Just like two years ago, we went with all my
colleagues to in Elahuizen, a small village in Friesland, to go sailing on
the Fluessen lake. While we drove there, we got lost, because we did
not know the exact address. So our TomTom send us to the wrong direction. We phoned our colleagues
for the correct address, and when we had entered it, the TomTom told
us to turn left into a small gravel road. After some hesitation, we
decided to follow it. About 50 meter the gravel road turned to the
right, and there was a cart track going straight. When we followed
the gravel road, it became clear that the TomTom wanted us to take
the cart track.
The cart track was slightly going up hill, so we
could not see where it was going. We all started to laugh as it was
so funny that the TomTom was suggesting this road. We decided just to
give it a try, and soon we discovered that it lead to a main road.
On that road there was a man staring at us, probably thinking that we
must be some city people driving around with a TomTom.
We were the last to arrive at water sport center. Soon after we had
finished our apple pie with cream, we were going to leave. This time
we had two boats. I decided to go on the Eelkje II with
captain Rindert. All of us got a new cap, a blue one this time.
The wind was less strong than two years ago, around 3 to 4 Beaufour.
We quickly got out of the harbour, and I decided to help with the
jib (foresail) again. Piet, the captains helper, was helping us. He
has his own ship, which also joins in the IFKS races. He thinks that although Rindert is not sailing in
the races now, he probably will be in the future. We had to hold
on to the clew line of the jib because with the hot weather we were
having, there was a change for turning winds, which could suddenly
cause a lot of wind in the sails. The kind of boats we are sailing
are rather instabile because they have a flat bottom that only goes
about 35 cm (a feet) into the water.
On the water we lost a buoy, and we had to make a round to collect
it. We missed it the first time, and we had to make another round,
but then it was suddenly gone. Soon we noticed that some other little
boat had picked it up. We quickly went into pursuit, and after some
shouting, the buoy dropped of the boat and we were able to collect
it. (It probably was just a game that these guys in the other boat
took the buoy.)
Around two o'clock we arrived in the harbour of Gaastmeer and had
a simple lunch. In the afternoon we did not sail much. We dropped
the anchor close to an island. I was the first to jump into the
Some others also came
in to the water, which had a very nice temperature. I swam around the boat.
When some of the people from the other boat, which was anchored about
30 meters away, discovered that we still had amply supply of beer
they jumped into the water and swam to our boat. I think, I was the
one who spend most of the time in the water. I thought about swimming
under the boat, and after I had asked Rindert and Piet if it was safe,
I gave it a try. It was quite easy, and I did it three times. Nobody
else dared to follow my example.
Around five o'clock, we were back in the harbour, and we were offered
a herring on arrival. We sat down in the shadow and later we were
served a barbeque. It was around eight o'clock when we went home.
This morning, while biking to my office, I was thinking about finding
a universal recepie for arriving at the exit of
a given LR-mazes. This made me think about finding the recepie that,
no matter where you start in an LR-maze, brings you to every possible
location. Again you can think about finding the shortest and the fastest
Britons have never had such a low opinion of the leadership of the United
States, a YouGov poll shows.
I think that many other people in the Netherlands and all around the world,
share this opinion. But we should remember that this can be said of any
empire in the history, including the British Empire at its height.
As Americans prepare to celebrate the 230th anniversary of their independence
tomorrow, the poll found that only 12 per cent of Britons trust them to act
wisely on the global stage. This is half the number who had faith in the
Vietnam-scarred White House of 1975.
Most Britons see America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, riven by class
and racism, crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite.
American troops are failing either to win "hearts and minds" in Iraq or bring
democracy to that country.
More than two-thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial
power seeking world domination. And 81 per cent of those who took a view said
President George W Bush hypocritically championed democracy as a cover for the
pursuit of American self-interests.
Today, Annabel went on a school trip to
the All Weather Zoo in Munster.
Today, I finished an implementation of the LR-maze solution finder, which
works with a working set. You start with a working set that consist of only
the initial solution and every time you calculate the working set for the
next step by adding (partial) solutions for both directions and sort these based on
a certain cost function. To prevent the exponentional explosion, you reduce
this set to a fixed size if it gets too big, by taking only the best (partial)
solutions. (source code.)
