Amsterdam, the city and its red light district

It seems like I am supposed to use the Adobe Photoshop application to do my portfolio instead of editing photos for blog.

Anyway, here it goes again, another trip to Amsterdam.

We took the national train to the border of Belgium and change train to Netherlands. We arrived in the noon.

view from hostel
photo credit: alex

The first thing we did was to check into the hostel and put the luggage in the room locker.


the hostel room, €44 for 2nights

the street where the hostel is

We had lunch, then went for a walk in the city center.

the Sex Museum

Amsterdam is a city of canals and having a canal tour is essential. As we strolled along the canals, we discovered more things such as the old houses with gables in various styles, bridges, houseboats and many others.


The canal, the old crooked houses and the tree-lined canals
photo credit: alex


Houseboats

Alex and I visited Anna Frank Huis, where Anna Frank and family hid in the secret annex from the Nazis during the World War II.

The night activities…

It is not allowed to take photos in the red light district. However, here are some photos I found from the internet.

Image source: Wikipedia


sexy girls dressed in eye-popping underwear
Image source: Daily Mail

The experience in the red light district was pretty disappointing thou -too touristy. But, we didn’t miss to visit Amsterdam’s famous live sex show. It offers a range of non stop shows including female striptease, banana show, live couple sex etc. 😛

And I feel so sick of seeing sex shops everywhere along the streets. Each shop proudly showing the sex toys and gadgets in the display window.

Plenty of things to do and see in Amsterdam, I’ll blog about the following travel days soon.

Girls from different countries

16.04.2008..

It was a nice and warm evening, and there were three of us sitting in the university’s cafeteria. We were supposed to discuss about our design studio but ended up having a girls talk that lasted for 90 minutes.

My group members are me, Nagore from Spain and Martyna from Poland. Working together with students from different countries not only allowed me to listen more about their countries’ architecture but also allowed me to know how they approach to a design.

Plus, it wasn’t just about architecture and design we were talking about. We gossiped and shared stories. I get to see how people from different countries have their different opinions on love, relationship and marriage. Even though we come from different places, we drew the same conclusion on guys. 😛

Being new to this place for all, it feels good to find some girls around whom we can have heart-to-heart talk. When we are in a bunch of friends which consist of the boys and girls, we normally talk about the culture and language from different countries. But when three girls sit together around the table, we could talk about stuff boys don’t care about or aren’t supposed to know. It was a good and fun girls’ time.

A day trip in Antwerp

Nothing much to write about this trip, so the photos will do the talking..

Antwerp, is claimed to be the diamond center of the world. It is located in the Flemish province of Belgium.

Those who were in the trip…


Khaiyong, Huimei, Selene, Alex, Flora/Suangyee


Restored interior
Photo credit: Alex
Went to the Grote Markt (Grand Market) of Antwerp. It was rather empty at the time we were there, as compared to the Grote Markt in Brussels and Bruges.

A tour of the port of Antwerp. Again, it is claimed to be one of the largest in the world.

Since the image will do the talking, there is no need to elaborate this..
I am speechless.. 😛 Alex
“at least he was the tour guide of the day.”

Had a walk along the street next to the port..

The zebra building..

Photo credit: Alex

I have actually visited Antwerp in the school trip. My tutor explained that this building is painted in this way for the black stripes to absorb the heat and the white stripes to reflect. I am not sure if it makes sense. But I never heard about this environmental strategy or maybe because I didn’t really pay attention in class?

The new Palace of Justice by Richard Roger..

The end of the journey… It was almost 8pm yet the sky was still bright -longer day trip.

Site visit trip in London

Our second visit to London was for the purpose of visiting our site for design studio. We are assigned to design an airport for this semester’s project assignment. Alex and Peifun are in the same group with me; Puisan is designing an embassy for Qatar. By the way, we are now in the first year of Masters in Architecture’s syllabus as it is the only class that is conducted in English for the international students – I am supposed to be in the third year of Bachelor in Architecture.

The same problem occurred again; we did not have any accommodation before we arrived in London; it happened in the first trip. We were supposed to stay at Peifun’s friend’s house but he was on a trip during the days we were there. I tried to call the Malaysian Student Hall before I left Belgium but typically malaysian, extra either no one was answered or they asked to call back. Frustrated, we ended up in Earl’s Court, with the hope that we would still manage to find the budget hotel that the guys stayed in during the first trip. But the hotel has shifted elsewhere and most of the other hotels were fully booked or too expensive.

