Voorbije zondag had de 5e Love Bugs Parade plaats in Brussel. Honderden broertjes en zusjes waren aanwezig. En de pers was ook nieuwsgierig naar de kever met een naam… Mijn liefde voor Pablo de Kever kun je hier nog eens bekijken:
De Love Bugs Parade stond dit jaar in het teken van de Mexicaanse kever, naar aanleiding van de “Vochol” die geëxposeerd wordt in Bozar. Deze vocho gemaakt in huichol kunst werd gemaakt door miljoenen parels en wordt binnenkort geveild.
In opdracht van De Standaard trotseerde ik gisteren de sneeuwval. De opdracht ‘positieve beelden’ van de sneeuw was niet eenvoudig. Het was nog maar een uurtje aan het sneeuwen en vele trotseerde de sneeuw met hun borstel, om toch maar hun oprit vrij te houden. De sneeuw verdween al snel…
Na lang zoeken en mensen aanspreken vond ik enkele ondersneeuwde mensen die blij waren met de sneeuw. Hun oude dame die genoot van de vlokjes op haar gezicht… En enkele jongens die meisjes plaagden met sneeuwballen… En de meisjes die daar van genieten!
Ik heb ook wel beelden van een dichtgevroven fontein. Of een rivier met stukken sneeuw die wegdrijven in een bruine smurie van water… Visueel zijn die heel sterk. Maar niet ‘positief’. Dus bleven die weg uit mijn selectie. Wat staat er vandaag in De Standaard? Lange leve internet! Ik vind de online beelden leuker en inspirerender!
Maar één van de leukste toepassingen is de publicatie van een fotoreeks in Knack (14 september). In die editie zijn verschillende portretten en details te zien. Die vormen een perfecte aanvulling op de ruimtelijke beelden in de treinstations. De week nadien staan nog meer foto’s in hun Wereldtijdschrift (21 september). Ikzelf kon al even gluren naar deze publicatie
Als je dus meer beeldmatieraal wil ontdekken van de expo #vlaamseinterieurs koop dan zeker één van deze tijdschriften (of allebei!). Nadien moet je wachten tot de volgende fase van het project in 2013!
At least once every week I meet someone who doesn’t have a clue what Twitter is about. When I start explaining Instagram, people get totally lost and put on a lost face.
But I love Instagram! To be honest, how much better can it be to communicate with a photographer by pictures?! Not too much fuzz, links or chit-chat. Just throw images at me! Funny things. Small and happy thoughts. And I will post some pictures in return. Little things, mostly related to food.
I found a way to set up a gallery with all these images: Instagrid. Easy to share with people without an iPhone. Instagram is still a selected app for iPhones. A pitty… I could be missing loads of nice images!
I also just ordered a little book with stickers by Printstagram. In just 2 weeks I can share my happy thoughts with everyone, even without an iPhone!
Very good news, Pablo de Kever is almost in Belgium!
You can meet him for the first time in Belgium on Friday the 11th of February at 11am at ‘t Steen in Antwerp. Afterwards I’ll be using him as my personal transportation. So you can bump into him while driving on the Belgian roads!
The childrens’ blog will continue. Kids can ask questions about any subject. They will challenge me to answer with images! It gives them the opportunity to discover the interaction of blogs (social media) and educate them with visual inputs.
The last days have been extremely busy:
- fixing newly discovered failures (catalysator, steering box,…)
- find a painter to put the name “Pablo” on the beetle (I felt soooo excited, like he finally got real!)
- obtaining a declaration at the police station of my boyfriends robbed wallet (after visiting 5-6 different stations, only a bribe worked 35 EUR is expensive!)
- photographing the 200 years of Independance (at a school to show later on Pablo’s blog!)
After some adventures (see below) we managed to get Pablo the Beetle ready for the roadtrip tomorrow! I am so excited and nervous! But I love the way he looks! I hope to post a small video of his whole transformation soon. I need to go and pack first for the trip!
The stereotypes of Mexican did kill our schedule last week… A friend of a friend didn’t show up after being late for 4 hours. So I wanted to check Lucha Libre for kids and we took the metro with too many documents (which I normally never do). Due to that we lost a lot of time. Not only trying to find another person to take Pablo into the crazy centre of Mexico City to replace the tires. But also to find a decent police officer to make a declaration of the robbery.
