Saturday, June 28, 2014

Nasty people on the internet

I can clearly recall recently saying to someone, I don't get nasty things on the internet, personally or on my blog. Everyone I know on the net is so nice. It may have been Dina who recently wrote about getting nasty comments or nasty related emails. I felt a bit superior. I don't get stuff like that. I had totally forgotten about Colin Huggins vile personal emails, but he reminded me by sending a new one, and then I remembered Robert Hayden and his vile emails too. Both go for the poofter angle and always manage to slip paedophile into the email . Water off a duck's back to me. I have experienced that for my whole life. Unless it is in my face, I lose no sleep over it.

The funny thing is, although I am gay, I adore women. Look at my blog list and most of them are women, but I am selective and only read blogs of smart and intelligent women. I doubt I would have ever continued my blog if it wasn't for my women friends on the internet, many of whom have I have met personally and some I haven't and would like to.

So where do Colin and Robert come from? I can only judge from personal experience. I felt very uncomfortable back in about 1984 in Cockatoo when Ex Sis in Law's brother in law was staring at me. It was when my nephew, now in Brazil, was just born. I was young and it spooked me. Ok, later, he came out as a gay man.  Work, I felt uncomfortable. This Arab looks like he hates me. I hadn't done anything to him. Why would he look like that to me. It all became clear when I saw him out at a gay bar and we chatted.

Is it the same with Colin and Robert? Are they closet homosexuals or just behave like they are?

Eurocruise 25/05 Amsterdam, Brussels and London

We said goodbye to our travelling companions who were going on to Luxembourg, Paris and London, to be reunited with them in Newcastle, England over a week later. We could have left the boat at any time during the day, but we had a train to catch at about 11am. We left our cases on the boat and went out for a walk. We did not stroll too far and found a place to have coffee. I thought the streets of Amsterdam may have been cleaned up on the Saturday night, but no, still as dirty as the day before.

There is a bike or two in Amsterdam. From two different sources I heard that if you buy a new bike, it will inevitably be stolen. One wonders how you would know if your bike had been stolen or you have just lost it. Nevertheless, most people ride quite basic bikes. Our travelling companion BR had a friend in Amsterdam, one who had met and spent some time with in Australia, on a ship across the Pacific and in Canada. His friend arrived on a bike to collect him to show him the sights, and probably take him to a sleazy hotel room, truth being known. You probably have a mental picture of this Dutchman, but you would be wrong. He is younger than BR, has long dark curly hair. Not quite sure how a 40 plus not so svelte Indian heritage person pulls such a hot guy.

I tried and tried, and eventually got a half decent photo of Amsterdam Central Station.

Inside the station, as we were waiting for our train to Brussels.

I don't know about this train, but our Thalys train was single story and very nice looking.

First class travel was not quite what I imagined. Dust!!!

A light tube out.

A bright white tube with the more mellow light tubes. Very minor things, but these are the things I notice. otherwise, the train was very smooth and quite luxurious.

I think this is Schipol Airport station.

We are now in Brussels, with Gattina nowhere to be be seen. I don't judge countries by what is immediately obvious to tourists, but Brussels looked so dirty too. We were at Brussels for only an hour or so, so we had some lunch and then to Eurostar.

Look Daniel, on top of the building in the distance.

The Thalys had a respectable speed of around 250 km/h (I think it can go faster). But Eurostar did much better. No photo, but we did get to over 300 km/h.

There had been a bombing at the Jewish Museum in Brussels a day or so before we were arrived. The soldier running along the platform was a little alarming.

In the flash of an eye, we emerged from under the English Channel and we were in England, at the international train port of Ebbsfleet.

London's international train station, St Pancras. How good was it to be in London.

We'll just catch The Tube to our hotel from the beautifully renovated Kings Cross Station, the adjacent station being international station St Pancras where we had just arrived.

In 2008 when we arrived at Heathrow, I had it all perfectly worked out. We catch the Heathrow Express to Paddington and walk to our hotel from the station. And that is what we did and it all worked well. Not so this time. I had worked out we could catch the Hammersmith and City line to Paddington or the the Circle line. I expect I should have just caught the Circle Line. I am not sure what we caught now, but we ended up in a not familiar place, although it was Paddington Station, and then R, who just got off a train with toilets, needed to find a toilet. Lugging cases along and following directions from staff, we eventually found one, but god knows where we were. There was a taxi rank there and lordy do I wish we had caught one from there.

