Local Heart, Global Soul

June 25, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Keer with Orange

Filed under: FOOD,INDIA,Indian Cusine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Keer with Orange

1 litre (2 pints)full fat milk
a few strands of Saffron
2-3 teaspoon sugar (according to taste
180 ml jar of oranges in syrup (or 1 cup fresh orange segments, must be sweet)

Before I get on with the step-by-step photographs, there are a few tips and notes from or Indian cooking lesson teacher to mention.

The milk should ideally be reduced on the stove at a time when you are not frying any strong flavoured things, particularly garlic or onions, because otherwise the garlic and onion odor will be absorbed into the milk.

The reason that a commercial jar of orange or mandarin segments is used in this recipe is that  our teacher says that usually fresh oranges are too dry and simply not sweet enough to given enough flavour to this recipe.

Method:

Heat the milk in a large pan and simmer gently until it reduces to three-quarters of it’s original volume. This will take approximately 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently, fold in the top skin, scrape the side of the pan and mix into the liquid. Continue until the milk thickens and darkens in colour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the saffron strands to the milk and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then remove from the heat and allow to cool down completely.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the sugar (photograph not included)  and the orange segments. Mix well, taste and add a little more sugar if required. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Note:  This dessert can be made a day before and kept in the fridge.

Kiwi’s Notes: I’ve mentioned earlier that desserts that are heavily dairy based wreck havoc with my asthma, so  this milky dessert really isn’t for me, and was never going to be a personal favourite. I can tell you that the milk, once the keer process is finished is very creamy in taste, which was nice but there was a less strong orange taste to it than I imagined there would be.  Again, my cooking classmates loved it so it’s all personal preference and comes down to if you like this type of dessert or not. It’s definitely easy to make, I think it’s safe to say that you need more time than effort for this one! Enjoy!

July 14, 2010

When Silver shines just as bright as Gold…

Filed under: THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

OK, OK….I’m interrupting my own Singapore travel-log again… this really IS my last World Cup post ( …well for the next 4 years at least LOL).

Spain might have taken the trophy home, but the Dutch are famous for cheering on their team, for being the “Orange Army” and following the team at all National matches, at home or abroad.

Many people travel to support the team during away matches… but the show of support is also massive with those who have commitments at home.

In recent weeks as the Dutch team have progressed upwards thorough the levels of the tournament, more and more people have crowded around televisions to watch… even people who didn’t usually care for football wanted to watch the Sunday Final, even if  to just  “catch a bit of history”.

An estimated 11 million out of 16 million people watched the Final here in the Netherlands.

Usually the winners of Silver medals are not celebrated the same as the ones who win Gold…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this case it was decided that many many people wanted to show their team that they were proud of them getting as far as the Final, so the canal boat parade went ahead today (Tuesday 13th) even though they didn’t win.

For me work commitments called so I didn’t make it to Amsterdam, so you will have to make do with rather less than prefect photos of my ancient and tiny TV… still hopefully it conveys that are are not sore losers and that the Dutch enjoy their football in spite of not winning.

Note: if this is the welcome home that they get as runners-up, just imagine what reception they would have gotten had they won!

It was also a moment for football fans to let out the emotions of the last weeks as they willed the team on but then had everything fall apart at the final hurdle.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The general consensus is that on the Day, the best team won… no-one is saying “we was robbed” … but rather “fair’s fair, we were out footballed… and we are at least happy that the team made it to the Final”

Most people  here also readily admit that it wasn’t a particularly pleasant game to watch, that the fouls and heavy tackles on the pitch were  far from  brilliant example of a match at the highest level of a sport  who’s nickname is “the Beautiful Game”.

Sigh, Sunday’s World Cup Final was many things  but “Beautiful” sadly,  wasn’t one of them… Still, that too was a two-way street and I can only hope that FIFA are not as slow to tackle the problem of lack of sportsmanship of players on the pitch as they are to introduce technology that would greatly limit some of the biggest refereeing blunders seen to date.

