Friday, July 29, 2011

Mohamed Ali once said. "I can't read, but that's OK because I have people working for me that can." On Monday I'll be signing a lot of papers and although I can read I have no idea what the text on those papers means. Therefore I've hired people to check them for me. Or in other words, on Monday I get the keys to my new apartment. The papers are for the 110% loan I get from the ING bank with just over 4% interest. In Iceland I think they have gone back to max 70% loan so the buyer has to get the 30% difference elsewhere. I'm told that in UK the max loan is 80% which has led to the average age of the first time home buyer to be over 40 years.

Monday, July 25, 2011

This evening I went to another Indian restaurant. I had the standard Chicken Tikka Masala. It was really good, I would highly recommend the restaurant if the service hadn't been so bad. I find it really strange how service differs between countries. I was in Slovenia the other day and the waiters, like most waiters in The Netherlands work hard to avoid eye contact with customers. Iceland is no better. Sweden has terrible waiters. Of the countries I've been to this year, I'd say Portugal has the best waiters/service.

Friday, July 22, 2011

During lunchtime I went with my coworkers to a restaurant I had not tried before. It was one of those Indian restaurants that does double duty as a store so you can get your food canned or on a plate. We choose the second option and told the smiling person behind the counter what we wanted. He put that on a plate and told us to sit down. He would bring us the food. Then he put the dishes in the microwave. It was delicious.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I sit here in the Privium lounge at Schiphol airport and think about traveling. Especially air travel. Now self check in is obligatory, so I went to the machine to check in. It told me to put in the first 3 letters of my next destination. Then it told me there were 2 options and asked to choose which. I had no idea and had to call the travel agency. I'm pretty sure that human at the check in could have prevented that. Then I went to the check in counter to check in the luggage, only to be told that my luggage was too heavy and I had to go to the excess baggage counter and pay extra. Then I had to take my luggage to the outsize baggage counter. So I've done four things and I'm not even at the search gates yet. Thankfully Privium membership gets me priority through that. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Women and leadership.
I recently watched a video on Ted.com, made by the Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. Where she talkes about women in business. It is HERE. Her conclusion is that women tend not to rise to the top because they don't believe in themselves and are not pushy enough. My niece Sif and her friends believe that there is a conspiracy by men to keep woman down because they don't have penises. I would have thought that women their age would know more about the opposite sex.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The difference in service for apartment/house buyers in Iceland and The Netherlands is big. Yesterday I got a call from a company that works with the real estate agent. They went over the options of where to get the cheapest electricity, internet access, TV stations and so on. The financial adviser I contacted earlier went over the options I had for loans, insurance and so on. The real estate agent and the financial adviser will come with me when I get the apartment delivered. All of this advice and service is free (not the real estate agent himself). The advisers work on percentages, from all companies. In Iceland there is no such service agent. If you're in Iceland this would be great business idea for an independent person who wants to be their own boss. Be the middleman, put together packages, make agreements with all service providers so you can offer your service free to the customer. I claim 10% of profits.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If you need to go to Malmö for some reason, and are hungry, I recommend that you find Lilla Torg. It's a small town square (like the name says) that is surrounded by restaurants with tables outdoors. I can not recommend the service at the restaurants. The waiters seem to avoid looking at the customers and unlike Spain and Portugal it's almost as if they don't want you to enter the restaurant area. But the food, when they finally take your order, is very good. I also recommend the hotel Noble House, couple of hundred meters away, with friendly professional staff. The hotel has a small collection of books and DVDs in the lobby. By the book shelves there is a sign saying "Take a book. Leave a book." If I come back here, I will definitely bring some extra books.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It looks like I bought the apartment at the perfect time. Which is rare for me. The tax reduction that is saving me thousands of Euros has had the effect of more than third increase in prospective buyers.
The supermarketchains here in The Netherlands are interesting. In Iceland it doesn't matter to what supermarketchain you go to, they all have the same products. Here you sometimes have to go to all the supermarketchains to get what you want.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm going to Sweden next week, Malmo to be exact. It will be interesting to go to another country where everyone is also named something-son and I can almost understand the language.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

So, you wanna lose weight.

It is easy. All you need to do is consume (eat) fewer calories than your body burns (uses). There are few pitfalls to avoid. A. Don't starve yourself. B. Don't give up. C. That's it.

A famous body builder once said. "You control your weight with your diet. You control your shape with your training."
I was told today that The Netherland government is implementing tax cut for those who are buying apartments. It saves me about 6000 Euros. Not bad.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Today I went to the Amstedam Arena, the home of the football club Ajax. Due to the difficult to understand Dutch train schedules the train didn't stop in the Arena, instead it took a long trip to Utrecht. I managed to get to the Arena about an hour later. It turns out it would've been better for me to switch trains at Schiphol instead of the Center Station in Amsterdam.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Well. I managed to find IKEA. Now that project is over. Next project will most likely be to find the dam in Amsterdam. The dam on the river Amstel that Amst(el)erdam takes its name from. Or to find Amsterdam Arena. I'm told that near Amsterdam Arena train station is the biggest cinema in Amsterdam and few sport-stores with good prices.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I had few coworkers over for celebration because of my apartment purchase. Together we managed to consume little bit of beer and pizza, and then more beer. We also discussed a little about some of life´s mysteries. Without getting to any solution I'm afraid.