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exploring the overseas...

Last week22/7/2007

… I was stalked in the bookstore by one of the assistants. First I was happy with the personal attention and some suggestions where I could look for books that I might find interesting. But after this guy popped up behind every bookshelf where I was browsing books, I started to feel a little bit spied on. Every time I had picked up a book and was reading the back flap, he would appear and say “actually, this is a very good book!” or “I really enjoyed reading this book”. When we were chatting and I told him that I am from the Netherlands, he said “oh, I have always wanted to go there some time”…”Do you know where I would like to go when I visit the Netherlands?”, and I was getting really curious what he was going to say …“Amsterdam!” Honestly, I really thought he was going to name an original place…I told him that there are many other places worth visiting, and wrote down for him on a note 'Utrecht' and 'Haarlem'.


…When I walked pas the hospital on my way to the grocery store, I saw something that would make the perfect picture, weren’t it that I didn’t dare to take it. A person in a kind of greenish hospital apparel, carrying with him a walking frame with an infusion, sitting on the pavement, right to the busy traffic, smoking a cigarette. Can you picture it?


… I was casually told that I am going to have a dry run presenting my paper. I was in Ellen’s office to discuss with her the results of the analysis. I said I was going to write it all down, and she says “Yes, because you are going to present on Tuesday”, and I said “I thought I was going to present on Monday” (thinking about the conference), and she says “no, I mean next Tuesday, to practice your talk”. Right! Of course it’s good to do this, I actually think it’s a very good idea, but it is just so funny how often Ellen completely surprises me with things. Like yesterday (Friday) afternoon when she popped in and said “oh, you’re still here, I want to go for a drink” and in five minutes she called together all staff members who wanted to join, and we went to the faculty club to have beer and popcorn. 


… People in the department were discussing about flying me in for the dragon boat race in August.   

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An image of SUB15/7/2007

I am talking about SUB al the time, so I thought I should show you what SUB is like. It's the Student Union Building, and on the main floor has a food and drinks plaza (where you can buy coffee, muffins, japanese food, pizza, and sandwiches), the University book store, a travel agency, ... and a lot of places to sit and work.


In the weekend it is not so busy, but during the week this place is full of people studying, chatting, eating, etcetera.


I am now sitting at one of these bar stools where you can connect to power. Access to the internet is wireless.



These are the more relaxing chairs:



And here you see a part of the food plaza:




I enjoy to sit here. It's more open and light compared to my office. During office hours I am generally in the office, but in the evenings and in the weekend I am mostly here when I want to do some work or access the Internet.

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Sunny Saturday15/7/2007

July 14

The weather in Edmonton is still beautiful, although a bit hot. I really cannot stay in my room during the day, because of the heat. But then, there is plenty of benches, picnic tables, and green areas on campus where I can go to read a book. I am reading "The history of love" by Nicole Kraus, which Amber gave to me before I left. The story is really complicated in terms of characters and chronology, but really fascinating. I would advice this book to you!


On Saturday, after doing some shopping for breakfast, I walked to downtown Edmonton. I wanted to have a closer look at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, which I spotted from the water last week during the dragon boat practice.


The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has long been known as Edmonton's most elegant hotel, and is named after Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. The hotel opened its doors in 1915. Between 1983 and 1991 the hotel was closed, because it had fallen into a state of disrepair. In 1985, the City of Edmonton designated the hotel as a Municipal Heritage Resource. This decision has saved the hotel from the wrecking ball. It took several years to decide upon the future of the hotel. In the late eighties, "A total commitment was made to restore The Hotel Macdonald to its former elegance and to re-establish its importance in the community".


Fairmont Hotel Macdonald



Seen from the water, the hotel forms a remarkable contrast with the skyscrapers behind. I hope I will manage to make of picture of this during the next dragon boat practice.


On my way through downtown Edmonton, I went to see some other places I hadn't seen before. First, the citadel theatre. 



When I was at the theatre, I spotted this monument behind me: the trade moument



This monument is to commemorate the first settler that started trading with the original inhabitants of the continent. This person later fulfilled several positions in politics, and has also been in the board of directors (?) of the University of Alberta.


