vol. 7 #10 – 22 April 2014
The Sentinel Amsterdam
Integrity, heart, humour
SUN GODS & GODESSES
THE NEXT GENERATION
CULTURE PERSPECTIVES LIFESTYLES TRAVEL OPINION REVIEW TECHNOLOGY ART FILM MUSIC TRENDS RECOMMENDED SPORT
in this issue
feature - p.04
perspectives - p.6
culture - p.30
Sun gods & goddesses
Dam in 60 minutes! Amstelpark
Ghent: full of the good stuff
‘Ponder the importance of sunshine in human life’
‘The coolest job in Amsterdam during the warmer months’
‘The waterways of Ghent are museums
technology - p.120
sport - p.124
The next generation
The Gold Room
‘I needed to reconnect with Grenada’
‘Offering alternatives to the traditional password formats.’
culture - p.46
more perspectives - p.58
tripping days - p.64
city gem - p.80
Amsterdam is also an island
Trinidad Beach Panorama
At home with the Hoptimists v2
travel - p.84
tripping days - p.90
travel - p.100
Grenada - above and below
A village in Tobago
amsterdam city life - p.107
star beer guide - p.80
recommended - p.110
spotted - p.112
film - p.113
trends - p.114
Where is this in Amsterdam?
health & well-being - p.118
Change of perspective
The Sentinel Amsterdam
E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.thesentinel.eu Contributors: Sam van Dam, Dirkje Bakker-Pierre, Evelina Kvartunaite and Andrei Barburas
Editor: Denson Pierre Design: Dirkje Bakker-Pierre - no-office.nl Realisation: Andrei Barburas Webmaster: www.sio-bytes.tumblr.com Webhost: Andrei Barburas
The Sentinel Amsterdam does not intentionally include unaccredited photos/illustrations that are subject to copyright. If you consider your copyright to have been infringed, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Denson Pierre
It is not very often that we can produce a leading article that is shorter in length than any of the others within The Sentinel. Today it is possible as there is so much sunshine shown beyond this point that it is only appropriate to simply have everyone ponder the importance of sunshine in human life. It would seem that those cultures to have, and those who continue to ‘worship’ this source of gold have had a few right ideas. Humans as animals are just more animated and beautiful within the sun’s stare. Currently we baffle ourselves with the science of the sun but all of our forefathers developed more iconic, psychological and mythical constructions around that bringer of light which sustains most of what we understand to be life. If any of these names rings a bell you should get out as soon as you can, look toward the heavens and applaud the dynamo glowing there: Amaterasu, Arinna, Apollo, Frevr, Garuda, Helios, Hepa, Huitzilopcchtli, Hvar Khshaita, Inti, Liza, Lugh, Mithras, Re, Shemesh, Sol, Sol Invictus, Surya, Tonatiuh, Utu.
‘Look toward the heavens and applaud’
Sun gods and goddesses
Dam in 60 minutes! 6
By Sam van Dam
‘Originally built for the Floriade gardening exhibition of 1972’
I take deep breaths and clear my mind of all the clutter while slowly moving deeper into the relaxing and beautiful landscape, the river on one side, lovely villas lined up on the other, creating a simple, yet compelling image that is far removed from the busy city that I have just left. Rowing boats float by, runners pass me and a wide variety of native birds populate the sky. In the distance I can see the highway bridge just beyond the entrance to the Amstelpark and my legs automatically speed up to propel me towards that magic revolving gate that keeps out cyclists and any other kind of non-pedestrian traffic, a unique approach for an Amsterdam park.
around and take in the happy-looking families and groups of friends who had the same idea to enjoy a day in the park. Once inside, the little train that goes around the whole area choo-choos by, filled with smiling kids, steered by a really happy looking driver, who probably has the coolest job in Amsterdam during the warmer months. Paths leading in all directions open up in front of me and I decide to simply go with the flow and see where it’ll take me. I walk along the mini-golf course where all ages are gathered for rounds and refreshing drinks and I am tempted to join them, but instead I walk in the direction of the Glasshouse that is concealed slightly from the main road. A lake with benches next to it invites me to sit, picnickers are everywhere and everything is surrounded by a nice thick padding of bushes, shrubs, trees and many other, often exotic kinds of vegetation. There is so much to see, the Japanese Garden, the Rosarium, the Rhododendron Valley with its roughly 140 varieties, and in the distance I can even sense a hint of the Riekermolen, one of the only eight remaining windmills left in Amsterdam. There you find a Rembrandt monument showing the master painter in a typical pose with a sketchbook in hand. I stroll through the mazes and take a walk into a little wood that is a protected natural habitat. There is art everywhere, nicely integrated into the landscape, adding another pleasurable element to this already impressive set-up.
Eventually I come across a fenced-off section that houses llamas and wallabies...wait, did I say wallabies? That’s right, there are a bunch of them enjoying the sunny day, one of them is an albino, something I had never seen before. The llamas seem almost ordinary in comparison to this unusual and unexpected resident of the park, but of course they are themselves rather far away from their natural habitat and on their own would have made me feel like I had travelled too far and ended up on a different continent. To finish off this I lock up my steely companion and walk up to the wonderful day in one of the most attractive places in entrance, a big blue-yellow contraption that would not and around Amsterdam, I meet some friends for a look out of place in one of the local jails, where I have to picnic and we all agree that this park is an awesome wait a moment until a very sporty guy is finished doing spot for spending a sunny, soothing day. pull-ups on the gate. I use that spare time to gaze
Allow me to take you to one of my all-time favourite places in Amsterdam, the Amstelpark. It is one of the city’s largest and more diverse parks and offers more than just open space and green areas, a claim the nearly one million annual visitors can surely attest to. The park was originally built for the Floriade gardening exhibition of 1972 and quickly gained a vast circle of fans and regulars, including myself. To get there in style and without too much traffic stress I start my ride at the Amstel Station. Across the river I go, in the general direction of Ouderkerk, one of my previous destinations, and as soon as I have passed the towering Phillips headquarters, I am in the countryside and instantly traffic is reduced to middle-aged men in lycra riding racer bikes and folk walking or sitting by the water or in the Martin Luther Kingpark.