Anyhow, I managed to contact Hemaraj, my primary schoolmate and tuition classmate who studies in Sheffield but was in London for easter holidays during that period. So, we were fortunate that we could stay with him.

The site of our airport is London City Airport. It is the smallest airport but it is the nearest to the city centre, intended for Short Take Off and Landing use. Most users include business travelers. But most of us think that the airport looks worse than the AirAsia terminal in Sepang.

the interior of the hall


view that overlooks the dock

After the airport visit, our tutor led us to the city centre to visit some prominent buildings and luxury shopping areas. Some classmates think that those visits were not relevant to what we were doing but his intention was to expose us to the atmosphere where the rich people hang out. It is because the airport design is supposed to cater the business travellers.

And now, there are some students who have written a complaint letter to the university to criticize that the trip was not relevant and waste of time. From my point of view is that our tutor has briefly told us about the activities during the trip in class, therefore we were supposed to know that the visit to London was not just to see the airport and also might be travel a lot by the tube if the weather was bad. It drizzled the whole day so we missed out a lot by not walking on the street from one spot to another.


design studio tutor who was wearing a “green hat”


swiss re easter egg and swiss re building
photo credit: alex


while waiting for the tube


RIBA exhibition hall

He suggested that everyone was supposed to wear formal and act like a person who works in the office. We were supposed to sneak into the cafe in Swiss Re by Foster or Lloyds Building by Roger. But it was just part of his boasts. However, we were in the lounge in his clubhouse which he always bragged about many famous people and celebrities who spent time there.

It was not pleasure to walk around in the city in those formal attires with the wet weather.


future architects


interior of Harrods,
a department store that specialises in luxury goods in London

photo credit: alex


the Erasmus and Belgian students in airport design group

The rest went back in the evening of the day trip. But we remained staying in London.

On the third day, we visited Wembly Park stadium and Buckingham Palace.

Wembley Park Stadium


it was really windy


Buckingham Palace


Alex who didn’t know how to behave in Green Park,
one of the Royal Parks of London


the beauty of the day
photo credit: alex

But in the noon, Alex and Peifun started to feel sick; nausea and vomit. I only had reaction in the evening but mild. We suspected that it was because of food poisoning but none of us had diarrheal either.

On our way back from the city centre, I had to make a call to Hemaraj using the public phone as my mobile was out of credit. And the careless I left the purse with £300 cash on the public phone in the tube station and only realised when we reached Hemaraj’s home. I was really lucky that someone returned it to the police information counter and I got it back without losing any things in it. Was it another beauty of the day? But it was quite expensive to pay for the taxi fare back to the station.

Blogging

I didn’t write anything interesting in the last 10 posts, most are just photos (something Alex could learn from). I have nothing to say, no thoughts to share, or perhaps I have but I prefer not to share those thoughts. Or maybe I’m just too lazy to turn these thoughts into words.

Hence, why blog when I’m worrying about other people knowing too much about my thoughts? Well I started blogging to have someone read about my thoughts, so if one day someone offends me I will release my anger via a biased story in my blog. I’m evil that way! (my friends who have known me long enough will know if I really will do so. For those who don’t, it wouldn’t bother you…)

Someone asked me what is so fun about blogging. To be honest I don’t know. I treat my blog more like a journal than a diary. I see it as a collection of interesting things that happened around me, and then sharing it whoever that cares. It will be nice to just browse through the archives, to see what I’ve been through, to quantify the experience gained, to see how tough and strong I have been, how vulnerable and fragile I have been, how much I have seen and how much I have grown.

Besides, I’m not a person that pays attention to details. Blogging helps me to focus on the details, resulting in me doing research on topics I would like to write on. Basically, blogging delves into the deeper side of me and helps me refine my thoughts. =)

A day trip in Ghent

It was when Alex from Germany and Elois from France arrived in Ghent during Easter holiday. We had a day trip in Ghent city centre. There is nothing much I could write about this trip so it will be more as a photo blog entry.

I have visited few cities in Belgium but I still consider that Ghent is the best among all to live in. It is more authentic and not as touristy as others.

There are many photos of the waterway, captured from different angles and perspective. Each photo is unique eventhough taken from the same waterway. I have posted few images of the Ghent scenery but am uploading more now and in future.

Boat trip that we have not done since we were here..

Along the waterway..


photo credit: alex


photo credit: alex

Also visited the historical buildings in Ghent..

photos credit: eloise, alex

And finally, a photo of me and Alex..