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Travel & Adventure

Once upon a time in Rome

By Clayton

February 25, 2016
Before I begin let me start by saying that during this entire 2016 Euro Trip, Rome has been my favorite city of them all. It’s just like in the movies, but just 100 times better. This place truly is magical and I definitely plan on returning and even stay longer.

This trip to Rome was also my first time taking another flight within Europe. Our chosen airline was Vueling, because it was quite cheap, and cheap is what we needed.

We had to be at the airport very early in the morning. These low budget airlines are no Surinam Airways or KLM. My gosh, I have never seen a flight attendant roll her eyes at a passenger. In her defense, the guy was acting like a spoiled brat. Complaining that the seats where too narrow. Lol, I am not talking about myself, but about this guy sitting next to me.

Farid, Ryan and I all had window seats, so we sat in a row behind each other. It was mid-winter so the plane wings had to be defrosted before we could leave the gate.

It was a short flight and soon we arrived in Rome’s international airport. Once we were standing outside it didn’t feel very “Roman”, but that’s because we weren’t in the city’s center. We took a bus and made our way downtown near the place where we were about to stay. Again, we found the room via AirBNB, which is the best option for traveling on a budget.

As soon as we unloaded our bags we decided to find something to eat, before exploring the city. We found this all –you-can-eat restaurant that was only 10 euros and the food was amazing and A LOT!! Seriously, I have never eaten this much in my entire life for only 10 euros. See why I wouldn’t mind returning to Rome?

After having filled our tummy’s we walk towards the ancient Colosseum. We only walked around it and didn’t actually go inside, but that was more than enough. Too be honest the Colosseum is quite photoshopped in pictures, because it looked quite rusty, but still great nonetheless – But just saying. We walked around the area and saw some more ancient ruins of the city.

The first quite impressive building we encountered was the Altare della Patria (English: Alter of the Father). Now this was very “Roman” and on top of the building you have a nice overview of the entire city.

After that city view we went downtown for some minor shopping, sight-seeing and be all tourist-y.
We went to all the must see places like The Pantheon and we went to see the pope in Vatican City. Okay, we didn’t actually see him, but we went to his “office” St. Peter’s Basilica and well that is one big office. I felt instantly small with the size of the building and the statues. But it all was so ethereal and majestic – which is exactly the point I think. I can see why this is one of the holiest places on earth.

As a major Dan Brown fan I once again was fanning out, just like in Paris, by all the places I have read in his book Angels & Demons right in front of me. I felt like I was on some sort of quest.

After visiting Vatican City we went to stroll around Rome some more. By then it was already starting to get dark, but that didn’t stop the people from being out and about. I must say Italians are B-E-A-uuuutiful people. Everyone looks like a runway model. I was totally staring at those fashion models, which were probably just regular people.

We went to the Trevi Fountain, and as tradition we tossed a coin in it.

Fun fact: do you know what the coin tossing actually is all about? No, it’s not for your wishes to come true, but to one day return to the city.

The rain soon poured like crazy and we took shelter in a tunnel. Once the rain stopped, we made our way to the apartment where just drank, ate some Italian snacks and we just went to bed. The next day it would be another early morning for us.

There was this brief moment when Farid stepped outside for a smoke and didn’t return for hours. Allegedly he was locked out, but we all know he probably was hooking up with some hot Italian. So the rest of us just went to sleep and eventually he came back home. This story will have an added value, in one of the other blog posts.

After the alarms went off the next morning, we showered and made our way to the airport again. Our flight to Barcelona was waiting for us. Viva la Barcelona.

Travel & Adventure

Copenhagen, Denmark

By Clayton

February 18, 2016
After we had a few days to recover from out Paris road trip it was time to pack our bags again and loads the car… this time it was time for the Scandinavian Road Trip, from Amsterdam, through German, to Denmark, to Sweden, Norway and then back again.

And this time Patrick and Raymil would join us, so the car packed!! Yay, ROAD TRIP!!!

We drove towards Hamburg, Germany and got greeted with big pack of snow.
I have seen snow before, but none of this magnitude. It was amazing. A total winter wonderland. Soon Ryan started having snowball fights with the other boys and I was just there taking in the view… and taking pictures.

In Fehmarn we took the ferry to cross the Baltic sea towards Denmark.

Once we were in Denmark we made our way to this house which we found via AirBNB.
The house had several rooms rented out to tourists like us.

After we unloaded our bags we went to explore the city of Copenhagen, had dinner and later that night returned back to the house. But to be honest, I was not that impressed by Copenhagen. Having said that, it’s still a nice city. No disrespect obviously.

