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Rockstar

Heard this song on the radio often while driving the US-highways. It is completely not my kind of music… but the beat and the lyrics really grabbed me. And now it’s my US-theme song.

Listen and enjoy:

Nickelback with Rockstar

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Some eye candy

The first batch of my pictures are uploaded to Flickr. I totally shoot about 4000-5000 pictures, so it takes a while to filter out the good ones. I wanna show the whole experience, so some of them are more to tell the surroundings or the story.

And sometimes I shot a few from within my car (while driving), so some of them are a little blurry or you might see a close up of a bug on the front window 🙂

Will upload more tomorrow evening. Just got tired of them now 😉

Enjoy them here

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Honeys, I’m home!

Home. Back in the Netherlands. Back in my own house again. At my own computer and don’t really know what to feel right now.

I miss the US. I miss all the excitement. I miss all the new stuff. I miss Emma. But it also feels nice to be in my own safe home again. So a little mixed feelings. Probably also influenced by the jetlag. I tried to sleep during the flight, but wasn’t really able to close my eyes and relax. Kept on thinking about the last 4 weeks.

4 amazing and exciting weeks. 4 weeks which resulted in a huge experience.

When I returned my car yesterday (it feels like it was this morning) they said I drove a total of 3591 miles. Will upload some pictures in a bit… but it’s weird, cause it now feels like it’s late in the evening… but it’s not even 3pm 😛

And don’t know if I’m gonna continue writing on Rakso in English or return to Dutch again. Feel free to reply in Dutch, but I just haven’t made up my mind yet. The thing is that my own mind now still works and runs on English. My thoughts are English and when I speak Dutch it sounds weird.

But ok. Gonna select some pictures now and upload them. Will drop a note when finished.

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Last message from US soil

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in Schaumburg (about 1 hour drive North-West of Chicago). Read my book for a while, watched some tv, drove around and grabbed a burrito at TacoBell. And after spending a couple of hours with Emma on the phone I dropped into my King-sized-bed.

Today is my last day on US soil. And it rains. For the first time during my vacation. And it’s good, because it shows the weather is gonna miss me too 😉

I will miss this country with all the new, exciting and interesting differences.
I will miss hopping from hotel to hotel.
I will miss driving around on the rural roads.
I will miss spending time with Emma.
I will miss choosing where and what to eat.
I will miss all the opportunities to shoot pictures.
I will miss being foreign.
I will miss so much. But it’s also good to return to home and see my friends and family again.

Now I’m gonna check out the hotel, drive up to O’hare Airport, return my rental car (gonna miss that beauty) and check in for my flight later today (5:57pm).

But one day I will return to the US to explore more. I know that for sure. Have only seen 20% or less. So there is so much more to explore 🙂

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The place to make love

Yepz. I’m in the place to make love, a small town named Woodstock to be precise – just about 1-2 hours north of Chicago.

Last days I spend in Chicago, but my energy for exploration is a little worn out / drained. So browsed the city a little yesterday, wandered the streets, didn’t felt like visiting the highlights (Sears Towers or some of the museums) and eventually took ‘the L’ (the metro/train/subway system) and drove to the suburbs. Hoped to catch a Cubs game, but they played in another city. So eventually I walked a little in the suburbs and took the train back to my hotel.

Last night I went to the movies, the Bourne Ultimatum. Took me about 45 minutes to find the movie theater, but eventually it was a nice big theater and a nice movie – so that was nice.

This morning I tried to catch an earlier flight back to Amsterdam, like I said before… I’m kinda tired of all the exploration. But I could only buy a new ticket, which would cost me about $2700… so never mind 😀

So I drove a few hours, into the more rural scenery’s again and I’m in Woodstock. Just viewed another movie in the small town movie theater here. Very nice town too… nice square with a park and stuff.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading a little more south, we’ll see where we will end up. And Monday I’ll be heading back to the airport and catch my flight back home.

Kinda have mixed feelings about that. Really looking forward to get back home, seeing my friends and family again. But I know I will miss all the new things here. The Netherlands sounds so boring and been-there-done-that. Now I discover and experience new things every day and even the basic things (eating, driving etc) are still special. Back at home that won’t be the case, but it’s gonna be nice to be back home again.

So ok. That’s my update. Drove about 3500 miles now (which is about 5600 km) and shot about 4000-5000 pictures. Other facts I can give when asked, so ask 🙂

Cya

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Live! from Chicago

And today we are broadcasting live from Chicago. A short update about the last days.

On Monday I went to Des Moines, wandered the streets and visited an exhibit about all the prides and heroes of Iowa (mostly about sports) and after that I drove some over the rural countryroads  – which is amazing! The scenery is really breathtaking and looks so natural and real.

After that Emma came back from her work and we went out to have diner at Rube’s in Montour. The steakhouse was very unique, ’cause you can pick your own meat (like at the butchers) and you have to grill it yourself on a huge grill / BBQ. Very nice and it made the meat even more special 🙂

After the meat we went to check out the Meskwaki Casino in Tama. I’ve never been into a casino, but they had so many slot machines – it wasn’t fun anymore. There were some tables to play some cards, roulette or the dices. But about 90% of the floor was covered with slot machines. And 99% of the people were 60-70+ in age. OMG!

I almost joined a card game, until they told me that every chip was worth $5! So ok, never mind! 😛

Tuesday I had lunch with Emma and after that I went to check out Cedar Falls / Waterloo. And in the evening I gave a presentation (guest lecture) at the Northern Iowa University. After that we went home and talked for a while.

