Travel & Adventure

Travel & Adventure

Paris City Tour and The Louvre

By Clayton

Date: February 13, 2016

The next morning we went for a city tour. Our main destination was The Louvre Museum, but we took our time to explore the city a bit first and started off with a real French breakfast.

First stop on our Paris city tour was: Notre-Dame. This cathedral is big and ethereal.
I was looking to see if I could see Quasimodo lurk behind of the pillars :p
Actually before entering Notre-Dame, we went to this underground museum right in front of the cathedral that displays a history of the Notre-Dame.


Travel & Adventure

Road Trip to Paris

By Clayton

Date: February 12, 2016

On the early morning of February 12th, 2016, Farid, Ryan and I did a road trip in Farid’s VW Polo car to Paris. This was my very first time in Paris, so I was very excited. However it was very early though.

We drove from Amsterdam, via Rotterdam to Antwerp, Belgium.
We arrived just after sunrise in Antwerp. We decided to explore the city a bit and go grab some breakfast.

First thing we visited was the Antwerp train station. That building is ginormous and gorgeous. We had coffee near the Antwerp Cathedral and walked around the shopping area.

After Antwerp we drove to Brussels see the Atomium. Another ginormous construction.


  • Travel & Adventure

    Almere, Enkhuizen, Artis Zoo and Rijkmuseum

    By Clayton

    Date: February 6, 2016 – Almere and Enkhuizen

    The following day we drove to Almere to visit my aunt that lives there. I needed to bring a few things over, which I brought from Suriname and she also knows Farid from a long time ago and this is the first time they saw each other again.

    After the visit in Almere were drove to Enkhuizen. A place I have never visited nor heard of before, but it was very historical to put it in words. The entire town looked like a damn painting.

    We also visited this pub that has an official “hofleverancier” status. Places with this status are places that have been visited or provided services to the Dutch royal family.
    So wait, what? I peed in the same toilet as the current reigning Dutch King? Awesomeness! 😀



  • Concerts & Shows Music Travel & Adventure

    Stream of Passion live in Duycker

    By Clayton

    Date: February 5, 2016

    We started the next day off by grabbing lunch at this Turkish restaurant where I had a good “kapsalon” after a long time. There wasn’t much we did besides just wander around the city.

    Later that evening I had to be in Hoofddorp for a Stream of Passion concert.

    This was my second SOP concert, but also my last, because later that year it was announced that the band was about to disband. That was not known at the time, but it was a great show.

    Not too crowded, which made it better for the band to engage with the crowd. I also saw a lot of my Dutch concert and Facebook friends at the show and it was also nice to meet the band after the show again. I have to of the members on my Facebook, so I think the recognized my face.

    Farid and Ryan weren’t at the show, but they picked me up and dropped me off before and after the show.




  • Travel & Adventure

    Departure PBM – Destination AMS

    By Clayton

    Date: February 3, 2016

    The day that Ryan (RSA) and I would fly off to The Netherlands to enjoy a well-deserved vacation had finally arrived. This was Ryan’s first time in Europe, so I can imagine the excitement.

    We first started the day off by visiting a friend and former colleague as it was her birthday and later that day we met at the airport. At the airport we first helped out one customer in the duty free shopping area that had just started using our software. We even took some time to read and write a few mails in the airport lounge, where I made the blunder of wrongly sending an email to the wrong person, but let’s not get into that.

    As night fell it was time to board. The flight as usual feels never-ending. I think we played a few games on an iPad, maybe even some shut eye, but eventually we landed.


    In Holland we of course had to go through the annoying security procedures. Which was easier for me than Ryan. Maybe I look less like a suspect. Joking!!! After finding our baggage we went outside, where we were met by Farid, Patrick and Raymill. It felt great to see them again, especially Farid whom we hadn’t seen over 1.5 year since he moved to Holland. Patrick I also hadn’t seen in a while as he didn’t visit Suriname during Christmas 2014 as he has been doing since 2011.