Until now I never got in touch with the Mexican police. Yes, I am very proud I never had problems in visiting Mexico for 10 times! But this trip is different… The moment of the robbery, the police didn’t do anything (only complaining we were too loud!). We asked several police officers and police stations to make a declaration. They always invented a new excuse to put us through: it happened in another district, the other side of the street is not our responsibility, your boyfriend needs a translator,… I exploded after 4 days trying to just make a simple declaration! The emergency number of the Belgian Embassy didn’t work, so we felt very alone facing the police officers trying to get rid of us.
A Mexican lawyer, who was helping a friend, approached me and told me the Belgian Embassy should join us and force the police to make the statement. If not it would take us a long time, being transfered to other places. And it would cost us money.
An officer, a friend of him, showed up and said he would call to his boss to see if they could help. And than you know… only a mordida (bribe) can make things work. He fixed the papers, we payed him all the money I had left in my wallet (600 pesos =35 EUR) and that was it! That’s how things still go in Mexico (City), even after 200 year of Independance! #sad
But I don’t feel bad about the bad “service” in Mexico. Corruption and bad workers are all over the world… Also KLM still didn’t fix my problem of my return flight (still 5 weeks to wait for a standard answer! #fail #customerservice).
Conclusion. If you bump into the Mexican police, try first to avoid them! If you need to, pay them a mordida so you fix your problem fast. So you might better have the help of a Mexican. Call your Embassy for help (I dunno how much they want/can help). Or you can also try one of the Police Stations for Tourists. (I couldn’t try them myself because we live 1,5 hour away from them.)
Calle Victoria, 76 Colonia Centro, Delegacion Cuauhtemoc
Phone: 53 46 87 20 Ext 20 (24/24)
Calle Amberes, 54 Delegacion Cuauhtemoc
Phone: 53 45 53 82 (9am-5pm)
Paseo de la Reforma, 42 Delegacion Cuauhtemoc
Phone: 53 46 87 40 (9am-5pm)
Very good news! After seeing many horrible VW Beetles, we managed to find Pablo! Look! Mira!
He’s in good condition: engine, exterior and interior. He needs to be fixed just a little bit. Replacements of bougies, tires, franes,… thanks to the sponsoring of orginal VW parts by Antonio Trejo (firstname.lastname@example.org – contact him if you need any VW Beetle parts anywhere in the world)!
And of course, Pablo needs to get his right colours! That will happen this weekend. Of course I will follow this process with my camera and will share his transformation on the blog!
At this moment I have only 5 pesos left, well Antonio lent me some. Although I had loads of money in my MasterCard, the daily withdrawal was cut. It was a challenge to get the last bit of the money this morning. He’s twice the budget I had in mind 34 500 pesos (2 100 EUR), but he’s worth every peso!
It’s the first car I ever bought in my life… A black VW Beetle was the first car I drove. And I used the Vocho Verde (taxi) every day to get to my internship in Mexico City 6 years ago. I never imagined at that time to have my own, but today I have! Where’s the champaign?! Oh, right Mexico. I’ll get some the tequila this weekend
Hasta luego, with new adventures!
To say goodbye from the Belgian children, there was a workshop about Mexico. Including hitting a piñata! For sure, the kids had loads of fun with the dozens of candies and toys. The Belgian television asked them which kind of questions they have about Mexico. You can discover the answers soon on http://www.PablodeKever.be!
You can check out on this post how to make your own piñata!
This is my first step to be interactive online! In a few weeks, my new blog “Kever in Mexico” will be active! Dutch-speaking children will be able to ask me questions about the Mexican culture. During my roadtrip with the VW beetle, I will post the answers by stories, pictures, movies, games…
We decided to paint the car as a look-alike of the green taxi’s! Yes, we are getting ready! There’s only one important thing missing… We don’t know which typical Mexican name to give our “taxi‘! So all you Mexicans, post or mail (email@example.com) your suggestions! I’ll bring some Belgian chocolate for the winner!
Here’s a preview of how our car will look like!
Preparing the roadtrip in Mexico is just one of the many projects I work on. thanks to Stichting Roeping I can expose a serie of pictures of the Flemish Interiors in the train stations next year, as mentioned in the newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. Any tips of Flemish Interiors are still welcome!
