Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blijburg Beach

Quick practice update: On Thursday last week, I'd finally had it with so many whiny posts of "Can't find my practice mojo. Blah blah blah."

Only one way to fix it. Right?

So I ditched work early on Thursday ("Early" for me means 6.30pm these days), came home and did a quick 45-minute practice. Up to Janu Sirsasana A. And went for another vinyasa class yesterday. After staying up till 4am having drinks with workmates. Yoga on 3 hours sleep is kinda... Trippy. :)

Anyways... this is HOW SMALL Amsterdam is. While out for drinks, I met some of the baristas from Stumptown.

Yesterday afternoon, a bunch of us rode our bikes for FORTY minutes out of the city to Blijburg Beach (the usual city bike commute averages 5 - 10 minutes. FORTY minutes is FAR). It's basically a man-made beach on reclaimed land. Yup, they ship the sand in from somewhere else too!

Guess who I met there? More baristas from Stumptown! And the barista who sold me my coffee beans last week!

We got talking about the "Ethiopia Michelle" (pronounced "mi-kay-ler") roast I got which I don't really like. Apparently I should get the Guatemalan blends since I prefer coffee with more KICK. They said "Ethiopia Michelle" is a "more floral, complex blend". Hahaha, I got lost in the specialty-coffee talk. I thought I liked coffee, but now I realize there's a whole other rabbit-hole of coffee-talk for people who *REALLY* like their coffee. It was awesome to hear all of that even if I didn't get half of what they were saying.

There was a festival by the beach, and I expected HOARDS of people. Thankfully, it was extremely CHILLED. Not packed at all.

Lots of dogs around. This one was hanging out with our party.

There were massages on the beach, graffiti workshops (a "workshop" on graffiti?! HUH?!), milkmaids selling ice cream, cocktails... And even a Bingo game.

Lots of funny characters hanging around. Someone thought this guy looked like the blue people in Avatar. Check out his earlobes (surreptitious photo-taking in action)

And there was a brilliant band from Soweto in South Africa performing, called BCUC. I recognized the lead singer. These guys are ON FIRE! A mix of spoken word, singing, drumming... and songs that go on for 20 minutes in a flowing stream of consciousness (that's 20 minutes for ONE song). Amazing energy... they're performing at the Melkweg next weekend here in Amsterdam and it's definitely worth catching. He got kind of preachy at points, with very politicized/ anti-white views... But hey, that's the complexity of living in South Africa.

One of the songs went on about "You brought billions of dollars with the game [as in: World Cup]. You built roads..." etc. "But what we need is universities! Give us education!" ...I think a lot of people in the audience were dumbfounded. And a bit guilty. He had a point.

This video's a short snippet of their amazing energy. It's not some of the best bits though.

Since the group was staying on till late that night and I'm no longer a night person (plus I was running on 3hrs sleep from the night before), I rode back on my own. Almost got lost and turned off into the underground expressway... but then managed to find 2 other girls biking back into the city and followed them back. The Dutch are so super-friendly.

The ride back was probably about an hour on the bike. Today, my ass, glutes and thighs hurt and my hamstrings are tight. I should do more yoga to help it, but seriously just want to lay on the couch all day!


  1. dear Skippetty
    yay for yoga. hmm, massages on the beach. the Bhuddas on the trailer are over the top. haha. my teacher has been pinpointing my biking to the source of my left leg pain. i think of the movie title, "my left leg" but i didn't have the same problems as the hero in that movie. so my teacher is telling me to pedal slower and not do quick jumpstarts (which one does when trying to pass the street before the red light comes, etc.) so, i feel your pain, because you must have exerted a lot. maybe the fairies or the goodwitch Glenda spared you because of your new glittering bike. haha. Amsterdam's canals are graced by many fairies. oops. have to go.


  2. Hey Arturo, yeah I remember reading Bamboo Knight's advice on your blog too and have been mindful of that. EXCEPT... my bike's kinda SMALL. Everyone keeps giving me grief that it's *almost* as small as a kid's bike. But I don't care. My feet HAVE to be able to touch ground at any given point - because they use back-brakes on the pedals here, not handbrakes - you have to pedal backwards in order to brake. And that still freaks me out and I'm not very good at it yet.

    The problem with a small bike as I soon found out yesterday, is I have to pedal much more especially for long-distances! I rode there with a friend on a regular bike with gears and all - and I had to pedal twice as many times as he did on his big bike tyres. Maybe it's time to get a bigger bike. HAHAHA!

  3. oh, you know, that's true. and now that i realize, the bike i'm using is the cheap bike with no gears which means i probably pedal more. i don't take out the expensive bike with gears because i'm afraid it will get stolen, since i have to park it in the street. there is nothing usually that fancy out on the street. so we're stressing our legs on our bikes for different reasons.

  4. Back pedal breaks!??? Old school! You'll be a pro in no time.

    Love all your photos! You're so social! Hermits like myself need outlets into the world. Thanks for documenting!

  5. Sorry for the delayed responses guys. :p

    Arturo - I've been told that as long as you get a super-duper lock, and always chain it to a post, AND get a back-tyre lock too, you should be OK. :)

    Liz - don't be fooled! I'm quite the hermit myself. Just figured I need to get out and make friends while the sun's shining here (see today's post). The winters sound like a drag and no one wants to do anything (including me!) xxx


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