Saturday, May 5, 2007

Day 76: Football, Culture Shock and Red Lights

Good evening.

I'm very happy to announce that after a two month pause I played football for the first time in The Netherlands ... and what a game it was.

I've been arranging this match for a long time through several people - my Iranian colleague lives next to a student from Iceland and he "has heard" that this guy from the northern land plays once a week. Finally I contacted Dori - the viking - and he invited me to join the team on Saturday afternoon.

I thought it would be a fun game between friends but suddenly I was playing as a right defender on a big pitch, 2 halves of 45 minutes, 3 referees, offsides ... - i.e official game for the university team called Ariston80.

Luckily it was quite an easy match and we won 10:2. Thank God I had started a week ago to run every night after work so that I managed to play 90 minutes on this big field. The central defender in our team is from Switzerland, the left defender from The Czech Republic. There was also a striker from Piza, Italy - international team. Before telling the others that I'm from Bulgaria they thought I'm from Latin/South America - Columbia, Peru - ok, I'll take this as a compliment for my elegant play :)

Unfortunately this was the last match of the season. Ariston80 finished first in the group and scored the 100th goal this day. The team gathers again in September to renew training but before that there is a weekend tournament in the end of May in Groningen. Cheers!

This was a busy Saturday. At 19:30 took the train to Haarlem because it was time for the traditional Bulgarian meeting. One new IT specialist arrived and started to work in a company in Amsterdam. We went to the city center where the celebrations for the Independence Day and the end of The Second World War II were held. A Norwegian "fusion" group presented a concert and drifters/поройници/ from the region had flocked to have a cigarette/drugs/, drink beer and sleep on the ground and rubbish that was all around. Some were laying as dead and First Aid equips were trying to "bring them to life". Meanwhile few boys started to fight ... I've never seen so disgusting people before, obviously this is part of the "western culture".

Our night adventures continued in Amsterdam and the famous "Red Lights". This is a whole quarter with several crossed streets looking like that on the photo. It was totally crowded. Photos are forbidden that's why I can't show you more spicy details. In short, girls stay behind windows and seduce passengers. Prices start from 50 euros but are mainly a subject of negotiation. You can see all kind of girls - from super models to ... :) As touring guides say: "this is a must see place for people coming in Amsterdam" aaand obviously another part of the "western culture". I'm leaving you in the company of "Sting & The Police" and their "Roxanne". Good night.

Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
Those days are over
You don't have to sell your body to the night
Roxanne, you don't have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money
You don't care if it's wrong or if it's right

Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
Put on the red light, put on the red light
Put on the red light, put on the red light
Put on the red light, oh

I loved you since I knew ya
I wouldn't talk down to ya
I have to tell you just how I feel
I won't share you with another boy
I know my mind is made up
So put away your make up
Told you once I won't tell you again it's a bad way

Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
You don't have to put on the red light
Put on the red light, put on the red light

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Day 71: "Dutch defense" on the greatest Dutch holiday - "Koninginnedag"

Good evening.

Today was holiday here - Queen's day or "Koninginnedag" - because queen Beatrix has birthday on the 30th of April, she is already 69. I feel shame that I couldn't organize the other Bulgarians to visit Amsterdam and see the celebrations. I agree, I'm "liulak" - Dutch word that means "lazy ass" :) Sometimes colleagues call me this way when I'm late at office in the morning.

As every Monday there also was a traditional chess competition at the local club - this time rapid tournament, 5 rounds, 15 minutes time control, guillotine. "Fortuna" totally forgot me this night. In round 2 missed to win a super position against one very unpleasant man I've lost to several weeks ago /all the time he makes nervous grimaces and nasty sounds/. We started by surprising each other, this time I pushed 1. d4 on my first move /1. e4 didn't work last time/, he replied with Grunfeld defense and I responded with a rare variation that lead to a superior and strategically won position for me before entering the endgame. I finished the game very awkwardly and couldn't realize the advantage I had ... even at the end I was on the rim to lose but with 5 seconds left on my clock could reach a theoretical drawing position ... and survived.

One round to go, with 3.5 points out of 4 games, I was in the lead accompanied only by Richard Oranje. We had half point more than others ... and our game decided the tournament. I had white pieces/this is an advantage in chess, white starts first/ but only to see the "Dutch defense" in reply to my 1. d4. I tried to play quite creatively but at the end entered a position where my bishop hit Dutch wall of pawns and I hit my stupid head. I lost and I needed only a draw to take the 1st prize. Again shame on me.

Lyubomir Mishkovsky - Richard Orange, 30 April 2007, 0 : 1

Playing the endgame like real "liulak"

Nevertheless I managed 3rd place and won 5 euro award. Do you see, I can make living here of chess :) Here is the tournament link: