Oral Fixation 2

San Francisco Sourdough Bread
Although it says San Francisco, I bought this bread in Canada. You have to love the sour taste of it. I should have know this moment I bought it (sourdough …). I ate it as a normal bread, but I do not recommend doing this. Not all of the things had put on the bread accompanied the sour taste very well. If you buy sourdough things, keep in mind you will have a sour taste. The best place I see this kind of bread is as a side dish while eating soup.

Maple Leaf Cookies
In two words: sugar bombs! When I ate the first one, it tasted weird to me and I didn’t really like it. But over time, I begun to like the taste of it. I had to try them because I was in Canada, so I needed to experience the local ‘cuisine’ didn’t I :p Warning: because of all the red colored sugar, you hands might get red spots and stripes 🙂

Belgian Style Waffles
I was pleasantly surprised they actually were very close to the real deal!
Now a little info for the non-Belgians: Belgium has actually two kinds of waffles that are pretty famous. These waffles were Brussels waffles. As I found out, they call these Belgian waffles. They might require a topping.
The second type are Liège waffles. These are very sweet because the sugar is baked into the dough.
Brussels waffles are mostly eaten as a dessert, Liège waffles are mostly eaten as a snack.

Crispix Krispies
Hadn’t seen this cereal flavor before. It’s a blend of toasted sweet corn and rice. I liked them.

Cinnamon Danish
I loved these, but when I looked into the Danish thing, I found out that the average Danish is mostly a soft pastry. These were hard cookies. They actually came very close to speculaas. This is a kind of cookie that is well known in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

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The long road home

Well, it’s been about two months that I am home already, back from Winnipeg. But I arrived in a weekend and the Monday following on this weekend, I started my summer job. After working 23 business days, I started my ‘holiday’. I have also been busy working for free for the band The SLoT and finished their international website August 23rd, the day their first international album was released. I also did something else for them, but I can’t say what this was. Throw in some family and friend visits, moving back to The Netherlands and I think you can see my real holiday only started this week and I finally found some time to wrap up my blog.

I am going to cover my trip back to Belgium here. Better take some time if you want to read this, because it is going to be long … For the part I am covering the events in Montréal-Trudeau airport, you better open up a new tab/window containing the map I am providing below, you are going to need it.

Montréal-Trudeau airport

Montréal-Trudeau airport

Winnipeg

During my trip towards Winnipeg, I missed my connection in Montréal, although I did my best to get it. I then concluded that a transfer time of under two hours is just too short. But now I also had about 1.5 hours transfer time in Montréal, so I already was fearing that I would miss my connection again. Upon arriving at the Winnipeg airport, I found out my flight towards Montréal had a delay of 1 hour. GOD NO! This would mean I will miss my connection a second time, grmbl.

On the flight, I heard some good news. The international flights would wait for the passengers that were on this plane. Cool, so I would be able to catch my flight. I heard one of the air hostesses announce the gate numbers. Wait, what was that number? Didn’t understand it in English. Ah well, they would announce it again in French. Ok, understood the gate number, gate 59, no problem.

Montréal-Trudeau Airport (around 20.00 – 8.00 p.m.)

I had no idea where gate 59 was compared with the gate I was arriving. Now go to START on the airport map I provided. I walked as fast as I could towards gate 59. I was not going to run, as this would damage my speed if I would run out of breath. I also had my laptop on my back and I damaged my first laptop because of running with it in a backpack, so I had no intention to do this to my current laptop. Looking for gate 59 … Ok, that way. Walking, walking, walking. Damn, how far is this gate? :s When I finally arrived at the gate (A), happy I made it, the gate was saying: London. WHAT?! I heard the wrong gate. You got to be kidding me! So I asked the person at the gate if he could look up my correct gate number. Very slowly he started typing on his computer to get the correct gate number, while I was full of adrenaline to be able to catch my flight. He then told me I had to be at gate 50. DAMNIT, I passed it already and it’s freaking going back half of the terminal.

When I arrived at gate 50 (B), a couple of ladies was standing there and saying they had broadcasted my name. But I didn’t hear this at all. I was so focused on getting to the gate I assumed being correct, I didn’t listen to the broadcasts. Also, English people butcher my both names, first and last, so a big change I wouldn’t have understood that it was my name. The plane was still there, I could see it standing at the gate. A bit irritated, one of the ladies tried to get in touch with people at the plane. It took probably about three minutes until she finally got in touch with someone. It appeared I couldn’t board the plane anymore … NOOooo… I was told to go to customer service so they could book me a new flight.

