Monthly Archives: April 2011

Spa Summer Classic

Spa Summer Classic

Een aantal jaren geleden zijn we met een klein clubje de Ardennen in gedoken om te genieten van benzinedampen, olievlekken, verbrand rubber en onvervalste historische racegeluiden!!!

Dit jaar ga ik er weer van genieten!! Met andere woorden: Spa Summer Classic is in mijn agenda ingekalkt…

Wanneer: 10 – 12 juni

Waar: Circuit Spa Francorchamps

Plan is om er met mijn zwager heen te rijden. Wanneer precies en hoe lang moet nog worden besloten :-)   Wie heeft er zin mee te gaan??

Meer informatie is hier te vinden.

Spa Summer Classic

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110418-Shanghai-Yu Garden-01

The Waldorf Astoria comes with a great view and wifi. Another day before the hectic of the car show starts. I zoom in and out on google maps and realize that this city has no limits. A look at the glossy city guide put together by my employer. Places to see in Shanghai. Something cultural would be nice for a change. Let's go local. Ancient temples and a relaxing atmosphere in the midst  of a changing city. 

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The Yu Garden should be in walking distance. I follow the road signs and get lost. Yes this is a garden, but not much Yu is going on. I look at the guy who has some glass bottles filled with turtles as I hear a voice beside me. "In Chinese culture the turtle symbolizes personal luck and health. The goldfish you see over there stands for financial wealth". "You are looking for the Yu Garden, it is around the corner, follow me, I am a cultural teacher, very important". Surprised somehow I follow the guy who gives me a turbo charges lecture in local culture. "Holland, Rembrandt, van Gogh, very interesting, Chinese painting black and white, no color"." Follow me, I show you garden". Walking through narrow streets the guy paints a picture of the foreigner within minutes like Yoda. "Very independent you are, creative indeed, cultural given".

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Before I realize I sit on the first floor of a tea house, just above a shop with tourist stuff. Equipment is put on the table within seconds. Chinese culture lands on textile with a few strokes. "Very original, no copy". No color indeed. A customized tourist program or a friendly gesture from a local or ? I am still mixed up, but believe in the latter. A couple of minutes later I enter the Yu Garden, packed with a drying painting, accompanied by a bunch of Brazilians. Nevertheless one will find peace within these walls. Beautiful details and 700 hundred years old. A piece of Shanghai that survived the cultural revolution. An hour in tranquility and then out on the streets again. Should I grab a tea? The Starbucks is situated in a Yu Garden style building next door. I refuse to be part of the Disney tour, stick my painting deeper into my bag and dive into the late afternoon action of Shanghai.

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The multi lane streets that swing along with the Bund are empty. I have limited time here so where to go? Taking a taxi somewhere is easy, on every corner a ricksha stops to ask the tourist with the camera if he needs a ride. Cheapy, cheapy. Thank you, I will take a walk around. Workers clean the street and meticulously reposition plants. Ancient brooms. The contrast with the sky scraping buildings can't be bigger. Everything here is build to expand, a scale beyond imagination. New York must have made a similar impression a century ago. After a long walk and dozens of architecture pictures I decide to take a look what is behind the clean walls of the boulevard. 



I am struck by yet an another view on Shanghai. A business man has his Passat hand washed in front of a wrecked house, chicken on the pavement. A photo opportunity for the book. Too close to press the button. I am still trying to find the comfort after a guy started to shout at me after aiming the lens at him earlier this morning. Do I feel safe? Obviously this not a vavela in Rio. This rough part of the city must be one of the many Chinas where things present themselves in a strange mix, a clash of times. Worn out places and lively streets. A social fabric spread out in between concrete blocks. An Audi A5 parked next to a rusty bike.



After a while I am more relaxed. When the streets get narrower the intension rises. The guy in the flash blue ski jacket becomes part of Shanghais street live were everything happens outside. People playing games, carts filled with food, action, shouting and laughing. Guys in business uniform return home to there dusty neighborhood, grabbing some food on their way. The streets filled with endless piles of stuff. Empty cardboard boxes, a family somewhere will enjoy a new television set. Will this "China" still be there in five years time, witnessing the accelerating speed at which things change here? 



I return to the hotel and finish my book, a guide to China. I have seen so little, but experienced so much. A point and shoot tour with my camera, trying to find words is not easy. China is hard to grab, no place for quick judgements. A cocktail which ingredients are changing everyday. Happy hour. 





Shanghai, the Bund. The key card of the hotel deeply stuck into my pocket I head up to the boulevard for an evening breeze. Confused by the jet lag that starts to kick in, or is it the bombardment of so many impressions. A couple of hours ago I landed on Chinese soil for the first time ever. The scale of the city, the people, the ceremonies, I am a stranger here. On the other side of the river a skyline so overwhelming, but with a scale that is hard to judge. Big, bigger, biggest. A room with a view that is.

