Journal of my Dutch trip 2015

On 15 April 15 I arrived in the Netherlands for a stay of six weeks. Spring was late this year, I was welcomed by nice weather, flowers everywhere. And I was really craving for traditional Dutch food..:-)

I did not really celebrate my birthday on April 17, because the next day we had a Family Gathering . But I did not feel lonely that day, because I got visitors, my youngest brother Otto and my soulmate Inez. A good opportunity to practice  taking selfies..:-)

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As usual it took me a few days to get acclimatised. I visited friends and went to the Vondelpark for a photo shoot, resulting in a blog Homage to the Vondelpark .

One of the big celebrations in the Netherlands is Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day), now renamed Koningsdag (King’s Day). Observed for the first time on 31 August 1885, the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina.  When her daughter Juliana became Queen in 1948, the holiday was moved to her birthday, 30 April. Then, in 1980 Beatrix became Queen. Her birthday is 31 January. Too cold to enjoy the many outdoor activities. Therefore it was decided to keep it on 30 April. Now Willem Alexander is King, born on 27 April, so they changed the date. Personally I think they should have kept it on 30 April. What to do when Princess Amalia (born 7 December) will become Queen…:-)?

I went to town only for a short while. Too many people.

A few days later I went to Utrecht to meet Yolanda, a former student, who has become a good friend. Beautiful weather, we walked in the town before we had dinner.

And of course I had dinner with my other Yolanda, Paul’s sister. It has become a nice tradition that we meet for a “sumptuous” dinner when I am back in Holland. This time we went to restaurant Bonjour. French cuisine, friendly service. And very reasonably priced: 24.50 Euro for a three-course dinner.

With my friend Inez I visited Rotterdam and Dordrecht on a day trip. In Malaysia, thinking about what to do during my stay in Holland, I had optimistically assumed that I had plenty of time for longer trips, but that was a mistake…:-)

On the evening of the 4th of May we have  the Remembrance of the Dead ceremony in my country. Quite impressive, I used to go to the Dam Square for the two minutes of silence. This time I was already on my way, when I noticed that near my condo there was a (smaller) celebration. So I attended that one instead. Impressive. After the ceremony I met (my second…) Yolanda at the Concertgebouw, where we attended a performance of the Anne Frank cantata. I hope the name Anne Frank is familiar  to everybody?  We finished the evening with a beer at the famous Welling cafe! Near to where I have been living most of my life. Nostalgia.

By the way, it was a good decision not to go to the Dam Square. Have a look at the crowd there!

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The last two weeks of my stay were a bit too hectic…:-) I felt like the Flying Dutchman, travelling all the time. Of course I was to blame myself…:-) I had to maintain a calendar meticulously…:-)

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First I went with Nico, Paul’s brother, to Santenoge in Burgundy, where we stayed five days in his country house, Living Like God in France. After coming back, I visited Ruud and Jur in Groningen. They live in a nice house with a beautiful garden. The next day we made a trip in the countryside and visited the old (14th century!) church of Zeerijp.

My following visit was to the south-west of the Netherlands, the province Zeeland where I visited a friend from my university days, a long time ago. Here is the report: Middelburg.

One day at home and off I went again, to Alkmaar, where Arie and Ineke are living. Another report: Alkmaar. The next day I continued to Valkkoog, where I stayed overnight with Lous and Arend. In the afternoon we visited the sand suppletion project of the Hondsbossche Zeewering (Sea dike). In the left pic below I have indicated the location of the sea dike in red.This dike was a weak spot in the Dutch defense system against the sea. Now new land and dunes have been created. Impressive. The visitor center had an interesting gadget where you could give the impression (with a soap film) that you were standing in the water. Of course we had a nice dinner, my youngest brother was also present.

Before going back to Amsterdam the next morning, I took pictures of the sculptures, ceramics and paintings created by My artistic sister

Finally the next day I traveled to Limburg with Paul for a few days of long distance walking, part of the Pelgrimspad

Then it was time to fly back to Malaysia, where I could recover…:-)

Of course beside all this, I visited and or invited friends. A few pictures

This visit was a bit longer than usual, the reason being that I was considering to come back once a year only, for a longer time. After this visit I think I will keep it as before, coming back twice a year, for about one month.