Upon arriving at customer service (C), there was no one there. I waited half an hour until I was fed up with standing around there. The closest gate, gate 52, was wrapping up their passengers, so I was going to ask them where the people of customer service where. They told me I could go to gate 60 as one of the persons I needed to speak would be there.

I went to gate 60 (D). Upon arrival: no one was there. WTF!!! I went to gate 61 (E) asking if they knew where that person was. They phoned around trying to get in touch with people who knew, but without success. They told me the best thing I could do was going through customs and go to the customer service at that side of the airport. They gave me a piece of paper that would allow me through customs. One of the kind ladies let me go into the arrivals zone through a couple of back doors.

When I went through customs upon going to Winnipeg, it was a quick process. When I arrived this evening at customs (F) it was packed as hell! Almost the entire set up for the waiting lines was filled. I asked one of the girls who was leading the people into the lines if I also needed to go stand in this waiting line. Yes. Aw … It took me at least 30 minutes to get through this line. I thought I was going to have to do some explanation when I arrived at the customs desk. But they heard I missed my plane, saw my paper and I could just walk through. The first time in my life I had to wait 30 minutes to do something that only took 5 – 10 seconds -.-

From customs, I went to the baggage claim (G). I knew my plane would not be indicated anymore, so I had to ask one of the employees there where I could find my baggage.
She redirected me to the people that handle with the ‘special cases’ (H). The guy there did a very good job at trying to figure out where my baggage went. He then asked me “How did you end up in the international arrivals if you came from Winnipeg?” Ow, damn, that’s true. I am in the international arrivals baggage claim. He succeeded in getting my baggage transferred to this baggage claim. So I picked it up (I) and went to the check in desks (J).

At the check in desks, they told me I needed to be somewhere else. So I finally arrived at the desk I needed to be (K). I think around 22.45 (10.45 p.m.) and it closed at 23.00 (11.00 p.m.). Close call! Don’t know what I would have done if I wouldn’t have made it … The guy had some trouble patching together a new flight trip for me. The direct flights to Belgium were all full. He told me I wasn’t going to leave this day anymore. No surprise for me … He eventually got my itinerary: Montréal – Halifax – London – Brussels … Ah well, at least I am getting home. When everything was fixed, I was surprised to get a free overnight stay and got three vouchers for meals. I needed to go to one of the stops to catch a bus to the Hilton Garden Inn. Wait, what? Did he just say ‘Hilton’? Classy 🙂
Now to find the bus I needed. I went as far as (M), only to find out it wasn’t there. Fed up by the whole running around thing, I just went to the closest bus driver and asked him if he knew where the number was I needed to be. He told me I needed to be on a platform that was lying in the middle of the street. How the hell was I supposed to know that >.<
So after at least three hours of running around Montréal Trudeau, I could get some shut eye.

Hilton Garden Inn – Montréal

When we arrived at the hotel, it appeared the hotel was being overrun by people who didn’t get their flight. While waiting to check inn, I even encountered the guy that sat next to me during the flight from Winnipeg to Montréal. It appeared his flight was canceled. At the check inn, we were informed that the kitchen didn’t serve food anymore at this hour. But we could get something from the pantry or go out to a restaurant. I was tired, so I didn’t want to go running around Montréal in the middle of the night to find some food. I got something from the pantry. It turned out the stuff I had chosen was a bit more than the voucher I was given, but the guy at the desk said it was ok, as I already had missed my flight tonight. When I arrived at the room, I ate when I was setting up my computer, as I had to inform my parent about what happened. The last they knew was that I missed my flight and they didn’t know yet when I would be back. When I was done talking to them, it was about 1.00 (p.m.).