Now, at night, the architecture comes alive. This is Las Vegas. Colorful lights everywhere, changing colors every couple of seconds. LED bill boards the size of buildings reflect in the water. The boulevard is crowded. People taking pictures. A language I don't understand and signs I can't read. My only reference are some numbers here and there and international luxury attributes parked in front of boutiques. Not fake, but with local touches. The blow of a whistle. A official in a uniform gesticulates and orders some tourists to keep their feet of the benches.


Colonial buildings on one side and the new powerful landmarks at east bank . In between I am caught in the mix, lost in translation,an extra in a Blade Runner-esque scenery. The deep bass of ship engines roll over the water, pitch black silhouettes slice through a bath of color. Raw materials on a journey to the next building site. China is booming and knocking in my head. I touched down, but did I land?




Car designers of the world, unite!

Surely there must be a way… to keep the 'numero uno' dreamcar of all time out of the stone cold hands of the next billionaire automotive investor-collector…

Why am I writing this with such urgency?

The 1970 Bertone Lancia Stratos 'Zero' is going to be up for sale – very soon. And with it, the Lamborghini Marzal (yes, one of your favourite Matchbox cars, indeed), Bravo and Athon. Absolute landmarks of automotive design, and -all four of them- so 'Bertone' that I find it hard to believe this is actually happening. The Stratos and Marzal are estimated to bring between 1 and 1.8 MM Euro each into the ailing carrozzeria's cash register.

The venue: Villa d'Este, 21st May. Mark your agendas. What if each of us gets a small additional mortgage, and we add it all up?

- Geert.



110410-Lamborghini Aventador

Sunday, cars and coffee. In California you just have to drive around town to crash into some super car meeting, in Ingolstadt we have the museum. These months the first floor is filled with Italian metal from Sant' Agata. Before I enter the building I take a second look at the Aventador that is parked outside. Fresh from the box with a lot of crisp angles.


Inside one finds the the history of the brand, lined up on back lid floors. Well displayed cars in immaculate condition. Miura, Countach and others. After my first shots I got a tap on my shoulder. Steve has been here before. We stare into yellow reflections and then grab a coffee. Super Car Sunday in Ingolstadt.



Geinspireerd op meerdere niveau's. Natuurlijk was ik al lekker bezig met m'n karretje en de daarbij horende zoektocht naar lekkere plaatjes (dank aan Huib und die Männer von

Vandaag en gisteren echter ook een cursus InDesign CS5 afgerond en eindelijk 'ontdekt' hoe het eigenlijk altijd al had moeten zijn: Rastertje maken met kadertjes, foto's erin plempen: Klaar. Hoe heb ik ooit zonder gekund………… 


Het mooie weer komt eraan, het begint te kriebelen. De 'ersatz'-bumpers zijn zo goed als klaar, nog een paar dingetjes eraan lassen en ze kunnen in de lak. De rolbeugel wordt plan B; ik stel nu alles in het werk om zo snel mogelijk te kunnen rijden. (Wie ziet de reflectie van de Giulia met Rallye-neusje het eerst?). 



"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". A friday off for another day in the Alps. "A beautiful day" on FM4, windows open, warm weather, spring time. We drive through several Bob Ross paintings before we park our car. We are ready for five hours of boarding, let's hit it!

The panorama is great. This is our arena, we will use every patch of untouched snow, searching for that ultimate line downwards. I plug in my ear phone, for safety reasons I will enjoy a mono soundtrack for the day. During our time in the several lifts we update our on the fly playlists. Chemical Brothers, Snow and…….Escape Velocity. And yes, propelled by the music, a couple of minutes later I hit the air and land softly after.

Flow time. We explore the landscape beyond the limits of the pistes. Uli glides along a big rock decorum, click. A couple of rides later I follow him on the steep surface. A perfect spot to take a dive into the valley and get the adrenaline rushing. Under these circumstances it is easy to underestimate nature. MC 900 ft Jesus accompanies us  as we try  Bertelman style cut backs around some rocks. The City Sleeps, but I am fully awake as my board grinds on stone.

A perfect, beautiful day……



110401-Comic Car

An amazing contraption, parked at a rastplatz somewhere in Bavaria. As we walk around this "car" we wonder who the owner could be. I keep thinking of Cruella de Vil somehow. If someone has the absurd idea to pack the full American car history in one vehicle, this would be the result. Low rider meets hot rod meets limousine meets Excalibur etc etc. One can find something like this in crazy California, but I never thought our local TUV would keep such an eye closed, allowing this car to drive on German roads. Wahnsinn!