    Patrick and Raymill had to go to work, so Farid, Ryan and I made our way to Farid’s place. He lives with his partner in a very nice apartment with a gorgeous overview of Amsterdam. There we just caught up on life and other chitchat.

    After that we went into the city center to do some shopping. It was mid-winter and Ryan needed some winter gear. Also we have planned to do a road trip throughout Europe, so we needed to make sure no one was about to catch a cold.


    At night time we decided to go all out the first night. We had some drinks on the couch of Farid’s rented apartment, which he never even slept in and only still rented it so Ryan and I had a place to sleep. This was quite an emotional evening as the alcohol did its work and tears started to flow as things that were bottled up were laid on the table. Not exactly for me, because as you know I am very frigid, but we laid all cards on the table and discussed the whole issue of the group of friends that was slowly falling apart.I will not repeat the things said, but I think we all needed that to mend things again. We all understood each other’s own personal struggles a lot better and were able to move on.

    But the day wasn’t over yet as we still needed to shock Ryan in the red light district.
    I regret not filming the reaction on his face when he saw his first “ladies of the night” under the red lights, behind those glass doors. That was hilarious… from what I can remember.

    I think we bar-hopped in the city until we almost started falling asleep in the bars. I remember doing shots with a hot American, entering a very sleazy bar that was another culture shock for Ryan and then we knew it was time to head home. For the sake of alcohol we took public transport and made our way to the rented apartment and Farid went to his living place. We were about to meet up again the next day.

  • Travel & Adventure

    Eurotrip 2016 – Recap

    By Clayton

    In the next few days I will post daily blogs about my Eurotrip last year. And by daily I mean, I will try to post as often as I can… I hadn’t written about it yet as I was constantly on the road, without internet or too busy just having a great time to write. But everything is on Facebook, so most of you already read the stories and seen the pictures, but I gotta use this blog for something, now don’t I? 😀

    So enjoy and feel free to comment as much as you want.

  • Travel & Adventure

    Flying back…home(?)

    By Clayton

    Here I am far above the world again. Just beyond the clouds.
    Traveling through time and space.

    Okay, enough with the poetic bullshit. Lol

    Yes, as I am writing I am flying back… home? Let’s say, flying back to the country I live in. The question mark in the previous sentence is, because although I have an “okay” live in Suriname, it just never really seems to feel like I belong there. You know that feeling of something that is missing? That’s what I have. Whereas whenever I am at the other side of the ocean, that feeling is gone. I feel like I belong. But enough about that. After all it’s something I’ve been writing and talking about over and over again.

    Those 3 weeks have flown back in a blink of an eye. But at least I enjoyed myself. I did notice that this year I travelled the country less than usual and was mostly just based in the city central of Amsterdam. I also didn’t really go out as often as I usually do. I must be getting old.

    Well I went out last night with my Amsterdam friends. I was in bed at 5.30am I guess and was out of it again at 9.300am. Short sleep, hungover and still had to do a few things. So as I am writing now I have yawned more times than I can count and my eyes are to get tired.

    Oh Amsterdam, I will miss you. But I will be back! Not sure when, but I will be back.
    For now I will enjoy some nice airplane food and then rest my eyes (read: sleep like my life depends on it).

    Greetings from 38.000ft in the air.


  • Concerts & Shows Travel & Adventure

    Epica live in TivoliVredenburg

    By Clayton

    IMG_20141207_151028YES!!! *pinches self* no, I’m not dreaming!!! Finally!! I did it again!! 😀
    Saw EPICA live…. AGAIN!! For the fifth time already now… and once again it was one amazing, spectacular and EPIC show!!! Seriously!

    I arrived in Utrecht quite a few hours before the doors would be open. The train station of Utrecht is quite big and confusing. It has a shopping center build in so it took me a while to actually find how to exit the building and head towards the venue.

    The venue was literally about 5-10 minutes away from the train station. Another good thing was, that the venue had an entrance hall that we were allowed to wait in, because it was a rainy day and standing inside is quite a lot more comfortable. Also access to a bathroom and wall sockets was a nice added bonus.