â€˜Rotate 360 degrees to take it all inâ€™
â€˜That magic revolving gate that keeps out cyclists and any other kind of non-pedestrian trafficâ€™
â€˜Picnickers are everywhere and everything is surrounded by a nice thick padding of bushesâ€™
â€˜There is art everywhere, nicely integrated into the landscape, adding another pleasurable elementâ€™
The Mediterranean as it once was.
full of the good stuff
By Denson Pierre
I am becoming more and more tempted to rebrand Flanders as the quality food & drink capital of non-Mediterranean Europe. No other region is so compact in terms of having all the best ingredients to make it stand out as the perfect European tableau. There is nothing missing; there are unmatchable tales built on a history going as far back as most anywhere else in Europe, the people are friendly and open to visitors (as tourists) because they know it is such a huge part of the economy, you would have to go to select regions of France and Italy to match the outstanding cuisine, and there is no kind of argument against this being the epicentre of the global quality beer brewing and drinking tradition.
â€˜Rebrand Flanders as the quality food & drink capital of non-Mediterranean Europeâ€™
‘I find it to be a magical place and worth a visit as a ‘must do’ old European destination’
colour to me. Getting on the waterways around the old city was suggested to me by the professionals at the Belgian tourist office. As the skies did eventually start clearing, I thought I would get myself on a ride to see what I could see, and no doubt learn more from the unending detail of this great city, which, only a few hundred years ago rivalled Paris as the largest in Europe.
What you find in Ghent, as I did on my first evening, is that this city and Flanders feels like they encapsulate a certain civilised way of being and consuming. This is so relaxed, with a focus on the time with others and in a non-stressed environment that in the end it is most ideal. I feel the description usually attached of it being Bergundian in nature is insufficient. I suppose, given that everyone speaks good English here and then some soft “G” Dutch wrapped around some regional French, makes it feel like somewhere floating above the usual definitions for European regions [this is not to say that Flanders does not suffer universal and particular social and political problems]. Ghent is a city which, if an alien landed on earth and had three hours to make a summary experience about the nature of Europe and then report back to the galactic commanders... It would be satisfactory based on Ghent alone.
The sun deities must also have been visiting Ghent. By 10:30 and in lovely soft light I was already at the kiosk of the canal tour company. As was my luck, there was this lovely and chatty lady present who informed me that I was a full hour early from the time the captains started pushing off and how much she could guarantee that I would enjoy it. An hour was a long time to pass even factoring in having a delicious cup of coffee on the nearby traditional craft and yummy edibles market. So, this friendly lady and I got talking for a further fifteen minutes. We easily breezed through the topics of why the levels of excellence in hospitality was so standard here, why the tradition of high quality beer means they have the best in the world, that she had a daughter currently working up here in an Amsterdam hotel and ultimately that it was indeed her family, from her husband’s side, who owned the boat tour company. Showing an interest in an interesting person meant that she offered to send me on an additional tour (they also own the tour and kiosk a couple hundred metres away which sent its boats to a few different parts of the watery, ancient highway within the city) for free.
I had not come from too far away, Amsterdam in fact, from where it is a pleasant journey to make by train or car. Having been to the city before, I was keen to bring back different reports this time. My first evening was especially mild and fresh and the city was alive in that civilised Friday night way not seen in most other parts of Europe where town centres and entertainment districts are awash with wild, drunken behaviour, volume drinking (piffling lagers and pilsners) bores, boors and a generally edgy and uncomfortable atmospheres. The Ghent experience on a Friday night is diametrically opposed to this. You find the highest quality of socialising around food and the best variety of wines, beers and spirits available, making the entire cultural and entertainment districts feel like the refreshing dinner party you would like to always have.
What a treat, by the time 11:30 had arrived it was clear that it was going to be a sunny day and I was going onto the water. I would return, after an hour to the starting point which is rather conveniently located alongside the most famous of all the beer houses in the city. I would spend a couple hours in this historic place of brews allowing the time to pass so that the repositioning of the sun might provide me with different shadows as the special effects to the second series of photos I would make. By the time I re-emerged from the then in- shade beer house, the sun was not just gliding impressively through the clear sky but had The next morning I had another of those Flemish warmed up the city to an easy 20C and transformed breakfasts which can only set you up for a good day. It everyone into shiny, sun seekers right there and all was a bit overcast and light grey outside so I returned to around this fascinating city in spring. The waterways of my hotel room to scan the internet to find what was Ghent are museums. news around the world and allow for the chance, if Partners on this leg of this press trip: there was any, of the sun burning through the atmospheric sheeting to reveal the glorious city in full www.accorhotels.com www.toerismevlaanderen.nl
This time in Flanders was to be one of a few visits to the many outstanding museums and exhibits which seem to constantly feature in Ghent. If you have not been or not believed the reports about this ancient and beautiful city, then I will simply say that I find it to be a magical place and worth a visit as a ‘must do’ old European destination.
‘Everyone speaks good English here and then some soft “G” Dutch wrapped around some regional French’
â€˜You find the highest quality of socialising around food and the best variety of wines, beers and spirits availableâ€™
â€˜The sun deities must also have been visiting Ghentâ€™
‘Life in its raw, uncompromising and sometimes painful beauty’
a d a n e Gr rations e n ge
By Denson Pierre
Some things in life and those discovered through travel can take some explaining and others are just about life in its raw, uncompromising and sometimes painful beauty. Grenada is always with me somehow as, despite being a Trinidadian to the bone, my entire packet of genes got to Trinidad from this splendid island just to the north of Trinidad & Tobago. All four of my grandparents were Grenadians and most directly from there, was my father.
