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If it's Tuesday this must be Belgium

If It’s Tuesday 🤡 This Must Be Belgium

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Funnily enough, it was a Tuesday when we arrived in Belgium. We knew this must be Belgium because of the bicycles and the scary clowns…

For those of you (especially Americans) who aren’t familiar with the movie, If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium is a 1969 romantic comedy film made on location throughout Europe. The title was taken from an American cartoon depicting a young woman near a tour bus frustratedly exclaiming “But if it’s Tuesday, it has to be Sienna”, thereby humorously illustrating the whirlwind nature of European tour schedules.

This concept formed the premise of the film’s plot.

Belgium would be the prelude to our trip to Malaysia. This started with an early morning flight with Ryanair, the low-cost carrier, to the small airport near Eindhoven in the Netherlands. From here we took a shuttle bus to Eindhoven train station.

In Eindhoven we had a little time to wander round the bicycle park, which boasted an impressive number of bicycles belonging to the daily commuters.

If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium

This Must be Belgium – Bicycle park in front of Eindhoven train station

What we didn’t realize was that this week was carnival time in Holland. We saw some pretty weird and wonderful costumes, and there must definitely have been some Stephen King convention to which everyone seemed to be heading.

If I’d known in advance, I would have donned my own scary clown outfit.

If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium

This Must be Belgium – Early March and it’s Carnival!

From Eindhoven, we took a train to Antwerp central station in Belgium.

Built between 1895 and 1905, this is is one of the world’s most impressive railway stations. Dubbed the Railway Cathedral, it is a major landmark in Antwerp.

The rich interior is lavishly decorated with more than twenty different kinds of marble and stone. Not a single square meter either inside or outside the building is not decorated.

If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium

This Must be Belgium – The Splendour that is Antwerp Central Station

It was from a small ticket office in the station that we actually received our KLM airline tickets and boarding passes – which we had ordered online three weeks earlier. With an hour or so to spare, we enjoyed coffee and cakes at a small cafe, before taking the high-speed Thalys train directly to Schiphol airport, near Amsterdam.

The prelude to our trip to Malaysia was drawing to a close, and we were looking forward to exchanging the cold of Europe for the heat of the tropics.

Our next stop would be Kuala Lumpur.


If you enjoyed If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium, check out our East Malaysia & Borneo adventures. You may also like:


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Tokay Gecko

Philippines Tokay Gecko – The “Little Britain” Lizard

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Wherever we travelled throughout the rural areas of the Philippines, we were entertained most evenings and nights by the strange and intermittent Philippines Tokay Gecko night call.

The call was too loud to be emitted by an insect. It sounded more human – like a negative response occasionally used by people: Something like a robotic, elongated version of ‘Eh-Errrgh’.

Tokay Mating Call

Although it was a welcome alternative to the ubiquitous karaoke, we were curious to find out where (and what) the call was coming from.

To me, the call sounded exactly like the catchphrase of one of the characters from the late BBC comedy series Little Britain.

Listen to the Tokay’s night call

 

This character, called Anne (played by David Walliams) simply repeats the catchphrase throughout the short sketches, with varying degrees of intonation and emphasis.

Short of David Walliams hiding in the rafters of our hut, there had to be another explanation for this weird lullaby.

Philippines Tokay Gecko

Look into my eyes, my eyes – not around the eyes – YOU’RE UNDER!

Well, it turned out to be an oversized gecko cruising for a partner: Specifically, a Tokay gecko.

The Tokay is a large nocturnal gecko, reaching up to 35 centimeters in length (one of the largest in existence).

It is a strong climber with foot pads that can support the entire weight of its body from a vertical surface for a long period of time.

Philippines Tokay Gecko

Philippines Tokay Gecko – So long, Sucker!

It can also change the color and form of its skin to blend into the environment. Tokay’s have folds of skin that prevent the animal from casting a recognizable shadow while resting in a tree. They simply blend in with the tree bark by opening wide these skin folds.

The Tokay’s native habitat is the rainforest, but it also adapts to rural human habitations in the tropics, roaming walls and ceilings at night in search of insects and small vertebrates. There is a mutual trade-off here: Humans provide shelter and Tokays provide insect extermination. Tokay gecko’s eat pests such as cockroaches and locusts.

Philippines Tokay Gecko

Philippines Tokay Gecko

In certain areas of Southeast Asia, they are regarded as bringers of luck, good fortune and fertility.

Their tails have several sections from which they can be cast off in defense. The part of the tail that is cast off continues to move violently for several minutes – giving the gecko time to escape. It takes some time, but they eventually regenerate a new tail.

Philippines Tokay Gecko – Its bite is worse than its bark

Tokays have strong jaws that can bite through the exoskeletons of rain forest insects. This strong bite makes them ill-suited for inexperienced pet keepers. These animals have a reputation for being aggressive, hard to handle and apt to bite.

Endangered Species

The Tokay gecko is quickly becoming a threatened species in the Philippines due to indiscriminate hunting. Collecting, transporting and trading in geckos without a license is punishable by up to twelve years in jail

However, because of their alleged medicinal value, Chinese buyers and other foreign nationals are rumored to pay thousands of dollars for large specimens.

Fun Fact: The name “gecko” is a derivative of a Malay word that is an imitation of a lizard’s call.



If you enjoyed Philippines Tokay Gecko, check out Central Philippines – Cebu & Bohol. You may also like:

Philippines Tokay GeckoPhilippines Tokay Gecko - The "Little Britain" Lizard


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Short Breaks – Europe

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If you're based in Europe and are looking for an inexpensive long weekend away, you might want to co[...]
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We often use Rome as our launching pad for long-distance flights to Asia. Many of the bigger airline[...]
Edinburgh City Break
Edinburgh City Break
If you ever need an excuse to enjoy an Edinburgh city break, the availability of some great internat[...]
If It's Tuesday 🤡 This Must Be Belgium
If It's Tuesday 🤡 This Must Be Belgium
Funnily enough, it was a Tuesday when we arrived in Belgium. We knew this must be Belgium because of[...]
Madrid Airport Transfers & Where to Stay
Madrid Airport Transfers & Where to Stay
Arriving late in the evening at Madrid airport, we were keen to discover how straightforward our tra[...]
New Year's Eve Malta Clifftop Camping
New Year's Eve Malta Clifftop Camping
December 31st - While everybody else was putting on their glad rags and preparing for a Yuletide bas[...]
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With the budget airlines offering ridiculously cheap flights from all over Europe to a variety of de[...]
Amsterdam Layover Hotel & Activities
Amsterdam Layover Hotel & Activities
Our incredibly low-priced Lufthansa flights from Europe to Panama departed from Holland. We therefor[...]

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