Today, I discovered that the
- Beijing Classic Car Endurance Rally 2006 will pass through on
August 2 and 3 through Urumqi when we are there. I think that the cars
will be traveling quite close to where we live on August 3 when they leave
for Hami. I will definitely try to see this event. Maybe we should bring
a small Dutch flag.
However, it is possible that this rally will be cancelled due to financial
problems. It appears that the organizers were not able to raise sufficient
support but at the same time are giving themselves a large payment. It looks
like the equipes already have paid 29,000 € but might be forced
to pay another 31,000 €.
This evening, I arrange our travel insurance online for our trip to China.
I got an email with the insurance policy as a PDF file with the request
to print it out. Funny how this goes nowadays. But if you think about it,
it is only the policy number that really counts.
This evening, Annabel and I went to the university
to play Go. Although the bar was not closed yet, there
was no service. Annabel went to get some drinks from our car. Some were a
little warm, but for the rest it was okay. Taco played against Rudi, and Marcel
played simulatiously against Annabel and me. I started with an eight stone
advance. I won the game with 35 against 31 points. Annabel was given nine
stone in advance. She lost with about 75 points, but that is not too bad for
Trip to China
Today, Li-Xia phoned with her mother. Her mother
told her that she had found some old documents about her, like school
diplomas and such. Her mother also told that they know of some Go club.
Li-Xia and decided how much formulea we have to order for Andy, and she
went to order it.
Swimming and more media
This morning, Li-Xia and I went swimming. Both Annabel
and Andy were staying with others. Although we both swim almost every week,
Li-Xia more than I, it has been a very long time ago that we swam together.
We went in three times. Li-Xia tried the water-slide for the first time in her
life. She felt it was okay, but did not feel she wanted to try it again this
time, because she found it a little too excited.
Afterwards, we went into the city. We looked around the city and decided to
buy a Freecom 80 Gbyte 2.5 inch external hard
drive with USB 2.0 connector
for € 119.95. We also bought a 2 Gbyte pen drive from Transcend,
model JF V30.
Making a list
This afternoon, Li-Xia and I tried to make a list of all the things to bring.
We used a Dutch web site as a starting
point for our list. I have to admit, that making a list proved to be more
work than I had expected. We did find some items that we should not forget
and we made a little shopping lists. Suddenly, it seems that the two weeks
that are left before we leave are rather short. Luckily, I did finish creating
the last DVD. In total, I created 23 DVD, each with about eighty minutes of
film. That makes a total of about 31 hours of material.
Today, Li-Xia went to the drugstore to get the
medicine to make Andy dizzy during the flight if
that would be needed. She also got some Imodium and Betadine. She also
got medicine passports for Andy and her.
This evening, when I was sorting out all our mail of the past year, I
also got the Chinese money that we kept upstairs. It turned out it was
a little more than 3000 Yuan, about € 300. We are going to
bring all of it with us (except for some old small bills that we want
to keep) and use it when we are staying there. I believe it is not
possible to exchanges Chinese Yuan to some other currency outside of
China. Which means that those Yuan are rather worthless here in the
This evening, Annabel and I, visited Ton
and his children to play Go. (We cannot play
at the university because the building we always play, is closed
over the summer.) I had not seen Ton for a while, because he had been
on a holiday. Sara and Titus, his children, stayed in America in the
past year and had just returned a few weeks ago. Especially, Sara had
changed a lot. Ton and I started a game where I was given a six stone
advance. Annabel started to play against Titus. They played two games,
both of which Annabel won. Near the end of the game our game, Ton was
getting behind, but when I accidently (because I forgot the play the
proper response) killed one of his little corner groups, he resigned.
He said that I would easy defeat him, if I would attack him more. So,
I decided to aggresively attack him in the second game, where I was
given a five stone advance. It was a completely different game. Early
in the game, I already lost some stones, and in the end I lost with
37 points. Annabel played with Titus upstairs. Then she played one
final game against Sara, where Sara got a two stone advance. It was
a long time ago she played. She gave up when she felt she was going
to lose. Titus finished the game, which Annabel again won. It was
around half past ten that Annabel and I said goodbey, and biked home.
It will be at least another six weeks before we will see Ton again,
and maybe much longer before we see Sara and Titus again.
Ticket numbers for flight HU 7145
Today, I received an email from my family-in-law written in Chinese.
And although I cannot read it, I am pretty sure that it contains
the ticket numbers of our tickets for our flight on July 25 from
Beijing to Urumqi.