It’s not just the rough tackles that need addressing, in my opinion it’s also the theatrics of players who with the slightest of touches (and in some cases, no touch at all) are apt to fall down in with great drama  particularly in the Penalty area, so that fairly or not, their team might gain a highly unfair penalty kick. (Certain Nationalities have a long history of this, you know who you are and you should hang your heads in shame!!!). I don’t call that Football, I call it cheating.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If I was a top brass in FIFA, then not only would technology be introduced that would track the ball (via GPS  with the alarm that goes off in the Ref’s ear-piece if the ball crosses the goal line) and also the allowances of video replays…

…and I would even go a step further:  if i were in charge at FIFA, I’d have ALL matches watched a FIFA committee Live as it happened, and any player deemed by that committee to be faking falls, making tackles at are clearly illegal or any other show of blatantly bad sportsmanship, would get:

a) A post-match Fine, consistent with the offense.

b) A Yellow or Red card,  so that this player was banned from taking part in the next matches. (if they already had a Red Card, then they could miss more than one match)

c) Goals could be awarded to the opposing team and even Trophies would be handed back if player indiscretions lead to an unfair win.

they would have the video evidence after all.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After all, if you win by cheating  or by creating or by gaining any unfair advantage in other sports, you get disqualified… so why not in Football?

It’s called “misappropriation” or “fraud” in other jobs, and is a criminal offense… so why can’t FIFA have the guts to call it as it is and deal with it accordingly?

Yeah, yeah, I know … wishing is free.

Of course it’s clear that I’ve been following the World Cup with great pleasure…

I can but hope that some disciplinary action takes place so that ordinary fans who work hard, save hard, use their holidays and hard earned cash to travel to support teams, as well as the millions around the world who love the game actually get to see a Beautiful Game and not one where the ones with the sneakiest tactics win.

But I digress.. we have a party here that you need to join…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The sign says “2nd Place with a golden edge Thanks Hero’s

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This one says ” Welcome Home Hero’s”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Helicopter shot of the boats on the canal and the people watching…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have a little collection of quotes that people have made in forums, in response to news articles etc… some of them I thought were wonderful gems;

—————————

World Cup football match on the opening Day June 11th in South Africa …

France are playing Uruguay… we happen to watching this game on the BBC so have the English commentary on…

A French player comes off the pitch and another comes on in a substitution and the commentator says “ youth replaced by experience

( err….now..was that an insult or not?)

———-

Commentator, same game, a little later:

both sides are trying to win the game .. it just took the French and awful long time to realise it…”

————————–

Friday 18th June World Cup Football match between Germany and Serbia (Germany eventually lost 0-1, the first time they have ever lost a match in a world cup group round since 1960’s)

The Dutch commentary (translated)…

Oh ya, the Germans are now looking like the Dutch… (other commentators gives him an puzzled look…) Howso?

well, they are starting to play in the style of the Dutch… they missed a penalty, .. that’s VERY Dutch…”

( he’s serious and it’s true, the Dutch ARE famous for missing penalty shots on goal, but the other commentators are now laughing at this so much it becomes hard to focus on commenting on the match)

——————
(on the England v Slovenia (lackluster) match were the winner would go though to meet Germany…) Turned out to be more than a little prophetic…

Dev, Delhi: “With this level of play it doesn’t matter which team wins, they would be put
to the sword by Germans. Another 4-0 for them I reckon
.”
—————–
Owain from Birmingham: “I feel a bit embarrassed that teams like South Africa, New Zealand and Japan – hardly footballing powerhouses – can put in 100% effort and give an inspired performance, even if they don’t win. England, France and Italy were boring to watch, gave zero effort and don’t deserve to be at a World Cup on this showing. Country before club, always.
———————–

Rob: “If ENGLAND had an ENGLISH manager we could have avoided this humiliation by not qualifying in the first place.”
—————–
and the one that gave me the biggest giggle comes from a BBC website:

Next time round ? Just put all the qualifiers in a hat and get an octopus to work it all out

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 11, 2010

Dutch v Spain in the World Cup ….FINAL!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you live in The Netherlands and want to watch the World Cup in Amsterdam today, then all trains, buses and trams will be free to get there… but just free today you understand, (we Dutch have a reputation to uphold LOL).

