Maasvlakte 2

You know you’re concerned about sticking to a budget when breakfast involves scavenging the fridge to find suitable ingredients to liquify in the blender. This morning I was lucky enough to make a banana-avocado smoothie but it’s been worse. Once I had to resort to partly moldy strawberries. According to Sir Alexander Fleming, mold is penicillin so it can’t be bad for me. All in all, blenders are probably on my list of favorite kitchen appliances, after the mandoline and donkey shaped cookie cutters.

It was Berend’s 22nd birthday yesterday so I got him the best present he could have imagined. I model the gift below: Photo on 8-28-13 at 2.13 PM 1. It’s camo #nuffsaid

2. He recently got new low-cut chuck taylors with some camo print on them so now he can match.

3. He already wears a Chicago White Sox hat, even though he didn’t know what the White Sox were until I got here.

4. Berend’s leaving to study abroad in Madrid…when he wears the shoes and hat together there is a 95% certainty that no spanish girls will talk to him. He’s had a serious girlfriend for about 5 years so I’m just trying to keep them together. #savioroflove.

5. Chicago!

Yesterday, I went on an extensive full day harbor tour. 10am-5pm. That’s a long ass time on a boat, but there was some fantastic opportunities for people watching. I saw some mind-blowing harbor infrastructure including some of the largest container ships in the world.

My favorite people on the boat were two english men that got as excited by tracking and recording cargo ships as an ornithologist from the prairies of North Dakota would be about being in the jungle with birds of paradise. They both carried binoculars. One guy’s binos had orange lenses which made me pretty jealous. They would scan all corners of the harbor and frantically write down the names of the boats they saw. Both men were hovering around 50, but at times they would get more excited than a school kids at the sound of an ice-cream truck. They bellowed their spottings as if they had made a nobel prize winning discovery.

The other people that baffled me were two kids, a boyfriend and a girlfriend between 14-16 that would ‘sneak away’ from the parents to go make out and smoke cigarettes. First of all, kids, the boats not that big and nobody wants to see your gross awkward-phase romance. Second, smoking kills. Get it together.

The captain gave a guided tour of the harbor, which I’m sure was brilliantly interesting and informative. I would have listened but it was entirely in Dutch. I wrote down some of the key words and did some research on the Port of Rotterdam site:

  • The harbor and its industrial sites stretch 40km
  • 34,000 sea going vessels and 100,000 barges visit the harbor annually
  • 90,000 people work in the harbor
  • Rotterdam is home of the EJT (European Juice Terminal)–16 thousand-ton stainless steel tanks for Brazilian orange juice concentrate storage.
  • The harbor has two man-made ports constructed by building an enclosing dike and filling it in with sand in the North Sea. The first was built in the 1960’s and the other was just completed this year. They are called Maasvlakte 1 and Maasvlakte 2.
  • Mississippihaven in Maasvlakte 1 is the largest dry bulk terminal in europe. 20 million tons of coal and 13 million tons of iron ore. 140,000 tons can be unloaded/day.
  • Below is the world’s most modern coal and biomass plant. It has a capacity of 800MW.

IMG_2701

  • The BP Refinery Rotterdam is one of Europe’s largest with a processing capacity of 63,500m^3 or 400,000 vats of crude oil a day.
There were hundreds of silos. The camera cannot capture the vastness.
There were hundreds of silos. The camera cannot capture the vastness.
  • The Euromax terminal is one of the most advanced and environmentally friendly container terminals worldwide. The automated terminal houses ships from the ‘Green Alliance’–a partnership between Cosco, “K” Line, Yan Ming and Hanjin. Look for clues in the photos that give a sense of scale. Rarely can you see something that we are used to…one of the photos has a car in it which can give you an idea.
  • The Maasvlakte 2, just completed this year makes the harbor about 20% bigger but the first container ships won’t be unloaded there until 2014. Right now it just looks like a desert or a man-made island from Dubai. It cost about 2.8 billion euros to construct.

The cruise took me back past the Maeslant Barrier.

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