Alkmaar

During my last visit to the Netherlands I have visited quite a few historical cities. Utrecht, Dordrecht, Maastricht, Middelburg and Alkmaar. In 2009 Aric and I  had visited the famous cheese market in Alkmaar, no time to explore the town. Recently my brother Arie has moved to Alkmaar and Ineke and he had invited me to visit them. We had an interesting walk in the historical center of the town. Alkmaar has a rich history. During the Dutch war of independence , the siege of Alkmaar in 1573 was a turning point: “Victory begins at Alkmaar”

The House with the Cannon Ball is one of the few wooden houses in the town. During the Siege the Spanish army fired a cannon ball, which destroyed part of the house. The Fish Market dates back to the 16th century, the present fish tables were built in 1755.

In many historical towns in the Netherlands you can still find so-called Hofjes , courtyards with almshouses. Financed and built by rich merchants for (generally) poor people. With rules and regulations. The Wildemanshofje has 24 houses and is only for ladies (even now) . The Hofje van Splinter (1648) is a hidden gem, with only 8 (now 7) houses. The Hof van Sonoy is bigger and is now a restaurant.

I did not know that Alkmaar has many Jugendstil (Art Deco) houses. Next time I must find more, as it is one my favourite architectural styles.

We continued our walk, admired the spectacular town hall and had a look at a few churches. We walked along the ramparts, where the Windmill of Piet is the only one remaining, in the past there were ten. There is so much to see. But we were thirsty and needed a beer…:-)

Arie and Ineke have a very nice house, on walking distance from the center. We had an enjoyable evening with very nice food.

Middelburg

Middelburg is a town in the south-western part of the Netherlands and capital of the Zeeland province. It takes about 2.5 hour by train from Amsterdam, very remote according to Amsterdam standards…:-). So  I have visited Middelburg (en Zeeland) a few times only. A friend of mine, Henk,  is living in a small village near Middelburg, we know each other from our University days, more than 40 years ago! Since a few years we have a more or less regular contact again,  because we are both interested in astronomy and cosmology.

Finally this year we met for the first time in many decades. I could stay overnight in their “garden house”.   Did I like mussels, Henk’s wife Nel asked me? Sure, I did and Zeeland is famous for its seafood.

Henk met me at the station and had planned a walk in the historical center of Middelburg. Nice weather. MIddelburg has a rich historical past, in the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) it was after Amsterdam the most important trading center. Many lavish 17th and 18th century merchant houses and storehouses (some of them  restored after bombing in WWII) can still be admired. Center of the town is the Abdij (Abbey) with the Lange Jan (Long John) tower, built in the 14th century

We decided to climb the tower, one of the highest monumental towers in the Netherlands (91 meter). Beautiful view of the town , the abbey and the impressive town hall

We continued our walk, admired the Town Hall and had coffee on a terrace at the Market square. I tried the Zeeland specialty, a cinnamon bun called bolus. Bolus means “turd” in English, quite an apt name, I think…:-)  In May 1940 part of the historical center of Middelburg was destroyed by bombing and fire. I include one picture of the St Joris Doelen as it looked like in 1940. What a beautiful restoration. The same holds for the Abdij.

After our lunch we had a look at the beautiful sundial of the Stadsschuur. Not everybody looking at this sundial will understand the meaning of the figure eight “decorations”. They are analemma’s. See the Equation of Time for technical details.

From Middelburg it was only a short drive to Serooskerke where Henk and Nel are living in an attractive bungalow, with a beautiful garden. When they told me I could stay overnight in their “garden house”, I expected simple accommodation, so I was quite surprised that it was actually a full-fledged apartment.

We had a very pleasant evening. Nel apologised that the mussel season was over, instead we had lobster. Yummy!  And a dish with zeekraal (Salicornia, glasswort in English) and baked mussels. And ice cream with strawberries. What a treat.

We had a lot to talk that evening…:-) Memories from our shared past, stories about our respective family backgrounds. We will hopefully meet again next year. In Zeeland or in Kuala Lumpur…:-)

My artistic sister

When you have been following my blog, you may have noticed that I have a nice family. See for example my recent report Family Gathering A disorderly bunch, my late parents called us lovingly. Here we are, in chronological order.