The area where I was is called the arts district. Some parts were a bit European style. The streets were smaller, there were more trees than in most parts of downtown, and different style buildings:




Here I also found the "Big Rock":





 After my stroll trough the city, I went to the shopping mall downtown to cool down. I also bought some cloths. Then I took the lightrail back to the University campus.


Saturday night there was a severe thunderstorm that woke me up. I thought it might be a bit cooler today (Sunday), but I still have to hide in SUB to prevent to become "overheated"! 



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Peddles ready! _____Take our way! ______And - STROKE -- And - STROKE -- And - STROKE -- And STROKE14/7/2007

Boating was really great. It was serious practice, and pretty tiring, but I had a good time on the water. It was very nice to look up at downtown Edmonton from the water, you really get a different perspective. A pity that I didn't have time to make a picture from the boat. I was totally occupied with peddling.


We started with some exercises and some practice "on the dry". Here on the picture you see us practice the technique. We could only use one hand, we had to bend to the front as far as possible, then make the "row" movement, keeping our arm straight. The movement had to come from our waist, not our arm.



Getting seated in the boat went by row, starting in the middle.


With so many people in the boat, it is very difficult to remain stable on the water. Everybody has to make the same movement exactly at the same time, and the power has to be well distributed. It takes a lot of concentration.  





With my performance I qualified myself for the next practice! YEAH!


To celebrate we went to Whyte Avenue for a drink. Whyte Avenue is on the South side of the river, where also the university campus is located. The area forms the 'historic centre' and has many bars and craft shops. Still it's very busy traffic and pretty ugly buildings, but the atmosphere is lively and nice.



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Dragon boat12/7/2007

Tonight I will join the department for their practice for the dragon boat race, which will take place in August. They have a spare seat, so I can join the team tonight. I heard the boat has seats for 20 people, so it must be quite a boat! I am happy I practiced a bit during our day out with the department last month! Wish me luck! 

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This is my office. I share it with other PhD students, who are most of the time not in because they are preparing for their comprehensive exam. There is only one desktop computer in this room. When students have to do computer work, they often sit in the lab (about 15 workplaces). There are no windows or indirect daylight. And it's a bit messy...





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where I live from the inside8/7/2007

July 8

Hi, I made some pictures of my room and floor.


I have a bedroom with a bed and a desk, and a personal bathroom.



My desk...


My bed...

the door of my room


the hallway



this is the common kitchen




and myself



I hope you are all doing well!


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Edmonton part two7/7/2007

July 4, 2007


After an eight hour flight from Schiphol to Chicago O’Hare international airport, I had seven hours in between my connected flight to Edmonton. After I went through the customs, which was compulsory because I entered the US, I grabbed some leaflets about Chicago at the information desk, and decided to make a trip to downtown Chicago. Given the limited time (traveling there and back to the airport, and being in time for my next flight) I chose to go up the Sears tower, which is among the highest sky scrapers in the world at this moment. In order to be able to buy a ticket for the train, I got some US dollars from the cash dispenser. At the ticket machine I entered my 20 dollar bill, and - to my surprise - a ticket worth 20 dollars was printed, worth 10 rides on the train... It took me longer than I expected to travel to the city, over one hour. So, I didn’t have that much time. At the Sears tower there were many people, probably also many American families celebrating Independence Day. Upon entering, everybody had to go through security. I decided it might take me too long to go up and down the tower (and have some time to enjoy the view from the skydeck). In stead of going up, I made some pictures of downtown Chicago from the ground perspective…











I slept most of the time of my flight to Edmonton, I was exhausted. I arrived in Edmonton on 22.47 local time, which equals 06:47 “Ede time”. I took the sky shuttle to Whyte Avenue, and from there a cap to Lister Centre. When I entered my room in Schäffer Hall on the sixth floor, I was struck with the heat. I couldn’t go to sleep in this hot room, and started to unpack my suitcase and backpack, while the window was open to let in some ‘fresh air’. In my backpack I found the notice “Transportation Security Administration - NOTICE OF BAGGAGE INSPECTION”. The bag was nicely repacked, so I was quite content, and understanding that they sometimes check your luggage. Then I discovered that they had been suspicious about the apple butter. They had opened the package, and left it in the bag with some cookies, and my carousel with spices. The apple butter was everywhere in the bag. I tried to wash of the butter from the carousel, but the sticky stuff had gone everywhere already. I had to throw away the whole bag.