Reputations for frugality thriftiness aside, there was a  bizarre mention in the Dutch media about some irate houseboat owners who will be more than a little upset if the Dutch win today and the traditional “parade by canal”  by the team takes place near them once the team arrive back home.

Apparently in 1988 when the Dutch won the European Championships the canal parade backfired for many canal house-boat owners who had ringside seats on the water …

… so many exuberant  fans jumped onto the roofs of their houses to be closer to the action that some of the houseboats actually sank…  and many that didn’t sink sustained considerable damage.

Ouch… I can understand that you really DO want to be a part of the celebrations, but if the sheer weight of the supporters sinks your home it’s really does put a dampener on things doesn’t it?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then there is the other bizarre media circus that covers with great detail the antics of an  English Octopus in a German Zoo called Paul who’s been predicting the outcome of World Cup matches. Sorry …but if you are that superstitious then I think you deserve to loose LOL.

Meantime has anyone noticed that Paul appears to pick the right hand tank one time, the left hand tank the next, then the right hand tank again… Does it therefore occur to anyone that maybe his little octopus brain says ” Hey, I took all the food out of that one  last time, so ergo it must be empty and the rest of the stash can only be in this one today….” ?

I suppose that it may also have been a wise  move for Paul with  some ulterior motives..  After all, Spain has a bigger coastline than The Netherlands,  and a population of 44 million to the Dutch  17 million so is it possible that our little Octo friend did the math and thought:

Hey, all those silly superstitious people will be freaking out at my prediction and the unhappy ones will be dining out on a menu of “Calamari Revenge” in the next days…

Which of these two populations would do the most damage to my wider circle of friends and relations? um… er… ok .. let’s count of eight legs… The Spanish.

Quick!… pick them to win, The Dutch a) have a reputation for being  very laid back and tolerant and b) there are less of them to take revenge on my wild cousin Paulo, Paola,  Pedro, Piero, Pancha, Palma, Paz, etc. ”

If the Spanish DO win by the way, what are the chances that the Spanish  names ” Octaviano” and Octavia” will suddenly  find their way into the “ 10 most popular baby names” lists in say… nine months time ???

I would squeal out loud laughing, really surely no one would take it that seriously ?????

Forget Sport Paul… you clearly have a future in the Diplomatic Service.

Many Dutch cities are erecting giant screens in  suitable places, large Pleins or parks, this is great news for families with children who want to experience the match in a crowd but don’t want to be somewhere like a Pub.

Great! I thought… Family Kiwidutch would love to be able to share this  amazing moment in a great atmosphere, watching on a mega screen and cheering with fellow citizens of The Hague. 

Wrong… our city council is the only one in the country who refuses to put up or will allow large screens… even though we have two massive  locations where events are often held,  that would be ideal:  Zuiderpark, and the Marliveld.

Needless to say the council is getting a LOT of flack for this right now…

One of the big supermarket chains launched a World Cup Football campaign…  with every Euro 15 worth of purchases, you get a “beesie”  (pronounced: “bay see”). There are different ones out for every World Cup or European Championship in recent years.

This years offering comes in Red, White and Blue of the national flag and of course, Orange, the national colour. Our kids went for Orange with every opportunity …

This tournaments Beesie  is a small snake-like thing with bulging eyes that  imply being  heavily related to the Muppets.

Kids of course, love them, and plead with you to shop there so that they can improve their stash. Naturally the supermarket chain never thought of this aspect when they hatched these little items. (Ha!!!.. you think???)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These Beesies come with a thin wire inside  and a small double sided tape sticker on the top so you will find them wound around bike handles and spokes, car aerials, gates, car mirrors, computer screens, doorways… the list goes on.

