Brussels attacks and terror

Brussels was under attack today as bombs were exploding in the airport and in the metro. Hopefully not too many of that kind are to come anymore. This is such a shock. Right after Abdeslam was caught, this happens. While maybe some hope for the terrorist attacks to be over was arising, thanks to the arrest. People are scared and angry, understandably.

I can spare very little understanding to these people, who feel it is their right to draw innocent lives into their agenda of rising terror. I do know, the reasons behind this are far from black and white, but no reason should allow anyone to killing people blindly and at random, driving a nation into such a crisis.

Over here, where I am sitting, Brussels is luckily rather distant, there is no chaos or panic, but devastation is still very present. For me, coming from a very peaceful country, this attack and the earlier ones from last year, are something incomprehensible. Before, terrorism to me was something distant. It was an abstract word, describing something not too significant. I have changed in that matter. Terror has become something very apparent, concrete and real.

These attacks today resulted into over 20 lives being lost. Over 20 worlds stopped existing. There are bigger catastrophes in this world, I don’t deny that. The Brussels and Paris events just come so very close to me, and to seemingly so peaceful Europe. These lives lost in vain by an ideology that should not have a any place in Europe, nor anywhere else in the world. An ideology that gives permission to kill the way these bombings and shootings kill, is evil. There is no way around that.

I don’t know where Europe is going to end up. Is the terror going to end, and if, when? Are we going to see another world war? I don’t think anyone can want that. I think  it is now more important than ever, that we do not give in to fear. All of us people, loving one another should stand into supporting one another and not leave room for fear. The side of people, who see these attacks justified, for whatever cause, ideology or motivation. We will have to show them that bombs are not going to cut our spirits down.

See people as people. Not judged by their culture, ethnicity or religion, that might lead us finally to peace.

All of you who lost a loved one today, have hope, have strength.

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The Beach, Round One 2016

Weekend brought us the first chance to get to the beach with our buggies. And as you might remember, somewhere  last autumn I went and bough Waffle a new buggy. Apexx from Xxtreme to be exact. Now it was the first time for it to see the beach. Waffle was hardly staying in his pants.

We headed off to France right after work on Friday. Collected the buggy trailer, wondered over two loose bolts inside it, took them out, and off we went. We arrived to Les Hemmes in the darkness, and chatted around with some friends who had been ripping it the whole day already. Lucky bastards. The word was that the beach was hard, smooth and perfect, as was the wind. Waffle went over the roof for a moment.

After our camp was set, we shared some beers and a campfire with a bunch of other buggiers, before digging in for the night. Morning came late for us, we both drooled happily into our sleeping bags until 10 am. Once we finally crawled out we were screaming of hunger, and before even touching the buggies we went on a rampage to the store close by to get our breakfast. Sleeping outside does something to you. You get this animalistic hunger for food.

Well, anyways, breakfast down our throats, it was time to assemble the bugs. We had taken them completely to pieces, since from now on, we had to accommodate 3 big foots and one small buggy in the same old trailer. The assembly took a while thanks to that. I was trying to attach my front wheel into my buggy as I noticed the very apparent deficiency in the number of bolts. Two were missing. We searched the trailer and all our reservoirs, but they were nowhere to be seen. Until we remembered what had happened last evening. And felt immensely stupid.

Only options we had were for me not to be able to drive at all. Or go hunt down a couple of bolts. Which turned out to be more difficult that expected. The French, they are not the most precise, when giving instructions to people. That resulted us driving around and around Calais. That was littered with police, the French Riot police even, everywhere.

We quickly learned that La Jungle, the refugee camp at the side of Calais, was being monitored and partially cleaned out. Which had caused quite some restlessness among the refugees and on top of that, the local people of Calais had gotten fed up with the whole ordeal and started to build up armed groups to target the migrants. Apparently a major police force is needed to keep the situation under control. Although some accuse even the police for attacking the migrants. Driving through Calais leaves you a bit dazzled, The situation is surreal.

Finally, we got the bolts, a barbecue, some wood, more food and some other bits and bobs, we rushed back to camp, put those bolts where they were supposed to be and eventually dragged ourselves onto the beach. By that time, I had managed to get my heart onto an overdrive and was near fainting. Which is irrelevant, since the beach was huge. The funny thin about tidal beaches is that even though, it is always the same beach, it is every time a little different. It depends on all sorts of things tidal and wind related and the way the pope happens to hold his hat that Sunday. This time, it was large, dry and hard. And very, very smooth. Best conditions I had ever seen in Les Hemmes. Add to that smooth and decently strong north-eastern wind and you will freeze your nose off, but at least the kiting is easy as ever.

Waffle was hardly keeping his cool. Dragging the brand new shiny Apexx to the beach had significantly risen the excitement level. We had a tandem buggy attached to his buggy, to slow him down a little for starters. So we were swooshing together, here, there and back again. With quite some speed. There was a clear difference between this new one and the previous buggy. Eventually we got up to 60 km/h speeds, which will freeze your face in that icy northern wind.

I finally dragged myself out of the tandem and started driving on my own. I was a bit afraid of being completely clueless and rusty as the kite went up. But all in all it went really well. I only crashed once and managed to do some pristine turns and get quite some speed. And it was my very first time driving somewhat correct sized kite, rather than too small one. I am kinda a little bit proud of myself. And so was Waffle, judging by the way he was jumping up and down.

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Just casually passing by.

The day was a success, although rather short, thanks to the small bolt issue. We were both tired to death and made it an early night. Crashing to our tent before 10 in the evening. Which is a very  rare thing to happen when ever there is company, a campfire and beer around.

The tide was meant to come up on Sunday, which it did. Half of the beach was gone by the time we had a peak at it. So it was time to aim our noses to the maps and get our sore feet some exercise. We went for a small countryside walk through the extremely beautiful area next to Wissant. The air was clear enough to see all the way to UK, where the white cliffs were bathed in sunshine, while we were experiencing minor rain. The farm lands of Nord Pas de Calais are to me, probably the essence of France. Things can’t really get much more French from that.

 

It was good to head back home, feeling like having just had a descent holiday in just a weekend. The bath had never felt as good, while halve of the beach appeared into the bath tub from our hair, ears and mouths. My face was burned. Muscles sore and mind completely ready for Monday.

You gotta love the beach life.

More pics here.

Faith in Humanity – Restored

We were wandering around our neighborhood the other day, when we innocently came by a sign saying that a road is closed. That kind of a sign over here in Belgium is not that significant, roads tend to get closed. It is easier to deal with the issues that way, rather than preparing a damaged pathway.

This time, the reason was not quite as mundane. This particular road was closed for frogs. They did not want cars to drive on the road, because it happened to be the migration route for frogs! How insanely lovely is that? That we people, consider, for once, that the lives of such seemingly insignificant creatures as frogs, are more important than, our own fat bottomed easiness of transport.

Things like these make me happy, make me think, that there still might be some hope left for us, the planet and all the other species. But then again, we need so much more of this kind of understanding. People should start to understand, that we are all part of the big chain of ecological links. A frog might not seem like much, but it still has its part to play in the food chain, in the ecological window it happens to bee sitting in, and through that, in a much much larger picture.

Well, that turned into preaching, sorry about that.