At home, I showed Li-Xia the email
and she suggested that we should print it out. We discussed which
part of it we should print-out and then suddenly I realize that
the date of the tickets is July 24, one day too early. (The date was
written with Chinese numbers, that is why I did not see it this
afternoon). I immediately asked Li-Xia to verify this with her
family. After some tries (it is already late at night in Xinjiang),
she managed to get her sister on the telephone. And yes, they booked
the tickets for July 24. It is not clear, who is to blame. Li-Xia
lately often is confused about the dates. She did tell her mother
very clearly, shortly after we booked our flights. But then there
was also some confusion about who was going to buy the tickets,
and I am afraid that some how, it was forgotten we only arrived on
Tuesday, July 25 in Beijing. It is not clear whether it will be
possible to get a refund on the tickets or change the date. Probably
we have to buy new tickets. Maybe it will not be possible to buy
tickets for that Tuesday, and most likely we will be forced to
stay in Beijing some time. But we will have to stay at least one
night in Beijing on the way back, which means additional traveling
with suitcases to Beijing or stay at an expensive hotel at the
airport. Luckily, we found out now, because if we would only
have found out this when we were standing at the check-in counter,
we would have had a very big problem.
We set our alarm at four o'clock, and went downstairs where
Li-Xia phoned with her mother.
Her sister had not slept very well last night and had informed
her mother early in the morning. They immediately contacted
Li-Xia's sister-in-law, who told them that you have the right
to change the ticket once without additional costs, and that she
would ask a friend who works with a travel agency to change the
At eight o'clock we phoned them again. The had already changed the
tickets to the next day, July 25, for the same flight, but still
needed some time to make absolutely sure that it was done correctly.
Around ten o'clock, Li-Xia phoned with her brother, and hear
that is was now sure that the tickets have been changed to the
flight on July 25. Everything is okay.
This evening, Li-Xia and I spend some time talking through our
traveling schedule for July 24-25
also for calculating how much food we need to bring for Andy.
We also thought about some other things, for example, with respect
to our lugage and in
Talking with KLM CARES
During lunch time, I phoned with KLM CARES to ask if everything was
okay with respect to our flight next week and the information that
I send to them. I was told that everything was okay and that we could
bring 20 Kg extra lugage. When I said that we had to bring this as
carry-on bagage, she told me that we can just check it in as normal
bagage because they can take care that the bagage department does not
get too cold. We are flying with a boeing 747-400, just like ten years
ago. It does not have private TV screens. She also made reservations
for us on chairs A, B, C, D, and E, meaning three chairs on the side
and two in the middle. I hope that these chairs will be in a favourable
location with respect to the large TV screens in the plane.
Still, I wonder whether we should check-in the food of Andy, because
if our suitcases gets lost, we have a problem. And we also have the
internal flight inside China the next day. And although it is only a
four hour flight, the food may still get too cold. And there is also
the problem of pressure, because the packs in which the food is store
contain quite an amount of air. I am confused about what we should do.
During lunch time, Annabel phoned to tell
me that she had cut some more of her hair. Yesterday evening, she
suddenly started to talk about having a haircut, because she wanted
to have her hair in layers. The wanted to go to a haircut shop. We
told her that it was okay, if she would pay for it herself. For many
years, Li-Xia has been cutting our hair.
Then she told us that you could do it yourself if you would held your
head down. We agreed, although I found it a little bit a pity that
she wanted to cut her nice long hair, and she went upstairs to wash
her hair. When she came downstairs, Li-Xia cut her hair while she
was standing bend forward with her head down. Today, I hear that at
the moment layer haircuts are rather popular.
Somehow, I find it a pity that she does not want to have very long
hair anymore. But on the otherhand it shows that she becoming more
and more aware of her appearance, something that is quite normal for
a girl her age.
Second hottest day
Today, it was the second hottest day in the history of the KNMI with a temperature of 35.6 degrees Celsius in De Bilt. The
highest temperature ever measured in De Bilt is 38.8 degrees on June 27, 1947.