One of the photos below shows the “Holland” banner back to front… (well it’s the right way round if you are in the apartments behind, obviously) but that’s not what everyone on the busy road sees it.

So the Big Question is: Will the team be victorious or not?… only thing left now is to bite our nails, pray that it doesn’t come down to a penalty shootout , scream our joys and sighs at the TV as the game progresses until the final whistle blows and see who’s country name  emerges as the new name on the World Cup…

Naturally from where I’m sitting it’s:  Viva Hollondia !!!!!! and  Hup Holland Hup!!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Daughter came home from Scouts with two little toys she picked out heself…

The message on the first one is obvious, the other says “leg neer de ball” (put down that ball” from what I can make out…

Update:  Dutch News reports that if the Dutch win, then houseboat owners will get police protection for their homes during the canal parade for the team… yeah for common sense!

July 7, 2010

Gasp! … it’s happened !!!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I went to work not really over my stomach bug of yesterday and came home feeling pretty green.

I wanted to play safe during the day so I ate two bananas and even they turned my stomach volcanic and necessitated putting my office  rubbish-bin very close by in case of emergency.

Back home Himself greets me and he’s not looking great either… seems we are a matching pair on the the evil stomach front.

I disappear immediately to bed and get up in time to watch the football, (  local kids in the street with their vuvuzela’s were a not so gentle wake-up call marking kick-off time) but my stomach still is playing havoc… it’s a toss up between the stomach churning nerves of a semi final and the backflips my stomach was already doing.

The match can be described as totally boring in places, lackluster in others, with moments of total genius in between. I wanted to walk though the TV set and shake them awake at some moments, hug them at others and at other moments I just want to go back to bed.

The noise outside escalates as the countdown the the final whistle ticks maddeningly slowly…

The Dutch score the first goal, Uruguay equalize.. the Dutch return later with two more and Uruguay add one just moments from the end, but its not enough to save them…

The DUTCH ARE THOUGH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How many vuvuzelas are there in The Netherlands? I think I can hear most of them!

Us? no hard partying here… in fact sadly pathetic… no party at all, …more laying low and trying to get rid of this pukey feeling… Let’s try and save the real Party for Sunday ! … but are we happy?  Ohhhhhh YES!!! You bet !!!

…just a “small” Dutch flag seen in town last week…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At this moment National Dutch pride in our football team is even bigger…

July 6, 2010

Uruguay v The Netherlands…Semi-Final Fever: the temperature rises.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands has reached the World Cup Semi-Finals… today  in South Africa,  Uruguay met the Netherlands at 20.30 and only one of them can secure a place in the final.

Once again this means that two nations will be sitting on the edge of their seats, having heart palpitations at very near miss (no matter which end of the field the ball is) and shouting themselves hoarse if their side scores a goal…

Some will be shouting  at their TV sets, telling the players their mistakes, berating the referee for every decision they disagree with.

Some will be muttering tensely  “come one, come on”  though clenched fists… some will be hardly daring to look, but wouldn’t miss it for the world, and someone somewhere will be attempting to explain the Off Side Rule, to someone else who didn’t get it before the explanation and who also doesn’t after it.

On Sofas everywhere someone will be telling someone else that they hate the buzzing noise of the vuvuzelas … and someone’s guaranteed to be raging about the choice of players put onto the field, the positions that they are playing in, the greatness or ineptitude of the coach, disputed goals, yellow cards, red cards, the new ball,  penalty shootouts and finally the weather.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Football is drama, suspense, mystery, thriller, action, and sometimes can be also crime, comedy, (mis)-adventure, a small war and horror… These are all tied up in the love -hate romance we have with the “Beautiful Game”.

It’s a bit like  politics then isn’t it?

The silly part about football is that for both side it usually ends in tears: one the tears of joy and victory  and the other of frustration, disbelief and sadness.

People get emotionally attached, for better or worse our support gives us attacks of stomach churning nerves, raised blood pressure and sweaty palms.

Then why on earth do we do it?

How can we bear to watch and put ourselves hough this?

