Monday, July 25, 2016


Two things I learned going to Leiden: 

  • 8 AM on a Saturday summer morning is early for the Dutch so I have the streets all for myself, subsisting on cigarettes since the shops are all shuttered until 10 AM, and  
  • there are no luggage lockers in Leiden, the Visitors Information Center is not as friendly as Delft, so I walked around baggage in tow while trying to be a tourist. 

I've got no maps so I felt my way around, the instinct of many travels taking over, until I reached a marker and followed the arrows, which brought me to the heart of Leiden, the historic Blauwpoorts Harbour with its ancient ships and a windmill.

I followed more arrows along beautiful Rapenburg where I stumbled upon the house of noted Dutch physicist Willem's Gravesande (1688-1742) and the green and black Dutch bikes parked near its door.

More arrows took me to Leiden University and its famous garden, Hortus Botanicus where the first tulips in the Netherlands were planted.

Then the arrows disappeared as I paused to rest the poor small wheels of my luggage that's not really ideal for cobbled streets, and discovered a marker that said I was standing in front of the canal entrance to the old village of Lammen where the Dutch drove out the last Spanish garrison to finally lift the Siege of Leiden.

From there is where I saw the spire of the Pieterskerk, Leiden's oldest church, where narrow cobbled streets converge.

And through those streets I trudged, travelling bag in tow, to the Stadhuis van Leiden and a stirring Saturday market of clothes and nuts and cheese and everything else.

Another church spire pulled me through an extremely cobbled street, the massive Hooglandse Kerk, where curiosity took me to a stone arch through an open cafe and up the Burcht van Leiden that once guarded the intersection of two tributaries of the Rhine, luggage in tow, pee storage capacity at bursting point.  

Famished and thirsty, I went back down the market for a lunch of freshly cooked crunchy but tasteless kibbeling after which I decided I've had enough but not after shooting a frame of the catholic Hartebrug Church and a final last shot of some other church.  

And that was luggage locker-less and map-less Leiden in 4 hours.

I could have went back if the now open visitor center allowed luggage safekeeping like Delft's but they did not, so I went to Schipol and killed time with the free airport wifi. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016


We invented bananas.

These are endemic to Southeast Asia until marauding conquerors brought it to Asia Minor, and from there colonizers brought it to Africa, and then to the Caribbean by slave traders. 

That is why you can take way my dog, even my beer, but not my bananas. 

Africans and Asians first drank beer in Egypt and Mesopotamia before the Romans brought it to Europe where the Germans introduced the hops.

Asians also invented pasta, in China, which Marco Polo imported to Italy.  

China's roasted pig is said to be the origin of the barbecue, but the word which eventually denoted "slow cooking over fire" was from the Caribbean, where the bananas from Asia propagated and expanded into the "New World". 

I love our bananas, it's the whole basis of my Theory of Change, and dark beer too, invented by the English, which to me is liquid and foamy banana. 

The banana almost lost on Day 3 but bounced back strongly on Day 4.

And to that we offer an offering of white beer, dark beer, and wine --- an invention of the Georgians, Iranians, Armenians, and the Greeks --- in the altar of continuing friendship and solidarity.

But man cannot live by bananas and beer alone, so I marauded for rice that of course came from Asia [China], served with a platter of lamb tikka that of course was invented by Asians (Indians and Pakistanis], and a bottle of Indian beer that must have been inspired by the British. 

Summer has descended on The Hague, where the bananas and beer crossed...  

Monday, July 18, 2016


Kung minsan nuwebe at kung minsan ay buta

May Binondo Wok at bagong bisikleta

Meron ding maanghang na alak 

At makunat na pulutan

Four lines sa unang silip at pinta

Lusak na tae pala ang nakagitna

Nagbabalat ako ngayon ng sibuyas

Naiiyak sa bawat patong na tinutuklap...