Morach had given me this great present to take with me. It hangs on the door of my room.

July 5, 2007


After a short and hot night I went shopping in the morning to get myself breakfast and things to eat for the coming days. Around noon I went to the department. I was received very warmly. I went to see Tomas, who is working with a student on the purchase data and we have been talking about the structure of the data and the analyses I could do almost all afternoon. How nice to work together with people. It helps to get adjusted to a new rhythm, and to feel at ease in being around in the department.


July 6, 2007


  • Breakfast with Luis, a guy from Portugal doing postdoc research and staying in Edmonton for a month. That's the advantage of a common kitchen!
  • Discussions and problem solving with Tomas and Christopher regarding the data. What a job it is to aggregate and match all this information! I am happy I am not in this alone.
  • Dinner in the faculty club with Tomas and Sven and their spouses Valentina, who was due this day, and Melanie.
  • The rooms in Lister Centre were treated with pesticides. They do it as a preventive measure to ensure a “clean and comfortable” environment. I was wondering whether it would be smelly or whether I would be able to see the spots were they applied the pesticide, but no. Is this also common practice in the Netherlands?

July 7


I went jogging in the morning. And now I am in SUB to skype morach, and to put my pictures and stories online...  


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Dit is de inner harbor waar het national aquarium, het maritiem museum, barnes & nobles, het hard rock cafe en veel restaurants en winkels omheen liggen (en mijn hotel).



het blauwgroene gebouw links is het hotel. ik kijk uit mijn kamer uit op de mast van deze historische boot.



mijn hotel. links voor zie je de ingang naar het winkelcentrum. het is een heel groot atrium. op de vijfde verdieping kom je uit in het congrescentrum dat direct verbonden is met het hotel. het is een gigantische accomodatie.


links zie je de kantoren van downtown baltimore, rechts de kade van de haven.


uitzicht vanaf een 'uitzicht heuvel' op de haven en de stad.




beeld van downtown.


De Big Ben van Baltimore.


War memorial.


City Hall


De eerste rooms katholieke kerk van de US.



Washington monument


Baltimore Inner Harbor in de schemering (van links naar rechts). Mooi he? Ik ga donderdagochtend proberen naar het aquarium te gaan, dat ziet er toch wel veelbelovend uit (tweede foto). Je ziet de glasgevel van het gebouw. Binnen staat het vol met planten en van dichtbij zie je mensen tussen de planten doorlopen via bruggetjes.




(Posted in BALTIMORE 2006)
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An impression of downtown Calgary, and what I learned about the American history:


Big towers...

It is difficult to grasp this in a picture, but I find the view of these immensely high towers, lined up next to the endless, straight road really amazing.



Steven Avenue Walk

This is the first pedestrian area (just one street over five blocks) that I have come across during my stay in Canada.



City Hall (old building) and behind that the Municipal Building




Famous Five (only two in the picture)


These women fought, among others, for the recognition of women as persons under the British North America Act.



Malls malls malls

Also in Calgary I found many malls hidden in what appeared to me as office buildings.



In this mall is Alberta's largest indoor garden situated. The 'devonian gardens' are located on the fourth floor of the mall. Adjacent to the gardens there is a ‘food plaza’ (an area with all food outlets). I ordered my first noodle soup with shrimps, and took it to the gardens to consume. Yammie! The gardens were pretty phony with fake animals between the plants, and not-my-cup-of-tea decoration, but it was fun to see it.




Calgary Tower

This is the Calgary Tower (190m). It looks like the Fernseh Turm in Berlin (203m), and the Euromast (185m).




What a huge city. The street/avenue road structure is also nicely visible from the Calgary Tower. At the horizon you see the Rockies.



There were these glass floors…I admit I was a bit tensed when I first stepped on it, but it was great.




The Palliser Hotel

The Fairmont Palliser hotel (designed by Lawrence Gotch) opened its doors in 1914. The hotel was built as the Canadian Pacific Railway pushed west. At that time, Calgary was mainly a trading center. The building was designed in an E-shape, so that all rooms had outside lighting, and to create the appearance of three adjacent towers.