The next morning, I went to have some lunch and got me a French toast. It was however American style: too greasy for my taste. I finished everything, but my body did refuse a couple of times during the last bites. I had to catch my flight around 13.00 (1.00 p.m.), so I had some time to kill until I went to the airport. I decided to walk around the area of the hotel a bit. I didn’t know how far I was from the centre of the city, but I wanted to be safe and only walk around the hotel, so I would not have to depend on public transport. It was mainly an industrial area, so not much interesting to see. I did however, see the strange traffic lights they have in Montréal:

Montréal Traffic Lights

Montréal Traffic Lights

I walked for about an hour and decided to return to the hotel. But before this, I first got me a hot chocolate at Tim Hortons that was across the street of the hotel. I said to myself I had to try to speak French, as I knew this is Quebec and it is the first language. When I tried to ask for an explanation about something, I was so struggling to get the right words, I automatically switched to English again.
I went waiting in the lobby of the hotel about 30 minutes before my transport would arrive. The people at the desk told me I could get an earlier ride if I would want to. Ok, I’ll take it!
When I got at the gate to go to Halifax, I realized this was the same place I filmed when I got through this airport the first time. So I took a picture to compare the winter and summer of this spot.

Go check out my first movie to compare.

Go check out my first movie to compare.

Halifax

On my flight towards Halifax, I was given a seat in business class. Seat A1. This is the first and probably the last time I will ever sit in this spot 😀
In Halifax, I needed to wait 6 hours until the flight towards London. I didn’t want to miss this flight, so I was not going to leave the airport. I stayed at the gates the whole time. Luckily, they had a special table where I could set up my computer and work in peace onmy computer, turned away from the crowd.

My temporary working spot

My temporary working spot

Two hours before the plane was going to leave, I went to the gate. Everytime they broadcasted a name, I was sitting there, staring very concentrated at the people behind the desk and listening very carefully to the names they pronounced.
When I arrived at the gate to get to the plane, it appeared they were searching for me. They didn’t make any fuss about it, but if they have broadcasted my name, they must have messed up the pronunciation so badly, that I didn’t understand it, because I was listening very carefully to every name they were saying.

London

On the flight to London, I was given a seat at the wings, which on the big planes, are at emergency exits, so more leg room than other people. But you have the responsibility to open the doors if the plane would get into trouble. When they were serving meals, it appeared the guy who rebooked my flight did not mention on the tickets that I was a vegetarian. Of course, why am I not surprised of this? Luckily, it turned out there was one vegetarian meal left of someone who hadn’t claimed it.
A good thing this was an overnight flight, because the guy behind me was constantly poking in my back with his knees.

Arriving at Heathrow, I went as fast as I could through the terminals to get to my next flight. I had to transfer here from building to building. I was just in time to catch the bus that was riding between the two different terminals. Arriving at the notice board of the European flights, the gate number was still not revealed for my flight to Brussels. I had been told it would only be announced 30 minutes before departure. You can imagine the adrenaline was rushing like crazy through my body. I was not going to miss this last connection! When the gate number appeared, I started walking like crazy to get to the gate. Turned out the gate was at some obscure corner from this terminal, so it was quite a distance to get there with a lot of twists and turns. I was the second to arrive at the gate. Score!

After some time, more people had shown up. Just when they would let people go into the plane, it appeared there were technical problems. They did not know when and if this would be solved. Sure. After this whole trip, I was not surprised at all this happened. It had been a bumpy ride and I needed a good bump at the end, right? One hour later, they fixed the problem. I could leave!

Brussels

We were informed that the technical problem was a valve that would not open. Pretty critical considering it was the valve to fuel the plane.
The plane to Brussels was from Brussels Airlines. I laughed when I found out the seats still had ash trays in it. This shows how old the plane must be. But I thought this was typical Belgian. It turned out I was also placed in business class here, so I could have some lunch. But of course, they didn’t know I was vegetarian because it was not mentioned during the rebooking. I couldn’t care less at this point. I was tired and was happy that I was on the final stretch of this whole round trip.
One thing that got me really ecstatic, was that although I didn’t get the sandwich, I did get the Côte d’Or Bouchée. After eating crappy chocolate (sorry North-Americans, but this is so true, your chocolate is crap) for a bit more than four months now, I was so happy to be served chocolate from my favorite brand. Together with the view (this plane flew pretty low), it was the first moment of relaxation during this hectic trip.
Once at Brussels Airport, everything went fast and smooth. I didn’t have to wait at the long lines to get to my baggage, as I was a European citizen and the lines were packed at the non European desks. My baggage appeared quickly. And then I was at the arrivals zone, were my parents were waiting for me. Relieved to see me again after this trip to Winnipeg and probably also that I have been able to get back :p

Because I didn’t have lunch on the plane, I got me a sandwich. Ow, how it was tasty after four months and a bit eating Canadian bread! They may say what they want, their European bread is NO European bread.