Only one sister, Lous, how she must have suffered in the past with five brothers..:-). During her working life she has been a teacher and counselor like me. But with an artistic streak which I completely lack :-(

When I am back in the Netherlands, it has become a nice routine to visit her and her husband Arend in their  bungalow in Valkkoog, north of Alkmaar. During my last visit I took pictures of a number of her creations. Judge for yourself.

As you see, she is using a large number of different techniques. I am proud of her.

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About galaxy SDP.81

This astronomy blog needs a fairly long introduction, sorry…:-)

Our Sun is one of the more than 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Here is the Milky Way, as seen from Earth. Many of you may never have seen this “milky” band, because you need a clear sky without light pollution. Next to it an artist expression of the Milky Way with the location of our Sun indicated by a red arrow.

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The Milky Way is one of the about 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe. The Andromeda galaxy (left pic) is a close neighbour at a distance of about 2.5 million light-year.  The picture to the right was taken by the Hubble telescope. This image shows about 10.000 galaxies!

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Many of you will have seen (and admired) the images taken by the Hubble telescope. Here is the telescope, it is still orbiting Earth at an altitude of ~ 550 km. Next to it the probably most iconic Hubble image, nicknamed the Pillars of Creation.

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But not many of you will have heard about the Herschel telescope! This space telescope has been operational from 2009 to 2013. Its major objective was to discover how the first galaxies formed and evolved, starting from clouds of gas and dust. These clouds are not yet hot enough to emit visible light, but they still emit (thermal) radiation with wavelengths in the far infrared. It is this far infrared and sub-millimeter radiation that Herschel has recorded. Here is the Herschel telescope and a picture, taken by it. Not as spectacular as the Hubble pictures, right?

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Herschel-ATLAS_SDP_display

Actually, each pinprick in this image is a galaxy! Or better, a galaxy “under construction”, still basically a contracting cloud of gas and dust, Hubble would not be able to see them. Most of these galaxies are billions of light years (ly) away, the radiation we receive now, has been sent out when the universe was young.

We are finally coming closer to SDP.81. It is one of the baby galaxies (ID81 in the image below), discovered by Herschel, at a distance of about 11.7 billion ly .  Why is it (and a few more) so bright ?

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Here comes the surprising answer: because its radiation has been magnified by a gravitational lens between this galaxy and earth!

A gravitational lens? Yes, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity predicted that light can be bent by massive objects. Or, formulated more correctly, massive objects will curve the fabric of space-time. His theory was spectacularly confirmed in 1919 during a solar eclipse (and made Einstein instantaneously famous!)  Here is a schematic diagram of this light bending.

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In the case of SDP.81 a massive galaxy is located, 3.4 billion ly from Earth, exactly between us and SDP.81. A rare coincidence? Sure, but keep in mind that there are 100 billion galaxies..:-)

A  gravitational lens works differently from a traditional lens where the light bending is strongest at the edge of the lens. Here it is the other way around, bending is stronger near the center. When the alignment is perfect the (magnified) image becomes a ring,  a so-called Einstein Ring. Here are a few examples of Einstein rings, images (in visible light) taken by Hubble. Some are only partial because of misalignment.

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Wouldn’t it be great to find out if the image of SPD.81 is also an Einstein ring? Then we need a much higher resolution then the (already large) 3.5 meter mirror of Herschel could give us.

Alma can help us! ALMA stands for Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. It is a collection of 66 radio telescopes  (with 12 and 7 meter antennas), located at 5000 meter altitude in Chili. Here is ALMA

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Technically it is called an (astronomical) interferometer. To keep it simple: the radio telescopes work together in such a way that they effectively combine to a huge mirror of many hundreds meters or even kilometers diameter. The telescopes can be moved around. The high altitude has been chosen because the climate in the Atacama desert is extremely dry, crucial for observations in the millimeter/submillimeter range. The maximum resolution has been described by the  Alma astronomers as being “about the same as seeing the rim of a basketball hoop atop the Eiffel Tower from the observing deck of the Empire State Building“.

Here is Alma’s result for SDP.81, published a few weeks ago. An almost perfect Einstein ring! Keep in mind that this radiation is invisible, the red color has been added for the dramatic effect. And the visible light of the lensing galaxy is not recorded by ALMA.

