"Royally" Fed Up with RandstadRail

RandstadRail. Photo by Dennis Holtkamp

RandstadRail is a light rail initiative to have quick public transport between the two cities The Hague and Rotterdam. The idea is RandstadRail can use both the tram rail and the train rail network. The only problem is that they are much wider and heavier than ordinary trams. A fact that the The Hague Municipality played down heavily when we organized a protest when the City planned to have RandstadRail driving through our very narrow part of the Laan Meerdervoort in The Hague. Then they claimed our protests were mere NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) protests.

My main complaint is that our part of the long Laan Van Meerdervoort is too narrow for Randstadrail.
What happened yesterday evening proved me right again:

RandstadRail crashes two taxis in one

A TV crew was shooting an interview with a foreign Prince in our small luxe hotel, Haagsche Suites, for a BBC series to be broad casted in spring 2009.
After the shooting I had ordered two taxis, one for the Prince and one for the crew. We had just loaded the crew’s gear, cameras, lighting equipment and tripods in the first taxi. We were saying good bye to the party on the sidewalk. All of a sudden we heard two enormous bangs: RandstadRail had crashed into the second taxi with such speed that the second taxi was smacked at least 5 meter further against taxi number one.

The poor driver of the second taxi in dire need of a replacement car.

I am very glad nobody was standing between the two taxis when it happened and luckily there were no personal injuries. This is not the first time this happens in front of our hotel. A couple of weeks ago RandstadRail crashed a car with a whole family inside it….not sure they didn’t have any whiplash injury then.

Now I really can say I am “Royally” Fed up with RandstadRail!

Dunglish and Offbeat Guides

I posed this question on Twitter:


Meaning: Does anybody have an invite for the private beta of Offbeat Guides for me?

Then a twitterer, who by the way I suspect to be a native Dutchman or a US citizen with Dutch ancestry, answered “Sure”.

I waited for the things to come, then I DM ed (direct messaged) him that I would be glad to receive one and gave him my e-mail address….Nothing came.

Then another Twitterer who is a native German immediately announced that he also is interested to get an invite. Then I began to understand the possible miscommunication. The first one thought I had invites to offer. As German is nearer to Dutch than English I presume the German understood my question better. So I thought “Maybe this is due to my Denglish”.

Denglish and Dunglish

I looked up “Denglish” on Wikipedia and learned It is not “my Denglish” but “my Dunglish”. According to Wikipedia:

Dunglish is a “portmanteau of Dutch and English, a name for Dutch English. The word is often used pejoratively to refer to the mistakes native Dutch speakers make when speaking English”.

Denglish, sometimes spelled Denglisch, is a “portmanteau of the words Deutsch and Englisch. Used in all German-speaking countries, Denglisch describes an influx of English, or pseudo-English vocabulary into the German language through travel and English’s widespread usage in advertising and business.”

The most famous example of Dunglish is the following quote from ex Dutch Former prime-minister Joop den Uyl who once remarked:

“the Dutch are a nation of undertakers”. The Dutch verb ondernemen is literally the English undertake (as onder is under and nemen is take). The noun ondernemer is thus literally undertaker, however the idiomatic English usage is instead the French loanword entrepreneur. (Dutch uses the completely unrelated word begrafenisondernemer for a funeral director.)

About Offbeat Guides
Its a startup. Its about printing personal travel guides on demand, but the interesting thing is it has been set up by a technorati founder who left technorati. Read more at Tech Crunch and at Joe Buhler’s Site and here is Sifry’s own alert.

Personally I believe this is going back in time. I rather have a personalized MP3 Player or IPhone or other integrated gadget with which I can scrape all the necessary info from a good WiFi access point with map links, directions and so on. That might safe wood and me carrying around too much weight to fly with with all those current surcharges.

I remember one of the Booking.Com founders trying to set up a database with all hotel info in it. Just as a repository for the OTA’s and Destination marketing guys and girls. Just another abandoned project. Reason? No cross platform and no cross industry communication.

The video at Tech crunch reinforces this idea of mine. This is really 20th century stuff and thinking.

Ha, I wonder whether they’ll ever invite me after this rant.

What would you think?

Last update June 5, 2008

Some Concerns about Tips From The T-List

Tips From The T-List Banner

After three conferences with dedicated sites, the initiators of Tips from the T-List decided to start a more permanent site.

The site and its lay out need urgent attention imo!

  1. My main complaint is that the RSS feeds don’t work as they should: During a certain period of time they produced duplicate content. That has been taken care of in the meantime. The feeds are intentionally delayed. However to me it seems that the feeds are not added automatically with a delay of one or two days, while I believe they should. The time lag is so big the Blog loses momentum.
  2. Contributers to the site should be able to withdraw posts they deem less suited to publish over at Tips from the T-List.
  3. Contributers to the site should be able to edit posts. I understand the need of some over all editing of the site, but it is clear from looking at the site for some time now that the editors have very little time available for the editing;
  4. The navigation of the site needs attention, because it is not easy to wade through. I don’t like the difference between tabs and categories. Throughout the site there is no consistency.

