Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


Date 1

People in the Netherlands are starting to accept tulip bulbs as currency. Nobody trusts the national currency anymore and many look for alternative assets to protect their wealth. Tulip fields are currently heavily guarded and fenced-in to prevent tulip bulb theft. Tulip future(s) look promising for the early adopters of tulip bulbs as currency. A high-profile property developer bought large holdings of bulbs over the previous months and is now advertising that he is accepting bulbs as payment for his planned (yet to be build) new housing estates.

Date 2

More and more tulip bulb owners do not actually physically hold the bulbs because of storage (and theft) issues. So there are now tulip ETB's, where the bulbs remain on the field and in cold storage, some even with an option to have the bulbs physically delivered. This has increased bulb trading 10000-fold.

Date 3

Because of (by now) the high price of one single bulb, one can now invest in a 1/1000 fraction of one bulb. The general public is now flooding-in for 0,01 euro a pop and they are more than happy (and can afford) to pay that price. 2 cents worth is still a bargain. The front-page of the newspaper captures the moment with "Bulb prices have doubled within a day!". On page ten of the same newspaper a college teacher is complaining that her freshmen (and women) pupils are failing simple calculus tests, especially with fractions, percentages and divisions. She advises to scrap history lessons in elementary schools in favor of more calculus and maths. Bulb fractions have quickly increased to a mere 0,98 euro a piece with further room "on the upside" as expressed by the vast majority of financial experts, as explained by the popular TV presenter Tina.

Date 4

Bulb investing is becoming more and more mainstream and generally accepted as an asset-class. PayDude™ adds ETB tokens as a payment category.

Date 5

Parents are opening trading accounts for their young children to give them a better financial future and their first steps on their housing ladder. Government childcare benefits are pouring into the bull(b) market. Bulb trading platforms are now checking applications more thouroughly, for some applicants tried to open accounts for their yet unborn and on one occasion even an unconceived child. This had one trader comment in the "Bulb Times" that there may be a market for "child futures" and their derivatives.

Date 6

There is an ever increasing lack of space to plant bulbs or for bulb-storage. More and more nearby farms and sometimes whole towns are bought up by investors and property developers. The Dutch mountains are flattened to make room for more tulip fields and cold-storage.

Date 7

There are many spin-offs that root themselves next to the bulb trade. One of the more promising ones are anti-depressants made from tulip leaves. The Netherlands has a reputation for entrepeneurship regarding medicinal uses of plant leaves, of which the high-profile property developer is generally positive about. SPAC's are outbidding each other on this promising lucrative business, for the anti-depressant is rumoured about to be approved by the FDA and will be available free of charge to any consumer through the National Health Service.

Date 8

The high-profile property developer stopped accepting bulbs as payment for his yet to be built properties. On his public address his signature shorts briefly exposed. The reason he gives for his decision is that he became aware of the envionmental (and social) impact of the whole tulip bulb business. Food prices are soaring because of the supply-side; farms have stopped growing food and are farming for bulbs instead. He stated that he won't sell his current bulb holdings, but instead has transferred them to his subsidiary company with the name "Sky is not a Limit" that will rocket them to Mars where no energy is needed to keep them cool and enough space around. He also explains that the cost of transporting to Mars is offset by the savings on security guard expenses. The stock price of his Mars subsidiary jumped 13% on that announcement. A financial investigative journalist of "Follow the Bulbs" found out that the property developer transferred the holdings to his subsidiary two days before the announcement for the then book value. The high-profile property developer declined to comment on the question "How many properties did you already sell with bulbs as payment ?"