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And here is a combination of three images. The left image is taken by the Hubble space telescope. The lensing galaxy is visible. The middle picture shows the Alma result, in more subdued colours. And the third picture? Montage of the SDP.81 Einstein Ring and the lensed galaxy

The Einstein ring in the middle picture is a “distorted” image of SDP.81. But, assuming a (simple) model for the gravitational lens in between, you could try to reconstruct the “real” image. And that’s what has been done with the third image as result.

An (approximate) image of the SDP.81 galaxy how it was, almost 12 billion year ago, when the Universe was still young. Some structure is visible, the bright parts are regions of dramatic star formation.

Amazing!

Rotterdam & Dordrecht

When my friend Inez and I decided to make a day trip to an interesting town in the Netherlands, the original plan was to visit Dordrecht. Then other friends told me about a nice way to travel from Rotterdam to Dordrecht, by Waterbus ! Public transport by boat. Twice an hour between Rotterdam and Dordrecht.

Waterbus

So we changed our plan a bit and combined Dordrecht and Rotterdam. That is actually too much for one day, both historical Dordrecht and modernistic Rotterdam deserve more time. So in this report only some impressions…:-)

We arrived at the impressive Central Station of Rotterdam, finished last year. Not easy to take good pictures. Next to it the skyscraper complex of the Delftse Poort. We took the metro to the iconic Markthal, a combination of  residences with a shopping center. The interior is spectacular, but unfortunately we were too early, as it opens on Sunday at noon only. Nearby are the famous Cube houses of Dutch architect Blom, built already in 1977. From there we walked to the Erasmus bridge, passing on our way many other interesting buildings. The picture of the Erasmus bridge shows at the other side of the river the fascinating building of De Rotterdam by architect Rem Koolhaas.

As an Amsterdam guy I am supposed to be negative about arch-rival Rotterdam, but honestly, I was impressed and will come again.

The boat ride was fun, although the weather was not very favorable. Big container ships and other boats on the river, several ship docks, this is the heart of maritime Holland. Several stops between Rotterdam and Dordrecht, you can take your bicycle with you. It took about one hour to reach Dordrecht and the Waterbus took us right to the old historical center.

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Here is a video clip of the Waterbus

It was almost lunchtime when we arrived in Dordrecht, so first we walked around to find a place to have food and a drink. It had started to drizzle, we could not use one of the many cafe terrace, but had to go inside. I had an Uitsmijter and a glass of karnemelk, both delicious. An Uitsmijter is a very Dutch lunch dish, here is a recipe . Karnemelk is a kind of buttermilk and also very Dutch..:-)

Lunch

 

For Dordrecht the same holds as for Rotterdam, you could spend days, exploring the many gems in this historical town. Also here a few impressions only

We were lucky, the Town Hall is still used by the council, but on the first Sunday of a month it is open to the public for a couple of hours…:-). Interesting architecture, mixture of Renaissance and Neoclassic style, many restorations.

At the end of our walk we visited the Museum of Dordrecht. There was an interesting exhibition of the Haagse School and one with paintings by Breitner, one of my favourite painters. We spent quite a long time there

What could be a better way to end this pleasant day than with a Lente Bok beer…:-)? Especially when it carries my name…:-)

Lunch

Lentebok

 

 

Homage to the Vondelpark

When I moved to Amsterdam in 1961, as a 17 year old freshman, I had lodgings near to the Vondelpark. Later, after I became a teacher, I have been living again close to this park, which can be considered the “Central Park” of Amsterdam..:-) Time for a homage.

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The Vondelpark was built in four phases between 1864 and 1878. Below is the situation around 1882. Notice that Amsterdam was still a small town, mainly contained within the “Singelgracht”. Where I would live ~100 years later, was still farmland. Note that the map has been rotated slightly and that the park (lower right) has a separate detailed map at the left

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Being back in Amsterdam at the moment, I decided to visit the Vondelpark and take lots of pictures. It was beautiful spring weather. I started at the western entrance. Here I am looking back to this entrance. You can see clearly that the park is below the street level

West entrance

There are a few cafes in the park and on a sunny day many people will come here to enjoy a drink. Others will just relax in the grass, or even take a sunbath..:-). The sycamore avenue (Platanenlaan) was originally designed as a race course. For horse riding, in the beginning bicycles were not allowed in the park. Now it is the other way around..:-)

People walking their dog, joggers, roller skaters, bicyclists, sunbathers. Or just resting in the grass, enjoying another type of grass…LOL. At some places the smell of marijuana is so strong, that you almost can get high, just walking around.