Het begon als grap, maar nu is hij klaar.. een chocoladekever! Hij is groen, heeft marsepeinen wielen, snoepjes als achterlichten en chocolade ruitenwissers! Het enige dat ontbreekt zijn de verse pralines. Volgende week dinsdag 15 december wordt hij gevuld. Raad hoeveel deze gevulde kever weegt en win hem! Mail het gewicht naar firstname.lastname@example.org of twitter met vermelding #chocolatebeetle.
What started as a silly joke, became reality… A chocolate beetle! He’s green, has wheels made of marzipan, rear lights of candies and chocolate wipers! The only thing that is missing are the fresh chocolates, which will be placed inside the beetle next week!
Enkele maanden geleden begon ik aan mijn persoonlijk project “Vlaamse Interieurs”. Hiermee wil ik de “oervlaamse” interieurs vastleggen die deel uitmaken van het Vlaamse Erfgoed. Dit gaat vooral om de Vlaamse bevolking die al 30, 40 jaar of langer op dezelfde plaats woont en waar elk element (postuurke, foto’s, kruisjes, etc) zijn eigen vaste plaats heeft. Deze generatie verdwijnt in een snel tempo. Daarom wil ik zo snel mogelijk die Vlaamse elementen en gewoonten in beeld vastleggen. Ik gebruik een “oude” camera van groot formaat om levensgrote prints te maken. Zo kan later iedereen in het interieur stappen en alle details ontdekken.
Some rural Mexican protested against Senator Dante Delgado who cleaned up 400 villages for exlusive and private use. So the inhabitants are left naked…
One of the symbols of Mexico (City).
When I was in Mexico 4,5 years ago, they manufactured the last beetles of Volkswagen in Puebla. I was afraid that this other symbol of Mexico would be a rarity by now. Luckely it was not.
2 months early, but Mexicans don’t mind to sell X-mas decorations!
I just read my first Belgian newspaper. It’s hard to avoid the articles about our government, which is still in formation. If I had voted for Yves Leterme, I would feel screwed after 150 days of him messing around. I would have the urge to demand new elections because the faith in CD&V and NV-A would be zero. Luckely for me I didn’t vote for him.
“Dollar dumped by the whole world”. After being 2 weeks in Mexico, I understand. (Latin) American people pay very high prices, while for use it was a very cheap holiday thanks to me Euros! Prices were even less than the ones mentioned in my Lonely Planet of 2002! So if you want to travel the (Latin) America, go now and feel like a king!
Another article that drew my attention was “Subway will open 140 establishments in Belgium”. Not for me. I just had my Subway sandwich in Mexico. Did the taste left behind in the fridge and oven?! Subway can’t seduce me. They won’t make business with my money, nor can McDonals. If I could chose an American chain, it would be STARBUCKS. Damn, I’m gonna miss their atmosphere and coffee so much! Anyone needs a helping hand to start up the first one in Belgium? Call me!
Today is day number 100 that Belgium tries to establish a new government. Mission uncomplete untill now. In the mean time Yves Leterme makes himself unwanted in the Walloon region by claiming in a television interview he likes the Vlaamse Leeuw (Flemish Anthym) in stead of the Brabançonne (Belgian anthym). There is a big chance he will not make it as the new prime minister of Belgium.
Last weekend the news papers were full with “a fine of 5 000 EUR”. Yeah, it is all about numbers this article! Foreigners are obliged to follow an “inburgeringscursus“, a course about Belgium that enables you to integrate into the culture (language & orientation). Starting from the beginning of 2008 you can get a fine (up to 5 000 EUR) if you refuse to take this course. Each province has one or more centra. Most of them forgot one important aspect, using English as main language. They can not expect everybody already speaks Dutch before integrating! Maybe they should get a fine too if they keep their website in Dutch!
Antwerp (province) – Provinciaal Integratiecentrum Minderheden Antwerpen (Pricma)
Antwerp (city)- Stedelijk Onthaalbureau PINA
Flemish-Brabant – Onthaalbureau Vlaams-Brabant
Limburg – Onthaalbureau Limburg
East Flanders – Onthaal Nieuwkomers Oost-Vlaanderen (Onov)
Ghent – Centrum voor Anderstalige Nieuwkomers Kom-Pas
West Flanders – Provinciaal Integratie Centrum West-Vlaanderen (Pric)
Brussels (city) – Brussels Onthaalbureau Nieuwkomers (BON)
If you want to have a peak how daily life is in Antwerp, you can check out this slideshow with some of my pictures. More pictures coming up later!
