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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Monday, 24 September 2001
--> Malmö (S) 2nd day

I don’t have enough invitations to travel around Sweden at this moment and on Wednesday I have to take a plane from Malmö Airport to London, UK, arranged and paid for by The Guardian newspaper.

My hosts Patric and Sandy really welcomed me to stay another day. Tomorrow I’ll visit one extra city in Sweden, but then I am out of here.

Computer programmers have a different life rhythm, I have to tell you. I myself too, when I used to be working behind my computer in my hometown in The Netherlands, worked better at night than at daytimes.

In the darkness there is nothing to distract you from doing those things I did. And just look at your screen: one of the results of that.

I write this because we went to bed last night pretty late. Or in better words: pretty early in the morning.

And with two full speed internet connection we stayed indoor most of the day, with Patric and Sandy letting me work on my website.

It will always be a strange phenonenom for people with a 9 to 5 life rhythm to wake up after noon and have breakfast (well, fast?) around 2pm.

I also write chronicles for newspapers and I had exactly one hour to make my Monday 3pm-deadline for this week. It’s always fun to struggle against a deadline, while also processing emails and being present in the Letmestay-chatbox.

The Dutch chronicle can be read on my backstage log.

Later this day, just before it got dark outside (hey, again?), Patric took me out on the bikes through the city. That felt good, being a bit more sportive and get to cycle through a city where I have never been to before. We drove from their place to the centre and had a beer in a pub.

Patric talked about his work and I talked about my home country differs from other things I get to see in other countries.

Today’s chronicle I wrote was about the idea that going home is always great, although I will also always be glad to go again.

I do miss my friends and those little things. The beer in the local pubs, the walk over the Old Fish Market (there isn’t any water anymore, but the streets are still called like this), visiting neighbour students or eat carbonara speciale at a friend of mine.

Within a few days I will be able to do this for a few days (and because I need to renew my passport and pick up my international drivers’ license), before I depart to South Africa.

I wouldn’t be able to really have a break in this project, I guess. There are just too many places to visit on this world yet.

After the beer Patric told me it would be a good idea to pick up Thai food for tonight, as it was almost 9pm.

We crossed through the city centre of Malmö on our bikes, dangerously passing pedestrians (or passing dangerous pedestrians), fly over road crossings, pass squares and little streets… All to arrive at the Thai restaurant at 3 minutes to 9 to find out they were already cleaning the kitchen. Bummer!

And I was sweating my head off. Yes, that Scanrail train pass really spoiled me the last month…

We took all the time to ride home, where Patric ordered a Swedish pizza. As you can see on the photograph at the right, those Swedish pizzas are pretty small…

With on television one of the first episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 tv-serie, a discussion about education started. With Sandy as an American, she had to tell me that life in Beverly Hills isn’t at all like it was presented in the tv-series. Of course I knew that.

Sandy was surprised by the Dutch way of higher education. To tell you the facts: every student gets a monthly amount of 435 Guilders (182 US dollars/123 British Pounds) from the government to survive on (if you live on your own as a student). You can get an extra loan if your parents can’t support you with the extras. The fee for a year of college will cost around 2500 Guilders (1,046 US dollars/711 British Pounds), while a standard student room costs around 400 per month, and I haven’t mentioned the costs of books yet.

You’ll GET the money from the government for four years, the length of your study. But if you don’t graduate within the four years, it will become a loan. You’ll have to pay back all four years. If you make it, you have yourself a diploma!

The fun thing with our Dutch system is – and that surprised Sandy – is that if you fail a certain exam, you can always try it again later, until you make it.

Sandy finds that rediculous, I find it a way to motivate.

First you have to make it within four years otherways you’ll have this loan following you for a long time, but you can fill out how and when you do your exams. Of course, if you fail exams, you can do it again another time; but classes go on and the next exams will follow too. It will just pile up if you are not being careful. I think it makes a student in Holland more responsible for its study. And anybody always deserves a second chance, don’t you?

The pizza tasted pretty good and the tv-serie was terrible. And I even enjoyed that serie when I was young (I was an addict, my mother would say)!

The day ended with us all on the internet. Sandy asked if I was a computerfreak. I denied that, I am more an information freak. I like to read and find news or new things online that inspire me in what I am doing right now.

We all went to bed somewhere late this night, or early. I can’t remember. It was a very relaxing day for me. Good!

Good night Malmö!

Ramon.




Free extra link:
Swedisch for Dummies.



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