Will a Trip to the Northern Territory, Australia, kill you?

Posted on October 27, 2016

The first thing an Australian told me upon arrival in my Darwin hostel was “Everything in the ocean is trying to kill you, you won’t make it longer than five minutes”. Welcome to the Northern Territory, where everything is trying to kill you and each other! This is the land where the animals and some of the people are all kinds of cray cray. Where crocodiles eat bull sharks and snakes eat crocodiles. Where kangaroos have relationships with pigs and where flies would take over the country if they had a bigger brain. Welcome to the Northern Territory! Continue Reading

Calcutta Flower Market

Posted on July 23, 2015

Arriving in India I waited for the famous Indian culture shock for quite a while. Visiting Kerala, the most southern province of India, was a bit overwhelming, but there was nothing that was too much for our senses. My first true culture shock came while visiting the Calcutta flower market also known as the Mallik Ghat market. It was a very powerful experience and still is one of the activities I’ll recommend when visiting Calcutta or Kolkata in West Bengal, India. Just as I’m putting it on your to-do list, it was praised to us as a true local experience by a friend of a friend and, he was right. This flower market is, just as most things in India, unlike any other flower market you have visited before. I went thinking of Columbia flower market in London or the local foreigners market (aka vreemdelingenmarkt) in Antwerp and quickly had to adjust my expectations. First of all they don’t sell flowers to put in vases and you will most certainly not find any plants. What you will find is fresh flower petals, flower heads, flower decorations and garlands in all colors and shapes. Most of these flowers will be used for ceremonial purposes and only a small fraction of the flowers will be used to decorate a home, unless there is a ceremony held within. The most important flowers are yellow and orange marigolds, roses, orchids and several other flowers that all serve a different religious and/or medicinal purpose in daily Indian life. Continue Reading

Wedding Bells at Christmas Time

Posted on December 23, 2011

The only wedding I’d ever been to was my niece’s. I think I was about 5 years old and I was a bridesmaid. All I can remember however, is a vague image of the dance floor and the room where we had to sleep when our parents were dancing. When I got the invite to the wedding of my college friends, Tania and Geert, I was more than excited. I started brainstorming immediately with one of my other friends and had the perfect outfit in my head more than a month in advance. You might think that this is going overboard, but you must admit, I’m not the only one who does this. Continue Reading