’t seen the flavors “in the wild” yet, but it is only a matter of time. Starting in May if you buy a bag you can use it to get your second meal free at that restaurant. Lays is known for some weird flavors. One that managed to stick around permanently in this country was “baguette with herb butter” (stokbrood met kruidenboter).

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