graceless

Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

M.I.A. again… so soon

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2010 at 6:28 am

Sorry guys, I’m going to be away from the blogosphere until about April 7 or 8. I shouldn’t really apologize about this, but it’s the Canada in me.

Upon my return, there will be photos and stories of: Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

I leave you with some colour.

Space Twister.

Google fish.

Treehugging 101.

Some wise works from Jiddu Krishnamurti, who led an interesting life, if you are ever up to read a random Wiki biography. A warning, this one‘s a bit dry. Fascinating nonetheless.

“I don’t care if she is a tape dispenser. I love her.”

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Kubb!

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Soo… at this point, I am taking only one course, with one lecture per week. Amazingly, I am still having trouble remembering this. I was immersed so deeply in my final essay for Globalization that I totally forgot I had class today.¬†However, my prof has the flu, so no lecture for me after all!

I found a very neat poster in the bathroom a while ago, and took a photo (’tis what I do).

And who among us are curious to see what Harry Potter looks like in Sweden? I AM!

You can tell it’s spring in Lund when you see grass and flowers coming to life =)

Not only on the ground but also in the branches!

As promised, I will tell you about the Viking game of Kubb.

It is a combination of pool, bowling, ultimate, horseshoes, chess, and madskills. This is what you need to play:

This is the battle arena.

The objective of the game is basically to knock down your opponents’ wooden sticks, then they have to knock down there own sticks, and when you have no more sticks to knock down, you knock down the Kung (king). Sticks are knocked down by throwing other sticks at them, underhand. Clear?

Oh, see those guys in the background? They tend to hang outside System Bolaget (liquor store) and around the train station here. One guy got angry at us for playing Kubb in the Kubb battlefield because it was too loud, so we moved. Here’s Kevin and Dave.

Here’s Kevin’s girlfriend Lily and Lily’s friend.

Here’s team awesome.

Top 99 Fashion Blogs

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

I was surfing around on the net a while back and found a site that lists the top 99 most influential style blogs on the net. Gold mine! Get at it here.

It just so happens that Jason reads all of the top 3. I pretty much only read #29 on that list. But now I have also discovered CopenhagenStreetStyle and love it loads, as it is based in Copenhagen thank you Captain Obvious.

I also was stumbling around in the blogosphere when I happened upon this little treasure of an online shoe boutique. I really want the Molly Tea Party (pictured below), but it costs about the same as a return flight to/fro London so I’m thinking, like, maybe not right now. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?

Gone green

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

It is a strange (but not unfamiliar) phenomenon that, every time I have an essay deadline coming up my urge to post intensifies an insane amount. I suppose that I should be glad that I have an outlet other than Facebook, which is equally time consuming and not nearly as productive. But who am I to say, right? I think it’s healthy to have an addiction that is not Facebook, which is why I recommend all of you to play Robot Unicorn Attack!

On a completely somewhat-relevant side note: Did you know that increased time spent on social networking media (including that Blackberry) is directly linked with decreased overall health? Yeah, I learned that in my Health and Society class back at UBC. I would link the article but I’m fiercely avoiding academia-related Internet activity at the mo’. So stop reading, go toss a frisbee (sorry, I mean disc).

I think this is going to be my last Amsterdam post because I have more exciting things to write about Lund, like the ancient Viking game of Kubb (stay tuned).

Here is the World of Heineken. It was super amusing to walk through because the entire tour is interactive – you get to learn the history of the beer, watch and go through how it’s made (literally, they take you on a ride called “Brew You”), taste the beer, and then immerse yourself in shameless Heineken self-promotion!

Every photo you take in the tour is an advertising scam! Not that I care, obvs. Just saying.

See what they’re doing here?

The ingredients of Jason’s favourite beer with the foam cap: water, barley, hops, and secret yeast.

I got to stir some wort. We also got to see the Heineken horses in their stables too. That was true stable luxury.

We got 3 glasses of beer; they even have the bar in the shape of their signature red star! If you know me well, you know that I hate the taste of beer (don’t tell me to keep drinking and it’ll grow on me, because it hasn’t). But after going walking through the ultimate tour of brazen propaganda, I felt like it tasted a little better. The bartender did also brag that this was the freshest Heineken you could get anywhere!

I call this the brainwashing lounge. Look at the ceiling, it’s 99 billion bottles of beer on the roof!

I guess I can’t have expected anything else! Here are more tumbnails of their 007-inspired Heineken “world”.

Enjoy responsibly!

Back in the hostel… Jason and Spencer tried to do a really neat trick involving arms and thumbs. They had some trouble.

And then Jason and I wanted to end the trip on a relaxing note a la Absolom, to take a leaf out of Lewis Carroll’s book.

City, and colour

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I was surprised at the number of stray cats they have in Amsterdam, and how many of them liked to sit behind storefront windows after closing hours. I suspect that they are imitating the behaviour of the ladies of the night in the Red Light District! =P How cute would that be?

This is the bill that was the biggest pain in the ass ever. Don’t get one of these if you plan to visit Europe and expect people to be excited about seeing one and giving you hundreds of euros back in change. People here seem to avoid it like the plague. No one takes this bill anywhere (there are even signs warning against trying to use one to pay), and no one would break it for us without a fee.

I love souvenir shops because they are very adept at capturing the superficial essence of the city so perfectly in little shelves of trinkets.

It’s always fascinating to see kids in foreign cities because I can’t help but wonder how much their childhood must differ from the one I had. I’m glad the school kids in Amsterdam didn’t bow to me repeatedly on the streets and say “Konnichiwa” like the ones in Barcelona did =)

We visited A LOT of antique/vintage stores here and I love taking photos in quaint places like that so here are a few. This next one is such a signature Grace-taking-a-photo-of-herself-in-a-mirror-in-a-cool-place picture.

These owls are for Sio. Also they are for Jason’s FIJI-ness.

My, what beautiful teacups you have, Alice.

Obvs Jason had to visit this, twice.

Mmmm, I love me some bicycles.

Graffiti… they do it so much nicer in Europe.

Here is Anne Frank’s bookshelf door to the Secret Annex. THE REAL THING, OMG! (Well, reconstructed.) There’s some criticism about the Anne Frank House being run and overpriced by “thieves,” at least according to my cynical travel guide. Apparently 12.50 EUR is too much to visit a house where you don’t get to take any photos without having a lady see it on the security camera and then come to yell at you? The house is also entirely unfurnished, at the request of Otto Frank, since the original furniture was confiscated or destroyed.

Here we are in her REAL bedroom; the clippings decorating her walls are still there.

This is a really cute storefront. Click on the photo to see a larger version and check out the details. Note the etch n’ sketch in the upper right corner =P.

So, there is this graffiti guy in Amsterdam whose signature involves pi (3.14). He writes emo messages all over the city.

This is the outside of the beautiful must-see Van Gogh museum.

Jason is a museum freak and I am kind of one too, so we had to go in and sneak some photos of famous paintings that you are really not supposed to take photos of. Like this.

In fact, because we weren’t allowed to take photos, it was so much exhilarating to take them. So much that we even camwhored in the elevator. We had to be more careful sneaking photos in the Rijksmuseum after this, so we used Jason’s point and shoot and avoided trouble by not carrying around my clunky DSLR. Therefore, he has all those photos and I can’t post them because I don’t know where his camera is. All I can say is that the Nightwatch is as grand and beautiful and awe-inspiring as I had hoped it would be. Definitely worth a visit.

Look! Jason is IN Amsterdam!

Nom Nom Nom

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Amsterdam, as a city, has done a full and exceptional job at transforming itself into a place that can burn holes in tourists’ pockets without you even being aware of it most of the time. It doesn’t even hide the fact that it does it. Everywhere you turn, you are shelling out money. Museums (no student discounts), De Wallen, canal tours, transportation, coffeeshops and neighbouring food stands that are cleverly disguised as heaven descending to cater to your immediate junk food needs.

First, there are these Fries stands EVERYWHERE, they sell cones full of fries that are drenched in Dutch mayonnaise. DELICIOUS!

Yeah?

That’s a lot of mayo.

Look at this. Could you ever say no to this? When there are 2 of them on each block?

I couldn’t.

We managed to eat somewhat healthy breakfasts though, thanks to this 4.95EUR deal. Oh wait, but that OJ you ordered with your breakfast? 4.25EUR, please.

We’ve seen this Japanese noodle bar around in Copenhagen, and when we saw it again in Amsterdam we had to try it. It reminds me of Kintaro at home (though healthier, lighter). It’s called Wagamama.

Jacquie was harsh craving sushi, and paid 1EUR for this.

I loved the mini packaging that they had in the supermarkets. So cute, so so cute. And so easy to sneak into movie theatres (aka. Alice in Wonderland, 3D, so so good.) I don’t like that they changed “Wonderland” to “Underland,” I didn’t like it at all. The movie was very colourful, erratic, just like the book. Tim Burton at his best, in my humble opinion.

Unfortunately, MacDonald’s had this ridiculous sign everywhere and drew us in like flies to honey.

There were really weird restaurant names here… like this:

And I wonder how Ghandi would feel about this.

We also visited a chain junk food place named Febo a lot.

It sells food like this.

These lollipops look SOO SKETCHY.

I had never heard of bread pudding until this delicious devil cake came into my life.

Oohhhhh mann… There is this chain food place called Wok to Walk and it is the most delicious wok fast food in the world, with NO EXAGGERATION. I had the rice noodles, Jason got egg noodles, Spencer got udon, and Jacquie was in her own little world while eating hers.

In the Jewish corridor, I got a stuffed zucchini for 5EUR, such a deal.

In the open air market, we found some chocolate treats.

In the Amsterdam airport, about to board a plane to go back home, Jason and I REALLY wanted to eat some stroopwaffles. We found some in the airport store, for 2.95EUR, so we counted ALL the coins we had left and we had 2.90!!!! I really didn’t want to break a 50 bill and be left with more change before we flew home… soo…. we looked around the ground for change. So pathetic, I know, but I really wanted stroopwaffles.

As it turns out, the US penny is the same size/colour as the Euro 2 cent coin. It just so happened that I had some extra US change on me after buying some food during our layover at SeaTac back in January, so we decided to try to fool the cashier with our ingenious plan of ¬†using American pennies in place of 2-cent Euro coins. People must try this all the time because she didn’t take our American coins. But, she let us be 5 cents short and still gave us the waffles. Bless her. These waffles were the perfect snack to end our trip.

P.S. Listen to some music… a little Rasta.

This was inside our hostel.

This we saw on a street.

And now back to our regular programming!!

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Finally, we made it home yesterday night around midnight. Incredibly, Lund feels like home now and offers the comfort I get from returning from travels. This little room is dirty, messy, and dim, just as we had left it! Haha.

Also, I noticed that… it’s like, pretty much the same size as Anne Frank’s bedroom, which we visited. LOL! But, we get to be loud and obnoxious and go outside so I guess we still have it better than she did. More on Anne later!

I have sooooo many photos to post so I might be writing about Amsterdam for a while. I LOVE the city, hedonism and all. So, here we go!

Somehow, somewhere, somewhy, somebody thought it was a good idea to gift wrap booze with Ed Hardy. Found this at Copenhagen Airport. I can’t question it, I am just in a bit of a shock.

The day before we left for Amsterdam, Charlie told Jason there was a 30% off sale at Pavement, which is Jason’s favourite streetwear store in Lund. He already got a pair of Nudies there a few weeks ago but we decided to go again to get me a pair. ‘Twas the last in my size and had the perfect inseam length! We once promised to never wear matching clothes, but by mistake we have matching butts.

Once we got off the plane, we hopped on a train to get to the city centre. The station was a disgusting mess, because apparently the cleaners are on strike. Anyway, we left the station and found the Grasshopper, which is one of the bigger and more commercialized “coffeeshops” in town. (Coffeeshops are the places you can purchase MJ legally, and they are everywhere – like 3 on each walking block in the city centre, varying in quality and price.) They have a sports bar and restaurant in this one, so it’s very touristy (especially with March Madness going on.

The touristy part of the city at night was a wondrous place… our hostel was kind of shitty (no locked doors) but right in the middle of this, so we couldn’t turn it down. Oh hey, there’s a neon sexshop sign at the end of the road.

Meetingpoint Youth Hostel was kind of cramped – 18 beds to a room. The large oil barrels were the lockers in which we kept our stuff safe. The fantastic location (right beside the red light district) trumped all though.

First mission after landing at the hostel was to search for Abraxas, a favourite of the locals. Unfortunately, located in a sketchy and abandoned location during the night.

The interior was quite a treat. They had narrow tall winding staircases to take you up the the second floor, and carpets and cushions for comfort everywhere. It was later found out that it’s actually like this in pretty much all the coffeeshops.

Most of the main streets were dotted with souvenir shops, advertising crazy bongs in the windows, like this one.

The boys, wandering the city on our first night.

Aside from coffeeshops, there are smartshops for magic mushrooms. The tolerance here is incredible.

In fact, here is a coffeeshop with a sign: Smoking allowed, no tobacco.

We wandered into the Red Light District (or, De Wallen). It was a very eye-opening stroll; the sex industry had clearly succeeded in manufacturing a very idyllic and upfront shopping experience. The streets were lined with windowed doors spilling with red light and framing the women who worked there (wearing not very much clothes). It felt like adult Disneyland – surreal and amazing, but hiding a very grimy reality.

De Wallen takes up most of the old part of the city (the most beautiful part, methinks.) The architecture is breathtaking, there are swans in the canal, and even the red lights make for a gorgeous atmospheric effect. I doubt that 90% of men who walk the district ever seriously consider paying a girl, but for those that do the transactions seem to be straightforward and standard. It must be by now, since prostitution is the oldest profession in the book.

It may only be March, but it was still very busy. There didn’t ever seem to be a shortage of neon red-lit windows available. I’ve done some research and it’s a buyer’s market out there. Economic recession, increased rent, and government regulations are driving the industry underground slowly, which is much more dangerous than working in the regulated and well-policed environment they have now.

Of course, there are also clubs and bars for those who don’t like to window shop.

The district is bumpin’ with clubs, bars, restaurants, shops, and museums – it’s really not the sketchy place some people envision. There are the seedy pushers and stupid drunk tourists, but they seem harmless. It’s a great place to visit, all in all, but I am thankful I never had to walk around alone without male companions.

They also sell some pretty whack sex toys and condoms in this area. I’ve heard about condoms with animal heads on them, but didn’t believe they existed… until… The Condomerie.

Jason and I also paid a visit to the Erotic Museum, but those pictures are not going to be posted as the content is 18+ and obviously I have no control of the ages of my blog visitors. Alas, it was an unforgettable and somewhat disturbing experience.

Way, way more posts to come.

M.I.A.

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Updated Robot Unicorn Attack high score: 46 660

And, I’m going to be in Amsterdam until March 22, so I won’t be updating until then =(. Well, I may update from my iPod using the new WordPress app that I got… But it won’t have photos.

Cheers!

Cash munnay!!

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I have encountered many currencies since leaving Vancouver. I add every new one to my currency exchange app (iPod Touch) – a very handy app! It helps me feel good and confident about exchanging money, and best of all it was free! (I think.)

So far, I have:
CAD = 1
USD = .98
SEK = 6.97
EUR = .72
DKK = 5.33
GBP = .65 (grrr!)
EEK = 11.28
RUB = 28.85

That’s 8 types of coins I’ll have jingling around in my munnay bag. I’ve also put the current exchange rates so you guys know how the CAD is doing on the market, just because you are fabulously globally minded folks, and for kicks.

I’m still pretty bored. I’ve been listening to a lot of… music of the African-American artists variety, and playing a lot of ROBOT UNICORN ATTACK! High score = 41 872. That’s right, babes. That’s higher than Jason’s high score and almost half as high as Dave’s.

Oh, what’s that, Pop Art web camera? You’re bored too?

Woohoo!

By the way, I got a good mark on my Swedish Lit paper about Women and Appletrees, so I am in a happy mood.

I was watching random YouTube videos… you know, how you keep jumping around by clicking on “Related Videos” and it takes you places. I ended up watching this live footage of Tupac Shakur and I really, really like it. Even though I’m not a rap fan, this was and is a very influential man. You guys should peeps it, especially at 1:41 when he has an amazing twinkle in his eye as he smiles talking about his mother.

Poetry for a microwave

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 at 12:09 am

I is so bored, B-O-R-E-D.

I nuke
Your soup
Until it’s luke-
Warm goop.

I have no one to throw socks at when Jason isn’t around =(. And I have all this leftover food that is sitting in the fridge! And I have this big bucket of candy but nobody to share it with! I am wearing my fairy wings, because I can take solace in them. Also, I am avidly avoiding writing my psych lab report, which is due in 12 hours. But nobody is here to harass me about getting it done!

SAVE ME!!!!