Monthly Archives: April 2013

First Dim Sum!

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Tried already many different Asian cuisines but for some reason I never ate Dim Sum before in my life. In Chinatown in SF there’s one particular street where you can find many of them. Went to one of to the first one I came across, ordered some shrimpish things and let the waitress randomly fill the rest of my plate with other dishes. Some of these were filled with meat, others with vegetables.
Don’t know if it was the place or if I just had particular dim sum dishes that I don’t like, but I didn’t think it was very tasteful. Expected something more delicious. I’ll check out other dim sum places some time to proof-check if it is the place of just me.

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First Time at Scientology Church

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I pass by this ‘church’ almost every day and for a long time I was wondering what they would tell me if I go inside. Especially given the fact that this religion is banned in Belgium. Well, this week I went in to have a look. I did know something about it from some research I did. Also South Park once made an episode about it. The creepy/funny thing is that the South Park episode is not that different from what Scientology claims in reality.

I must say my visit was more convenient than I pictured. It’s very open for visitors to come and have a look. They have benches with TV screens where you can watch videos on various topics. So I learned that Scientologists believe in the following things
– A Human exists of a body, a mind and a thetan. The latter is some kind of soul that represents the real you.
– The whole environment exists of 8 ‘dynamics’: 1. Self, 2. Sex and Family, 3. Group Survival, 4. Mankind, 5. Life Forms, 6. Physical Universe, 7. Spiritual and 8. Infinity: The supreme being.
– Your thetan/soul is millions of years old.
– There’s such a thing as an ‘e-meter’ measuring flows of your state of mind. It can detect hidden feelings of frustration or happiness.

After watching some videos I talked with one of the representatives, who was, against my expectations, not so good in answering questions about her religion. She didn’t know what the Scientology view is on the universe(s), the creation story, death and the ‘e-meter’. She was also way less persuasive than I expected such a representative to be. Maybe I had to much of a ‘Mormon’ cliché in my mind about Scientology. She did know that sessions cost at least a couple of hundreds of dollars and that it is best to do them as often as possible 😉

If you also wanted to check it out some time, it is not as bad as you think to go and have a look. Just don’t take it too serious 🙂

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First Time discovering ‘Arvo Pärt’!

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Sometimes I open up my Spotify, open the ‘Classify’ app and start discovering new composers and pieces. Mostly I just start listening to composers I know, and then try to discover some of their pieces I don’t know yet. Or I just start discovering a composer I  heard of, but never really listened to like ‘Elgar’, ‘Smetana’ or ‘Satie’. This time I went for a composer I never heard of whatsoever. Almost randomly went for “Arvo Pärt”.

Pärt is an Estonian classical composer of mostly sacred or religious music. He likes to compose in a minimalist style with some self-invented composing techniques called “Tintinnabuli“. That basically means his music has a meditative to slow pace that sounds pretty sacred. I think it has some special twists that I sometimes like but sometimes don’t. Maybe I’ll have to get used a bit more.  Would only recommend it if you’re really into classical music. Otherwise you probably will think this is very bad classical music 🙂

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First American Steakhouse!

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This is probably another good example of something that goes under the category of “I’ll be living there a long time, some day I’ll do that, no rush” and before you know it, you have only one week left to do all those things. Going to a Steakhouse in the US is one of those things. Something you don’t rush, but before you know it, you’ve never done it.

A friend of mine was staying at my place the last couple of weeks and therefore he wanted to buy me and my roommate dinner. Perfect opportunity to do something you never went. The choice was therefore obvious 🙂 We went to 5A5 close to the financial district. And since this blog obliges me try new things 🙂 I decided not to go for a regular steak, but to try the ‘dry aged bone-in NY‘. This is a 22 oz (or 623 gram) steak which is cut from the short loin and apparently is it is cut from a muscle that is not used very much, which makes it more tender. And believe me, it did taste very tender!

Very nice restaurant, very nice food and many opportunities to try something for the first time!

PS: Had my first Japanese Whiskey there as well: Yamazaki

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First Danish Movie!

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Watched my first Danish Movie lately. It is called “After the Wedding” and gets a respectable 7.7 on IMDB. Short story-line  A manager of an orphanage in India is travelling to Denmark to raise money for his orphanage. There he gets in touch with a millionaire who lets him into one of his biggest secrets. As you can already guess this is completely going to change the course of his life.