‘Why some things happen the way they do will never be satisfactorily explained but just fuel almost mystical conjecture’
‘I already knew the ‘answers’; from my introduction it was already made clear that I was a man of the Caribbean’
It was however, not part of my plans to visit Grenada in this period, but a meeting with an impressive woman brought the actuality of a trip there right to the top of my list. Why some things happen the way they do will never be satisfactorily explained but just fuel almost mystical conjecture. It was only during January of 2013 that I sought out the area at the Vakantiebeurs (Holiday/Travel Fair) in Utrecht that was set up for the ‘Caribbean’. Having circled the area, agitated as it was, by the representatives and entertainers from the Dutch and Spanish Caribbean singing praises and offering brochures on not just how to holiday in their nations but also how to connect with the instances there whose business was tourism. My attention though was attracted by the simple stand of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and a lady stationed there who beamed the way I remembered my mother did. The CTO is essentially meant to represent almost the entire group of islands of the Caribbean and a few of the larger countries of Central and South America that face the Caribbean Sea. There was also a stand nearby with a Bob Marley poster which somehow tried to speak for Jamaica. This construction drove me to great anger almost immediately as I could not figure out why there was only this paltry showing at a major international fair from a region as beautiful and welcoming as anywhere else in the world. Of course, money is an issue and most of the Caribbean was then, and still is now, suffering the severe effects of the global economic re-adjustment on tourism. As soon as Ms Veronica St Louis caught my
roving gaze she must have understood my disturbed spirit, and simply smiled at me. I went over, introduced myself and The Sentinel and asked a barrage of questions as to why it was such a meek showing at the fair by her organisation’s members. Not many people are able to make me calm once I have already driven my blood pressure skyward and initiated a hunt for answers which can hopefully help me explain to readers about means to pleasure. Veronica was able to gently remind me that I already knew the ‘answers’; from my introduction it was already made clear that I was a man of the Caribbean and also one who was reasonably knowledgeable about the region. She encouraged me to seek the other answers closer to source by even offering tips on governments and persons who could possibly help me with information and explanations. I was touched by the fact that someone I had never met before was able to not just ‘get me’ but already send me on a mission. This all took just a matter of minutes. Veronica and I maintained telephone and email contact and so learned that due to the nature of and dynamics within the Caribbean diaspora, that we could easily be related. Her genealogy was also to do with Grenada and the population there is only 110, 000 these days. Since our first meeting I had revisited the Caribbean for holiday and reporting and we kept up our correspondence. Suddenly it was January 2014 and I was very happy to return to the travel fair to meet up
â€˜I feel she knew we had to meet and that she would be the one to pass on the messageâ€™
and spend some time with Veronica again. Of course, she was there being jolly, informative and sweet as ever and we covered a great deal of ground about certain deficiencies in the manner Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada in particular, might have been communicating with Europe. Somehow, and as it occurred, I had already booked to be in Trinidad & Tobago only a few weeks after this meeting. She must have autosuggested to me that I needed to reconnect with Grenada. As soon as I returned to my office I found myself pulling out all the stops (and spending most of my savings) to make sure I could make a press visit to Grenada. I was to travel there with my wife so that there could be additional reporting. Grenada totally reenergised me and now I have a burning desire to return there to explore, study and write about it all. Once back to Amsterdam though, I gave myself some time to fully re-adjust to Europe and my tasks here. Veronica had asked me to make it my business to get in touch with her and the CTO office in London when I was ready. She had imbued me with a sense that what and how I was doing my work could maybe have something to add to her organisation, The Sentinel and my personal development. When I eventually called through to the CTO office, the colleague who picked up had a few questions about the reason for my contact and wish to speak with Veronica. This was easy and I gushed about the inspirational time my wife and I had in Grenada as per her suggestion and
my keenness being to get chatting about our possible working relationship into the future. After a pause and an intake of breath the voice on the other end of the line informed me that Veronica had passed away. It took a brief illness and the one month I was away for her to be no more. Where she pointed me to however, is so full of gorgeous life that I feel she knew we had to meet and that she would be the one to pass on the message. I only hope I can honour her life by showing some of the brilliance of a little island we shared.
‘Our reporting and expression is directed toward bringing pleasure to readers’
m a d r e t s m A o s l a is d n a l s i an By Denson Pierre
The Sentinel Amsterdam does not exist within a vacuum of cultural travel, purveyance of hospitality excellence, sports and hardearned fun. We are a democratically minded group of individuals, all not originally from Amsterdam and most not even originally from the Netherlands. The objectives of our reporting and expression is directed toward bringing pleasure to readers and those they pass the publication on to here and around the world. It is my duty therefore to publish something to do with the rather unfortunate re-emergence of stark racism against many as a daily, sometimes boisterous practice around the Netherlands; again at a time of economic strain. This has led to those intent on disharmony latching onto social and economic dysfunction as having something almost exclusively to do with
‘foreigners’ being resident in The Kingdom of the Netherlands. This has been simmering at the nasty level for a good while but now seems to be coming to a boil as it is now that intolerable. On my return from the Caribbean earlier this year, I found myself with a couple absolute duties to perform. One was to make sure to vote in the municipal elections that greeted my return (and remember to vote in the European elections to come in May). The other obligation was to attend the protest demonstration by Amsterdammers and other (national) organisations busy with pushing back against the rise of a certain vague form of neo-Nazism creeping into mainstream politics here and manifested in the social behaviour of cowards and ignoramuses in daily life around this nation. With that sort of remark I would like to remind many of even my own associates who do not think the ‘problem’ is them or about them that the bigot and xenophobe randomises with the target of their ire
‘I found myself with a couple absolute duties to perform’ depending on how the wind blows and what is conveniently populist at any given time. Within dynamic Europe these days white or light skin does not protect you from the Nasties. In my online life it is amazing to note that once folk do not know (or care) what form of humanity you might have solidarity for, that they can tend to say the most awful things. The terror descends when you consider it all and realise that they are seriously believing their own hate messages and postings. I interact and work with all manner of ‘nationalities’ in this exceptionally cosmopolitan city but remain aware that we are indeed the island of Amsterdam. Folk to have come to this city with small-minded, provincial and ‘subtle racism’ as a reflex are a growing demographic as they pool their parochial awfulness yet hide behind some notion of cool and ever ready denial. I always say that the way to check out a person’s actual position in terms of how they feel about sharing space, resources and ideas with persons of different ethnicities, nationalities or even political views, is to check their friendship log. You are not able to tell me as an Amsterdammer that you are
that cool with cosmopolitan living when you only have lilly white or jet black friends populating your select bubble. It was great that more than 6,000 Amsterdammers came out on 22/03/14 to show that this city, its inhabitants, and all of its proper humanistic credentials derive respect from a proper notion of freedom, tolerance and inclusion. Amsterdam has joined the discussion against the tide. This despite the lack of participation by groups and individuals who themselves are under attack but clearly prefer cowering behind the false shields of jobs, relationships and an ungrounded fear about consequences to emerge from rocking the boat towards greater social equality and ease. It is also good that The Sentinel can show something of the demonstration as it is always fair to show some things from all sides toward informing the democratic arguments.