In Calgary I came across a monument with the central message 'those who came before planted the trees, so that future generations can enjoy the shade'.



The immigration history of Chinese people that came to Canada was new to me, and very impressive. I was stunned by the egocentric attitude of the Canadian and American governments. In Calgary, and also more generally in the west of Canada, live many Chinese people. The first Chinese immigrants arrived in 1788, but only in 1858 their number drastically increased, as many Chinese people came to America to search for gold, or to be farmers or labourers. Between 1881 and 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway recruited 17,000 Chinese labourers from the US and China, who were paid half of the wage of white workers. Their job was risky due to dynamite and landslides, and 1,500 were killed when laying the over 600 kilometers track, or from poor food or harsh living conditions. As soon as the railway was finished, several immigration acts were passed, first imposing a 'head tax' on new immigrants (1885), which increased considerably over the years, and later barring Chinese people from entering altogether ('Dominion Day', 1 July 1923). This last measure was in place for 24 years. In 1947 the Exclusion Act was rescinded, but not until 1967 the Chinese received 'Equal Rights'.             


China Town



The Glenbow museum 

In the Glenbow museum I visited the exhibition of the First nation people, i.e. the Niitsitapi ('real people'), known as the Blackfoot. It is really unbelievable what harm the Europeans have done to their culture, and how disrespectful Europeans have behaved. The blackfoot's attitude toward the newcomers was one of respect: they wanted to share the land with the new people and live peacefully. However, step by step the area where they could live was cut back as the number of newcomers increased, the number of buffalo decreased, which led to starvation, the newcomers only traded whiskey for hides, thereby introducing this strong alcoholic beverage to the Blackfoot people, and causing alcohol related problems, such as agression, abuse, and addiction. Still the Blackfoot people kept trying to live together in peace and to learn from the newcomers how they could 'modernize'. Children were put in Catholic boarding schools, the girls separated from the boys, which was very much in contrast with the Blackfoot idea that boys and girls should interact and respect each other. Clearly, the beliefs of the Blackfoot people were not respected, and children were taught to feel ashamed of their cultural background. Nowadays, Blackfoot people live in modern houses in designated areas where they try to stay close to nature and their beliefs. They are still recuperating from the harm that has been done to them in so many respects. Needless to say, it was very impressive.



I enjoyed a great day. Like all other days that I went out, I was lucky with the weather. Although it was pretty cold in the morning, the sun shone and there was no wind. Overall, I like the atmosphere of downtown Calgary better than Edmonton. It seems as if there is more life, more people in the streets. Definitely, there is more to see in Calgary than in Edmonton. What struck me (also in Edmonton) is the large number of homeless people in the city. On many places I saw people sitting and lying in the grass and on benches. Just outside the city center there were many small groups of homeless people gathered together. I wondered, is this insuperable in big cities like these, or is there a lack of good facilities for these people? I don't know. Or have I gotten used to Ede, where there are virtually no homeless people in the streets?   


(Posted in CALGARY 2006)
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short update1/10/2006

Today is Saturday. Yesterday I finished my paper and gave a presentation for the people of the department. In the evening I was invited to join for dinner in Chinatown. We went to a Vietnamese restaurant. I was a bit embarrassed that I didn't know how to use the chopsticks. Here, everybody has acquired this skill...


Today, Whenzao took me to West Edmonton Mall, because he thought I really had to see that place. It was huge. Not very special though. Just that everything is very big, and that there are many attractions put together in one place. There is an indoor pool with huge slides, an ice skating place, a pirat ship, an amusement park with thrillrides and carousels, you name it!


Tomorrow I will travel to Boston to meet Morach. Yeah! The count down calender is almost at its end. I really enjoyed it, and did not cheat on turning the pages. Normally, I am very bad at turning calender pages at the appropriate time, but this time I really looked forward to the moment every day that I could turn the page, and see what you guys had made up. I have had good laughs about it! Thanks for that!


Take care! 