During the afternoon, I followed the temperature development, and I
downloaded many of the temperature gradient graphs. At one point the
graphs started to show white areas in the most Southern parts of the
country, because there were only colours available for temperatures
up to 36 degrees. The highest temperature measured was 36.9 degrees in
This evening, Annabel and I, went to Eibergen
to play Go at Marcel's place. When we arrived
Rudi, Araldo and Taco were already there. I drank some Cactus flavoured
tea for the first time in my life. Araldo invited Annabel for a game
using the ING rules where each player is given 180 stones and where you
fill up your territorium at the end with your stones to count who has
won. Annabel was given nine stones ahead and she lost with five points.
Not too bad at all. Marcel played with Taco, so I was left with Rudi to
play with. I was given a nine stone advance. I lost one of my corner
groups and lost with 74 against 31 points.
When we arrived home, the street lights were off, and Li-Xia told that there had been a short break in the electricity
causing the computer to reset.
This morning, I asked Andy how many night we have
to sleep before we go to China and he said: "Three". Next I asked him
how many hours we had to fly, and he answered: "Ten". Then I asked him
how many hours we had to fly to Urumqi, and he replied: "Three". I told him
that I had told him wrong, and that it was actually four hours. These kind
of things he can remember very well. He is never mistaken about which day
it is. He also knew that my mother is arriving today. She will stay with us
the coming days.
This morning, around 12 past 11, it was finally possible to check-in. I entered
all our information and then was given an option to select the seats. They had
already been reserved as the seats 39A to 39E. (The seats marked with red in the
image shown on the right.) This was done last Monday by the lady from KLM CARES. When I checked to see if there were
better seats available, I discovered that there were almost no empty seats
available, and nowhere more than four in a row. I guess that many people already
checked-in by telephone. Luckily, I phoned on Monday, otherwise we might have
ended-up having to sit seperately from each other.
When I wanted to print out our boarding passes, it turned out that the printer
was out of inkt. Finally, I drove to my office to have the boarding passes
printed. Of course, we also could have got them at the airport, but only if we
would have gone through the normal check-in procedure.
Traveling to Beijing
This morning, we got up at seven o'clock. Around half past nine we left
from home and took the city bus to the train station, where we arrived
shortly after ten. We took the train to Schiphol from 10:27, which
arrived around a quarter to one. We only had to check in our bagage.
(We got a map of the airport.)
Around half past one, we sat down on some chairs near a place where
the children could play. Two hours later, we walked to gate F2, where
there was still no plane to be seen. Shortly after we arrived there,
we found out that our plane, which was to leave at 17:10, was delayed
until 19:00. At 17:25, the plane,
'city of Karachi' PH-BFK, a Boeing 747-406M arrived at the gate.
(Picture of the plane.)
We took of at 19:41.
Traveling to Urumqi
This morning, around 10:25 Beijing Time, we arrived in Beijing.
Andy was in a very bad mood, and I had to
carry him till the passport check, where we arrived at 11:15.
Entering China went rather smooth. We went to the office of Hainan
Airlines to collect our tickets, but they told us we could immediately
check-in. But when we checked in at counter H03, we were told that
we did not have any tickets. It looked that something very seriously
had gone wrong, probably due to the change last week.
We went back to the ticket-office of Hainan Air and after some talking
the admitted that they had made a mistake. We received our ticket
but not after we signed some kind of form stating that we would not
change the tickets are again or something like that.
We flew with the B-5139, a Boeing 737-84P. Official departure time was 13:40, but
because of three passangers being late, we only took-off at 14:30.
We all were very tired during the flight. The in-flight magazine,
Expression No 7, 2006, vol 66, contained nine pages about
Martin Fowler talking
about Agile software development methods. We landed in Urumqi at 18:18.
Just before seven we arrived at the home of Li-Xia's family.
(Google Earth pin.) Soon
dinner was served (picture).
This is our second day in Urumqi, Xinjiang, P.R. of China.
This afternoon, my mother, Annabel and I went to a
not far from the apparments of our family where we are staying
at. What us surprised us immediately, where the large number of
Chinese people sitting on the ground and reading books. This
was not looking through a book, but really reading. In a sense
it felt more like being in a library than a bookshop. On the
second floor there was a whole section for chilren and my mother
and Annabel looked around there, while I looked for some map.
Soon I found a map of the
Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. After asking a Chinese
man who spook a little English, I also found a book with many maps of Xinjiang. I decided to buy both.
When I found my mother and Annabel again, Annabel was painting
some white doll, which costed only one Euro. My mother and I
looked for some books for Andy. We found three and because
Annabel was painting, I decided to look around a little more.