‘I would like to remind many of even my own associates who do not think the ‘problem’ is them or about them that the bigot and xenophobe randomises with the target of their ire depending on how the wind blows’
â€˜The terror descends when you consider it all and realise that they are seriously believing their own hate messages and postingsâ€™
â€˜This city, its inhabitants, and all of its proper humanistic credentials derive respect from a proper notion of freedom, tolerance and inclusionâ€™
TRINIDAD BEACH PANORAMA
â€˜Spend some quieter time away from the hustle and absolute bustle of the traffic-filled cities on this islandâ€™
‘Spend some quieter time away from the hustle and absolute bustle of the traffic-filled cities on this island’ This type of tripping comes easily to me once I can swing through the town of my birth and upbringing. What such a small place, to the south of the island of Trinidad does, is offer the day tripper the opportunity to spend some quieter time away from the hustle and absolute bustle of the traffic-filled cities on this island. Of course, I was there for this report during the carnival season and at such a time there is little escape from the all-encompassing reach of the rhythms and food fare that surrounds the time when Trinis are always but a sentence away from raising topics of something to do with the period of celebration approaching its climax.
At the heart of the culture of Trinidad & Tobago we have steelpan, and there seems to be an eternal challenge with this, the only musical ‘invention’ since the beginning of the 20th century, being, despite its majesty and syncopation, one of the bulkiest orchestral formations. The awe of the steel band is not easily exported. This musical art form can only be experienced at its scintillating best during the National Panorama Finals (steel orchestra competition) in Port of Spain. It is a musical face-off that goes deep into the tropical night and the experience to be had is close in on being a surreal mix. There is the shrill of steely tenor, the rumbling of bass, and the feel of percussive waves generated by notes produced when musicians with lightning-fast hands make steel drums seem to assume voices by skilfully ‘playing’ them. You just have to be present and close-up when a 100+ member orchestra dive into their routine, leaving the listener exhilarated by the complete surround sound. 67
All of the travel, festivities, feasts and general craziness are balanced out once locals and visitors alike head for and over the hills and mountains to find some relaxation in beach life. In the end and using so few words, Trinidad is a panorama beach.
â€˜Trinis are always but a sentence away from raising topics of something to do with the period of celebration approaching its climaxâ€™
â€˜Locals and visitors alike head for and over the hills and mountains to find some relaxation in beach lifeâ€™
M CITY GE
â€˜Issues with their onsite brews selling out faster than they can be replenishedâ€™
At home with the Hoptimists v2 81
By Denson Pierre
Troost Cornelius Troostplein 23 Amsterdam
Earlier this year I promised to return to the new hospitality sensation serving Amsterdam. Brew Pub Troost is now open. The business leaders have gone for the comfortable Amsterdam canteen feel and already can report issues with their onsite brews selling out faster than they can be replenished. A luxury problem of a comfortable place and business. De Pijp now has an option of unique difference.
â€˜The vibrant, and warm magnificence of this ultimate paradise islandâ€™
above and below the bright blue By Dirkje Bakker-Pierre
For a short, superb spell we spent some sensational yet slow moving time on the picture perfect and enthralling island of Grenada. Friendly, nice, stunning, easy going, deep green, gemlike, sleepy, mesmerising, unreal, bright blue and fragrant; words are not always sufficient to describe the vibrant, and warm magnificence of this ultimate paradise island. Even as I write this my wish is to go back! We were lucky to dive the literally crystal clear water surrounding this magical mountain sticking out from the sea with aquanautsgrenada.com and to admire the equally fantastic life under the sea. My feelings were that of being a bit of a cross between Jacques Cousteau and Sir David Attenborough, as diving is always an incredibly fantastic and mind altering
experience. Life under the sea is as different to our land lumbering as I imagine any alien planet could appear, so to be able to visit this strange world never ceases to amaze me. Riding a speedy and strong current we float along a beautiful painting of a coral reef that is teeming with activity. All of a sudden we are caught in a National Geographic-type scene of being in a cloud of what seemed like millions of little fish reflecting sunlight off their sides through the waves. An unearthly silent school reacting to our movements without ever making contact, like a choreographed dance or a shimmering flash mob, moving to some long lost or far away tune, a visual version of a steelpan concert, where you are submerged in the sounds and the rhythms. The dive on the Atlantic side of this windward island took us past a collection of curious creatures including:
‘Dive the literally crystal clear water surrounding this magical mountain sticking out from the sea’
black spotted Moray eel, southern sting ray, bizarre and beautiful lion fish, porcupine fish, chilling nurse sharks, big cartoonlike lobsters, colourful shrimp, luminescent coral, barrel corals, uncountable tiny and wobbly fish floating with us on the swift currents or just lounging about on the sand or beneath overhanging rocks. A huge feeling of happiness, total relaxation and wonderment stayed with me as we climbed out from the big Atlantic waves. I was completely frozen (blue lips and all!) after an hour in the deep that really seemed more like five minutes. I’ve visited that other world again; how truly weird and cool is nature and how magical is this planet! I will always be amazed. If you should find yourself in privileged position of being able able to go diving in the big blue Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea around this island, Aquanauts dive shop is an absolute recommendation given their
supremely professional and calm way of going about everything. They have great instructors, top of the line equipment and materials and deserve a big thumbsup. Also, for first time divers this would make a great school as they take safety seriously and make diving as much fun as it can and ought to be. Diving in general always gets my vote as it is the most magical, meditative and fun activity on this planet, especially in this fantastic area offering completely different types of dives in either the great, mysterious waters of the Atlantic or Caribbean Sea. So, if you were ever in doubt, just go for it, you will never look back!
