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Holland

Clay's Personal Nerd Herd

My new eyes

By Clayton

First thing I did when I arrived in Holland was order contact lenses. You may or not remember an old blog post from 2014 where I stated that I did some research on Lasik eye surgery or contact lens implants. Both were advised not to do so, as they would not work for me. However they did advise me to try hybrid contact lenses. Hybrid contact lenses are a blend between hard contact lenses and soft contact lenses. Since I have very bad eyes I can’t (or couldn’t) get soft contact lenses when I first tried contacts back in 2004. I got subscribed hard lenses and I simply never could get used to them.

After I booked my trip to Holland for this year I went on Google and searched for places in Holland where I could purchase them. I eventually mailed a supplier of these special contact lenses here in Holland and they referred me to an optician, as they do not deliver directly to customers.

The day after I arrived I had my appointment. The supplier of the contacts also came with his kit full of contacts. Together with the optician they checked my eyes and finally decided upon the best solution. Not a cheap one, but I wanted them.

These contacts are custom made in the US and would arrive within 1-2 weeks from the day they were ordered. Well they actually arrived 4 weeks later on the very last day in Holland.

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Concerts & Shows

Epica live in Bibelot

By Clayton

So last Sunday I went to see my favorite band Epica perform again for the sixth time.
Sixth time… but with Epica each time is a charm.

The show was in a very small venue called Bibelot, which is located in Dordrecht.
I think about 100-150 people were inside.

The stage was very close to the public, so it felt very personal. I think after seeing them in Paradiso the first time in 2011, this was the second time I’ve seen them in such a small venue. But it was great.
A small venue obviously meant no pyros or H20 effects. It was just Epica, the music instruments and light effects, but that was it. Nonetheless, the energy was there. The band members put up and amazing show and all the gimmicks weren’t even missed.

I arrived in Dordrecht around 13.30hr and after a short walk to the venue and a quick fresh up in the toilet, I was in front of the doors to the main stage at 14.00hr. That was about 5 hours before the doors would open. Yes, you read that right. No more than 10 people (including myself) were just standing there and just engaging in some chit-chat. The hall was extremely hot and we often went outside for some fresh air. The hall didn’t really start filling up after 17.00hr and by 18.30hr there was a huge crowd in front of those 2 black doors. I think everyone was more than relieved when they opened and the gush of cold air from the air-conditioning inside filled the air. After scanning the tickets everyone rushed inside. I stood in the second row like I usually do.

The show started with a band called 3rd Machine.
I don’t know them, but their music was okay. However, I could barely hear a word the singer was singing. The sound of his mic was not good. But from what I could hear he sounded good and he also has a good stage presence. Although I think he struggled to get the crowd hyped. Then again, I highly doubt many knew the music of the band.
The band’s music (and the appearance of the singer) was very similar to that of the band Disturbed in my opinion.

Before Epica took the stage, there was this band called Evil Invaders.
Not my cup of tea at all. So to be honest I couldn’t wait for it to be over. But I guess if I was into that kind of music it would have been a good performance.

At exact 21.00hr the stage was clear and ready for Epica to enter.
The lights dimmed and the first notes of the intro song Eidola could be heard.
I imagined hearing that live since listening to the new album for the first time, but actually hearing it, seconds from seeing the band again, was pure magic.

As usual, the boys entered the stage and Simone made her way to the stage when the first song got played, Edge of the Blade. Simone looked gorgeous in her black and gold dress.
However, it didn’t even take 2 minutes since the band has started to play the first song that the fire alarm went off. The lights were all bright and all the music was cut. Simone kept singing but soon had to stop. All the band members went to the side of the stage and Ariën kept the crowd hyped with a drum solo until the smoke got cleared and the band could re-enter the stage.

And there it was, the second attempt and from there on there were no more interruptions.
The band kicked ass and had a very diverse set list. Obviously, I can’t remember which songs they played exactly, but I sang along to all. And jumping around and cheered them on.