Under most signs there was also an English translation, sometimes
with funny mistakes due to copying errors, such as a sign that
said "Humoe / Cartoons". I found some sign saying Weiqi (which
is Chinese for Go) and below it there were a lot of books
about Go. I bought one book with 1000 life-and-death problems,
at least that is what I guessed. When I looked at it later, I
discovered that these were rather hard problems, maybe a little
over my head. But anyway, it only costed 17 Yuan (about € 1.70).
When Annabel was almost ready with her painting, there was a
Chinese woman who asked us in perfect English whether we spoke
English. It turned out that she lived in Canade and just like
us had come back to Urumqi to she her family. She also happened
to work at the geology and mining department just like Li-Xia
and her family. She also arrived on Tuesday from Beijing, but
with one flight later. She had two daughters, the oldest being
Playing Go against Xiao Zhong
This morning, Mrs. Guo, a good friend of Li-Xia's mother, visited
us. She brought some gifts with her, including a set of
Chinese Go stones, which also included a board printed on
blue thin plastic foil folded in one of the box. The black stones
looked grey from he dust that was still on them. Xiao Zhong wanted
to a game of Go with me, but I suggested he
play against Annabel with a nine stone handicap. But because Annabel
was still rather tired, she did not play very well. And after
about twenty move she lost interest and I suggested that I
should take her place. In the end I won from Xiao Zhong.
I think we are about the same strength. The husband of the
woman that visited us, also is Go and is one of the best
players of the whole unit. Maybe I should play him once
to see how strong he is.
Around twelve o'clock we decided to visit the Red Mountain
in the center of the city. Xiao-Zhong,
my mother, Li-Xia,
and I went. We climbed the mountain and the tower on top
of it. Then we walked to the cliff, where I took
this picture of Annabel and the city in the back ground.
In the evening, we were invited by the cousins and nieces of
Li-Xia's mother to attend a dinner in a restaurant. They had
reserved a room at the restaurant. The room had a large
television with VCD player. It also contained a round table
with a glass rotating disk (picture).
A few days ago, Annabel got a
puzzle game from Xiao-Xia,
her Chinese aunt. The puzzle
consists of 35 pieces made out of two to five squares
that need to be fit inside a rectangle of ten bij fifteen.
There are eight different types of pieces and of each type
there are five copies. (To the right the initial solution
is shown.) The different types of pieces are:
Because of the small pieces it is relatively easy to
put all the pieces in the puzzle, so, I asked myself
if it would be possible to put the pieces in the puzzle
in such a way that all pieces of the same type touch
each other. Just after dinner, I found a solution.
When Xuan-Xuan, my Chinese cousin, came home and had
dinner, I asked him to find a solution. He did find
one, and within the hour he found another two solutions.
Now, Annabel also became interested and after some time
she did find a solution, and then went on to find another
nine solutions till the end of the evening. She was
getting better and better.
- A bar piece consisting of two squares
- A V shaped piece consisting of three squares
- An L shaped piece consisting of four squares
- An S shaped piece consisting of four squares
- A T shaped piece consisting of four squares
- A square piece consiting of four squares
- A bar piece consiting of four squares
- An U shaped piece consisting of five squares
Losing from Mr. Wu
This evening, the wife of Mr. Wu, and good friend of my
mother-in-law, came to catch me to play Go. Together with her, I
went back to her appartment where I met with Mr. Nai-Yuang Wu.
He already had set the board (the same board printed on
blue plastic sheet, that I got from them) and the stones
on a round table in front of the open window. It had been
very hot that day, and still gushes of warm air would blow
through the window into the room.
We started a game where I played with black. When he beat
some of my stone and put then back with my stones, I understood
that we were playing according to the Chinese rules. At one
point it looked like he was ahead of me, but I performed
a succesful invasion in his territorium. At the end of the
game, her removed all dead stones and we started to count
my empty territorium. Next he started to count my stones
and arrived at a total of 181. That meant he won with 3
points (because 361 - 181 + 4 = 184). We agreed to play
another game. I soon lost a group of stones in a corner
because I decided to perform a cut, where I should have
connected my stones. We continues playing a little quicker.
I felt that the outcome would have been rather equal, if
I would not have lost the corner. I guess he is just a little
stronger than me, but maybe not as strong as Ton.
This months interesting links
June 2006 |