The next morning we packed our bags and drove to see the famous “The Little Mermaid” statue. After that we all went back to the car, I rolled myself in a blanket and we made our way towards Sweden.

Travel & Adventure

From Paris back to NL

By Clayton

Date: February 15, 2016

Paris was fun and all, but unfortunately we had to go back. But this was only the beginning since we had 2 more trips to make, so it was all good. But I wasn’t about to leave Paris without saying hello to my friend Rachel that recently moved to Paris.

Rachel moved from the US to Paris and we met in 2011 in front of Paradiso in Amsterdam where I was about to see Epica live for the first time.

 

We’ve had contact since the day I drove to Paris, but due to a lack of reception and mobile data it was a bit hard to arrange a meeting. But luckily before we were about to leave the apartment she came over and it was so great seeing her again after all these years. Even if it was just a short visit.

After we said our goodbyes we went to the metro station, picked up the car and made our way back to Amsterdam.

Along the way, somewhere in near the border of France and Belgium we stopped at this beach, located in Escalles (France), which had the most beautiful scenery ever. The below pictures are unedited, because they didn’t need it. The light was great and so was the background. I really enjoyed this very small, but amazing beach. You will also see pictures from our second stop in Cap Blanc-Nez, another beautiful place in France.

After the beaches we stopped in Belgium where we had dinner and then finally arrived back in Amsterdam in the evening.

Road trip 1 – completed!

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Clay's Personal

A little less sober 29th Birthday

By Clayton

So that was my 29th birthday…. One more year and I am officially old.
Again, my birthday was very mild, but fun. Unlike last year, I was not sober. 😀

The day started off with me picking up this amazing cake, which I had been planning for week now. It was baked by a friend / former classmate, whom also had baked a cake for my niece’s first birthday last December. It was her idea to add my signature to the cake, which was printed on edible paper. The cake was a lot larger than I had imagined, but that was good, because I had enough for everyone to get a piece and it was DELICIOUS!!!

At work we ate about 1/4th of the cake, I bought lunch for everyone at one of our famous Chinese restaurants and from my colleagues I received a bottle of Sambuca. I haven’t bought this in a very long time, but I have had many interesting nights from Sambuca.

Once I was home I needed to sleep before I could receive guests. Not that I really invited anyone, but everyone is always welcome. The thing is, the night before I barely slept. I was dead tired from the busy day I had before that, was late up, because someone was about to pick something up at my place, but as soon as he left, I took a shower and went to bed at 12.30 am. Hoping I would have a very nice rest on my birthday.

WRONG!!!

I was wide awake as soon as my head touched the pillow.
I was still exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep. Nothing is more frustrating and annoying than being exhausted and unable to sleep. It also stormed that night. The wind blew so hard that it can be considered a real storm.

When I woke up, I felt even more exhausted than rested. After I showered, I picked up the cake and went to work. Luckily it was a very slow day, so I could take it easy. I also took a pill to ease up my headache. Or maybe I am just getting too old.

As I already said, when I got home from work, I just wanted to sleep. My older brother and his family came over, but I excused myself for an hour. After my nap, I felt a bit better.

Over the course of the evening more guests (family and close friend) came and we ate and drank… lots of red wine. Which is why I had a massive hangover this morning, but that felt GREAT, because I haven’t had a real hangover in a very long time. So not a crazy wild birthday, but still a nice one.

pAArty Travel & Adventure

Parbo Night Nickerie

By Clayton

Last weekend I went to the countryside district of Suriname again: Nickerie.
I just scrolled down my timeline and noticed that it was exactly 2 years ago that I also went there for the very first time. However, this time was a lot more fun than the first time I was there. The countless amounts of drinks I had could probably have been what made the difference with the previous time. XD

IMG_20140927_110722The main reason why I was there was for this regular event thrown by our national beer company: Parbo Bier, known as Parbo Night. I’ve never been to any of these Parbo Nights, because I don’t drink beer, but since I had a VIP invitation and had nothing better to do anyways, I decided to tag along.

Nickerie is about 200+ km away from the city, so the drive is about 3-4 hours. It was early morning and I was still tired, because… it was early morning!!!

IMG_20140929_111434We arrived in Nickerie in the afternoon and did some driving around, had dinner and then I just needed to take a nap if I was going to go out. I was barely able to get any shut eye, because the guys in the living room were quite noisy. Around 6.00 PM I woke up. My friends and I went for a quick drive to the seawall to watch the sunset. Seriously, from this part of the country you can get a glimpse of the best sunsets ever. See the picture on the side.