My favorite track on The Holographic PrincipleAscension – Dream State Armageddon” was also performed and I was more than happy to finally hear that track live. They also played “Once Upon A Nightmare”, the only ballad on THP, which I hear they have never played live in Holland before (after the release show). It was a truly magical night and I obviously took many pictures and videos. You could tell that the band was also happy to play in their own homeland and I think they should do that more often. Coen and Isaac even got off the stage during the show to play right in the middle of the crowd. That was amazing.

Another favorite track of mine that they played was “Beyond The Matrix” and that had the entire crowd jumping along with the band. The energy was amazing. Nothing but positivity and I am sure that everyone for that one and a half hour forgot all their life problems. I certainly did.

After the show was over, Mark came to greet everyone, just like he always did and it was nice seeing him in person again. I could tell it was mutual.

Soon after I took my selfie with Mark I made my way downstairs. Got a ride from another fellow Epica fan and made my way from Dordrecht to Amsterdam. A trip that was not that easy. Had to take 2 trains and the NS bus and it took from 00.20 am in Dordrecht to 02.45 am until I opened the front door to the Amsterdam house. But for Epica all is worth and I hope to see them one day soon again.

For some great professional pictures of this show visit McSharq‘s Facebook page.

Clay's Personal

Reasons to move

By Clayton

DISCLAIMER
The below might be a bit of a rant post, but everything is written in total honesty, so I hope that can be respected. If not, feel free to close the tab and go watch some porn like you’re used to.

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I have never made it a secret that I want to move to Amsterdam.
One of the things that has been holding me back until recently was my studies. For no reason was I about to just quit that and I needed to finish it. Which I successfully did, which you can read in my previous post.

But now I am here, in the city I hope to call home soon.
And yes, I know it’s not all about rainbows, glitter and unicorns. I am way too old and have been here way too often to know this fact. But mentally I just know I belong here. Yes, I have been born in the wrong country and I plan to do something about this as soon as possible.

Now that I am almost 30, I would like to…. wait, what? Seriously?! Ugh… 30… okay, whatever… moving on. Now that I am almost 30, I would like to make serious plans for my exodus.

What are my reasons for wanting to move?

  • Amsterdam just feels like home
    It feels more “home” to me than Paramaribo has ever had. I just belong here.
  • The people are on my wavelength
    It’s great to be among people that share the same thoughts and ideas as me.
    Open-minded. I love that word(s) and it describes me perfectly.
  • The weather
    If you know me, you know I like the cold weather.
    Give me rain, give me snow. I just don’t like the heat and I hate to sweat.
    That makes Holland the perfect place as its colder more often than it’s warm.
    Also the weather is unpredictable and I hate living a predictable life.
  • My non-active love life
    If I ever want a chance to date someone, even if it’s temporary, I would have to move. Back home I cannot seem to find someone that is on my wavelength. Here… let’s just say there are some potential candidates that I would like to call my own. And for a few it even seems mutual. I would be nice to have someone to come home to.
  • Travelling
    It’s a fact that it’s much cheaper to see the world from here. A fact that I have been able to experience myself last year during the 13-country Euro trip. Why stay in one place? The world is ours. But intercontinental flights are not cheap. Certainly not from where I am from.
  • The music concerts
    The type of music I listen to is mostly created by European bands. They do travel the world, but they never visit Suriname as this would not be profitable for them. Even traveling with a full stage set is very expensive, which is why EU tour shows are usually a bit bigger than the abroad one. I would like to have the opportunity to just head out to a concert or several in a row, instead of what I need to do now and plan months ahead, save up a ton on money and hours of travel time. Although I like it and makes the experience even bigger, but sometimes not all shows are at a convenient time for me, because I can’t travel in that time period.
  • The bad economy back home
    If you follow the news of Suriname you will understand that the economy is bad at the moment. Like seriously bad. And although I don’t have a horrible paying job, I will not be able to afford my own place or even a new car any time soon. I see more and more people leaving for this reason and I think I seriously must do the same to survive.
  • My freelance business works better here
    I don’t really like working freelance for people back home. This is not a pride thing, this is a money thing. People don’t pay or don’t like to pay. At the moment I have 2 pending payments and I am sick of waiting. If I deliver something for you, it’s your job to deliver the funds. And these aren’t even big amounts. I am seriously not even charging what I should and want, but I try to compromise. But in this way, having to constantly ask when I am getting paid, I cannot do it. However when I have jobs here, we make clear agreements and I get paid just like we discussed. Everyone is happy.
  • Happiness
    As I already said, this place feels like home and it makes me happy.
    I cannot wait to find my own place to live, have a job I love, be with someone I love, walk amongst the cold weather (call me crazy) and just simply be happy.
Clay's Personal Travel & Adventure

Back in Amsterdam 2017

By Clayton

Dear Diary… oops, wrong app.
Dear readers… you know, those two that are actually reading this…

Okay, enough joking around.