â€˜Caught in a National Geographic-type scene of being in a cloud of what seemed like millions of little fish reflecting sunlight off their sides through the wavesâ€™
â€˜It is the most magical, meditative and fun activity on this planetâ€™
‘Visitors like to believe that most of what all the ‘Caribbean’ has to offer is palm trees, splendid beaches and laid-back locals’
Trinidad: Scarlet dusk As with Amsterdam where I have spent half of my life, I tend to speak about Trinidad & Tobago with a more ‘expert’ tongue than I could possibly do about elsewhere. Having always been a person curious about interesting things, I tried my best to learn as much as would stick about my country and brought that passion for and about my environment to my new home, the Netherlands.
ferry/ water-taxi and each time I have had to land in Trinidad - it is the preferred area over which final adjustments for landing are made by aircraft heading in to Piarco International Airport.
Most people reading this would not be aware of how tremendously industrialised Trinidad is. Trinis understand that non-Trinis and potential visitors like to believe that most of what all the ‘Caribbean’ has to offer is palm trees, splendid beaches and laid-back locals. Well, we have that as well but this western coastline is more associated with significant petrochemical and petro- industrial complexes serviced by supertankers and related cargo and factory ships. With such an assured introduction it would then Trinidad & Tobago, due to the fortune of existing at a surprise you to learn that somehow I had never visited the Caroni Swamp, reserve and bird sanctuary. It could location above a basin of some of the richest fossil fuel deposits on the planet, is in actual fact the ‘Norway’ of just be that this amazing place and the tours you can do there are so seemingly ever-available. The expanse of the Caribbean. the Caroni Swamp and estuary is located two-thirds of The Caroni swamp is sandwiched between the very the way up the western side of the island. I would have heavily populated areas of Chaguanas to the south and gone past it on uncountable occasions with both the capital Port of Spain to the north. My comment northern and southern headings by automobile, fast
‘Trinidad & Tobago, due to the fortune of existing at a location above a basin of some of the richest fossil fuel deposits on the planet, is in actual fact the ‘Norway’ of the Caribbean’
‘This tour turned out to be the most amazing of any I had done’
about accessibility was to do with the fact that the main (and super busy) highway that connects the north and south of the island literally forms the eastern border of the swamp area. It takes a simple lay-off to arrive at the tour company jump-off point while still in sight and sound of automobiles speeding along, oblivious to the adventure that lay ahead for those with the wisdom to find this place and tour.
of Scarlet Ibis coming in to roost, in their formations, and to this select location. Even though these birds are to be found nearby in Venezuela, for instance, it is the access to them here in Trinidad and the extra-ordinary scene they set with their bright scarlet against dusky blue and darkening skies that make it so special. When the large numbers have completed their perching you find that they have created the visual illusion of transforming the large mangrove wood into some It should be sufficient to say that this tour turned out to out-of-this-world, giant flowering plant; so lovely are the scarlet shapes against the lush, deep green. be the most amazing of any I had done in Trinidad & Tobago. It is just dramatic and spectacular! Very soon Somehow and maybe it has been coming anyway, I had after pushing off and making our way along the river thoughts of maybe becoming a birder based on this into the swamp proper, you find that the sound of the experience. If birds can put on this kind of show this rest of the world fades and you are then suddenly in often, then following them and their presentations this mysterious watery world surrounded by a around the world might be something for me. This tour mangrove forest, creatures and especially birds you would be hard-pressed to spot anywhere else, not just in comes very highly recommended at an honest price of TT $50 per adult. Indeed, I think from now on, once in Trinidad & Tobago where we boast over 400 bird sorts, Trinidad I will do it again as it ought not be possible to but anywhere else in the world. become used to or bored by this show. In a land where The highlight to the 2.5-hour round trip is certainly having the opportunity to observe the spectacular sight inhabitants seem hardwired to ‘show’ it should be no
â€˜They have created the visual illusion of transforming the large mangrove wood into some out-of-thisworld, giant flowering plantâ€™
surprise to learn that the Scarlet Ibis has been adopted as the national bird. Wow! Notes: This tour might not be best suited to children under 5, young adults with only an urban understanding of the workings of nature (these animals and creatures are not there to perform for you but are just doing their things), or indeed adults who are just looking for something to do who possess no particular feel for the exceptional nature of the opportunity to do something like this. Resident exotic birds of the Caroni Swamp come in as the sun is setting so the journey made outward has to be retraced in what quickly becomes pitch darkness. Of course the adventure of trying to spot alligators (caiman) and their reflective eyes via the beams of the boat captainâ€™s spotlight is exciting but many a nonesnake-lover will be creeped-out by the knowledge that those serpents coiled around the branches of the overhanging mangrove, making for great wildlife shots
on the way in, could be becoming a bit active at just a metre above the head of adults seated in the flat-bottom boat. It is though reassuring to note that the last giant snake extricated from a swamp (and now housed in the Emperor Valley Zoo) in Trinidad was a female Anaconda. She might have been extracted from the other amazing and larger swamp and reserve in Trinidad, to be found nestled half-way along the beautiful eastern coast. That is for another story from another trip however.