IMG_20140927_183123After that we crossed the street to this bar/hangout-place-thingy. This was the most awkward place I’ve ever been to in a while. There was this rooftop view with beds and hammocks. I have no idea what the beds are for, but I wouldn’t dare lie down on one of them. There was also this overly confident, overly sexual female bartender that was basically hitting my friends and touching them to the point where it was uncomfortable to watch. By 8.00 PM we went back to the house to get ready for the party.

Now I don’t have much memory of the party, but I do remember it being very crowded and wickedly FUN! I don’t think the Nickerians are used to this much fun and commotion, because after a while there was a crowded just standing around me and staring with their mouths open. No, I’m not making this up! Even the people at the VIP deck could see me standing in front near the stage. Guess it was a very wild party.

IMG_20140929_141428After the Parbo Night started becoming less interesting we all went to this night club, where once again we were the center of attention of the local Nickerians. That was a really fun place, with amazing food. Yes, Nickerie is so cool that you can even order a bucket of curry duck at 2.00 AM in the morning. Seriously!!!

Close to 4 or at least I think it was close to 4, we went home and I immediately fell asleep after a refreshing shower. It was a great night.

Around 10.00 AM we all were up, had some food, talk about all the escapades from the night before and left the house at 1.00 PM. We went back to the city, which meant another 3-4 hour drive. I even fell asleep on the backseat of the car, because I was still very much exhausted. When I arrived home I didn’t do much and it didn’t take long before I fell into a 9.5 hour deep sleep dreaming!

Clay's Personal Friends pAArty

Unexpected fun weekend

By Clayton

This weekend turned out to be quite a bit better than I expected it to be.

On Friday night I received no usual “what are we doing tonight” text messages from my friends, so I expected that there were no party plans for that weekend. So I grabbed a book and started reading, but I did want to go out. Especially since the week before when I had a week off I really wanted to go out, but no one responded to my messages. Later I did find out that there were plans made with other friends, so I was a bit bumped out.

After a while I was a bit tired of reading… still no messages… midnight drawing near… I then jumped in the shower and got myself ready to go out… on my own.

I’ve never done this before in Suriname (only when abroad). I first had a few sips of red wine and made my way to my friends and I usual watering hole. None of my usual friends where to be found only a few other familiar faces. I tried to socialize a bit, but was still wondering where the rest was. Found out via social media that they were at the usual Friday evening dance club, so by 1 am I made my way there.

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By that time it didn’t even matter where everyone was and we just had a good time, with some new and old friends. Close to 5 am we had the crazy idea to go skinny dipping, just like we did a couple of times last year, far out of town in one of the creeks. We did so and eventually returned back to the city when the sun was already up. I arrived home at 8 am and made my way to my bed as soon as possible. Slept until the afternoon.

Later one of my friends wanted to meet up again, but I was still beat up that I just fell asleep before I could get myself ready. I slept a good 10 hours.

IMG_20140706_201259The next day wasn’t really that interesting – lied mostly in bed again – but went out to watch a seminar at a local business fair. Which was quite fun. 2 friends of mine were also there and we later went to eat at a recently opened Chinese restaurant. A few more drinks and hanging out and I arrived home just before midnight. My body wasn’t tired yet, so I didn’t go to bed until close to 2 am, where I was resting my head to start a new work week.

So a weekend, which I had planned to lie in bed and read all weekend, turned out to be a little more interesting after all. Until next weekend. 🙂

Clay's Personal Friends pAArty

My 26th Birthday Celebration

By Clayton

Somewhere in between space and time I began my 26th year on planet earth last Saturday. I have no idea how these 26 solar orbits, which I’ve witnessed so far, passed me by, but apparently they did.

*takes a deep sigh*

Oh well… at least I had a blast celebrating this fact. Actually, a lot more fun than I had even planned or anticipated for. Things just… happened… and I didn’t even have time yet to process it all. As I think back, I don’t really know everything that I did or what happened in that 24-hour-radius on February 1st of the year 2014, I just have flashes of moments in my head. And maybe that’s a good thing. Life is short, right?! #YOLOSWAGLOL

It all started on January 31st, which turned out in my favor to be a local national holiday: Chinese New Year – year of the horse. Don’t ask! We have all kinds of weird and random national holidays in this country. But I honestly didn’t mind. This was going to be MY birthday party weekend. I even had the next Monday of, so I had my own mini-vacation.

On Friday evening I met my friends at Farid’s house, where we played a hilarious card game. Since we’re all of legal age we turned it into a drinking game, which resulted in a couple empty bottles. After we were all already feeling happy (read: very drunk), we made our way to our favorite watering hole to do one more round of drinks. Farid stayed home, because he was already passed out.