Vondelpark

Vondelpark Vondelpark

Gradually I walked/biked eastwards in the park. On the south side of the park, a affluent neighborhood developed, so the park entrances from that side became more posh and elaborate..:-)  The rose garden was a later addition (1936). By the way, this rose garden is one of the most popular (and dangerous!) gay cruising areas of Amsterdam…:-)

There are three more cafe’s in the park. In the Groot Melkhuis opened in 1874, you could drink fresh milk. Now it is a popular self-service cafe-restaurant with a playground for the kids.Here you can read what Tripadvisor says about it.

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The Blauwe Theehuis is another popular venue. It was built in Modernist style in 1937, after an earlier tea house had been destroyed by fire. The Vondelpark Pavillion is a beautiful building, designed in Italian Renaissance style and built in 1878. Along the north side of the park, the Vondelstraat houses beautiful villas for the happy few..:-). Two churches can also be found here. The Vondelkerk was designed in neogothic style by famous architect Cuypers (Rijksmuseum, Central Station)

Originally the park was named the “Nieuwe Park” but later renamed Vondelpark after Holland’s most famous poet Joost van den Vondel. A statue of the poet was placed in the park in 1867. The bandstand was built in 1873. Several more sculptures can be found in the park and about each of them a story could be told. I will mention only the Mama Baranka sculpture, which was placed here in memory of Kerwin Duinmeyer, a 15 year old Antillean boy, who was killed by skinheads in 1983 because of his skin color.

It was difficult to stop taking pictures on this sunny day in spring…:-) Nice cherry blossom, Egyptian geese with their chicks, a hot dog vendor, and everywhere people relaxing.

Vondelpark

Vondelpark

In the eastern section of the park, it is crossed by a bridge, the Vondelbrug. After the park was created, north and south of the park new neighborhoods came into being. Divided by the Vondelpark! Here is the situation in 1905.

Vondel bridge

City planners wanted of course a connection road “through” the park, connecting the two streets, indicated with a blue line. But for many years the association managing the park, resisted and it was only in 1947 that the connecting bridge was opened.

Passing under the bridge we reach the eastern end of the park, with the main entrance, near the Leidseplein.

Vondelpark

Vondelpark

Much more can be told about the Vondelpark. Here is an interesting video (13 minutes, in Dutch) about the history of Amsterdam’s most famous park

Kemensah Krazy 12-4-2015

A few months ago Aric asked me if I was interested to join him and a few of his friends on a hike, called Kemensah Krazy.

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They were thinking about the Kemensah Kinda Krazy, 15 km, “ideal for those who want to have a feel of what the jungle is all about without going to extremes

Could I go the distance…:-)  Hm, I was pretty sure I could, with my almost daily morning exercise in Bukit Kiara. So I registered for the 15 km hike. Checking more carefully what to expect, I found on the website this profile of the 15 km hike. It made me slightly nervous…:-)  Distance no problem, but up and down all the time, total ascent (and descent) 850 meter

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The start was at 9 am, but we had to be there at 7:30 am to collect the race card and a BIB number, which you have to fix on your shirt. The race card will be punched at the various checkpoints and the BIB number contains a tag that will record your start and finish  time. Here is my BIB  number. With my nickname Kwai Loh..:-)

BIB

The whole event was organised very well. Free shuttle buses took us from the car park to the start. There breakfast was provided and you could leave a bag with a fresh set of clothes at a counter. For our hike there were six checkpoints, with free water and fruits.

For the 15 km hike there were about 200 participants, just after the start there was a big crowd, slowly moving forward. The organisers had done their best to create an attractive circuit. Sometimes wide logging roads, but also narrow jungle trails and a few steep slopes. Those slopes formed real bottlenecks, at one place we had to wait for about 45 minutes, in the hot sun. We had decided to walk at our own pace, Aric and his friends were faster than me, and often I walked alone, which I did not mind at all…:-)

It was a tough hike, much more strenuous that I had expected. There were a few moments that I thought about giving up. Actually there were quite a few participants who did, halfway. And almost everybody was huffing and puffing. I may have been the oldest participant and one Indian couple asked about my age. When I said I was almost 71, they replied: Wow, we are half your age. That you can do it, gives us strength to continue.  Really nice to hear.