And thus I had arrived back in Belgium. A day later than originally was planned, but I was back home.

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The Last Weekend

And so we have arrived at my last week in Canada. This was my last weekend. To spend my time, I went searching for a couple more souvenirs as I hadn’t found everything I wanted last week. I went to The Forks again, as it seems this is the only area where you can find souvenir shops :\

When I returned from The Forks, I went looking to buy some shoes. My current pair really needs to be replaced. When I saw a pair of shoes I liked (hard thing for me, throw me in a room full of shoes and there still is a possibility I don’t see any kind I like), I saw there was $ 10 off the regular price. Awesome. Shoes already are cheaper here for me because of the exchange rate. When I arrived at the register, it appeared the shoes were 30% off! So I eventually bought them for about € 40! That is ridiculously cheap! The catch was that it is a final sale, so no returning. But that doesn’t bother me.

And that’s really it for this weekend. The thing I need to do tomorrow is start packing my stuff so I can get a decent impression of how heavy my bags are going to be and what I am going to need to leave behind.

I have a couple of new photos, but not many. You can find them at the regular spot: go to the Pictures tab at the top of the screen en follow the link.

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NL 0 – BE 1 :)

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Return to The Forks

I had a flyer with information of a museum somewhere downtown. The museum itself didn’t interest me, but it looked like it was an older building. This is it:

While going through the downtown area, I noticed a couple of tour busses and equipment trucks were parked in the streets. I know that Rihanna is performing tonight in the MTS centre, so this is probably all her stuff … To think that metal artists mostly travel in a small van with a trailer to transport their equipment …

Either one of these guys is a very good driver, or he had help in the form of sensors or a person. This is VERY close.

My destination of today was The Forks again. Because of the warm weather, there were a lot of people. Tonight there was a concert or something that has to do with the aboriginal people. So there were a couple of outdoor stalls, but none of them were very interesting.

When I had finished in The Forks, I decided to go back to St. Boniface. I hadn’t visited Fort Gibraltar yet. When I arrived at Fort Gibraltar, there was a wedding going on. I wanted to see what was inside the fortification, but I didn’t want to bother the people who were celebrating. So I walked around the whole thing to end up at the main entrance. Just at that moment, the bride was leaving to go to the back entrance of the Fort to start the wedding. On her way to the altar, she was being escorted by two brides maides, another guy and a bag pipe player. The bag pipe player played for the entire walk, probably to inform the guests that the bride is on her way.

At the Fort, there was also some kind of slide. But this doesn’t make any sense. I saw a similar thing a couple of months ago (and as it turns out, it was at the other side of the river 🙂 ). The ‘slide’ is entirely made of wooden boards, so you would definitely hurt yourself trying to slide off it.

Doesn’t seem all to inviting to me if it is intended to be a slide.

This morning, I had bought myself a couple of famous European pastries to eat when I got back from my walk:

They are pretty decent here.

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Canada Pride

Something that draws my attention here, is the fact they massively show on products that it is Canadian. Mostly by the infamous red maple leaf.

A couple of stores use the leaf in their logo. Some stores even stress the fact they are Canadian.

A simple thing like sponges proudly shows its Canadian made.

The door of the shower even has a Canadian made sticker on it.

And also the M of McDonalds has the maple leaf in the center!

On the side of a cookies box: No maple leaf, but proudly Canadian!

The following doesn’t need any explanation:

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Exchange District, Grant Park Shopping Centre and Corydon Avenue

When I went grocery shopping this morning, I was very surprised how warm it was. I don’t have things left I really want to visit anymore. But if the weather was going to be this nice today, I just couldn’t let it go to waste.

When I returned from grocery shopping, I looked up which areas looked interesting to visit. I found Grant Park Shopping Centre on the map and decided to go there. But it was too early to have lunch, so I first revisited the Exchange District to take some pictures from areas I hadn’t taken pictures of before. At this moment, Winnipeg is a very nice city to walk around in, because most trees finally have their leaves.

After lunch, I left for the Grant Park Shopping Centre. The walk was about an hour. It took me through Crescentwood and Rockwood, both part from the larger River Heights, one of the nicer areas of Winnipeg. To get to the GPSC, I needed to follow Corydon Ave. for a bit. I realized that the east part of Corydon Ave. is actually a kind of little Italy, so I was going to follow the road on my way back home.

Arriving at the Grant Park Shopping Centre, I was incredibly disappointed. I thought it was a mall, but it turned out to be just a handful of big stores like Safeway and Zellers next to each other. I don’t regret the walk to the Centre however, as I got to see a nice neighborhood.

So I headed back to Corydon Avenue. This street view was very strange for me, as it did remind me a bit of a European street. You had a lot of small businesses, restaurants and cafes. And although this is ‘Little Italy’, I think there were as much Sushi restaurants as there were Italian restaurants and cafes 🙂 A lot of people were enjoying the sun on the patios.

Corydon Avenue begins (or ends) at Confusion Corner, a place I have crossed 3 times now if I recall correctly. This place is notorious for Winnipeg. If you are heading north on Osborne Street and you would like to go to Corydon Ave. or Pembina Hwy., you can’t just turn left. You need to take a loop around to get there. This is why this place is called Confusion Corner.

On my way back home, I was going to pass the store I mainly go to to do my shopping. I had forgotten two things this morning, so I hopped back in the store to get these things. Passing through the ice cream aisle, I got interested in buying an ice cream. But most packaging here is so freaking huge! Then I spotted small, separate cups. Huray! Ow wait, they don’t come with a spoon … Hmm … I am going to buy it anyway, I’ll figure out some way to eat it!

No spoon, but I'll find a way!

The heat helped me to melt the ice cream and I could push it up in the cup so I could eat it. Eventually, I ate/drank the ice cream :p

I remembered there was a museum somewhere in the streets near here. Not that I want to visit it, but it should be an older building. I didn’t know the exact location, but I was just going to try to take the first road I crossed and otherwise I would return another day.
Om my way to the street, I walked past the backside of the Manitoba Legislative Building again. I have taken pictures from areas I have taken a picture before, so you can see how much the nature has changed now. I found out the fountains in the city were also finally activated. There was something of a wedding going on at the fountain and I took a picture because I liked the colors they had used for their suits. It was very bright, but it looked nice. Unfortunately, my camera has focused on the lamp post that was between me and them … Ah well, this way, I don’t have to worry about faces that are being recognizable 🙂 I just took the picture for the colors.
The water level is starting to drop! It’s about time. I was giving up the hope that I would be able to walk along the river in the time I still am here. There is a chance it will not be decreased enough before June 30th though.

Eventually, it turned out that the road I had chosen, didn’t seem to be the right one for the museum. but I did see some things I hadn’t seen before.

At this moment, it is the season for the caterpillars for which the strips around the trees are. If a tree has a lot of caterpillars, there is a change these beasties eat all the leaves. I tried to search some of them to take a picture. I found some floating in the wind, holding on to a thread they spin. It was hard to take the picture. I have one blurry blob instead of a caterpillar.

After dinner, I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. HEY, THERE IS SOMETHING ON MY SHOULDER! Ow, it’s only one of the caterpillars. Having a hard time finding them in the wild to eventually find one of them on me :s

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Manitoba Metalfest (25 March 2011)

While writing my previous post, I realized I hadn’t reported on my blog yet about the Manitoba Metalfest. I did post some (bad quality) pictures on Facebook, but not everyone that sees this blog is on my Facebook. As you can see the date, this has been a couple of months ago already.

I had to walk towards the venue, which was The Zoo in Osborne Village. This was approximately about a 20 minute walk. The temperature was still around 0° C, so I dressed up warm for the walk.

When I arrived at the venue, I didn’t know where I had to enter, so I just went to the door at the street side. It appears I had walked into the presale area. So I bought a ticket at a presale price. I needed to go to the back of the building to get in the venue. When they let the people in, I heard the price for the non-presale. Wow, lucky I had gotten a presale ticket, as at the door it cost 1 whole dollar more … Meh, it still was $ 1 I could spend on something else.

