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Posted in November 2011

What the Fog?!

You know it’s starting to get cold when you cannot work
outdoors without gloves. I had an unfortunate experience last week at work when
I figured I didn’t need to wear gloves. I came home and my hands were a scary
shade of blue. It’s getting cold.

Winters in Delft are mild, if you’re European. Having lived
in India all my life, it’s the coldest thing I’ve experienced. But it’s not
that bad. You get used to it. In my first year here, I was told that the
winters are, how do I put this delicately, quite shitty. That meant that it
wouldn’t snow much and the snow would mix with the mud into something quite
sludgy. And the sky would have a perpetual tint of grey, the depressing kind.
But I was met with a pleasant surprise when it snowed. It snowed a lot and it
was nice. It was not super grey and it was in fact quite beautiful. I had never
seen snow falling before. And there’s always a first time. It was nice J




But this year its hit quite suddenly. A couple of weeks ago
it was nice and sunny. Cold but sunny. Now it would be a miracle if you could
see anything fifty feet away. The fog is quite dense. And it’s beautiful in its
own way. I’m just waiting for the snow J



I’m not too used to the snow though. So it’s a good thing
that I’m going back to India for the winter. And India has its winters too. In
fact my home city of Delhi gets quite foggy. But it never snows, and it’s never
as cold as Europe. But I won’t be in Delhi. I’ll be in Goa J. Sun, sand and sea.
And of course a sex on the beach J




Till then I shall endure the cold. And maybe remember to
always wear gloves at work. And another thing. Beware of icy streets. I’ve
skidded a couple times from my bicycle. And it’s not much fun. But like
everything else, you learn from it and get used to it. J


Tot Later!


Delft has a nightlife?

Sorry for being this late guys. I was….busy… doing nothing.
Give me a break; my exams just ended.

Anyway, let me start off by saying that Delft is not
particularly known for its night life. Well we do have some night clubs (if you
can call them that). But Delft has
many, and I mean many, bars.

So Delft isn’t really known for its party scene since there
are only (as far as I know) three ‘clubs’, the most popular one being Speakers.
It’s in the centre of Delft and has a separate dance floor and a bar. It’s not
too flashy or big. But it still attracts a lot of people on weekends
especially. Another one is called Lorre and this one belongs to the student
society DSC. I have never been there because I am not a huge fan of hard-core Dutch
house music, but I’ve heard it’s not too bad J.
Last but not the least is Ciccionina. It’s probably the smallest of the three
and attracts a rather alternative crowd. Now that we’ve got the clubs out of
the way, let’s focus on the bars.




The centre of Delft is full of bars. And these bars usually
attract a lot more people than the clubs. Delft, as I have noticed, is more of
a bar city than a night-club city. And the bars are pretty great. I’ll talk
about a few of my favourites.

There’s Café Bebop. It’s in the centre of the city but
conveniently hidden in one of the narrow alleys. It’s not very big but still
manages to house a lot of customers.
It’s got a very old feel about it and has a whole arsenal of different beers.
It has a nice open backyard where I usually like to sit but it’s getting a
little too cold for that now. But its main attraction is the live jazz music
played on Tuesday nights and Sunday evenings. People look forward to these
nights since the music on display is quite amazing! J 

Then there’s Café De Klok. I hadn’t really known about this
place until this year. It’s turning out to be one of my favourites! It’s small,
even smaller then Bebop. But it’s more than a hundred years old and it really
feels like that. Things have been left pretty much the same and it has a great atmosphere. But, again, my favourite thing about this bar is the live music they
have ever Friday night. And on the first Friday it’s an open jam session! I
have had the privilege to play there a few times already J. The crowd is also a
great blend of people of all ages, not just students. The only drawback would
be that smoking is allowed inside. Which, if you ask me, is not a drawback J.




There are two other bars which are quite similar, Doerak and
Locus Publicus. I never understood why these bars were so popular since they
seemed like any other bar in the city. But I later found out that this is
because the amazing variety of beer served at these bars. Especially my favourite
Belgian ones J.