Hello,
To those still reading… wow, you really must have nothing better to do, huh? 😀

Okay, seriously now!!

Hi,
I am here writing from the Public Library in Amsterdam.
I cannot remember the last time I was in a library. I’ve been inside this library before a few years ago, but that was only to pick up something. Today I am actually here for the content of the library.

As I already mentioned I am back in Amsterdam; my “home”.
Not officially, but to this day it still feels like it and I doubt this feeling will ever fade away.
I’ve been here for 2.5 weeks now and have to fly back to my official-home in exactly 10 days.
Time flies. Times flies so goddamn fast that it’s not even normal.

What am I doing here in Amsterdam? NOTHING…
Yes, that is the honest answer.

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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

Found myself in another life

By Clayton

Life can be quite weird sometimes.
Have you ever met someone for the first time and felt like their life seems oddly familiar? As they start sharing their thoughts and interests it gets even weirder, because you seem like you’ve heard it before?

And then suddenly it hits you…. This person is…. ME! o.O

Met this fellow a few days ago, who is a Dutch writer for local magazines and newspapers and also writes text for websites etc. He is married and lives in the center of Amsterdam, in this amazing house, great interior, loves wine and has a cute little dog.

This is exactly the type of life I imagine myself living if I move to The Netherlands.

One day… One day!

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Travel & Adventure

Vacation Time

By Clayton

Is that time of the year again… vacation time!
After a year of long hard work, it is time to unwind. And of course, for me there is only one place where I truly enjoy myself: AMSTERDAM!!

Which is exactly where I am once again!

The road here was quite an exhausting one. I’m not talking about the flight itself, which in comparison to last year’s flight was smoother than the face of that of a Gillette model.

It was the airport security that was a hassle. I have never had this much.
It started in Suriname, where after I checked in and was about to make my way to the VIP lounge, is when they stopped me, because they wanted to check my bags. So they called me into this small room where I had to point out my bags so they could do a security check. Since I have nothing to hide, I kept my cool and did as they wished. I decided to put all my customer service skills to work, so that I could break the tension between myself and that tough-looking muscled security guy. And, yes it worked. Got him to shake off his tough-guy look.

After that delay between myself and the free wine, I finally sat myself down and decided to unWINE until it was boarding time. By 22.45 am we were inside the plan and at exactly 23.20h we were in the air. I was quite exhausted; because the night before I went out with my friends and had only slept for 2.5 hours, so it didn’t take me long to fall asleep. Good thing that the flight was steady, so I got about 5-6 hours of sleep and before I knew it, it was time to land.

As I left the plane it was the first check: passport control.
About 3 meters further it was the second check, where the guy wanted to check my passport again, while this big security dog started sniffing my crotch and handbag.
Then it was time for the scan a few meters further. After that a few more meters further it was time to open my bag, because one of the security personnel wanted to check inside. All of this still in the same hallway.

After that I made my way to the baggage belt, found my bags quickly and wanted to get outside as quick as possible. Sadly for me, after the bags scan, another security guy wanted to check ALL my bags. So I had to open them one by one and explain what I had with me. Once again, I kept my cool, but I was annoyed. Finally I made my way outside and I had to wait for my uncle to pick me up.

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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

Concerts & Shows Music

Kamelot + Revamp live in Tilburg

By Clayton

Kamelot live in Tilburg posterYesterday I attended one of the best live shows I’ve been to: Kamelot!! The best show AFTER the Epica ones I’ve attended of course (hihi) But seriously now! Kamelot is great; both on their albums and on stage. The entire band is full of energy and Tommy Karevik is one awesome singer and entertainer. I left the venue with a feeling of complete and utter satisfaction.