I got time to catch up with the news I missed during my holidays in Ireland last week. Nothing much happened. Our government is still trying to find a new composition. The radio station Studio Brussel started a contest between celebrities. The winner who guesses the exact date of the foundation wins a goat. Good to know is that the Post will change the lay-out of the stamps. No more euro(cent) but a ranking will be used to indicate the type of stamp (small, big, fast,…). In case you did not know, you can find small post offices in the supermarkets and book shops.
Due to a lack of serious news, I share some pictures of a festival to wrap the school books at the playhouse HetPaleis in Antwerp. Today they gave away free wrapping paper, waffels and help to cover your books to kick of the new academical year (started on 3rd of September). The waffels are finished but you can still pick up free paper. A good tip if your room still needs an unusual poster! If you are interested in theater for children or you are a curious adult, be sure to check out their website. It is a perfect example of the many cultural platforms our country offers. More initiatives and suggestions will come!
The Belgian press is writing about local news again. Some of the news items are hilarious. They are so typical for the Belgian reality: a clash between rules and cultures.
Ryanair cancelled all its flights starting on the 12th of November 2007 from Brussels South Airport (Charleroi). This is their way to react on the strike of the airport in June. Both parties try to find a solution. In case you want to be sure of a flight, check out Brussels Airlines. Our national airline also offers cheap flights in Europe, starting from 29,99 EUR (taxes included) for one way.
It has been for some months that muslim women, working for the government, are forbidden to wear headscarfs when they are in touch with clients. Now they throw back the stone and demand to forbidden Christmas trees and easter egges. They are a symbol for the Christian religion and should not be shown in public places, just as their headscarfs. The current music festivals do not offer enough attention towards the allochtonous public. So Chokri Mahassine, organisator of music festivals suchs as Pukkelpop and Rimpelrock, wants to start a festival for foreigners in 2009.
The police collects more money than expected from traffic fines. The 100 million EUR is spend on measures to improve road safety, but also on teddy bears for kids involved in an accident or lottery tickets to reward good drivers and. Plenty cash is left and they want to invest in other areas such as crime prevention and community policing. Some people refer to the rule that this money should be used only for road safety and no other purpose. It is crazy that Belgium has money and does not know how to deal with it. This is a perfect example of how rules make life more complicated here. Mainly because most Belgians consider rules as holy and forget to open their mind.
I tried to make a slideshow with music that fits to the content of the IJzerwake. This is what I came up with. The sounds and the pictures together bring you closer to the reality of the event.
You hear the Flemish anthym: De Vlaamse Leeuw.
Today’s pictures were taken during the festival IJzerwake. The radical Flemish minded orgainsation VZW IJzerwake organises this event to remember the soldiers who died in the frontline of the 1st World War. They also strive for an independant republic of Flanders in stead of the Kingdom of Belgium. The Flemish lion is the symbol of there reasoning. The lion appears on flags, umbrellas, scarfs, etc. These believers pass on their way of thinking to their kids. So on the event you have children with a very scary face. They are drilled to perform perfect in the music band.
Last year was the first time I went there and I was really scared to see this part of the society. I was shocked by hearing and seeing them singing extreme songs. You, as a foreigner, will never be able to see this part of the Belgian (euh, Flemish) culture. So I post some pictures to give you an inside view.
News is very low at the moment. Well, a depression is a better word to describe the current affairs. Our Royal family left for holidays, so no news about our princes and princesses. Yves Leterme and his colleagues are still trying to form a new government. This will take some a long time because every political party has his own (contradictory) needs.
So yeah, this is the most inproductive week of the Belgian community, due to the summer periods and the national holiday tomorrow 15th of August. You should get the right reflex when you here “national holiday” because at these moments daily life in Belgium is dead. Banks and shops are closed, trains and busses hardly operate and a day of! How can you survive this dull day? Do your grocery the day before and enjoy the day itself by visiting musea, taking a walk in the park or other touristic attractions, having fun with your friends. In case you live close to the border of France or the Netherlands, take the train and shop till you drop in another world!