That’s a hard question to answer if as the person requiring a response you are not a Football Fan and cares nothing for the game…  and one that doesn’t require an answer if you are a fan and do.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s in your blood,  it’s beauty personified,  it’s the smooth and skillful movement of the ball between players that looks easy but isn’t. It’s poetry in motion when the game is played right, when players are on form, when both teams are giving their all and doing it fairly and well.

Ok … in this respect it’s not like politics then.

… It’s also a slow agonizing death which would not be out of place on any operatic stage if these elements do not come together.

Hopefully today we get the former scenario and not the latter… and that’s why millions of Dutch and Uruguay fans will be watching the match tonight, dreaming, hoping, praying, yelling,  … supporting.

That’s also why billions more around the world will also be watching.. their hands will be far less sweaty than ours, but they will be cheering the team of their choice, moaning and sighing at the missed chances on goal, screaming in joy at the television if their team scores and generally enjoying the atmosphere and camaraderie  that events like the World Cup generates.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One thing is for sure.. the streets of Uruguay and The Netherlands will fall eerily silent at about 8.30 pm this evening, traffic volume will fade to microscopic, many shops who might otherwise have been open will be closed, and any left open will be sparely staffed.

People will meet in Bars, Pubs, areas with Big Screens, party’s put on especially so that large groups can watch the game… but many more will be entertaining at home, apartments, gardens, living rooms… with family, with friends, over informal buffet meals, snacks and drinks.

Places of work that must continue service will probably have a television or radio or computer with internet on somewhere in a spot where people can just “happen by” and hear the score… the state of play.

Naturally the Dutch supporters are still out in force…  if you can’t tune into the match then at least enjoy the photos !

For more photos related to this try these links: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/new-36/ and https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/new-33/

(and Pie… you will surely appreciate several of these photos very much… I’ve posted them especially for you LOL)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The long banner says ” ??? in Africa” but the first bit definitely isn’t Dutch so it doesn’t make any sense to me at all,  the banner on the right says ” Orangje wint W.C. 2010” which translates as “Orange (ie the Dutch) win the World Cup 2010

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another one where you may need your sunglasses…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 3, 2010

Dutch World Cup Football, Quarter-Final…sweating and celebrating.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Phew! Yesterday I started work ultra early, and at  15:00  joined the city-wide traffic jam that was the throng of Dutch  streaming out of their workplaces to go and watch the Dutch v Brazil Football match that would be taking place in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Kick-off was at 16:00 and initially we held our breath as the usually brilliant Dutch defense showed cracks. The Dutch are missing Joris Mathijsen in the defensive line, the Dutch media reporting that he  injured his knee in the warm-up minutes before the start of  the game… it’s serious enough that he had to miss this match.

Brazil scored first and on a hot,windless  afternoon with all the windows  to our balconies open, the  collective gasp of  dismay was audible throughout the neighbourhood.

Then Brazil try and defend a Dutch attack and  the ball deflects off one of their own and into the net… an own goal!!!

Ok, so we didn’t exactly score it, but with it the scoreboard is now level again.

The reaction in the Netherlands to this is a little strange,  events happened so fast that we didn’t realise for several seconds that a goal had even been made…  apparently we aren’t the only ones, because a half cheer  goes out and then stops as people wait to see if it was all for real or not.

Then the action replay shows the events,  it become clear that the goal has been given and the neighbourhood erupts in cheering… the kids are on the street with their vuvuzela’s  and the Dutch are back in the match.

Half-time comes and goes and then it’s Game On for both sides and a clear signal that someone has to move into a higher gear to achieve a win here.  The Dutch Players tell us after the match that they decided as a team at half time… “now we put in everything…”

The breakthrough moment comes when sixty-eight minutes into the ninety minute game, Sneijder  grabs a goal for the Dutch, and this time with a clear goal from one of our own players the reaction in the neighbourhood is  instant… cheers, shouts, whistles, vuvuzela’s.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now we are REALLY on the edge of our seats… counting the minutes until the end of the game,.. desperately wishing for another Dutch goal “just to make sure” , happy when we have possession of the ball and it’s close to the Brazilian goal and holding our breath, whitening our knuckles and getting nervous when the Brazilians take the ball too close to the Dutch goal.