This morning I packed my suitcase, said goodbye to Emma and drove off to Chicago. After a couple of hours (I think about 5-6 hours driving) I arrived in downtown Chicago. I got stuck in a traffic jam, but eventually found a motel.

The next days I’ll explore the city and next Monday I’ll leave back to the Netherlands. You all have to wait for the pictures until I’m back, not really feeling to upload any right now – sorry 😉

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Iowa City and theater

This weekend we [Emma and me] went to Iowa City. First we had brunch with Emma’s sister in a Chinese restaurant. A buffet, so I could pick my favorites and eat as much as I wanted.

After that we drove around the city for a bit, they showed me the main buildings. We took a short break to visit an ‘aunt’ of theirs. We drank some tea and talked and after 1,5 hour we continued our tour in Iowa City.

They showed me the suburbs, the downtown area and the university buildings. OMG, they have so many different specialty buildings. And then we went to a friends BBQ birthday party. We ate and we drank and eventually we went homeward at 10:45pm.

On the way back we briefly stopped at the music college and played on the pianos in one of the practice rooms for a while. And eventually we were home at about 1am – fell asleep at 3am, cause we couldn’t stop talking.

Sunday we went to Cedar Falls / Waterloo. Spend some time with Emma’s family there and went to the theater. We viewed the musical Evita – which was good, especially because I hadn’t see the movie – and afterwards we ate at Carlos O’Kelly’s – a Mexican restaurant.

After that I played some games with Emma’s brother on the Xbox360 – and also some Singstar on the PS2… OMG… that’s so much fun, laughed our heads off! And then we went home and eventually hit the pillows at 2am.

And for today Des Moines is the plan. Gonna check that out, let’s see if anything interesting is over there. You’ll hear.

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Omaha and Zoo

Just a quick update. About to go to bed, but just wanna let you guys know what I’m up to.

Wednesday I didn’t went to the Zoo, I walked around in Omaha – has some very old beautiful buildings – and visited a mall. Was less big than the one in Vancouver, though. But it had a lovely bookstore, Barnes & Noble. Big and lots of books. Also bought two t-shirts and some socks (didn’t felt like washing).

Thursday I did went to the Omaha Zoo. It was weird, I was expecting it to be a huge zoo with lots of animals. They did had animals and a lot different, but less then expected. What I really appreciated about the Zoo was the fact that it more felt like a park with animals, then caged animals on a row. They also had an indoor desert and an indoor rain forest, which were nice. And at the end of the day I visited a movie in the IMAX theater.

I’ve shot a lot of pictures and will upload some soon. Just didn’t took the time for it. You’ll all have to wait, ok? Tomorrow it won’t happen either, because I will visit Iowa City together with Emma and her sister. They will show me around and in the evening we will party – hardcore American BBQ style.

So, I’m doing fine. The weather is awesome, just like Emma and I’ll touch base soon.

Cya

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Proof of life

Stop the Search and Rescue missions! I’m still alive and breathing. Currently writing this in a hotel in Omaha.

Last time I posted, I was still in Valentine (Nebraska). After that I drove eastwards through the beautiful country (reminds me a little of the French countryside though) and ended up in Sioux City. Here I stayed just for the night, nothing special to report. The only thing mentionable is that I tried something new, strawberry lemonade. And loved it! In the hotel I also viewed a movie, Knocked Up – funny movie.

Sunday I continued my travel eastwards and in the evening I ended up in Marshalltown. And that was the night I met Emma for real.

Yes yes, that was our first real meeting on American soil. And it was lovely. We went to see a movie, Mr Woodcocks. The movie really sucked, but it gave us something to joke about afterwards. Then some diner and we ended up in Wal-mart (huge supermarket – ideal place for a first date).
OMG, they have almost everything in super sized packages! Like a Super Jumbo Extra Large M&M’s bag, which held about 3-4 times the content of our biggest M&M’s bags.
After Wal-mart it was time to say goodbye already…

The next day we briefly touched base during lunch and after work Emma showed me around – her town, her neighborhood and her house. During the evening we bought some subs, ate them in the park – after driving around and getting lost in the teeny tiny town – and we watched Donnie Darko at her place.

Yesterday I spend some time with her during lunch and then drove off to Omaha. I hope I can meet her very soon – she’s amazing!

Today I’m gonna visit the Omaha Zoo (one of the biggest in USA) and will try to upload a bunch of pictures by the end of today. The last pictures I showed were the pictures from Seattle, before I got my car. So got almost 1,5 week of pictures to show you all!

So maybe some pictures later today, but first to the dierentuin.

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Badlands are GOOOOOD

Ok. Quick post before I hit the road again.

Yesterday I left Rapid City and drove through the Badlands. And OMG… that is really amazing! It’s so beautiful, I pulled over about 20-30-40 times. I spend more than 4 hours driving through it and I shot more than 400-500 pictures.

For comparison: I shot less than 150 pictures at Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Don’t know the number of pictures I shot in Yellowstone, but the Badlands are WAY more beautiful! Really. It’s amazing and looks soooo nice. When I have better internet-access I will post some pictures. I think you guys wanna see that, right?

And I also saw bizons for real again. Saw them in YSP too, but here it felt more like their natural habitat. Some were even very close to my car - needed to stop, because they crossed the road in front of me. And I saw prarie dogs. OMG those are cute! 🙂

Yesterday evening I visited a rodeo too, which was fun, but very cold. Everyone was wearing cowboy hats… and a lot of the people were keeping score for the riders. But it was so cold, I had to wear my jeans, sweater and jacket. So after 1,5 hours I went back to my hotel. And then talked for 4-5 hours with Emma – went to bed at 2:30am.

So now driving more to the east and we’ll see were we will end up tonight. Cya!