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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The Rockies part 226/9/2006

On Sunday I took a shuttle service to Maligne Lake (about 50 kilometers from Jasper),

which is the largest lake of the Candian Rockies and the province Alberta. It's 28 kilometres

long! I photoshoped a panoramic view from the shore:



I went to the parking lot where I met with Arie, an Australian guy who wanted to do the same trail.

I had met him on Saturday on Whistlers Mountain. His mother is from Wageningen and he had

been there in July where he took the family out for 'poffertjes eten'. He said 'lekker zeg!' He was

good company, and together we walked up to Bald Hills.




We went quite a bit further to see more of the other side of the valley. Arie is a pretty

adventurous guy, curious about what's on the other side of every top. At some parts there

was no real trail, we had to find our way up ourselves the last part. The view on top was great,

we found a nice spot to have lunch and enjoyed the scenery.



We had a hike of 5 hours. After that we drove back in the direction of Jasper and stopped

at Medicine Lake. The water from Maligne Lake flows into this lake. In the summer the water

level drops considerably. At some places the lake dried up, but at other places the river is very

deep. Here the water also goes underground and flows to Maligne Canyon (see second picture

below). From Maligne Canyon the water flows into the Athabasca river.





When I got back to Jasper at 6 PM I had just enough time to heat some food in the microwave

and have a quick dinner at the B&B. At 7 PM the Greyhound left from Jasper in the direction of

Edmonton, which meant the end of a fantastic weekend. I definitely want to get back here

someday. There is so much to see, and the mountains are just awesome! 

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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The Rockies part one25/9/2006

Friday afternoon I took the bus to Jasper. It was a five hour drive, and we stopped several times along the way to drop of and pick up people. In addition, the bus driver had to deliver and pick up parcels. Until about one hour away from Jasper the area was pretty flat. There were mostly meadows and trees along the way.


From the moment we could see them, the mountains were impressive. Many were covered with snow and very rugged. I arrived in Jasper at 6 PM. From the town you see mountains in every direction. It was a ten minute walk to the B&B, and I could easily find it. Jasper is not very big; it has only 5,000 inhabitants, although in summer this expands to 20,000.


My host at the B&B immediately started to suggest different hikes that I could consider to do. Another lady had also just arrived, she knew the place as she had stayed here before two years ago, and Doug (the host) suggested that we could go to Pyramid Lake to do a 20 minute walk around the island (peninsula) and to go for beaver watching afterwards at another lake in the area. So I dropped off my backpack and went on a sightseeing tour with Monika. We had a good time together, and went for dinner after our trip. It was a great start of the weekend!



On Saturday I got up pretty early, because I wanted to take the tramway up to Whistlers Mountain and walk to the summit. First I had coffee with Monika at a famous bakery, and then she dropped me off at the tramway station (she was continuing her journey). I hadn’t expected that there would be snow up there, but there was! In fact, from the tramway station you immediately entered the snow.



I was wondering whether it wouldn’t be too difficult to go to the top without poles, but I decided I would go as far as I thought it was safe. Most people went up twenty minutes to half an hour and then returned. But I really wanted to go to the summit (2464m), and the path wasn’t very steep, actually the steepest part was in the beginning. In addition, the path was most slippery where many people had walked, because the snow had gone a bit icy there. However, I thought it would not be wise to go up there if there wasn’t anybody close before or after me, but I found two men who were just in front of me, enjoying the scenery. I greeted them and one of them said ‘hey, you guy’. I was in disguise with my outdoor ware and short hair…I just walked over to them and asked them whether they were going to the summit. They were a bit hesitant as their wives were waiting for them in the restaurant, but on the other hand they wanted to go. In these situations I often experience thoughts like ‘just one more hill, just around that bend’, ending up at the top. So they joined me. They were from Australia and had been to Alaska before they came to the Rockies. They were nice men.


view down the valley on Pyramid Lake and the peninsula


View from Whisters Mountain (I wasn't at the summit yet)


At the summit we met another guy, also from Australia. I will meet him tomorrow to do another hike, as we discovered that we both wanted to go to the same place. He is a pretty sporty guy, great to join him, and nice to have somebody around, because there are not many people on most of the longer trails, and I would be happy to be with someone if I would see a bear, although chances to see bears are limited and if you don’t surprise them they won’t do you any harm. Anyway, I think it’s great to meet people in such a way. You don’t experience this when traveling together with somebody. When we had descended to the restaurant we had coffee together and they drove me back to Jasper town centre.


