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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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Travel & Adventure

Last day travel drama

By Clayton

Since I didn’t write a blog at 36.000ft on my way to The Netherlands as I usually do, I’ve decided to do this on my way back home.

So that that my month in Amsterdam… I wasn’t emotional when I left, mostly because I was way too exhausted to think. I still am very exhausted, but for some reason cannot fall asleep. So I just switched on my laptop, put on Epica to play and started writing.

The total flight is 9 hours and 20 minutes and currently we have about 4 more hours to go.
So I am going to try to do another attempt at sleeping in a bit, which I seriously need as I didn’t sleep last night. I went out with a friend, afterward went to say goodbye to someone I met (nuff said) and opened the doors to the Amsterdam house at 6 AM. The entire room was a mess as I did some last minute shopping that afternoon and just put everything on the bed and decided to pack in the morning and simply sleep on the airplane… which I am NOT doing at the moment.

So my last day was kind of not that great. Let me summarize a very long story as short as I possibly can.

If you are Surinamese you always, read ALWAYS have to bring crap… I mean stuff… for your family. These things can be the most ridiculous things and will make you ask just one simple question: WHY THE FUCK?

Anyways…. So the deal with my mom was to have her sister fill up a suitcase with stuff for her. Everything was pre-paid for the extra luggage. The idea was that I would pick this suitcase up on my last Friday in Holland. However, my Friday was jammed pack. I went to Heerhugowaard to the birthday party of my former boss and after that I had a kiki with friends in Amsterdam. Both were great, but I was traveling from left to right.

So on Saturday morning, I woke up very early to pick up the luggage. I arrived there and the bloody suitcase was nearly 40 kilos!!!! FYI: the limit is 25KG. So that had to be resolved.
What I thought was a resolution, was still not good enough, cause as I started walking with the suitcase to the metro station the wheels started breaking off and I had to return to the house. There we transferred all things to a new lightweight suitcase, but even that turned out to be not a great idea, cause that one broke much sooner than the first when I was walking to the metro station again. So I had to go BACK to the house again.

Meanwhile, I also had an appointment to pick up the custom-made contact lenses which I had ordered. More about that in another blog.

As it was getting later and later, I told my uncle I would leave the luggage and later that evening he can bring it by car. Obviously in another suitcase. After that I made my way to the city and arrived one hour before the optician was about to close. Got my new contacts and learned how to insert and remove them… after that I went back to the center in order to do some last minute shopping.

And that was exactly when my uncle called and said he would bring the other suitcase within 10 minutes. Now, I know my people so I knew that 10 minutes meant 30 minutes. Which was exactly the case. Mostly due to traffic, you can’t drive with a car in the street I was staying in. Nonetheless, my precious last few hours in Amsterdam were spilled. By 17.00hr all the luggage drama was resolved and I had about 2 more hours before the stores would close.

I bought some shirts and some other random stuff and all threw them on the bed. After that I had to help my friends unload their car and finally I showered and went to my friend’s house to eat and drink. He and I went out and as I mentioned above already that went on very late, but it was my last night and I was not about to spend it sober.

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

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! 😀

  
  

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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

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.

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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.

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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?! 🙂

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