The last (very steep!) part of the hike could be skipped without missing a checkpoint. Aric was waiting for me around there, to tell me that…:-) Sweet. But I decided to struggle on.

And I made it !!

When I shared the finish picture with my siblings in Holland, my youngest brother commented : “Everybody else went home already?”  LOL. But his next comment was that he complimented me…:-). Actually it was true that I was one of the last finishers…:-)  It took me more than 6 hours to hike this 15 km.

Here is the official result. A few participants finished after me. Aric (Cheah Yoke Seng) finished late too , but that was because he had been waiting for me! Later he told me that he and his two friends also had moments where they considered giving up!

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Here are my certificate and my medal.

Certificate

Medal

And here is a Google Earth map of the circuit. There were three loops, green, red and finally blue. The red one was quite strenuous. Will I (we) do it again. No lah.  But it was a good experience

Map

And of course I had to show off with my well-earned T-shirt. Here in IKEA. You may note that my tummy is still there…:-(

Showing off

Family gathering

When I am back in the Netherlands, we always try to organise a family gathering. This time on 18 April, one day after my 71st birthday. First we met in the family house at the Conradstraat, where we grew up and where my youngest brother and his family are now living.

Conradstraat

Conradstraat

It was a beautiful day, so we decided to take a walk through our hometown and see how much had changed..:-). Here are the six Stuivers, as we call ourselves. A stuiver was the popular name for a 5 cent coin, before the Euro was introduced.

The Stuivers

With the perfect weather, our native village (now a town) looked very attractive with quite a few historical buildings still standing and well-conserved. For Dutch readers of this blog, our Reformed Church is the Gereformeerde Kerk, the other one is the Hervormde Kerk. In English they are both “Reformed” and it would take many pages to explain the difference..:-)

Of course also a lot of renovation has been going on. The modern town hall (2003) has an eye-catching architecture. Next to the railway station a bike storage facility has been constructed in the form of a green apple :-).There is modern sculpture and some of the new residences look quite special

We had booked for our dinner in Casa Havana, a buffet restaurant inside  Avifauna This bird park was opened in 1950(!) as the first dedicated bird park in the world. We have been here regularly in our youth, but for me if was the first time in many decades to revisit the park. Before our dinner we had a stroll through the park. Of course birds in cages, like the hornbills and the flamingoes, but many also roaming free. Very nice, we should have come earlier, as the dinner was waiting for us…:-)

The buffet restaurant turned out to be a popular, crowded and quite noisy venue. A table had been reserved for us and we had a very friendly waitress. Starting wih a welcome cocktail, free flow of wine and beer, a large variety of food, even port with the cheese! Value for money.

“Shall I take a picture of your group”, the motherly waitress asked me. Here is the result

The family

The problem with buffet restaurants is that my stomach is not big enough..:-( Here is what I managed to consume (hm, actually there was such a variety of starters that I had two plates).

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After the dinner we walked back to our cars. Spring is a few weeks late this year, so many trees still were barren. It gave the pollard willows (knotwilgen) an almost magical appearance

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Before going home, we had a farewell drink in the family house. A very nice and satisfactory reunion!

In the Conradstraat

Copycatting, copycatting, copycatting

In my last journal I wrote that I had made a long hike in Bukit Kiara with a group of hikers. I joined their Whatsapp group and they know about my interest in waterfalls. Last week a message was posted in this Whatsapp group with a link to  Paradise Malaysia Waterfalls . Of course I was interested and I opened the link. Surprise!   Hey, it is about me!  Here is the opening page (click to enlarge).

Waterfalls

The website belongs to the Big Blue Taxi Services and this article has been added to the site in August last year, by ‘bigblue’.

But I have never had any contact with this company, I have never used a Blue Taxi in KL and when I read this: Avoid Blue taxis in KL at ALL cost! , I never will in future, LOL. So, how is it possible that I appear on this site?