As I was dressed to withstand the temperatures outside for the 20 minute walk, I soon got too hot inside. It was definitely warm enough to run around in a T-shirt. When I asked if there was a cloakroom, it appeared there wasn’t … NOT AGAIN! The same thing happened to me before when I went to a Machine Head concert in Lille. It is NOT fun to have to take care of a winter coat during a metal concert. Contrary to the MH concert where I had simply rolled up my sleeves and zipped the coat on my back and thus sweated like a pig, I now was going to carry the coat somehow. There were some chairs, so I took my coat and sat on it until the concert started to get it a bit flatter. But it still wasn’t fun to walk around with it.
To my big surprise, the local people were still wearing all their clothes they had entered the venue with. What? How can they not be suffocating from the heat? Is this some kind of Manitoba thing?

Now I went to this concert also with the intention to watch how actively Canadian people were during a concert. Videos I had seen before showed they weren’t as active as I am used from the European crowds. At the end of the festival, it was clear they actually just acted like the people in Europe. Only the opening bands don’t get a lot of people moving. During the last band, there were a big amount of people going crazy.

A funny fact about the pits: the first one they started this evening was broken up by the security. Are you kidding me? The security interferes with a pit here? But they couldn’t stop them all and gradually towards the end of the evening, the pit got bigger and bigger. At one point I took cover behind a pillar 🙂 I think they couldn’t guard anymore during the last band, as they were standing in front of the stage to catch potential crowd surfers.

Now I didn’t move very much this evening as there weren’t any bands I was into. And having to drag the coat around was an annoyance anyways …
And talking about bands, I know I haven’t mentioned them yet. so here they come, in order of appearance:
Dissolution, Prophet, Legion of Liquor, Dreadnaut and 3 Inches of Blood.

Legion of Liquor surprised me as there where standing 12 people on the stage. 8 singers, the rest musicians. Although I don’t drink myself, their songs were pretty catchy.
Dreadnaut was my favorite band of the night.
3 Inches of Blood is one of the (if not the) biggest metal bands from Canada, so I was glad I could see them in this rather small venue. But I don’t like the high pitched singing voice.
As far as I know, Legion of Liquor and Dreadnaut were bands from Winnipeg. Maybe the others (except for 3iob) were from Winnipeg too, but I have no idea.

Here are some of the terrible pictures:

Legion of Liquor

Dreadnaut

3 Inches of Blood

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Assiniboine Park (4th June 2011)

Thinking about what I wanted to do while I am still here, I realized there was a Zoo here. So this was what I was going to visit this weekend.

On foot, is was about 1.5 hours walking. Because of my experience of walking to St. Vital, the fact I needed to do some grocery shopping first and I didn’t know how big the zoo actually was, I decided to take the bus towards the Assiniboine Park. Luckily, I’m not living very far from Portage Avenue, which is one of the main streets of Winnipeg going East to West (or the other way around if you prefer that). Because there is a footbridge connecting the Park with Portage Avenue, I could take the bus till there, so I didn’t need to swap a couple of busses to get there. Just bus number 21.

It was my first time in a Canadian bus, but it looked like every public transport bus I have seen Europe, so no surprises there. The one thing that did confuse me a bit was the fact there was a red stop button on the bars and a line running along the windows to pull. Now, I’m used that a red button on the bars in my country means ‘emergency stop’. So I was looking around me to see if someone at least pressed one of those, as it was the closest to me. It took a long time till finally someone used it and so I realized it wasn’t an emergency button. When my stop was next, I reached to push the button, but someone had been faster than me … Never the less, I pressed it also. I was moving towards it, then I also was going to press it damnit! :p

Arriving in the Assiniboine Park, I suddenly noticed some orange flags on a tent that was being used for football ‘I-don’t-know-what’. When taking a second look, I saw a flag with the text ‘Hup Holland Hup!’.

The world cup is already behind us, isn’t it? :p

Wtf was this? Why was there a Dutch reference here? Going further into the park and while taking pictures of the Canadian geese I suddenly heard a voice announcing “Welcome to the Xth annual tulip festival!” AHA! There was the Dutch connection 😀
After going to the zoo, I strolled through the festival and saw a bunch of Dutch stuff. This was kind of funny, regarding the fact I’ve been living in The Netherlands for 2.5 years now and now I was on the other side of the world and here were the Dutch again. Of course, the stereotypical visual stuff was here: a wind mill, a barrel organ, traditional clothing, wooden shoes and tulips.