No special effects, exceptional filming or superior soundtrack, but a solid story with good actors. Definitely a movie to put on your list if you like a good drama!

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First Visit to a “Baker’s shop”

Maybe doesn’t sound as a very special thing to do for the first time, but have never visited a large-scale bakery before where I was able to get a tour and follow the process of making bread. With its 130 employees, the bakery is also the biggest one I’ve ever seen.

They are located in Alameda on the East bay. About a 30-minute drive from SF downtown.

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The trip was organized by my school (Hult) which arranged a 2 hour tour at the bakery for us. We were able to follow the complete process of how they make a 100,000 breads a week. Going from mixing the basic ingredients to getting them out of the oven. To get a feel of what we saw and how it looks you can have a look at their company video, which they like very much themselves by the way:)

The company is family run and are a good example of what I would call integrated CSR. They respect and try to satisfy all their stakeholders as good as possible. They treat their employees very well, try to keep waste as small as possible, support local communities by giving away bread to schools and homeless. It was the CEO (who likes to be referred as the ‘Chief Boot Licker’) himself who gave us a tour by the way.

Eager to have a look yourself? Gather a decent group of interested people and they’d be happy to show you around I think!

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First Pakistani Meal

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Lately I’ve been trying out new drinks. Thought it was about time to try some new cuisines as well. Since there’s is a Pakistani restaurant across the street from where I live and I had never eaten Pakistani food, it was an obvious choice what the first cuisine that I would try would be.

The place is called ‘Urban Curry’  and also offers Indian food. I asked the waiter what a typical Pakistani meal would be (since I already ate Indian before) and he recommended me choose something from the ‘Karahi’-list.  I eventually chose the prawn karahi while my friend took the chicken karahi (both come with rice). Wish I could describe what it is made from but I would have no clue. The only thing I know is that it was really good tasting and super spicy. I remember telling the waiter that it doesn’t need to be very spicy, but apparently levels of spiciness in Pakistan are a bit different from what we’re used to 🙂

Either way, good experience!

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First time booked a 5 star hotel!

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 https://www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/abu-dhabi/jumeirah-etihad-towers/

The upcoming module of my academic year (May-June) I’ll be rotating to the Dubai Campus of my school. Will be my first time at Dubai and the Middle East as a region. In the beginning of June, a good Belgian friend is coming to visit me. And during his stay we’re also going to visit Abu Dhabi. We were planning to stay there 1 night, so I started to look for a hotel and to my astonishment, very nice 5 star hotels were not that expensive as I’ve expected them to be. Finally booked a twin bed room for less than 650 AED (=€135). So not even €70 a persons for the Jumeirah Hotel at the Etihad Towers.

I remember coming to San Francisco paying $70/night at a 1 star hotel near Tenderloin (supposedly the wurst neighborhood of SF) that more looked like a youth hostel than a hotel.

This experience must be better 🙂

First Baseball Game!

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Monday was the first time I attended a baseball game and actually the first time I attended a sports game in the US. So still have to go to a football and basketball game once as well.

The San Francisco Giants were playing against the Arizona Diamondbacks in AT&T Park.

First impression of the stadium is pretty impressive. It seats 41000 people and is quite new (built in 2003). It’s also nicely decorated with flags, brands, screens and by the architecture in general. Also the food and beverages stands were all very nicely designed.

The baseball itself was not as excited as I expected it to be. But that’s probably because I don’t fully get the game I guess.

So in conclusion, if you ever have the chance to go and see a game, definitely take that opportunity!

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First Norwegian Movie

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Today I watched my first Norwegian movie. It’s named “Kon-Tiki” and is based on a true story.

It tells the story about the adventure of Thor Heyerdal in 1947. He is probably Norway’s most famous explorer. Despite what all his colleagues believed back then, he claimed that South American people had settled in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times by the simple use of a raft. And to prove his point he undertook the same action. Built a raft, assembled a team and took off towards Polynesia.

The movie shows all the difficulties they had to overcome and how they eventually got there.

My personal opinion: If you have seen ‘The Life of Pi’, it’s similar in the way that it sometimes get a little bit boring on the raft, but once the adventure is complete it gives a very satisfactory feeling. Could definitely recommend this movie!

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