Tuesday morning at work I received an e-mail from a friend who lives in The Netherlands. He is here in the US on vacation. His e-mail informed me he was heading from Key West towards Norfolk, VA. Was I home from my trip to Dayton? The timing couldn't have been better, as I had just returned the night before! (and to a relatively clean house!)
When I replied back I learned they were in Florence, South Carolina and would be in Raleigh in time for dinner.
The south is having a "heat wave". If you consider 100 degrees "hot". True, the humidity does make it feel more warm ... but still - if you've lived with 122 - and airplanes being grounded, it's hard to get worked up about 100 degrees. Because of this warm weather, I wanted to make cool foods - and not heat up my kitchen. Luck was with me. One of my favorite food blogs had this great looking "Hot As Hell Cucumber Salad" recipe posted. I quickly absconded with it for my own use, I then scoured my brain for what else to fix.
In the "Grilling" Section of Cooking Light I found an easy/quick recipe for Indonesian Chicken and paired it with Lemon Couscous. This was a great dinner because it only takes the chicken a half-hour to marinade and the only thing getting hot in the kitchen was the pot of boiling water for the couscous.
The boys Philipp, from Switzerland, and Herman, from Mensfort, Netherlands, were hot and tired when they arrived. Seems "Big Bettie" the 250 Econline Van purchased by Philipp for his US tour isn't very accommodating with the air conditioning. I quickly cooled them off with some Magic Hat No. 9 and let them jump in the shower.
In no time at all - dinner was ready. While we were sharing stories, I had to tell them about my most recent geographic revelation. Because I think it's funny (although slightly sad) I will tell you too.
As you know, in March I visited another friend in Amsterdam. Some time after returning here to the states I got to thinking about that trip - and how I had always wanted to go to Holland, yet didn't include it in my UK/Netherlands itinerary. Further rumination made me wonder how close I'd been to Holland - and where it was in relation to The Netherlands. Knowing Dutch was spoken in both places I was sure they had a common history - and so I went Google-searching for the relationship.
< whispers>They're the same damn place < /whisper>
Of course I didn't KNOW THAT when I started my search. And in the circuitous route I took to gain my information - the first fact I found out was that "HOLLAND" was two provinces in WESTERN NETHERLANDS. O_o
I recalled the map I looked at while I was trying to figure out if I could take a ferry from Norwich, England to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. England was on the left-hand side of the map and Norwich was right across the ocean from Amsterdam. Which meant the The Netherlands were on the right-hand side of the map. Which would ALSO MAKE Amsterdam in WESTERN NETHERLANDS.
So - because I am persistent (and slow) I Googled "Major cities of Holland". Immediately helpful Google returned a link that gave me this succinct bit of information. "The biggest port in Holland is Rotterdam. The biggest airport is Schiphol"
HEY! I'VE BEEN THERE!! THAT'S THE AIRPORT Blue and I flew in and out of!
"The biggest city is AMSTERDAM"
American education - you got to love it! < /sarcasm>
But the cool thing was that Herman actually was slightly pleased that I didn't think HOLLAND was THE NETHERLANDS. Seems that those to the east of Holland are slightly touchy about being lumped into those two western providences. < /geography lesson>