On the summit of Whistlers Mountain, unfortunately I just blinked when the picture was taken


To be continued, I have had such a great weekend!!!

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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Fire Alarm21/9/2006
This morning the fire alarm went off in the building where I work. I had my door open and looked what happened, but without any hesitation, everybody left his office and went downstairs using the stairway. Wow, I think this would not happen in the Leeuwenborch, remember when everybody had to leave the canteen last year? Everybody was looking at each other and kept seated. People only started moving when a voice from the speaker told them that they really had to get up and leave the building. When there is actually a fire, they might not be able to inform us that we should take the alarm seriously, so next time the alarm goes off I think we should be a little less passive. Anyway, I took the key of my room (that’s the part I did think of, because without the key I cannot get back into my room), and left with the others. Everybody gathered outside. I hoped that it was an exercise, nobody knew for sure. I got cold…People were asking me ‘aren’t you cold?’ My reply was ‘yes, but I am not trained in this, so I forgot to bring my coat.’ Fortunately it was just a test, and we could get back to our offices soon. When I was walking up the stairs I met Henry Dakurah, who has worked in Wageningen at the Development Economics group. He originally is from Ghana, and he knows John, as well as Erno and Joost. Now I need a cup of coffee to warm up!
(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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Good time17/9/2006

My presentation went okay. About six staff including Ellen attended the presentation. The atmosphere was very comfortable and relaxed, and I got the impression that they liked the research. In fact, they want me to give a 'department presentation' before I leave! 


Tonight Ellen and Tomas asked me if I wanted to join them for dinner. They were going to the faculty club, a kind of private club. We had a very good time. The dean of the faculty of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics was also having dinner there, and I was introduced to him as well as to the chair of the department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science. I could only find a picture on the internet site of the dean:




The food at the faculty club was good. It was a buffet with hot and cold dishes, and you could get salmon or some kind of meat straight from the kitchen. In addition, there were many fresh exotic fruits, like melon and pineapple, and all kinds of desserts. But these were dangerous desserts: pies with almonds on them and stuff. I had a great meal without any allergic reactions, nice wine, and coffee afterwards. But I mostly enjoyed being with these two people and talking with them about all kinds of issues. We had nice conversations about the university, the department, Canadian politics, the peace keeping mission of the Canadian army in Afghanistan, and also Jasper, which is one of the national parks close to Edmonton.


Lynn had told Ellen that I loved the mountains, so Ellen asked me when I would be going to pay the mountain area a visit. I told her that I would probably not be going there, but she told me that I could go there from Edmonton by bus, and that it would probably not be so crowded there this time of the year and easy to arrange accommodation. It appears that you can do several walks from the town centre, and there is also a tramway up to Whistler's Mountain (see picture below) to an elevation of 2285 metres from where you can walk to the summit of the mountain. In addition, trips are organized from Jasper to the Colombia Icefields, which are a big attraction. So, right now I am really into going to Jasper next weekend.




When I came home I found a postal card in my mail box! It had taken to weeks to get here, but thank you Morach! It’s one of my favorite Loesje cards that usually stands in our bookcase, great to have it here.
(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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The number of people jogging is really outstanding. People jog in the River Valley, over the Dudley B. Menzies Bridge (the blue one), across campus, and everywhere else I went since I got here. So today I decided to take some exercise myself, and jog to the supermarket (7 blocks away). This brings me to the second remarkable fact, namely the ‘obsession’ that people tend to have for buying low priced products. Of course I understand that people, and especially students, try to buy smart, but you really hear people talk like ‘for fresh products and meat prices do not differ so much, but for dry ware supermarket X is cheaper’. I have the impression that people do their shopping at different places to get the best price. In the Netherlands, many people (and I think also many students), go shopping at a convenient location, not necessarily the cheapest one. I know very few people (correct me if I’m wrong here) who visit different stores for different products, which is not for reasons of the available assortment. Perhaps the pattern of the price differences is different in the Netherlands, which doesn’t make it particularly attractive to go to different stores. Whatever, people are very price-minded, and also very keen on coupons. This I already knew in theory from the American marketing books that were used in my studies, but it’s actually true… Personally, I am not a big fan of coupons (except for We Day). Well, to get to the point: I thought I should also be part of this in some way, so now I have my own Safeway Clubcard! 