It was fairly calm when I arrived at the zoo. A few animals were ‘exotic’ to me, as I am not used to a large variety of ungulates (hoofed animals) as I saw here.
I felt bad for all the predators that were running around, visibly being stressed out of being locked up in the cage. The sad truth is that you can’t do anything for these animals. Setting them free would not be very safe for other visitors or yourself 🙂
The birds of prey also impressed me by their size.
I actually also found a hidden animal in one of my pictures. If you look very carefully, you can see a brownish object in the stones to the top right of the goose. This must be one big bug! I have no idea what type of insect it could be.

Could be some kind of beetle.

Now, it doesn’t make much sense to describe everything, just go take a look at the pictures at the usual space [see Pictures tab on top of the site].

The zoo actually took me only 2 hours to get around. So I still had the afternoon left. I went to explore the rest of the Assiniboine Park. This is how I ended up at the Tulip Festival and took the pictures of the Dutch stuff. Not far from it, was the English Garden en the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. Although the English Garden was nice, I wasn’t very impressed by it.
When I was in the Sculpture Garden, my battery of my camera died, so I had to return to my previous gear: my cell phone. Miraculously, I discovered 2 other Dutch connections: a statue called ‘De Zaaier’ dedicated to the arrival of the Dutch in Manitoba and a statue called ‘Dutch Girl’. The last statue is actually a bit fatter than the other girl statues Leo Mol had created. Is he trying to insinuate something? :p And for people who are wondering: Leo Mol is not a Dutch name. His land of origin was Ukraine.

After the Sculpture Garden, I went to the South-East part of the park. When I arrived at the Formal Gardens, I decided to rest for a bit and finish my lunch I had been eating while walking. I also needed to take my feet out of my socks and shoes to let them cool off for a while. Oh ow … My blisters filled with fluid again :s Although this fact, it was only around 14.00 (2 p.m.), so I wanted to walk back home instead of taking the bus. And I am glad I did. I discovered some nice art of the Assiniboine Zoo on a bridge and found an old train bridge where for some unknown reason, people had thrown some shoes onto a cable running parallel to the bridge. My curiosity was feeling adventurous enough to go onto the bridge, as I found out that the gate at the other side of the river was open. But my brain told me not to do it. The tracks of the train weren’t there anymore, so the only thing you had were wooden beams with a decent amount of space in between them. One wrong step and you would surely sprain your ankle. If this would have been in Europe, I would have tried it, but the less I need to address my health insurance here, the better 🙂

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Oral Fixation

In Dutch, people say that Belgians are Burgundians. This means Belgians like to enjoy life and thus like to eat. I also used this to profile myself towards some foreign people. And being here in Canada, I realized I really like to eat, like a true Belgian should 😉 Eating is the one moment you can truly enjoy what you are doing as mostly, you can’t really do anything at the same time.
And just to clarify: maybe I couldn’t finish the American meal proportions, but quantity does not equal quality. It is by living here for a while now, I realize that we have good quality products in Europe.

My main comparison for this is bread. I am a bread lover and like to have a bread meal at least once a day. The freshness of bread in my home country and The Netherlands can be told by the dehydration. A fresh bread will remain being eatable for about three days after the purchase. Longer than this will result in stale bread and will give your chewing muscles a real workout.
Bread here in Canada on the other hand, stays ‘fresh’ for as long as I am using it … You can keep a bread easily a week not in a special bread container and it still is as hydrated as it was at the moment of purchase. The only explanation for this is that there must be a load of crap in the bread to keep it fresh this long. I tried out some fresh bakeries but the breads didn’t convince me enough to keep going back to these bakeries.

But I won’t keep rattling on  about my favorite food. The main reason for this post is actually a report of foods and beverages that can’t be or at least are hard to find in Europe, that I tried out for the first time.

Multi Grain Pringles chips
The Pringles factory for Europe is actually in Belgium, but I hadn’t seen this flavor before. It is a combination of potato and grain. They are pretty tasty and it feels like they fill up much more than potato Pringles.

Lays Stax
A different kind of chip than Pringles. A much denser texture and completely different taste.