Let me start at the beginning.
I had ordered my ticket for the show in September via Patrick (as usual) and since there was a VIP package available I went for that. It’s not every day you get to see a band like Kamelot – at least I don’t – so I went for the ultimate experience. The VIP ticket held in that you get to enter the venue an hour earlier than the rest of the crowd, get a signing session with the band and got to take your picture taken with the entire band.

I arrived at in 013 an hour before the VIP ticket holders were about to be let inside. Luckily I got to skip the long line and didn’t have to wait very long outside. Once inside I bought the latest Kamelot record Silverthorn, which I didn’t own physically yet, and went to the signing session with the band. Got a signature from all band members on a poster and on the CD and after that my photo taken with them.

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After the VIP session we were let into the concert hall. The openings band Tellus Requiem was still busy with their sound check. About an hour later they took the stage. Tellus Requiem wasn’t really that special. I honestly don’t remember one song and the vocalist also didn’t stand out that much to me. There songs were a bit all over the place and weren’t catchy and lacked rhythm. This is just my personal opinion, but from the reactions I’ve heard, I wasn’t the only one that wasn’t really amused by this band.

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Luckily the band that most people were more excited about – besides Kamelot of course – soon took over the stage: REVAMP. The Dutch band from no one other than the amazing Floor Jansen. This was my first time seeing Floor live; first time was with Mayan in 2011, but I was very excited, because I’m a huge fan of Floor’s voice and her band’s music. Sadly, they weren’t the main act, so the set list wasn’t that long, but it was long enough to fully enjoy the powerful voice of Floor. The crowd seemed to be very excited just as I am, because everyone was cheering “Floortje, Floortje, Floortje!” very loud. Revamp rocked!
(See the set list they played here)

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revamp07 revamp08 revamp09

As soon as Revamp was finished playing the stage was cleared for Kamelot. There was a huge curtain set up and in about half an hour we could hear the intro music of Kamelot. It was showtime!!!

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Clay's Personal Travel & Adventure

Back in Amsterdam! :)

By Clayton

Yes, my dear friends. I’m back!!!! Back in Amsterdam… Holland…. My second home 🙂
Back again after 7 months, which felt like an eternity to me.

The last few days before my departure have been really stressful. I had a serious constant headache that just wouldn’t stop. It didn’t stop up until today. That’s also because I woke up from an 11 hour sleep today, which is not nearly enough, since I hadn’t slept more than 5 hours since Friday.

The flight here was also not that easy. Was one of the worst flights EVER. I just couldn’t sleep thanks to the hours of turbulence and the loud snoring man besides me. I am quite a frequent flyer – as you all know by now, haha – but still the flights can be an annoying one. See you have 3 types of flights;
1. The “wait, we’re already here” one.
2. The “are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet?” one.
3. And the “OMFG, SOMEONE GET ME OUT OF THIS GIGANTIC METAL TORTURE CHAMBER, CAUSE I THINK WE WILL HIT THE GROUND ANY SECOND NOW!!!

Sadly, my flight was the latter. :-/
I am used to flying, so I know that this can happen. Especially in this time a year, but I would feel sad for someone that was flying for the first time.

Once the plane was nearing the much more stable winds, I was hoping to get some shut eye. Sadly, fate wanted to taste my temper, so it decided to make the man sitting next to me make some serious unhuman-like noises. I never knew a person could make those sounds the guy made. Seriously, he needs to get that checked out!!!!!

Finally after 9 hours and 20 minutes I had landed. I was more than happy to be on the ground. Since I had seat number 1E, I was the first to rush out of the plane.

My uncle (my dad’s younger brother) picked me up from the airport, I stayed at his house until 18.00hr and then he brought me at my cousin Vincent where I’m staying at in Osdorp, Amsterdam. First time staying here and I am loving it.

However my day wasn’t over…
I had an entire bag still of stuff for family I had to deliver. Typical Surinamese; tell someone that you’re leaving and you end up bringing half the country over. I totally hate it. *roll eyes*

By 11pm I finally could place my head on a pillow and I slept for 11 hours straight!!!

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