Date 9

Prices of bulbs have plummeted. The Foxx twin sisters bulb gurus see it as a great buying opportunity. Many bulb investors have just recently filled-in their tax forms. This year they have to pay a lot of asset-gains taxes on the market value of the bulbs as per 1st of January. Most have a hard (or even impossible) call to pay those taxes and even drastically had to save on food expenses. Scrounging for a free lunch. Many had previously sold their house on 'equity release' and invested the proceeds in bulbs to provide them a luxurious pension. As a last resort, some are having their bulb holdings physically delivered. For most these are just bulb peelings for the tiny fraction of a bulb that they actually owned. Others are still waiting for the delivery. Some cold-storage units appear to have never contained any bulbs ever, where the ETB owner certificates state it should have. Dutch World War 2 recipies for bulb soup are currently the number one in Google searches.

Date 10

The FDA does not approve the tulip leaves drug as an anti-depressant. In the initial clinical tests the drug had only been administered to people that had not yet invested in tulip bulbs. In wider A/B placebo tests it has shown that the overall majority of people taking the drug actually get manically depressed from the drug because they get hallicunations of tulip bulbs. A young wannabe journalist writes about this as "Tulip Mania". He was one of the first year of pupils that went through school without taking any history class.

Date 11

The high-profile property developer informs that he is stepping down from the board of his company to pursue other opportunities and to have more time to spend on his black swan farm and organize global events there.

Date 12

The SEC wants to start an investigation into possible securities fraud and market manipulation by the high-profile property developer, only to find out that he has vanished from the face of the earth.


This story, all names, characters, events and incidents portrayed in this story are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living, deceased, undead or that do not exist yet), places, buildings, media (digital, paper or otherwise) and products (real or non-fungable) is intended or should be inferred. No person or entity associated with this story received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tulip products. It is unknown if any animals (including humans) were harmed in this picture that was painted in the Dutch mountains.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Anglesey from a distance

This would have been the week of the annual Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium. Starting out as the "Nordkapp Meet" on 30 April - 1 May 1983 it was and is the first international sea kayak symposium.

Allways organized on the May Bank Holiday weekend; the weekend of the first Monday in May. However this year, because of the 75th anniversary of VE-day (the end of WW-2), the Bank Holiday weekend was moved to the Friday 8-10 May to coincide with that. And then "World War C" started... A pandemic uprooting everything, resulting in the first year ever that the symposium does not run.

This year would have been the 20th time that I would have been attending the Anglesey symposium. May 2000 was my first visit; keen on learning all about tidal-races and overfalls to safely plan my own trips in more dynamic and remote areas with my paddling buddies. I returned again and again to become a British Canoeing sea kayak coach. Anglesey has become a regular paddling destination for me for it's accessible scenic, dynamic & learning environments.

So next year May will still be my 20th Anglesey Symposium anniversary. Hope to see you all there again. Paddler's Return, sun shining on the Skerries, Terns and all.

Last year, Hugh brought this classic 1991 Poster to the symposium and I took this picture of it.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Starship Troopers

Well, what to think about that person with the 'bright' idea to go to war with the galaxy? We all know by now what 'intelligence' this man can muster and stands for. If waging war with the rest of our planet is not enough.

But in the process ravishing a logo that stands for the complete opposite (above), gets me angry.

From very early on in my youth we already had cable television (in the Netherlands). And by that we could receive BBC television. I was a very keen viewer and follower of Star Trek (the Original Series). And probably learning to understand English in the process. The series has been re-broadcasted many many times. At my very first viewings it would not not have occured to me how unique this series would have been on it's release in the sixties. A multi cultural/racial crew on a starship that seeks out new life and new civilizations... Not to destroy, but to learn!

I think the United States Space Force should be renamed Starship Troopers. A much more fitting name and has a much more relevant logo than the misuse of the above Star Trek logo. I hope there is legal action against this plagiarism. On my second viewing it all fell into place and I smiled at the masterpiece; hilarious. How Paul Verhoeven was ever allowed to make it that way and it being released still has me puzzled. The best film to advertise enlisting in the United States Space Force (aka Starship Troopers).

Bad, bad, very bad idea! Hilarious if it only was fiction and it isn't 1st of April either.