Delft, being a student city, has a lot of student parties
every weekend too. They usually occur at student houses or one of the many
student societies (fraternities). My favourites are at Marcushof (a student
house that houses many exchange students) and the Space Boxes. I like these two
places because of the international mix of students and people I know who live
there J.
I sometimes even end up being the bartender and you know what that means. Free
drinks for me! J 

If all of this doesn’t cut it for you then Rotterdam or Den
Haag are just a short train ride away!

Happy partying!

Tot later

Dude, Where’s My Fiets?

Wow that’s a lot
of bikes. That was the first thing that went through my mind after I got off
the train and stepped into Delft for the first time in my life in the summer of
2009. The train station was surrounded, almost to a suffocating level by a sea
of bicycles. And they looked quite shitty. I had expected people to ride better
looking bicycles here, especially since everyone’s got one.




Delft, and all of Holland for that matter, is all about
bicycles. I was warned beforehand, but other stereotypes about the country had
clouded my mind and had sent bicycles into an unvisited corner of my brain. And
it was visited only when I was greeted by that plethora of bicycles on my first
morning in Delft. I had to get one on my own.

Now I was told at the OWee (Or the Dutch introduction week
to the university) to only buy bicycles from authorized retailers since a lot
of ‘stolen’ bicycles were also being sold illegally. My first bicycle, and yes
there were more to come, was in my possession at a barbecue party during the
OWee where a student (who I have never seen again) sold me ‘his’ bicycle for a
mere thirty euros! It was a pretty sweet deal. Or so I thought. It broke down
within a month. And by broke down I mean broke down beyond repair. So I thought
I’d buy my next one from an authorized dealer, I did what every other sane
person would do. I went to Kringloop (a second-hand store famous for selling
everything but bicycles). There were only a few bicycles there and I chose the
best looking one. In my naivety I bought it (seventy five euros, not bad)
without asking many questions. The ‘generous’ two week warranty should have
warned me. But I was desperate and went about my way happily. To be honest, I didn’t
really have any problems with that bicycle until winter came along. Now there’s
this really complicated phenomenon in
material physics. It states that metal contracts when temperature drops! I know
right? Who would have thought that? Yeah, I guess I didn’t really apply that
logic when my bicycle lock key got stuck in the lock when the temperature was
below freezing. So I did what any sane man would have done. I left my bicycle
unlocked. Someone got lucky that day. My bicycle was stolen. No shit.


So I went back to Kringloop and bought yet another one. It
broke down but lasted me almost a year! Anyway, I wanted to do it right this
time. So I went to a proper bicycle
dealer this time. So I went once again, but to a different place this time. The
bicycles were quite a bit more expensive. But they looked a lot better than the
ones I had seen at Kringloop. So I spent a hundred and fifty euros on a bicycle
that looked and felt right. And I even got a three month warranty. And it had
been working perfectly, until yesterday. But I got it fixed. And being through
four bicycles has made me realize that if you want to win against a machine you
have to surrender first (sorry Gregory David Roberts).


Moral of the story, buy a bicycle from an authorized dealer. Take care of it.
Avoid potholes and off-roading (this is the best bicycle paved country in the
world for a reason). Buy a good lock
(chained preferably). Avoid shady guys saying ‘Jonge! Fiets kopen?’ in the
middle of the night outside the train station or crowded parties. They’ve
probably stolen them from the respective places. And use lights when its dark
(I’ve been booked once and forty euros is a lot of money). And invest in a good
bicycle but not an overly fancy one
(no wonder they all looked shitty when I first came to Delft).


Don’t get me wrong. I love riding a bicycle here. It’s very
well connected for bicycle users here. And everyone
rides one. Even your most distinguished professor…Wubbo Ockels….ahem. It keeps
me fit (or I’d like to think it does). I love cycling to the Rotterdam airport
from time to time to drink coffee and watch airplanes land and take off J. And it’s a great way
to clear your mind. Just got to keep a few things in mind!

Happy riding!

Tot Later

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