Time for some investigative  Google search… :-) As I suspected copycatting, I did a search for “Dutch enthusiast Jan Stuivenberg” and got this:

Google

Bingo! Big Blue Taxi Services is there, but top of the list is a STAR article “Our Best Waterfalls” dating back to 2009. And yes, that rings a bell…:-)

In 2009 my friend Joe Yap was very active with her Waterfall Survivors group, drawing attention from a STAR reporter, Louisa Lim, resulting in an article about the activities of the WS group titled  Fighting for the Falls .Joe told her about me, that I was her “sifu”,  I got an email from Louisa and in the same STAR issue a second article was published: Our Best Waterfalls

STAR

When you compare the two texts you will see that they are identical, except for one small, but telling detail: in the Big Blue article  the word five  is omitted, and the title mentions Top 8 Must Visit Waterfalls” . And indeed, in the Big Blue article 3 more waterfalls have been added.

There are more differences. In the Big Blue article the description of the waterfalls is much more elaborate than in the original STAR article.

For example, about the Jerangkang Falls in Pahang.

Here is the STAR description. Not my words, by the way, they were written by the STAR reporter …:-)

Jerangkang STAR

And here is Big Blue (click to enlarge)

Jerangkang Big Blue

The first paragraph is identical. The rest of the text is mine! Copied from the Jerangkang page  in my Waterfalls in Malaysia website. Double copycatting..:-). Ok, the pictures are different.

Did Big Blue do all this? No, it is more complicated.

In the Google search there is another hit, the website Holidays in Malaysia . In May 2010, almost five years ago, and six months after the STAR article, a certain Kenny published an article Best Waterfalls In Malaysia on this website. He added one more waterfall to “my” five…:-). The Geruntum fall in Perak. The rest of the text is identical with the STAR article, but he adds a few pictures. Here is Jerangkang again, including a picture

Jeraqngkang Holidays in Malaysia

And the Geruntum fall links to a separate page: Splashing Time At The Ulu Geruntum Waterfall , published by Kenny in July 2010. Fair enough, for this article he mentions  the STAR as source. It did not take me long to find out that he had copied the content, lock, stock and barrel from Having a splashing time , written for the STAR in 2009 by my waterfall and birding friend Chan Ah Lak !

Do you still follow me…:-)? Because we are not yet there…:-).

The Google Search has another, more recent hit: My Travel Journey September 2012  This is a blog, written by “John” . Here is the opening page

My Travel Journey

And here is the part about Jerangkang on his site. The first two paragraphs are from the STAR article, the purple part has been copied from my Waterfalls of Malaysia site.

Jerangkang My TRavel Journey

For this waterfall no pictures have been copied, which makes the sentence: “These pictures cover the falls until step 15, so there is still work to be done…!” rather meaningless.

For other waterfalls he copies the pictures too, actually just linking to the pictures on my website (which is considered impolite in Cyberspace!) Here is a part of Lata Kinjang, first as shown on my site

Kinjang_WoM

And here is the same part of Lata Kinjang on John’s site. When I check the source code of the page, I see that the whole page has been extracted (using MsOffice Word?)  from my site, even including the table structure, leading to misalignment of the lats picture…:-)

Kinjang-My Travel Journey

In this blog two more waterfalls are added, bringing the total to 8. Why the Bukit Larut (Perak) fall  and the Giam Klimau fall (Sarawak!) are selected from my site, is unclear to me. They are not that special.

Far enough, at the end of the page, he writes: For more info can go to http://www.waterfallsofmalaysia.com/index.php……….  But of course it is still copycatting.

Now we are almost there, finally…:-) When I compare this My Travel Journey version with the Big Blue one, I find only minor differences. Big Blue does not link to my Waterfalls of Malaysia pictures. They have edited (and improved) the layout of the page and made some textual changes. At the end they mention the Waterfalls of Malaysia site, and also that they used My Travel Journey as their source.

But it still is copycatting, copycatting and copycatting…:-) My Waterfalls of Malaysia site has a contact option and the least they could have done, is to contact me and ask my permission.

Final copycatting reconstruction:

STAR article (2009)  > Holidays in Malaysia (2010) > My Travel Journey (2012 > Big Blue Taxi Services (2014)

And one last remark. On all these sites I am introduced as the  “Dutch enthusiast Jan Stuivenberg, who has paid a visit to more than 110 of the nation’s 130 waterfalls

What utterly nonsense about “the nation’s 130 waterfalls“, LOL. When the STAR reporter wrote her article, there were 130 waterfalls described on the Waterfalls of Malaysia site! When you visit the site now, you will see that the present count is 183. And there are hundreds, maybe even thousands more in Malaysia.