â€˜It is though reassuring to note that the last giant snake extricated from a swamp in Trinidad was a female Anacondaâ€™
e g a l l i A v agoÂ b o T in By The Observer
Located in Tobago’s east coast, rustic beauty it boasts. It’s a fishing village called Delaford, so picturesque upon entry, my Lord. Known as St. Paul’s Parish, famous for their harvest so lavish. Lush green hills surround, love and harmony abound. Represented is every denomination, and there is no contention. There are the Anglican and Catholic schools, so you know folks stem from there are no fools. Living up to the old saying, “wise men and women come from the east”, they all live in peace. Midway through the village you can stop and refresh yourself, from water flowing through a pipeline who’s origin is a virgin ancient well. You’ll find two rivers flowing slowly, and lots of cockerels that crow. the people possess great tolerance. It has a heliport, built by an American called Mr Rosenwall adjacent to a somewhat deserted beach with stones and shells of all sort. Allegedly the only village which still has Saturday morning street market, where women balance their merchandise on their heads in antique trays and basket. Up until recent times there was a bar called Dunstan’s (R.I.P) who stocked exotic liqueur you couldn’t find elsewhere, and his prices weren’t even dare. There is the Louis D’or propagating station, with an assorted array of plants-flowers-shrubs too numerous to mention. At Christmas it’s brilliantly lighted, and skilfully decorated. The shell of an old fermentery, still stands just beyond King’s Street entry. Alongside it used to be iceboxes to host the dead, the elders of the village said. Still in existence are cocoa estates in a fairly good state. The King’s Bay falls used to be so pristine,
Delectable fruit trees in abundance,
it’s sad after the devastating floods of 2004; it’s no longer an attractive scene. But there are two beaches, within mere reach. The first is called, “Delaford Bay”, which is homely and perfect in May. The second is King’s Bay, So magnificent, and named after a king from England who anchored his ship there the older heads say, it has a well-stocked bar and cosy cabanas along the shore’s way. Many years ago it used to be a deep water harbour, where ships such as SS Tobago used to dock and Stevedores- long shore-men used to labour. The enticing aroma of foods coming from the restaurants and cafés you’ll savour, as Mike and other chefs cook with a unique flavour. Sea view-Crab Inn are comely guest houses, always filled with visitors from all the world who come to unwind with their spouses. A couple of men still ride to tend to their garden on donkey, waving to you while smiling widely. whenever there are weddings-funerals men and women get together to bake pone-cake-bread unleavened. Some of the houses look like coloured stones tucked into the hill, the atmosphere is very tranquil. Others are nestled at the foot of the mountains, engulfed by bananas and plantains. There are leisurely parks, Where you can sit, shoot the breeze and enjoy a few laughs. There’s that rural charm, beckoning you can take midnight strolls on a moonlight-starry night with love one in arm, and no fear of being harm.
They still use dirt oven,
For complete and world class tours of Prague Packages include: • Hidden and playful Prague (for families with young children) • Literary Prague • Prague Architecture through the ages • Religion and the city • The old city at night *These are detailed tours designed for visitors who wish to explore with great detail and not suitable for simply sight-seeing tourists.
Day segments and rates: PR: 08:00-12:30hrs / AG: 13:30-16:30hrs / UE: 17:30-21:30hrs All sessions are priced at u 25 per single adult. Group size upper limit = 8. Accompanied children under the age of five are gratis and school aged children pay 25%. Family package rates are negotiable.
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amsterdam city life
: K C A B G N I R B AMSTERDAM CENTRAL STATION 107
By Denson Pierre
Having visited a few train stations in a few nearby countries recently, I realised that it has been an overly long time since we have been able to admire the true glory of our own main train station. It does not bear thinking about how long the station and environs has been a virtual building and engineering site. At one point many years ago we thought that the station would be the first completed sector of the grandiose and necessary North-South Line project , but alas..., all delays on the overall, massive, civil project has meant that despite the facade, pedestrian forecourt and even the new bus station to the rear having been refreshed and opened for travel business for some while, the interior of the station itself remains a constantly changing plywood barricaded forest. It is not a moan as the work to be done just has to be done but I recall days more than ten years ago when I would choose to make it my business to casually walk through the station halls and passageways either using it
as a scenic shortcut while pushing my bike, or just walk around and through it to admire the lovely architecture and feel the energy of travellers being moved along in beautifully designed space. Bring back the Central Station we all loved although we expect to wait a bit longer. Do not bring back the false opening ceremonies which only actually announce the completion of some segment or other. I cannot wait to report on this city gem in its stunningly impressive and complete state.
star feature beer guide
star feature beer guide
The Sentinel Star beer guide By Denson Pierre
â€˜A true star after just a few more refining cyclesâ€™
I feel sure the taste masters at this new brewery will allow their 30-year experience of the very best of beer being served and sampled at their Kafee Belgie to inform them in rounding this beer off as a true star after just a few more refining cycles.
With there being more to beer than just a Maximus Pandora is brewed by Maximus clever or funny name it is interesting that Brewery, Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht these Utrecht based brewers have slipped onto this list with an earnest pale ale because of just these reasons and the promise to do better. Pandora needs just a tiny tweak to be considered truly excellent. For now it is fit for a warmer weather sessions and the artwork is arresting.