GPS on, phone maps on. My god, where are we? All we want to do is walk out the main entrance of Paddington Station into Praed Street and walk to our hotel. It is not far. My phone was showing it we seemed to have a long way to walk. How did we end up here? We walked and discovered the delights of Little Venice, that is Paddington Basin. We walked some more, with me pausing to check the map on the phone. We also checked with a nice young lass who confirmed we were right and to walk on, but then retraced her steps to give us more information. I could see R was at the end of his tether, so I hailed a cab and we were smartly delivered to our hotel. R was mega stressed at this point, and I never see why he gets into such as a state as we did not have to be anywhere at a particular time, maybe it was the day of travelling from Amsterdam to London using umpteen trains, but he paid the taxi drive in euro instead of pounds. The taxi driver called out, but R did not hear him. I sorted it out. So can someone tell me exactly where we were and where we went wrong?

Ok, I have worked it out. We exited the north east corner of Paddington Station. Men! Won't ask directions. What are we like. R blames me for our confusion. I blame him because we would not have been in this part of the station had he not had to use the toilet.

Yes, we are most assuredly in London. We walked from our hotel to Praed Street and had pizza. It was very nice, except it had to be eaten with a knife and fork as it was too saggy to just pick up.

This is where we should have come out of Paddington Station. Without the boat wi-fi, my phone is now on my home data plan and that won't do at all. I went into a shop and bought a data card for £30, unlimited downloads, plenty of call and text allowance and for one month. It gave me net access on my phone for the rest of our stay in England, gave me net access for my notebook and net access for R's tablet.

I think this is Lancaster Gate, in Lancaster Gate where we stayed at Lancaster Gate Hotel.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Eurocruise 24/05 Amsterdam

Nearly to Rotterdam, the boat turned right into a canal to head to Amsterdam.

We didn't see too many cows and sheep on our journey, but here are some between Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

Rear of Amsterdam Centraal Station.

We arrived a little early, so the captain took us past our mooring point to look at some buildings on the harbour.

I think here we ended up being triple berthed, that is three ships side by side and you have to pass through each one to get to shore. This is a sister ship, the AmaVerde.

Very nicely dressed for boating.

Walking to a point nearby to catch a boat for an Amsterdam Canal cruise. Other choices were Van Gogh Museum and city tour or an open air museum. This section of the road can lift up to allow large vessels underneath.

A train passed by.

And a tram, again a Siemens, as we have in Melbourne.

It seems motor scooters can use bike lanes. We were warned, if you are on a bike lane and you get hit, it is your fault and you will be responsible for cycle and cyclist damage.

Lots of party groups on boats.

He is looking at me. I can see the lust in his eyes.

Houses in Amsterdam always need a neighbour to lean on.

More partying young men.

Distinctly wonky.

At the end of our canal cruise,we left the canal boat and found ourselves in a mass of people, bicycles, buses, trams and did I say people?

A protest march made matters even more crowded. As vibrant as Amsterdam is, it was very dirty in public areas. At times we were almost walking on a carpet of cigarette butts. Dutch people take pride in the cleanliness and neatness of their homes. Why are the streets allowed to remain so dirty? We didn't see this in Budapest or anywhere in Austria or Germany.

This clock was a useful point for orienting ourselves. Even when hidden, you could still here it strike.

We were given some free time to wander. Trams had coloured symbols on their destination signs for those who can't read, as did Sydney's old trams.

A flower market. 60% of what they sell must be plant related. You can guess the remaining 40% are tourist trinkets.

Until I was just looking at a map, I didn't realise how close we were to a gay bar, the torture museum, mensa university, home of Pathe and a lot more. There were some queer sights in the Rokin area.

Time for coffee and cake.

Plumb line required.

Our bus then took us to the outer edges of Amsterdam on an interesting enough trip. I understand a metro railway is under construction and a building had collapsed.

Peter, do you know where we are?

Countryside, fresh air, green grass and a windmill.

One lucky bird has a nest.

We had used minor roads to get to the edge of the city, but a freeway had us back at our boat very quickly.

The next morning we were catching the train to Brussels and then Eurostar to London. We walked to the station to make sure we knew where we needed to be the next day.

The station was busy, but clearly laid out.

It was our last evening on board, so we really got our money's worth at dinner that evening and breakfast the next morning. We were pleased enough to be at the end of our tour. At times it was tiring and always people around. We were looking forward to be off on our own for a bit.