    IMG_20141207_173903Once again it was nice to see some familiar faces and have a chit chat until the (first) door opened, where we had to wait yet again before going up the stairs towards the hall where the show would take place. As we waited I could see Rob van der Loo walking around. The venue is a gigantic, beautiful building. Really one of the nicest venues I’ve been too so far.

    After a while we were allowed to go up the stairs, get our tickets scanned and run towards another waiting point. After some more waiting and mild frustration arousing amongst the crowd we were “released” and of course the crowd stormed towards the hall to get a good standing spot.

    As usual I stood dead center of the podium on the second row for a better view. It took a while for the opening act Dragonforce to begin playing. The night before I tried listening to Dragonforce’s music, but it was not my cup of tea. Not even when the band came on stage and started playing have I been able to get into the groove and enjoy one single song. I tried and tried, but just couldn’t so I eventually gave up and just stood there. After checking my Facebook newsfeed I found out that I clearly was not the only one whom shared this opinion about the opening act.

    IMG_20141207_204535After a while it was over and it was time for EPICA. After the stage was rebuild with the band’s instruments and the “The Quantum Enigma” stage decorations, it wasn’t long before the lights were dimmed and the first notes of Originem started playing. Of course, the crowd went wild.

    The band gave a spectacular true-Epica-show full of fire and explosions. The band was full of energy as always and Simone looked and sounded amazing. Mark Jansen even made sure that he recognized me in the crowd, which is always fun.

    We were all surprised by the amazing varied set list from old to new tracks. The biggest surprise was Façade of Reality, which they haven’t played in years and even claimed a few weeks ago that they forgot how to even play it. Façade of Reality of is one of my all-time favorite Epica tracks and I was super excited to finally hear it live. Another surprise was also The Last Crusade, which also hasn’t been played in a while, and also the first time that I heard it live.

    IMG_20141207_210944 IMG_20141207_225941 IMG_20141208_030503
    IMG_20141209_192950 IMG_20141209_193018 IMG_20141209_193037

    You can see the entire set list here:
    Epica Setlist at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands

    I also found a recording of the entire show here on YouTube.

    IMG_20141208_031033After the show it was time for the usual back pain and sore throat, but surely worth it of course. But besides that it was also time to greet some more friends and of course Mark and Ariën were there to meet the fans. It was nice to chat as always.

    I took the last train back to Amsterdam, where I oddly enough had an interesting chat with this guy that was piss drunk and returning from Germany. lol

  • Travel & Adventure

    Rotterdam – The tourist experience

    By Clayton

    IMG_20141202_074804In the times that I’ve been to Rotterdam, I’ve never really done anything “tourist-y” until this time…. Let me try to rephrase that sentence; it wasn’t until yesterday that I have had the full “Rotterdam, The Tourist Experience”. Last year when I was here and I had met that-one-gorgeous-grey-eyed-Dutchie we did stroll around the streets of Rotterdam, but this time it was with someone new, whom I’ve had contact almost on a daily basis, but finally met for the first time yesterday. And this time it was more than just a stroll around town. This time it was really from one side to the other side of Rotterdam, including all the “must-see” places of Rotterdam.

    We met up at the Central Station after my eye research (see the previous blog post) where we then had to find a place to eat. Since the decision was left to me to make, and since I can be very indecisive, it took quite a few blocks of walking from restaurant to restaurant, before actually entering one.

    After that we took the subway to another part of town, where we went on the SS Rotterdam. As a gigantic Titanic fan, I had to keep myself from coming across overly exciting, which I seriously was. That ship is huge and amazing. I could picture myself staying in one of the hotel rooms inside the ship. After another quick bite in there we headed over to another part of town.

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    I’ve always wanted to go on top of the Euromast, but could never get anyone to actually go with me. Up until now *insert over-the-top evil laughter here*. Once again, I had to contain myself and not act like a…. I don’t know what… let’s just say I was very excited and happy 😀
    That view of Rotterdam from the top of the Euromast? Bloody amazing and unforgettable. Good thing I don’t have a fear of heights. I was so pumped up on adrenaline that I didn’t even the cold wind up there.

