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Nature in its wild state in the burg of Blaricum, in North Holland

When someone says Holland, you probably think Amsterdam. When someone says Amsterdam, you probably think expensive. But if you want to see expensive, there is a little village, an atavistic throwback nestled in the analog past, perhaps an hour out of Amsterdam.

Blaricum–the most expensive town you’ve never heard of:

The worst thing about Blaricum–or, the BEST thing, maybe–is that it is not touristy at all. There is nothing to see. There is nothing to do. There is no reason for you to go to Blaricum…well, unless you want to try the homemade ice cream or find folks who don’t speak English or see a village with no canals or watch locals riding bikes in a thunderstorm as though it were a bright sunny day. Or visit the closest thing to Hobbiton. So, don’t expect anything near Amsterdam if you wander off the beaten track one day and find yourself in Blaricum.

This is what Wikipedia has to say:    “Blaricum (Dutch pronunciation: ( listen)) is a municipality and village in the province of North Holland, the Netherlands. It is part of the region of Gooiland. It is known for its many monumental farm buildings, local cafes and restaurants, nature, several annual community events and extensive up-market residential areas.

According to statistics published by the Dutch land registry office in February 2011, Blaricum is the most expensive location to purchase a house in the Netherlands. The average home in Blaricum costs €800,000 and has risen an average of 12% over the last year.[5] Many Dutch celebrities live here, including Rene FrogerAnita MeijerPaul de LeeuwGordonJerney KaagmanJohn de MolAnita Witzier and Marco Borsato.”

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Blaricum cafe in unique architectural building

So one day, I look out my window and discover I’m in Blaricum, the high-end burg of Holland. Garbage is what I see. Of course, I see the monumental farm buildings; the local cafes; the extensive up-market residences; and the nature, including an ostrich and a llama–you can tell it’s a llama and not an alpaca because llamas have big, banana-shaped ears…which you cannot see in these photos, so you’ll probably argue it’s an alpaca.  But what strikes me as most interesting in Blaricum is the garbage. You can tell it’s marvelous garbage. High-class, high-end trash. What garbage ought to look like everywhere. And what trash collectors, maybe, should look like everywhere.

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One of the high-end homes of Hobbiton…er…Blaricum, with thatched roof and dormers

But let’s talk trash:

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First, garbage is separated before pickup. Here, this green container just for glass is separated by color of glass (notice the metal below the container).


A local lady dumps her glass into the green container. A crane picks up the green container, but the green container contains a much larger container below (the metal in previous photo is the top of the larger container)


The driver dumps the trash into the truck from his forward position


The lady  wanders away to her upscale home. When empty, the container is lowered.


And the larger container below the green container slides neatly below the surface, so we don’t ever see a mess. The llama chews upscale grass (you think it’s an alpaca, don’t you?).

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The lady on the bike rides away, the llama continues with dinner, and the crane rises


The driver swings the crane into place, the llama wonders: “What the BEEP, why do those people think I’m an alpaca?”


The llama returns to dinner, the crane is secured on the trailer, the driver descends  a la deus ex machina


The trash disappears, the lady disappears, the llama disappears. Soon, the truck disappears. Wealthy people know how to live well…and apparently, how to separate and disappear garbage from their lives.

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Lopsided, perhaps, but banana-shaped ears. FYI: You can trust me. I will never lie to you. Oh, and by the way, I have a bridge I’m looking to sell…cheap.

You can find other entries in the WP Discover Challenge here: Analog

You can find other entries to WP Photo Challenge here: Pure

You can find other entries to Lucile’s Rehab here:    Photo Rehab


VOTE NOW! Annual Bloggers Bash Awards NOW OPEN

Right. I’m still sitting at home, not writing, not buying planes tickets, not planning, not even being bothered to do anything…except apply for Social Security, which is no cakewalk.

Still, I happened across this Bloggers Bash Awards competition, and noticed that some of our FAVORITE bloggers and commenters have been nominated. Please check out the competitions and VOTE!! I was not nominated, but I’m pretty sure it’s simply because they did not have a “Best Fish” award.

Sacha Black

VOTE NOWThis is it. The waiting is finally over.

The Bloggers Bash Awards are now open for voting.

We had a HUGE number of nominations, over 350, so thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate.

Voting Closes June 9th at 12pm. The winners will be announced on June 11th at the Bash. If you can’t make it then a winners post will go live at 5:15pm on June 11th.

Choose carefully, you can only vote ONCE per category. There are 10 awards, (so it’s a long post) make sure you vote in them all.

Good luck to all the nominees.

Disclaimer: The committee has done their best to coordinate the nominations and to ensure, where possible, we gave nominees a choice of which category they wanted to be in. Due to time constraints and limited resources this may not have always been possible.

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one love

You might not hear from me for a while. I’m not packed. I don’t know where I’m staying. I’m pondering the option of adding Kunming to the itinerary. Burma takes only crisp dollar bills—ain’t no crisp dollar bills available. And here’s a story: I just cut my ATM card in half thinking it was an extra credit card. Where is the B&W in life? So I’m offering a wonderful post by a Badfish and Chips Cafe customer, Debbie from Spaceship China.

spaceship china

Saturday morning. An insipid dishwater of a day, if the sky’s anything to go by. The horizon’s worse, five solid inches, from where I stand, of yellow-grey sludge. We’re breathing that stuff in? I look away.

No photo, of course, how could you take a photo of something you can’t bear to look at? Saturday morning’s for lazing in, checking your emails, and finding out what the weekly WordPress Photo Challenge is. In this instance, its called One Love. You wonder what everyone else is doing with the challenge, but have no time to look, cause you’re drowning in a sea of Chinese characters that you write again and again to memorise.

that sea of characters i’m trying to write

When you finally get out, the day looks better. Looking straight upwards the sky looks blue – well, let’s say blue-ish. You don’t think any more about what the…

View original post 2,503 more words



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A silver anklet encircles a woman’s ankle, Kerala, India

WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, the Brits call it “going pear-shaped.” I don’t know the origin of that idiom, but I’m guessing that if everything is going fine, it’s shaped like a circle or round. When things go awry, maybe things get loopy and elongate into a pear shape. That’s my American take on the British vernacular. I could be way off on this. Continue reading



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A perfectly perfect imperfect eye


My eyes are off. They’re not symmetrical; one seems larger than the other. Or maybe one eyelid is lazy, or heavier and hangs lower. It’s not a huge difference. Maybe you wouldn’t even notice, certainly nothing to give a child nightmares. I don’t see it when I look in the mirror. I only notice in photographs of myself, and only in recent photos. Maybe it’s like the Buddhists say: life is change. But that’s not the point. Continue reading