All in all Tips From The T-List doesn’t take off as it should. Presently there are only 30 some travel related bloggers putting together their content. WiWiH has travel blogging as a lesser priority than its other activities and therefore was not chosen to act as a platform for the Tips from the T-List posse. Nevertheless WiWiH performs far better better imo. It gives you a clear overview of some travel blogging.The new startup Alltop’s Travel Alltop with currently 81 Blogs featured even gives a far better overview.

The income from the site

The initiators have announced that all income from the site goes to a good cause. I am glad they announced that. No fear anymore that they will earn some Adsense cents over my content. However I was not asked neither informed on beforehand that they would open up the site for advertising. Maybe I don’t like advertising at all….

The various agendas from Travel Bloggers

During ITB Berlin Bloggers summit it became apparent to me that the initiators of Tips From The T-List have their own limited area of interest, which is internet marketing for travel. I have a feeling that their main aim is to convince travel providers that they should listen to and engage travel bloggers as a marketing tool. There is nothing against that idea, but I am afraid that when one looks at the huge reservoir of thousands of Travel Bloggers, they forget they could make a far bigger Travel Community than Tips From the T-List is doing presently and consequently are losing big opportunities and huge momentum.

In my prior post I noted that Hotel Blogs Org, another Travel Bloggers aggregator presently seems to be hacked. I am sure the participants won’t like to be part of that. I wouldn’t. However Hotel Blogs seemed becoming a far better sharing tool than Tips From The T-List is at present.

Some Travel Bloggers don’t want to be part of Tips From The T-List because they are afraid they might jeopardize their Google ranking.

Some other Travel Bloggers don’t want to be part of Tips From The T-List, because direct competitors of them are behind the site.

It is my strong conviction that Blogging is sharing and not only sharing what you deem in your own commercial interest. I myself for instance have blogged about a fellow small hotel that blatantly had stolen the look and feel of the website of my own hotel. In another instance I have written about the opening of another hotel that is a direct competitor. A Blogger should be as impartial as possible without becoming impersonal.

Dear Friends can’t we finally bridge these gaps?

Finally we should reconsider its name: T-List
While every startup nowadays seems to reconsider its name, I suggest we reconsider T-List as a name for a posse of Travel Related Bloggers.

Create a Google alert for “T-list” and see what happens: All sorts of post are reported by Google:
Sh*t List
I don’t list
won’t list
didn’t list
can’t list
doesn’t list
weren’t’ list

All very negative.

Let’s go positive!

Maybe Travel Bloggers Posse could be a better name? Anybody a better idea?

Or should we just forget about the T-List and go on with TravelTwit.com solely?

The Finger of Suspicion

The Finger of Suspicion 1
The Finger of Suspicion by Lisa Roet

Fellow Travel Blogger Darren Cronian informs us in his Compulsory Fingerprinting to be introduced in UK Airports that soon to be opened Heathrow terminal 5 will have installed fingerprint taking machines and that more airports will follow suit.

Many of my posts are inspired by mere association. As soon as I saw Darren’s post I had to think of the photos I took this summer at 2007 The Hague Sculpture

The Finger of Suspicion 2
The Finger of Suspicion by Lisa Roet

Actually the sculpture of Lisa Roet, an artist of Down Under is not coined The Finger of Suspicion, but an earlier solo exposition of her.

Why the association?
It demonstrates a bit how I feel when I read such nonsense: Like a Caged Ape and that is a subject that intrigues Lisa Roet a lot.

Further investigations

If you Google on The Finger of Suspicion you get some interesting results:

  • Once It was a song by Dicky Valentine. Very poetic and romantic
  • J.F Kennedy used the phrase in a famous speech:
  • Shelley Jofre reports on a series of disturbing cases that have revealed serious flaws with some fingerprint evidence in Britain, see BBC
  • Within hours of the attacks in New York and Washington, the US and other western intelligence organizations put Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born terrorist in …the Guardian

Will it ever stop?

WTM 2007: First Impressions

Happy Hotelier's WTM Press Card
A proud member of the Press 🙂

Yes I succeeded to get the press card and I am proudly showing it here as proof. It is my first, but definitely will not be my last. Maybe the idea of applying for a press card will inspire fellow Bloggers to do the same for other venues, fairs, or whatever.

I hopped over to Londen City Airport from Rotterdam with VLM. This was very convenient time wise and legroom wise.

I was lucky to have some dear friends who had a bed and a breakfast for me, but the route door to door from The Hague to Excel took the same time as the commuting to my friend’s address in a little suburb North West of London (half way to Luton).

During my tubing around in London it surprised me how many Londoners are leaving their papers and big paper coffee cups in the trains where cleaners collected them by the sacks full.

WTM has the same problem: Almost all food is offered in paper or carton and they produce tons of waste: An idea for WTM 2008: Back to porcelain and glass as reportedly green conscious organization?

More to follow.