Today I saved 1.69 Canadian dollars on my groceries. Tomorrow I can get a medium sized, medium strong coffee for that amount of money, and I will even have some change! Wow, I love this card! I think I should be going to bed now…

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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My latent preference for blueberries has become visible…


(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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Fast forward13/9/2006
I just got back from my meeting with Ellen. She is very enthusiastic about the analysis I am doing, and interested in the results. She was wondering whether I could present the results that I have so far at a lunch seminar, because she thinks there might be some people in the department that are interested. Moreover, it gives us the opportunity to ask for feedback and get some ideas for the conference paper (deadline September 30). However, as I am not staying in the department for a very long time, the seminar is planned for THIS FRIDAY, AHHHH. I am really flattered that Ellen wants me to present the study (that is, the part of it that I did up till now), and I am also very keen on receiving feedback on the work I am doing. So, for the next 48 hours I will lock myself in the office and prepare a powerpoint presentation! Kidding, but although it is just an informal presentation and I don't have to put too much energy in it, I want to have a nice story to tell...
(Posted in BALTIMORE 2006)
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A sunday afternoon in the park12/9/2006

Although it was a bit rainy on Sunday morning (ideal for doing laundry, which I did), the afternoon was very sunny. There is a park close to the campus, so that was a perfect destination for a walk. It was a big park, next to the Saskatchewan river. Many families were having barbecues there, picnic tables are even equipped for that.


Before entering the park, however, I had to cross this road leading to the city centre 





Morach told me these are actually Canadian geeze!


Through the trees you see the Saskatchewan river.


And on my way back I saw the furry campus animal...there are so many hares and squirrels around here!


Time really flew this weekend! Now I am up to another week of hard work on my paper. For the interested people among you: I have finished the main Lisrel part. My model shows good measurement equivalence across the two countries, and also the structural relationships seem very 'generalizable'. Tomorrow I have my first meeting with Ellen.

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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...and this is where I work9/9/2006

The Rural Economy department is located on the fifth floor of the General Services Building. It is a square building, and there are two 'rings' of offices: an outer and an inner ring with in between the corridor. My office is in the inner ring. It has three desks, but this week I was the only person working there. Because the office is in the inner ring, it does not have any windows. Here's how it looks like:




And then there is campus, last week there were al kinds of events because the academic year started, and to welcome the new students.




(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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a trip to the Art Gallery of Alberta9/9/2006

This morning I went to the Art Gallery of Alberta. I was there at ten, but the gallery was to open at eleven...so, time for a coffee! There is a very fancy place at the Sir Winston Churchill Square, just facing the City Hall. I had a great coffee there, a kind of cappucino with caramel. 




Then I went to the gallery to see the exhibition 'Northern Passage', which shows artworks by Jackson, Harris, and Banting that were made from two expeditions (1927 and 1930) to the Canadian Arctic.




Jackson and Harris were both members of the Group of Seven, "painters bitten by the Canadian north who, for the first time, took on the task of painting the great power, scenery and spirit of their land". It was a very interesting exhibition, with photo and film material, paintings, and drawings. Below you see 'Arctic' by Jackson, made in 1931.




I especially liked the work of Harris. I like the colors he used and the simplified way in which his paintings represent the scenery. I looked up some images of his paintings on google (and I made a picture of my brochure) to give you some idea of Harris' style. Unfortunately no postcards were sold at the gallery...






Below you find a painting of Harris from the Canadian mountain scenery (Jasper park). 




(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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An update live from Edmonton8/9/2006

Some of you already noticed that the weather here is very sunny. Except for that, it is also very warm, especially for this time of the year. It is almost ten degrees Celcius warmer than average – during daytimes currently about 26°C – and it has been predicted that this summer is going to be the warmest ever. I must say that I am enjoying it. In the morning I walk to work in my shirt, and the sunshine makes the trees and lawns even more pretty. Unfortunately all this joy comes to an end when I reach my workplace. My room does not have any windows, it even lacks a transparent part in the door. In addition, it is so cold in there that I need to put on another layer of clothes. You can’t have it all you know…J


It is astonishing that I am already here for almost a week. Time really flies. I am feeling very comfortable in my apartment. All important facilities are at hand, I live close to work, and close to the public transport systems.


