I am meeting a German visiting professor of architecture at Tsinghua University. We are chatting a bit about Beijing: – Ah, ok. So, you’ve just arrived. And, do you experience culture shock? – Not really, to be honest I feel everywhere at home. That’s the way I am. I experience a serious language barrier shock, though. This really feels weird. Hardly anybody speaks English here. … Continue reading Miiiiii- chaaaaa!
What is needed to significantly decrease traffic congestion in the centre of Beijing? Trump visiting China with its motorcade. Posts including such sarcastic remarks were obviously delated by the censorship, according to Free Weibo. The bitter truth is that catas-traffic starts again once the choreographed political visit ends. Millions of cars clog the capital every day. The government is racking its brain over the problem: relieving … Continue reading Catas-traffic
Never cold hands again First confrontation with the streets of Beijing after a sleepless 8-hour flight from Moscow. It’s 7 o’clock, but my biological clock is saying me that it’s high time to go to sleep (I am 6 time zones away from home). I gaze around, half aware of where I am. I get almost run over by a biker who is passing by … Continue reading Chinese bikerium
Als ik s’morgens wakker word en naar je kijk, dan blijft een vaag slaapliedje in mijn hoofd doorspelen: rustig maar toch een beetje ‘unreal’. Want ik kan nog steeds niet geloven dat dat geen droom is. Dat je een man van vlees en bloed bent. En dat je er nog steeds bent als ik mijn ogen open doe. De tijd rekt opnieuw als we samen … Continue reading All the pretty little horses
The very first thing I saw after a sleepless 8-hour flight from Moscow to Beijing was a weird mix of interdictions, ‘good advice’ and warnings, hanging on the toilet’s door: My first reaction was: OK, good to know. Then I noticed this: That’s a pity. There is no better thing in the world than hanging around, standing or sitting and watching people who are … Continue reading Caution. Mr. Xi is watching you!
Damaged face day I woke up quite early, at 6:30. I wanted to take it easy, have breakfast and set off. But I was immediately attacked by a horde of little insects which turned my life into hell. I covered my legs and arms straight away, put a lot of insect repellent on and did my best to pack everything as quickly as possible. I … Continue reading On bicheros, damaged face & epiphany (2)
When my last workaway employer was warning me of bicheros (Peruvian guys who have sex with foreign women for money) I was just laughing: Seriously? So, you have to pay for it? It was much less funny when I met one of them face-to-face… But I will start from the beginning: All my new friends left Cusco already while I was still ‘stuck’ there, waiting for … Continue reading On bicheros, damaged face & epiphany (1)
Even van (men)taal switchen. Want ik ben terug. Terug van waar ik vluchtte. Waar ik bijna een derde van mijn leven heb doorgebracht. Awel, min of meer, uiteraard. De cirkel is niet helemaal rond. Lage Landen, dat blijft nog wel hetzelfde. Vochtig klimaat, fietsen, kanalen, wind, vloeken, zweet op mijn rug na een ochtendrit, regen op mijn gezicht. Dat is allemaal terug. Dus het is … Continue reading OM-denken en VER-zetten
I fell in love with those snowy picks the very first time I saw them. Far and simply impressive, proud, unreachable and mystical. Every time I got closer to them they took my breath away. Also, literally: I could barely breathe while I was staring at them, freezing because of the cold wind. When you’re at 5000m. it already becomes difficult. The oxygen’s partial pressure … Continue reading À la recherche des glaciers perdus
Where should I start… Maybe with this very straightforward question I was asked on the terrace of my hostel in Arequipa. Peter, a Slovakian guy, wanted to know why I left Belgium after 9 years and set off to South America. I was just laughing, you know, ‘a long story’, a standard answer given when you don’t really feel like reconstructing all the mental process … Continue reading Pull the trigger