    20141202_182248 20141202_183640 20141202_183406

    By the time this was all over it was dinner time and instead of finding another restaurant the-person-whom-I-have-no-nickname-yet-for-my-blog made dinner and since I was too tired to travel and had to be in Rotterdam the next day again, I took the guest fold-out bed and quickly fell asleep. The next day, we parted ways at the same spot that we finally met in person for the first time.

    So thank you very-nice-and-cute-German…. Maybe that should be your blog nickname?! 🙂

  • Clay's Personal Travel & Adventure

    Laser eye surgery and a career in aviation

    By Clayton

    I’ve have been here in Rotterdam for the past 2 days to do an eye research at the Focus Eye Clinic located in “Het Oogziekenhuis Rotterdam”.
    (translation: The Eye Hospital Rotterdam).


    As I have hinted out in older blog posts, I secretly dream about a career in the aviation. Simply, because I love to travel and I think flying is exciting. Sadly for me, I pass requirements except one important one: my eye sight 🙁

    However I have been thinking about getting my eyes lasered to better my vision, knowing that it would never be corrected to 100%, but at least more than 80%. I have even discussed this with my ophthalmologist and asked her to recommend me the best ophthalmologist in The Netherlands that she knows. She recommended me to book an appointment with Drs. Geerards who works in Het Oogziekenhuis in Rotterdam. I managed to arrange a meeting on December 2nd at 8.30 am. That was the only available time in the doctor’s schedule on such short notice so I had no other choice, but to take it.

    The night before I went out and only had 2 hours of sleep, before having to wake up at 6 am, to be on the train by 7 am. I wanted to be there as early as possible. I arrived at Rotterdam Central Station shortly before 8 am, and after first taking the right metro in the WRONG direction, I eventually made it to the hospital shortly before 8.30 am.

    I was welcomed very friendly by the lady at the desk and had to wait in the lobby before going through a bunch of high tech eye tests – tests I’ve never done before in my life – before actually meeting the doctor almost an hour later.

    IMG_20141202_095450 IMG_20141202_105532

    Drs. Geerards was very friendly and listened to my story and reason for the laser surgery. Sadly for me, it turns out that laser eye surgery is not an option for my eyes. They wouldn’t help me to see better and would probably do me more harm than good. So this would not be advisable.

    Another option for me would be lens implants, but for that I would have to see another doctor who specializes in that. I had to do a few more eye scans and arrange a meeting with the other doctor the next day at 2.30 PM. Since it would be better to just stay in Rotterdam instead of traveling all the way back to Amsterdam, only to return the next day I stayed at a friend’s house (see the next blog post).

    The next day
    After spending time in the lounge at the central station, lunch with a friend, I made my way back to the hospital. I saw the other doctor, specialized in lens implants and turns out that lens implants are also not an option for me. Reason number one, is that there is not enough space between my cornea and my iris to place a lens. That space is mandatory for a lens to be inserted without causing irritation or any other discomfort. Also I am too young for this. They usually only do this after someone turns 40 years, because there is still a chance of the eye sight improving (or get worse) around my age. So this is also not an option for me.

    The only option for me right now, if I don’t want to wear glasses, would be hybrid contacts. Hybrid contacts are a cross between hard contacts and soft contacts. Year ago, I had tried hard contacts, but those things hurt like hell, so I never ever want those torture devices in my eyes again, and soft contacts are not made for my eyesight. So the hybrid lenses are my only hope, which are hard contacts, with soft edges.

    However, this would most likely not be accepted in the aviation, so I guess a career in the air is a no-go for me. 🙁

    But if I really think about it long enough and if I am really honest I have to ask myself: did I want this because I want to work in the air, or do I want in the air just for the sake of traveling?
    Probably the second and I think that could also be achieved by hard work, earning a lot and buying (cheap) plane tickets. So I will most likely simply be working in the IT for a while longer.