After we did one round, we made our way to our usual Friday evening dance club. Okay, here is where it’s all a blur to me. I only remember the following: great music, my friends dancing around, Dominique screaming to everyone “it’s his birthday”, us jumping on the dance floor, me making out with someone… *OMG, really?!*… some more dancing to the point where we couldn’t anymore and all magically safely ended up home. I think we must have teleported home, because I have no memory of that part. That night did end quite different than I expected it to, but no complaints. 🙂

I arrived home around 7.30am – dad already awake and the first family member in Holland to congratulate me. I had only been sleeping for 3 hours when I woke again. I had to buy a few things for the birthday meal and I wanted to avoid too much Saturday afternoon traffic as much as possible. After I had done my shopping, I made my way home to eat, quickly my godfather who came to visit and finally rest.

Sadly, my thoughts of cuddling with my pillows were cut short when my dad and brother decide to clean outside. I was woken by the water pressure cleaner, so decided to just stay awake instead. Shortly after 18.00hrs my older brother came to visit. After some chitchatting, more eating and picture-taking it was time for me to get ready to go back to Farid’s place where I had asked my friends to meet me. My mother was already exhausted from slaving herself in the kitchen the entire day, so instead of inviting my friends at my place, I asked Farid if I could meet my friends there.

After some eating and drinking, we made our way to our usual bar – the same one from the night before – because I had asked the owner if I could throw my birthday “party” there. The word party is highly overrated, because all I asked for is a corner to host my friends and anyone who wanted to come was welcome. I had made a CD with my favorite dance music and I was allowed to play it. This is where there was another blank moment in my memory. Somehow a small party with a group of 8 people had gone wild… Music, a dancing pole, body shots and a crazy photoshoot went on. I don’t remember. I just concluded all of this from the photos on my camera. I also don’t remember much just that I didn’t make it too late, because for my own safety I went home. Good thing I guess.

At least I had fun!! 🙂

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Clay's Personal

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

By Clayton

Only 3 more hours and the year 2013 will be history. Seriously, who pressed the Fast Forward button on time, because time is flying by rapidly!

2013 has been an amazing year for me and I don’t even know where to begin to summarize it. It would be best to just write down a few random words and phrases that come to mind when I think back on this year:

I turned 25, I partied in a limousine, went on a motor boat ride on the river with my friends, flew in a Boeing 777, got a promotion, bought my first car, went to Epica’s Retrospect anniversary show, saw Kamelot for the first time, Revamp, Delain, Serenity, Visions of Atlantis, went to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Gouda, Limburg, Eindhoven, Haarlem, Tilburg, Delft, Almere, Roermond, got addicted to Instagram, actively started using my Twitter, bought 2 new cellphones, made new friends, partied in Amsterdam, fell in love in Rotterdam, got to walk around in snow, got to see my buddy from Hungary again, attended a wedding, sang karaoke, went partying on Halloween, BBQ, cats, babies, church bells, kisses, butterflies, dreams, tears, heartache, disappointments, friends, family, unforgettable hotties, colleagues, rooftops, hotels, pool party, stripper pole (please don’t ask!), road trips, Christmas, Starbucks, red wine, cooking, train stations, haunted house, new website, blog….

These are the things I could think of. There is probably a lot more, but that basically sums it up. There are also a few negative things in that list, but I think we also need bad things in our lives to appreciate the good. 2013 was overall a great year and I think 2014 can only get better.

I have stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago, because by February I usually already have failed. So instead my new year’s resolution each year is just to LIVE.

Happy New Year everyone and all the best wishes in 2014!

Happy New Year 2014

 

Clay's Personal pAArty

Holiday season in Suriname

By Clayton

coolrudolfrgbMy mother and younger brother are flying off to Holland tonight. This will be my first Christmas and New Year without my mom and I have seriously considered flying off with them. It’s also my mom’s 50th birthday on January 1st so that was another reason to fly away with them.

However… I will be staying right here at home with dad in Suriname. After all everyone knows that Suriname is THE place to be December. Lots of friends living abroad have already flown in, food everywhere, another party of dinner to attend each day and basically non-stop fun.

The fact that I am right here recovering from a hangover after gone out for the 3rd night in a row AND in about 3 hours I have a Christmas dinner to attend is proof that there’s no other place like Suriname to be during this time of the year.

And the best thing is… this is still going to continue for 10 more days!!! 😀 #iLoveDecember

Travel & Adventure

Back to Waterland for the weekend

By Clayton

Back to Waterland for the weekend
April 30, 2013

My friends and I were invited again to Waterland by Marco and this time we would stay the entire weekend AND we would go on the motor boat on Sunday morning. It turned out to be a great weekend full of food, wine, laughter, water and more booze! 😀

I’m still recovering from the weekend. Enjoy the pictures 🙂

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