De Hallen Amsterdam, 20/04/14
We find the best, most fun, most typical, exciting, or local favourite restaurants etcetera in Amsterdam and bring them to you; an easy way to feel like a local.
CafĂŠ Westerdok Some of the very finest and rarest of beers available anywhere in the world. The warmest Amsterdam welcome. CafĂŠ Westerdok Westerdoksdijk 715A Amsterdam www.cafewesterdok.nl
To be seen and tasted
Fun, Drinking & Music
Cafe de Toog 1890’s grandeur fashioned into Amsterdam-West, grand, brown cafe-restaurant-cool. Classy drinks and meals. Nicolaas Beetsstraat 142 hs Amsterdam www.cafedetoog.com
Parck Great fun, beautiful people and simply the best bar food in town! Overtoom 428 Amsterdam www.cafeparck.nl
Mulligans Irish Music Bar Amsterdam’s best address for live Irish music: Five (5) nights a week! Check our agenda for upcoming sessions. Amstel 100 1017 AC Amsterdam www.mulligans.nl
To Be Seen and Tasted
To Be Seen and Tasted
Cafe restaurant Edel Cafe restaurant Edel is the perfect place for lunch, dinner or to simply enjoy a drink. Edel is a unique place in Amsterdam. Postjesweg 1 1057 DT Amsterdam www.edelamsterdam.nl
Incanto A restaurant with a classic Italian kitchen. Venetian chef Simone Ambrosin is known for his pure and simple style of cooking with great feeling for nuance. Amstel 2 Amsterdam www.restaurant-incanto.nl
Café Kostverloren Café Kostverloren is a contemporary cafe offering the cosiness of a saloon, an open kitchen and the intimacy of a living room. The large terras is great for sunny days. 2e Kostverlorenkade 70 Amsterdam www.cafekostverloren.nl
Fun, Drinking & Music
To be seen and tasted
To be seen and tasted
Cafe-Restaurant Du Cap A spacious and tasty helping to the Mediterranean vibe within Amsterdam’s new ‘West End’ entertainment district. Kwakersplein 2 Amsterdam www.du-cap.nl
Molly Malone’s An Irish pub as it should be and a home away from home! Cosy, friendly, and with its very own character! Oudezijds Kolk 9 1012 AL Amsterdam www.facebook.com/pages/ Molly-Malones-Amsterdam/ 293030997411277
Fun, Drinking & Music
Fun, drinking and music
Bax A cosy and friendly local café with a focus on special or interesting beers and good quality food. Open 7 days a week with a professional kitchen offering a lunch and dinner service. Ten Katestraat 119 Amsterdam www.cafebax.nl
Café Rose Red You will not see and sample a better selection of the very best of European beer elsewhere. Cordoeaniersstraat 16 Brugge www.caferosered.com
Gollem Gollem’s Proeﬂokaal, Gollem and Gollem II represent the best addresses serving the fullest range of top Belgian, Dutch and international beers in Amsterdam. Overtoom 160-161 Amsterdam www.cafegollem.nl
To be seen and tasted
Café Oporto Café Oporto is a traditional Amsterdam ‘brown cafe’. Welcoming tourists and regular customers alike, they offer televised sports, wifi and a wide range of reasonably priced beers and spirits. Zoutsteeg 1 1012 LX Amsterdam www.cafeoporto.net
Where is this in Amsterdam?
Answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Room 2c film Life of Brian (1979)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004) “What are the odds of two buoys failing?” Only 20th Century Fox could...Only South Park could parody so well. This though is a highly watchable and dramatic film with sometimes credible pronouncements about the future state of the planet’s climate. A generation ago every idea touched during this movie was considered silly and far-fetched. Viewing now feels like Hollywood meets Discovery Science.
“We have a little job for you Brian...” And so begins a madcap romp through comedy based mainly around one of the more successfully told stories ever. The leading cast members have gone on to be respectable household names but were at their silly and scathing best here as choice one-liners cut through the air like Roman lances. Always worth re-watching after at least a ten year period as the jokes surprise and tickle just as much now as the wacky sets, acting and art always did. Even in Judea 33AD characters could be found awaiting the arrival of a messiah. They got Brian. By dpmotions
Cartoon fashion ‘When you’re on the inside of the fashion bubble everything seems very logical’
By Dirkje Bakker-Pierre
Fashion can be a complete and utter mystery at times, not unlike an ugly building with a very nice view or an ancient pyramid in the Egyptian desert. When you’re on the inside of the fashion bubble everything seems very logical, very real and moreso, very, very important. When you’re looking in from the outside and the rest of the world (which is a lot bigger) sometimes these things can be puzzling, hilarious and seriously fascinating. So, trends come and trends go, some become mainstream and some are just weird and remain stuck in the bubble while others are weird and become main stream anyway.
Turning your phone into a little creature using plastic facial features like human noses or Mickey Mouse ears is the most in-fashion thing to do at this moment. Carrying around your phone covered in a fake, red plastic ‘Mochino’ chips bag with fat yellow chips sticking out of it, a glittering Frosties cereal box or the incognito look of an old-fashioned, pink dial phone, be creative - as long as it is something cute, cartoonlike or just a ‘normal’ household object made into 3D plastic of bright colours. Make your phone into a pet and wear it only in combination with the most exclusive brands; the bigger the contrast, the better the effect!