Please leave any suggestions how to survive these holidays. More information about our national holidays you can find in the section Useful to know > National Holidays.
The comic strip “Tintin in Africa” is causing a wave of reactions in the world. Last month a British bookstore removed the books because a customer complained about the racist content. In this book the congelese inhabitants speak a very simple language, get insulted by Tintin and have too fat lips. The original version has already been corrected. Still these corrections are not enough for the British bookstore and others. Today a congolese student in Belgium accuses the book too. Some people are in favour of the original (more racist) version of the comic because it tells a history. One that was the truth at that time and it should not be forgotten. Very brief, Congo used to be the (only) colony of the Kingdom of Belgium and the locals were treated wrongly in the beginning.
On the picture below you can see graffiti in the streets of Brussels. It reminds me of the wall paintings you can find spread all over Belgium. Check out “Useful to know > Comics” to find out more about this part of the Belgian culture.
I saw that you guys are getting high expectations of this blog. That’s great! So prepare yourself to get in touch with Belgium.
Jet Airways was the main item in the news today. They started with direct flights (prices start at 750 EUR) between Brussels and Mumbai . Good news for our economy! This creates hundreds of new jobs at our international airport Zaventem (= Brussels Airport). It will compensate the loss of DHL (= many AIESEC trainees!) taking out their hub at Zaventem and moving their hub to Leipzig in 2008. And I guess we will have a wave of Indian tourists, like we have now many Japanese cruise ships passing by who drop their crazy tourists for a whole weekend in Antwerp! It is really fun to watch them shopping and taking pictures. You don’t have to go abroad anymore because you can meet all cultures in Belgium!
All the newspapers had pictures of the Belgian coast on their frontpage, kids paddling in the sea and women laying in monokini on the beach! The month August will bring the sun in stead of rain like July. During the Summer there are plenty of festivals to visit and shops are open on Sunday. You can go by train to the city Ostend and take the “Kusttram”, a tram which travels along the seaside. Just get off at the place you like! Do you like the beach and you are crazy about festivals? Than you shouldn’t miss Polé Polé. This beach festival is the biggest in Europe and takes place on 9th till 12th of August.
If you prefer to keep up to date with sports in stead of start dancing on a festival, you should continue reading. The nice lady on the picture is the athlete Kim Gevaert. She won the 100 and 200 metre races at the Belgian Athletics Championships this weekend. Kim is not as popular as the Belgian tennis players Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. Both of them have been number one on the world list. Justine Henin (from the French Region) is still in competition, but Kim Clijsters (from the Flemish region) quit in May and married the American basketball player Brian Lynch. Next time I will explain more about sports and athletes in Belgium, from cyclism (Belgian participants in Tour de France, etc.) to pigeons.
The last item of today concerns, again, our economy. The Dutch bank ABN Amro will be taken over by another bank. For the moment they are still trying to find out which offer they should take, the one of Fortis (supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland and Banco Santander of Spain) or the British Barclays Bank. The story will be continued. Interesting to know is that ABN Amro has a special department for the diamond sector in Antwerp. This devision will be cut off when Fortis takes over ABN Amro. Right now some AIESEC trainees are working there. The Fortis bank has a Benelux origin. Benelux is a merge of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg. We often refer to this territory because there is a lot of cooperation betweens these countries. The economical union between these countries formed the basis of the current European Union.
First Jet Airways lands in Brussels Airport
Here you find my first selection in the news! A bit old, but most of you have no clue that this happened. There is a video with English comments so you can easily follow.
On the 21st of July, our National Holiday, formateur Yves Leterme wanted to sing our anthem Brabançonne. Instead he started singing the French anthem La Marseillaise. Of course, he was confused. We have three different cultures, national holidays, languages, flags, etc stuffed in this little country. If our future Prime Minister already gets confused, you can’t blame foreigners to have a hard time getting integrated! FYI: Right now Yves Leterme (member of CD&V – Flemish Christian democrat) is leading the negotations for the new federal parliament (expected in September). This makes him the most likely candidate as PM. He used to be Prime Minister of the Flemish Parliament untill some weeks ago.
You can check out his singing talent on this video:
More information about his actions: