Apres Paris

Trip Start Nov 29, 2001
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ok, so since Paris, all we've done is a few small bits really, but it's been nice seeing a bit more of England and doing short trips rather than long expensive tiring things.

One of mine and Doug's favoritest things to do is go for "an Indian" in Watford (that would be going out to eat Indian food, I'm so sure we wouldn't say it that way and yet that's how I say it now that I've been englishized). The food is soooooooooo gorgeous at Cafe India, it's def the best Indian I've ever been too. They have lots of sauces with the poppadums, really lovely barbequed Indian cheese and lovely rich fattening curries. And they always give you oranges and after eights at the end as well. We never seem to know what the waiter/owner guy is saying to us, but he gives us lots of free drinks on the house and even gave us a bottle of wine on Doug's birthday! Last time we went, we asked him for the name of the CD he was playing and where we could get it, so HE GAVE IT TO US! This restaurant is good incentive to come visit me, I promise I'll take you if you come!

Our Favourite Indian Restaurant

We also took a trip down south to see Doug's Nan. She lives in a little place called Ferndown, which is close to a lot of other similar little places, and about 1 hour away from Bournemouth.

We spent the day in Bournemouth having some lunch and visiting the aquarium. We then bought some sand toys and played around on the beach for a while.

Doug's GQ photoshoot - he clearly didn't want his photo taken!

I should clarify now that the English concept of hanging out on the beach is very different to ours. The English version includes long piers that have games and rides and gambling on them. You have to pay to get into the end with all these attractions on it. Clearly a strange concept for us land-locked folk who think that these types of things are perfectly fine on dry solid ground! Ice cream and donkeys also picture big in the English beach scene - as in children are meant to pay to have donkey rides. Yes, I know what you're thinking - very strange.

Don't know how, but I dragged a reluctant Doug into building a sandcastle with me. Maybe because there were no donkeys and he just didn't know what to do with himself.

Sandcastle project planner

Now I love building sandcastles, and especially like doing the ones with moats where the moat fills up as the tide comes in. Unfortunately it is very difficult to place them so that they don't get washed over and and yet you don't have to dig a mile long trench to the moat.
Must say I failed a bit as project planner in my placement, but I did manage to show Doug what a real sandcastle is all about.

Cheesy shot with the finished product

It got quite windy and cold, but I made Doug stay so we could watch the tide fill the moat up. It just never seemed to get quite close enough!
We managed to rope in a cute little girl to help bring buckets of water to fill up the moat in the end. She seemed oblivious to the fact that the turtle mould she was using only had about half a mugful of water in it, most of which she spilled on the way. We left our toys with her when we went on our way.

But not before a ridiculous series of photos of me playing in the water!

Gratuitous playing in the water shot

I know I've always been a poser.

Doug's Nan is really sweet (and adorable as you'll see from the pic) - she's cheeky and isn't afraid to give us a smack on the butt when we're annoying her! We took her to Christchurch to go to the markets and stopped in a pub for lunch. (Really really yummy sausage and mash and onion gravy in case you were wondering about Christchurch from the food point of view!)

At the Pub in Christchurch with Doug

At the Pub in Christchurch with Nan

In May, we did a ladies trip to Eindhoven in The Netherlands for Wendy's birthday. Loved the food there - they have a lot of Indonisians there, so most everywhere you go has lovely satay chicken skewers. We took a really early flight at about 6 in the morning on the saturday. Then some of us crashed at the hotel, while the rest of us went out shopping. The shopping was really good, the Dutch tend to dress quite funky, and have a very distinctive look. Case in point: the rather large 50 year old woman wearing neon yellowy green stockings, which were the same color as her long sleeved lycra shirt - this was accented only by the neon blue of her mini skirt and running shoes.

One of the best things I ate was croquettes - they have thick gravyish sort of meat paste stuff inside a deep fried breadcrumb coating, and its absolutely lovely smeared all over a bun with dijon mustard. We also went for an Indonesian rice table in the evening. You get big bowls of rice and a million little dishes and skewers of things, so that you only really manage to get a bite of each dish. It's quite lovely though, don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. By the end of dinner I was already stuffed, and having only napped for 45 mins wasn't in really great shape for a night out. I did my best though, and we managed to squeeze in a few bars.

The bar culture seemed to be to just hop from place to place, rather than staying put in any one bar. Fortunately all the bars were along one street, but after learning the stupidist house music move yet, seeing the most butch women ever in what must have been a lesbian bar and dancing with 15 year olds because it was the only good music I could find, I ended up calling it quits at around midnight. Pathetic!

Ladies Lunching

There's heaps of lovely cafes as well - this one was a particular favorite of Jenn's, who thought that the mannequin outside the shop across the street was just a man who had been standing very still for a very long time. Damn those tricky mannequins!

And you thought Dutch torture only happened in the red light district...

On our last day all the shops were all closed, so we opted for culture instead. We went to the Heritage Park of Eindhoven - though it was hundreds of years older and doesn't have rides. It was pretty interesting to see how they lived, but my favorite parts were:

1 - the huge pig (sorry no photo but I'm sure he was about 300 kg)

2 - the punishment

3 - you guessed it - the food!

Wendy took us for a treat in the old tavern on the sight where they had profijtes (I think that how its spelled) which are lovely little sweet dough balls they fry and dip in cinnamon sugar. They were such a perfect texture and the highlight of my day!

We rounded the trip off with a crazy taxi driver who drove through a red light and must've thought he was the next Jay Leno and that we were going to tip him big because of it. Yuck!
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