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August 21, 2006

Finally…I now live in Leiden… errr Oegstgeest

Filed under: Netherlands — stephane @ 8:08 pm

I took the Eurostar friday evening back to Paris. Now that I have the key of my apartment, it was a good time to at least get the essential inside…which means a bed and a few other minor items. I rented a Kangoo from Europcar in Paris at the last minute to move a couple of boxes from Shrugard. I left at 12:30 from Paris and arrived at my place around 17:30 after 500 something kilometers and strong rains showers in between. I then moved all the boxes (2nd floor – nice exercise), went quickly get shopping next door, spent the evening removing items from parcels…and getting the Hi-Fi 5.1 up and running so that at least I could enjoy some nice music in the evening.

I left from Leiden around 09:30 to drive back to Paris, dropped the car at 15:00, took the RER to an hotel at Torcy and I’m now ready to drive back again to Leiden tomorrow morning with my own car after picking a few boxes again.

So I now officially live in Oegstgeest, next to Leiden. Seems actually like a very quiet and posh neighborhood. The next step is to actually be able to pronounce correctly the address where I live so that a Dutch can understand it. I’m not worrying too much about people from other countries, they would not be able to guess the writing from the pronunciation anyway.

Now, I need a bike.

NB: When driving to the Netherlands during heavy showers, I happened to be driving next to an unindentified car that I would guess was a Kia or something. This car is the most dangerous thing ever as the water coming from the wheels is funneled through the sides and blowing straight on your windshield with amazing force. It just like driving through a cascade. You see absolutely nothing. Someone stop that car !

August 13, 2006

The road to Africa

Filed under: Travels — stephane @ 3:19 pm

Megan who was a diving instructor in the island of Utila, Honduras when I was there back in March, had during this period accepted a job in the small island of Pemba, near Zanzibar. She asked for my advice at that time and told her to simply bite the ball and go, especially that as there is plenty of things to do in this area if things turned out not be exactly the dream job. She made her decision shortly after and she was scheduled to be there at the last week of April.

As it happens, she will be leaving Pemba next week, after 3-months and despite an amazing diving, she will explore the place and travel to Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and of course South Africa.

I wish I could be there again to travel.

Having grew up in Africa for something like 15 years, East/South Africa is the place which reminds me home the most probably due to my strong connections with Burundi which were certainly the best years of my youth.

When I was backpacking in the area during my round-the-world trip, now already 3 years ago, a lot was familiar to me. Sounds, smells, colors, people, … I loved every moment of it. From a traveling perspective this is also certainly the best place to be. A lot of it is still deeply authentic and there is that not many travelers like in Asia or the rest of the world. Time spent with travelers is in a more friendly atmosphere and there is way more experience sharing than in other places.

I hope to take some very long time off sometime again in the future and take the road to Ouganda, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

Have fun, Megan !

Back in ‘sunny’ Leiden

Filed under: Travels — stephane @ 10:56 am

Sooo, I’m back to Leiden. Finally. I took the Eurostar at 08:39 from Waterloo station, arrived at Brussels Midi slightly late at 12:15, queued for 20 minutes to get the first Intercity train to The Hague which was at 12:37 (yes, that was kind of last minute), arrived at The Hague at somewhere around 14:50 and connected to Leiden at 15:05.

When I arrived at the hotel, I found that I have certainly left my mobile phone at the Russel Hotel in London… dooh ! I tried to call on it, but it was not even ringing, I tried to call the hotel but was somewhat put on hold (in short no-one was answering) for more than 5 minutes, I dropped an email and more than 12h I still don’t have any sort of reply. That is lovely.

I needed to ditch the mobile phone anyway as it was 3 year-old and the keypad was somewhat no more visible, it was not working in the US and I had all sort of trouble using it internationally. It annoys me a bit as I had a bunch of numbers that I did not copied anywhere else (as usual)..but oh well…I guess I will get a new one in Leiden.

August 12, 2006

Thanks to British Airways for last-minute cancellation

Filed under: England,Travels — stephane @ 12:59 am

I’m pissed off. It is 23:00, I check the timetable and I can just see that my flight scheduled at 13:25 tomorrow is written as canceled. If I login to my BA account and check my booking the flight it is still written as confirmed.

There is an email address related to my booking and to my account as well. Is it too much asked to simply notify people that something like that is happening or has it simply never been imagined in the workflow ?

I booked a seat on Eurostar at 08:39 to Brussels. Strangely I cannot book a cross-reservation Eurostar/Thalys through Eurostar to go to The Hague but can do so on Thalys, unfortunately the only Thalys available is only 3h after my arrival in Brussels. For some additional problems the international website is not working and I cannot book an intercity train from Brussels to The Hague, so I will just hope for the best once in Brussels and see what can be done from here which normally should not be such a problem, but at least I will be away from London.

August 11, 2006

Using Antlibs

Filed under: OpenSource,Software — stephane @ 8:46 pm

Kevin Jackson has published an article about Antlibs. For people going to ApacheCon Asia, he will also do the session Antlibs – specifying custom tasks for Apache Ant:

Antlibs a new way to develop custom tasks for Ant 1.7. The presentation covers, how to write a basic antlib, how to test antlibs (using BuildFileTests, or the new antunit facility), and how to use the antlib in a build file.

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