Clearly Japanese anime-style fashion had some influence here as well as classic pop art like the soup cans of Andy Warhol. It is as if all of the superfashionably dressed women want to scream out that things really aren’t that serious and that fashion can The wearing of accessories has always been the also be just fun. It is either this or that they are secretly ultimate way to express your style. Maybe the latest way to show off your sense of chique is through the way clinging on to being kids instead of grown-ups by wearing all these serious clothes? Or is it that they just you accessorise your phone; it could not be crazy or funny or cute or childish or weird or plastic or original wear it all because it was on the Chanel or Mochino enough, everything goes, as long as it’s different from a catwalk, which makes it a status symbol? normal ‘boring’ mobile phone cover. Combine a Chanel outfit with an iPhone with cartoon ears, or even better, Whatever the reasons; all I know is that I have to get some cuddly features on my mobile phone ASAP! wear your mobile camouflaged as a classic Chanel bag.
health & well-being
Change of Perspective
By Evelina Kvartunaite
What I also thought about was travel. It doesn’t have to be a big trip, it can be just a drive to another town or bike ride to a forest, as what I have discovered over years is that a change of perspective can really be a mood changer. It will help you take things easier or simply (re)discover something new and joyful.
I found myself wondering about what is good advice to give for moments when you feel blue? We all have these moments and indeed it’s never a pleasant experience. How to help yourself? A few things – breathe, think bigger and focus on little things that make you smile just a little bit. Make yourself smile. It can come from scrolling through pictures of puppies and kittens or taking a jog in a park, or having an ice cream or getting a cuddle from a dear one.
So here we go, today I want to encourage you to dare to step out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself with a new trip!
– ‘What is good advice to give for moments when you feel blue?’ –
health & well-being
– ‘Breathe, think bigger and focus on little things that make you smile’ –
– ‘A change of perspective can really be a mood changer’ –
‘A wave of solutions have been broadening the horizons of how you can login to your data’
User Interface 120
The next generation
‘In recent years, password requirements became a bit more difficult to comply with’ By Andrei Barburas
Authentication and passwords have always been a critical point in any credential based environment. It seems like in the last 18 months a wave of solutions have been broadening the horizons of how you can login to your data and some of these solutions look intriguing to say the least. Passwords have always been one of the trickiest aspects of a relatively short chain of getting you to access your data. Based on my own experience and countless other reports, coming up with a password that is secure, long enough and most importantly, easy to remember and hard for others to guess, was never easy. In recent years, password requirements became a bit more difficult to comply with; minimum eight characters, capital and small letters, at least a number and why not some special characters, that depending on what you need the password for. In some cases, the password requirements are so outlandish that ‘Internet people’ started making fun of it: “Sorry, but your
‘Seems like these methods rely more and more on your smartphone as a hardware backed authentication method’ password must contain an uppercase letter, a number, a haiku, a gang sign, a hieroglyph, and the blood of a virgin.” Last year I stumbled upon an interesting company called Launchkey. Launchkey claims to be “the first identity and access management (IAM) platform built specifically for the next generation of authentication: password-free, multi-factor, anonymous and mobile.“ They won the first place at Startup Weekend Las Vegas, which is a 54-hour hackathon competition. I have been using Launchkey since I discovered it and I have to say that it definitely makes life a bit easier when logging in to different websites. Furthermore, they offer solid solutions for developers, organisations and enterprise. They offer mobile apps for all major platforms and I have to admit that the possibilities it offers are quite hefty; geo fencing and device factors are among them. Another quite impressive solution that I recently discovered is Clef. According to the founders, “Clef is leveraging the mass adoption of smartphone technology to make an identity platform for the
modern web, creating a totally new approach to logging in online. We’ve built a mobile app that lets any site recognize their users based on their phones, instead of anything they have to remember or type.” Clef uses a cool feature of displaying a bunch of wiggly bars on your desktop that you will have to ‘scan’ with your phone’s camera using the Clef mobile app. That’s it! You’re logged in. When I first used it, I was quite intrigued by its simplicity. They even offer a browser extension that you can use to login to your email account, Facebook and other websites. While Clef and Launchkey use different approaches for logging you in password free, they both work excellently and so far I had no issues with either of them. On the other hand, there are other solutions, both software and/or that offered as dedicated hardware. Earlier this year, Google acquired an Israeli startup that developed a password-free application that uses actual sound waves for logging you in. There are many solutions out there offering alternatives to the traditional password formats. It also seems like
these methods rely more and more on your smartphone as a hardware backed authentication method. They are all great in their own way but one of the main issues encountered with all tested solutions was actually being able to make a habit of using them when I needed them. I am still trying to kick the habit of typing in my password. Nevertheless, when logging in using a public computer, using a password free solution, definitely made me feel safe and secure (logging in on a public computer is an extremely rare situation). Are you for or against these solutions? If you are already using any, I am definitely curious about what you are using and if it changed your habits. Links: http://launchkey.com http://getclef.com http://slicklogin.com
The Gold Room 124
By Denson Pierre
Mathematics aids the understanding of football and certainly the way things work in fantasy football. We once more enter the final weeks of competition in the FFG-CL knowing that the final reckoning will involve working out the points-difference between the top managers being typically the amount that can be counted on two hands, or less. We have a leader in this game (Steven Fockema) who has maintained a healthy lead since he regained it shortly into 2014. At times this lead has been intimidating but as the matches count down and master management skills peak, we see all leads dwindling. Advanced tactics now mean we are playing the small game to win the big game. With such a finite number of matches left to be played it is now all about having players positioned to score heavily with no chance of counter-scoring occurring to offset these
gains. Of course this is easier said than done and for it to be manifestly spectacular and effective certain ingredients and conditions need to prevail. Most players already carried or able to be brought in by managers average about 7 points per match they are involved in; the sums are simple enough. Some managers do not have a reserve of substitutes to effect a tactic most cleverly however, but then others have players coming back from injury and weak form. For now everything is taut and the slightest injury could see managers carrying deadweight players when the way to the golden envelope just involves good, positive scoring from now until the very last moments of competition during the FA Cup or Champions League Final, and allowing mathematics to see to the rest. Go to the site >
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Published on Apr 22, 2014
The Sentinel, Amsterdam tri-weekly e-zine with all that is good and informative on lifestyles with perspectives, opinion and sport from Amst...