Next week I will have my first party: a get together of the people living in my ‘zone’. I think the party is on your birthday Amber, so I will think of you when I toast!


I wish you all a very nice weekend, hopefully without rain.





(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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pictures of my trip on Labor Day6/9/2006


The empty streets in Edmonton on Labor Day.



This is the City Hall.



An architectonic detail, especially for Morach.



This is the Legislature Building that I visited.






This is the forest on the incline between the river and the campus.



This is the mall where I live. My apartment lies in the front right corner at the end. 

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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today is Labor Day in canada. i decided to pay a visit to downtown Edmonton. It was a bit desolate, there were few people and cars in the streets, and many shops were closed. First i went to the city hall, a huge building. Many children (and lovers) were playing in the fountain in front of the building.


as i was strolling around in the city, i all of a sudden saw where all the Edmonton citizens had gone to for relaxation: the Legislature building. In front of the building were several basins, and around those nice places to sit. When i walked up the stairs to find some more information about the building and its use, a woman asked me if i wanted to pay a visit to the building. A guided tour would start in five minutes. Lucky me, it was a good opportunity to see this pompous building from the inside and learn a bit about Albertan politics.  


Some historic facts: the building was constructed early twentieth century, and had some very modern features for that time, such as an electric elevator. funny is that in the history of governors, there is a clear pattern in political parties: 3 liberal governors, followed by 3 democrat governors, and currently the third conservative governor is in power. The question is what will happen when the current governor retires this fall…a new series of liberals, or a total new party?


On the fifth floor of the building, I stood on the ‘magic spot’. As the result of an acoustic effect (reverberation of the sound of the fountain that is in the main hall), standing on the spot feels as if water is falling on your head.


I have some difficulties with uploading pictures at the moment, so no pictures today…use your imagination!

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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I arrived!4/9/2006

I was exhausted after the flight from Toronto to Edmonton, but fortunately Wenzhao - a PhD student who is also working at the department - picked me up from the airport and drove me to my room at the campus of the university.




I have a bedroom, a study, a living room with semi-open kitchen, and a bathroom. It is very spacious. Below you see the view from my bedroom. I look out on the busstation.



I can access my apartment from the mall. In the mall there are some offices for student organizations, small shops selling magazines and snacks, and food outlets. There is also a place where you can do your laundry.


The university campus is quite large, especially compared to the Dutch universities. Many buildings are interconnected, probably because it is very cold here in winter. The campus is very green. There are many trees and grass between the buildings. When I made a tour over de campus I saw two squirrels and two rabbits.


Another thing that is remarkable is the number of small outlets where you can buy coffee, bagels, sandwiches, Japanese food, and pizzas. All the neon lights make it very lively. In the passage, there are seats where students are working on their laptop (or surving on the Internet). I'll include a picture of the mall later.


I also went to the Saskatchewan River, which is very close to the campus. From the riverbank, which lies quite a bit below the university campus level (I had to descend through the forest), you have a nice view at the buildings of the city (although I suspect that the buildings on the picture below are not downtown edmonton...). Downtown Edmonton lies at the other side of the bridge.




This bridge connects the university area with downtown Edmonton. I hope I will have a look at downtown Edmonton tomorrow when it is labor day in Canada. On Tuesday the academic year will start off, so I expect it to be busy on campus!


So far I am having a good time. Wenzhao is very helpful. Yesterday we went to the "Superstore" together (big grocery and drug stores are not easy to reach if you don't have a car, although Wenzhao showed me a pretty large supermarket (Safeway) that I can go to by foot). Today he showed me some buildings on the campus, and took me to the office. I installed the program that is needed to gain access to the wireless network, and can now work under Wenzhao's name (until I get my own account).


To be continued... 

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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This is the skyline of Edmonton according to google. Next week, I will find out myself. Pretty high towers! 

(Posted in EDMONTON 2006)
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