Old Dutch Creamy Dill
Old Dutch is actually a company that started in Winnipeg and now has its products available all over Canada. Creamy Dill is an interesting flavor, as the dill gives it a very perfumed taste and the cream part makes the chips heavier on the stomach. The salt on them burns every little wound you have in your lips shut.

Marble cheese
Now there is a large possibility that you can find this in Europe, but it isn’t as prominently present in the shops as it is here. The cheese is very orange and the color is broken up by more yellow parts, creating the marble texture. The cheese doesn’t taste like a ‘full’ cheese, but is a bit comparable with mozzarella in the fact that it has a bit of a ‘water taste’ added to the flavor mix.

Meat replacements
To my big surprise, although people here don’t seem to be used to eat two loafs of bread with something like cheese or ‘salads’ (I don’t mean the green plants) between them (and I am not referring to sandwiches) , the variety for things to put on bread is larger here than where I am used to live. Granted, in my area, it is expanding, but it is not as far as it is here. The biggest supplier is called ‘Yves’ and they provide all sorts of meat replacements.
A big favorite of mine, something I actually will truly miss when I am back in Europe, is Tofurky. It is amazing how close this is to real turkey (I have been a meat eater for a big part of my life).

Tofu marinated Szechuan style
Very taste, but you have to know what to eat with it, as it is spicy!

Tofu Dessert, Banana
I was curious to try out the tofu desserts I saw in the vegetarian section. I thought I recalled to see Vanilla flavor, but it was not there when I decided to buy it. So I took Banana flavor. The first bite was decent, but as further I got until I was finished, the more bitter it became. I realized it would taste a lot better when I would add sugar to it, so I ate the second cup with Frosted Flakes (Frosties in Europe) sprinkled on top of it.

Chips Ahoy!
I discovered these chocolate chip cookies when we were in the USA. We were riding back to Canada and we stopped at a gas station. I was hungry and was searching for something that would fill my stomach enough, so I looked into the cookies section. Not impressed by the chocolate here in North-America, I was surprised by these cookies. The sweetness the chocolate lacked, was being made up by the cookies. I have bought a big box regularly while I have been here.

Chocolate Pretzels
Not bad. But I can’t deny the fact that the dominant salty pretzel taste is covering up the quality of the chocolate it is dipped into.

A&W Root Beer
This is NOT beer. Root beer is a style of soda. Just in case you guys would think I have begun drinking alcohol. This beverage has a strange sensation when you drink it. It is like the taste evaporates in your mouth. The taste only lasts in your mouth while the liquid is there. I also found out it doesn’t quench the thirst.

Mug Root Beer
Root beer from a different brand. In comparison with A&W Root Beer, this beverage is much creamier, but otherwise it has the same properties as A&W Root Beer.

Fanta Cream Soda
Although the original orange flavor is missing here, they do have some weird tastes with the Fanta name on it. I tried out Cream Soda. And didn’t like it at all!

Cplus and Orange Crush
Two orange flavored beverages that are each other’s competitors on the market. They don’t come close to the taste of Fanta and have probably too much artificial color in it, as they are almost fluorescent orange. I mentioned them together because they are in my opinion not all that different from each other.

Bagels
I am not very familiar with bagels. But they are quite nice. The density is very high, making a single bagel filling your stomach very well. It makes a good breakfast, for which they also are used mostly. I only tried the natural flavors. But there are also other flavors available like Jalapeño …

Toaster Apple Strudel
Frozen pastries with an apple cinnamon filling you put directly from the freezer into you toaster. With it are small packets of frosting to put on top when they are ready. Nice and tasty way of changing up your breakfast.

Cinnamon Waffles
I wasn’t expecting much of these waffles, but they were surprisingly good. You also needed to put these in your toaster. They only thing I missed on them was some powdered sugar and then these would have been top notch!

Angel Food Cake
A ridiculously large cake that I had to try out. The best way to describe it is a mix between cotton candy and cake. Seriously. It sticks enormously, is very airy but still has a taste of cake.

Mr. Big Candy Bar
On the outside, this bar looked like it was comparable with a Lion candy bar. But it was something completely different. A Lion is very dense, this was very light. It wasn’t that bad, to Canadian standards. Although they mention that it contains peanuts, I did not taste them AT ALL. I checked the packaging three times to be sure I did see correctly that it should contain peanuts.

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