The Brazilians are getting desperate, the Dutch are holding fast…  our little Nation in Europe is willing them on, not to relax for a moment because it’s never over until  the final whistle blows:  goals have appeared  in the last seconds of a match upsetting the applecart many times before now.

The final whistle blows with the score 2-1 to the Dutch… Brazil stand in total shock,  their Fans sit stunned, whilst the Dutch fans are celebrating hysterically in Port Elizabeth.

The  Dutch players have shaken the hands of the Brazilians and given out some hugs of condolence, but then go on to do a victory lap to acknowledge the fans and celebrate.

Here in my neighbourhood, large booming fireworks are going off… it’s still very much daylight, but who cares?… noise, LOTS of it… the vuvuzela’s are now out in force, the big BBQ party in a house down the street , spills out onto the footpath and celebrate the length of the street and back before returning to their party… cars start driving along a larger street several streets away and all we can hear is  toot, toot, tooting of car horns as the occupants celebrate too. Cheering and singing can be heard…

Suddenly my  five year old son goes close to our balcony ( it has insect screen across it ‘cos  Little Miss daughter and I are  allergic to mosquitoes) so he can’t get out on it proper…and yells loudly in his little five year old voice ”  Yeah Nederland!” … actually he really said  it the dutch way: ” yea aaah Nay -der -lond“.

He stops to catch his breath, in this pause there suddenly comes a reply from a house somewhere close by… ” Weee are the chhhamp-i-ions !…” it’s clearly  the voice of an adult man, but some distance away… Mr Five recovers his startled look and gleefully cheers back “”yea aaah Nay -der -lond“. Again the reply is returned… next time, I add my voice to Little Mr’s chant and the returning reply includes an extra  male adult voice too.

Then my friend who’s cooking dinner for us tonight joins both of us in our chant, and we hear laughter echoing back to us in the very still early evening air and more voices join from the other side.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Much to Little Mr’s complete and utter delight, this goes on for several minutes before all the adults taking part start laughing to much to continue. After a pause we hear a distant “dooi”  (pronounced “do we”) which is informal Dutch for “Goodbye”. We return the greeting.

So World Cup Football is brilliant, not just for getting a nation to stand or sit restlessly and nervously on the edge of our seats waiting to find out if we go forwards in the competition, to get closer to World Cup victory or back home in defeat, but also in letting complete strangers celebrate in a short , funny, impromptu,  uplifting ways together.

For now we can breathe a collective sigh of relief… our team goes on, Brazil’s go home, and we get to repeat this stress all over again next Tuesday!

July 2, 2010

The Netherlands v Brazil … nailbiting in Orange…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m interrupting your Singaporean Tour transmission because something veeeeery important is happening in the Netherlands today.

Well, to be exact the action will be taking place in a brand new stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, but most of a nation back here will be sitting on the edges of their seats nervously in anticipation as they await the result of a duel of the sporting kind.

Just in case  you have been out of range of radio, television or computers  in the last 2 weeks… the Football World Cup is currently taking place in South Africa.

By “Football”  I mean the Football that European’s, Asians, South American’s play… the game that’s bizarrely called “Soccer” in the other remaining  places that play this game.

The Group rounds kicked off on the 11th of June, eight groups of four teams each, played each team in their own group, the three points for a win, two points for a draw and zero points for a loss were tallied and the two teams with the highest points in the group go though to the next round.

The two teams with the lowest points in the group, go home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So, by this method, 32 teams become 16…. and then the Elimination Round begins…

New Zealand ( the “Kiwi” section of “Kiwidutch”), have been in the qualifying 32 teams of this World Cup… since Rugby (the “All Blacks”) is by far the biggest Sport in New Zealand, and Football, the poor relation, nothing at all was expected of New Zealand’s team, (the “All Whites”).

