Food and Music Boxes and Fashion and Tunnels

Trip Start Jan 31, 2010
Trip End Jul 21, 2010

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Where I stayed
Robert's house

Flag of Netherlands  , Utrecht,
Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm not really sleeping, and it’s starting to catch up with me. I’m wondering and forgetting where I’m going, which is more dangerous without a map. But today is the day and by day I mean night I let loose my abilities in le kitchen for Robert and Marja. Let’s see how much of that cooking school jazz sunk in. I find basics from le Albert Heijn, resisting the truffles and finding some weird custardesque dessert instead. A few doors up is an organic shop with spices I can use in le Curry. I held onto the book from the cooking school, sending much of Asia back to Mum’s house (by boat, it may not be there yet). They even have a pestle and mortar for you to use, which I freaking wicked. I’m busting and sweating my way into about 9:30, then take my collected wares home.

Today things start to finish. The dress is finished – well it was already finished, but this time I’ve taken it and packaged and posted it to someone absolutely fantastic. This is kind of on the way to the clock museum, which I can never spell correctly (it’s Nationaal Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement, as if I’ll remember that without some sort of assistance). It is full of those crazy musical parts you see in clocks, with moving parts, dancing mannequins and more. The tour guide is lovely (the first thing she does is apologies the tour will have to be in English. Heck?), and we spend a few hours turning everything on and off. Some have more than piano parts - some with violins and bells – and many have mirrors for the viewer to see just how many moving parts are doing so inside.

Not really on the way, but something Robert sparked my interest with is the Museum Maluku. It has displays of the Moluccan ancestry, and I am told has the only stuffed body of the dodo, something I didn’t know existed. This turns out to be a misguided direction. Not a dodo, a cassowary – that intimidating bird I remember from Christmas work parties at Gumbaya Park with the family.

The rest of the exhibition details the story of the Moluccans – spices such as Cloves and Nutmeg that originated there, the long colonial history of the Moluccas and their passage by ship to the Netherlands. Individuals can tell their stories further on, where the originals suitcases of their journey are kept and displayed.

Over 12,500 Mouccers traveled to Netherlands in 1951 by ship, before spreading out to over eighty locations all over the country. From German prison camps to Spanish beaches – the exhibition also shows music playing a large part in their life,

Behind this is contemporary exhibition on the artist Suzzete Huwae. Her work appears largely based in fashion illustration – I later find a blurb Fashionable artist with fashionable illustrations and paintings... Its all about the multiculti women in glamourous settings so I was on the money. – but she has also moved into video, sculpture and more with varying levels of success.

I get back to Roberts mid afternoon and powernap like it’s hot. Like total knock out and back up in what I thought was ten minutes, but is three hours. Nice, just in time for dinner.

The curry is a win – chilli, chicken, good rice and all the good bits. Marja is surprised, and I’ve made sure it’s just spicy enough, having sampled her cooking throughout my time here. Dutch food is amazing, but I’ve noticed not the spiciest of foods, so I didn’t want to kill anyone with this. I do however, eat both the red chillis from the mix, something Marja was not expecting. Jahl is over at Robert’s too and is the strangest dog to watch attempting the stairs. I shouldn’t say attempt, as he does make it, but there is nothing quite like the look on a dog’s ace when they know they’ve reached a point of no return, and no matter how hard it is to climb there is no way to turn around and come back down.

Mary messages me about a jam session she found on the net. More of a gig, something worth checking out she hopes. We meet at the Pothuys, as I know how to get there, unlike many other places. When I find her the first thing I notice is the plaster cast, something she did not have last time I saw her. She spent the day in Amsterdam yesterday with it, which makes it sound like there is no hospital in Utrecht. There is, but that’s unrelated.

The place is called Kangaroeun or something like that – there’s Kangaroo in the name I’m sure of it. It’s run by volunteers and has the feel of a youth group event, but they serve beer. We can just afford two drinks between us, I really should leave the house with more than coins.

The bands are playing downstairs. When I say bands, it looks like four or five groups of locals who know each other and maybe play in school bands together rock out wicked jazz numbers. No vocals, it’s all guitar, bass and piano – and absolutely wicked. The groups all seem to know each other, so they’re mixing it up onstage every now and again, and one older guy who could be the youth worker of the group is up and soloing over everything for about half the set, which does get a little old towards the end of it. One thing I can’t get over is that it feels like we’re in a cave or a tunnel. Slightly renovated for minimal lighting, but totally a tunnel. I draw on Mary’s cast when the bands get boring, but sleep is catching up again, so I call it a night about midnight. Happily I find another umbrella to add to the collection on the way home.
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