Amazingly, instead of fulfilling the predictions that  the All Whites would be the proverbial New Zealand Lamb to the slaughter, (and pass the mint sauce), they held all of their opponents in the Group stage to a Draw… including Italy, who were the defending World Cup Champions, and who  finished last in the final Group score.

New Zealand may have gone home already, but they went home with their heads held high and feeling like winners. Good on Ya Kiwi’s .. I was cheering you on all the way!

Now that the All Whites are out, I can feel free to take my Kiwi cap off and replace it with one of Dutch colours LOL (Dual nationality has it’s tricky moments I’ll admit).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So.. back to explaining the workings of the World Cup…

The winner of one Group, play the runner’s-ups of the next Group, and since it’s  Elimination from now on in, the winner of this match goes forward and the looser goes home.  And in this manner, 16 teams got whittled down to 8.

Still with me? Good. So…  This is where we pick up the story in the Netherlands. Eight teams are now in the Quarter-Finals.

The Dutch have made it to the Quarter-Finals.. that’s good news.  Our next opponent is Brazil.. that’s not quite so good news.

Actually the Dutch have beaten Brazil several times before,  both teams have star players in top form… both teams have been playing well, although, Brazil was held to a nil-nil draw with Portugal in their Group round, whereas the Dutch cruised though their group with three wins.

Brazil however have a big “Name”  in the football world to live up to…  and have won the World Cup more times than any other nation. This  means that more often than not they are able to put the right cards on the table (or rather balls in the back of the net) when it matters most.

That said, they meet one of the most on-form Dutch teams ever in the history of the World Cup, so when today the referee blows the whistle at 16.00 Dutch Time, it will be a battle of the titans, a match of closely matched equals,  and a nail biting ninety minute duel  of skill on a football pitch.

There can only be one winner… in these Elimination rounds,  8 will become 4… Will we go on? Will we go home?  Only time will tell.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the meantime,  since the first game on June 11th, Football Fever has hit the Netherlands and houses, neighbourhoods, workplaces and shops are all decked out in the Dutch national colour of Orange.

Why Orange? Well, the British have a Royal house of Windsor… the Dutch have a Royal house of Orange… only in Dutch it’s spelled “Orangje”  and pronounced ” Oh rung ya”.

The other popular war cries of the football pitch are “Hup Holland Hup!”  .. that’s pretty much translated as “Go Holland Go!” and “Orangje Boven!”  …literally” Orange on top” and the colours of the Dutch flag are Red, White and Blue, and the national symbol is a Lion… so we are not short of some very distinctive colours and icons  to celebrate with.

Traditionally the more upmarket the neighbourhood, the less decoration you will see in the streets… our Little Mr. was inconsolable that there is not a single orange flag in our street ( that may change if we get though the next round mind you) so Himself has strung orange flags the length of our living room, and several kids in the street have made beautiful kid drawings and  taped their home made posters of support to the inside of their  living room windows…

That said, if you REALLY want  to see the party get started, then you have to know that certain streets in certain neighbourhoods  show decidedly less restraint in showing their support…  and should not disappoint.

first, some “regular” support…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

..a boldercar full of football books and magazines…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… Balconies…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This flag has an added stork..(the symbol of  The Hague)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

But honestly… this is nothing… lets get serious about showing our support !… this is more like it...

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This Turkish run take-away is supporting too…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

.. although they seem more than a little confused… Shoarma is an Egyptian specialty, popular in the Netherlands, and a Kabap is a Kabab…   but the mystery sets in because ” kapsalon” means “hairdresser” and clearly multi-tasking the two would not be a terribly bright idea…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

um… cheeky support with sauce?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Get your sunglasses out…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

All that’s left now, is to sit on the edge of my seat at 16.00 and become a bag of nerves, whilst we see if our team come out winners or losers …  So unless you are logging in at your computer from Brazil, I  hope that you too will do your part and cheer loudly with me… Hup Holland Hup !!!… Orangje Boven !!!….

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