Smog-alert!

Today the government of Flanders imposed another “Smog alert”, atleast until tomorrow evening.

Smog!

What is this, you might ask?When the amount of fine dust in the air exceeds the european limit (40 µg/m³), a speed limit of 90 kph is imposed on certain roads, to reduce this.

As posted by Wim in this post (in dutch), about the smog-alert end of 2007, this is actually quite moot – you drive less fast for 3-4 days in a year, but keep polluting the same all the other days. It’s also only mandatory in flanders, not in wallonia (go figure).

Also, completely accidental, the amount of speed-checks increases tenfold, and there’s the zero-tolerance.

I do agree that we need to do something about this problem – but not the short half-assed “solution” our government imposes (drive slower for 2 days) which only serves to increase their revenue through speeding tickets – but a real structural solution. Like:

  • higher taxes on the polluting cars
  • promoting the ecologically sound cards
  • making public transport usable for more people

I’m sure there are a lot more options, but these would be a start…

Insurance – part 2

I do hate insurance companies.

Seems now the offer they made me was wrong, since I’ve driven leasing cars all my life, and so they can’t note me down as being a takeover of a contract. Hence, you end up in a more expensive scale. Oh well, It’s signed, the offer is still the best one I got.

I’ve got my temporary green card even! :D and the license plates have been requested and should be here by monday!

Insurance!

Ok,

After passing by some companies with car insurance, I can now say that I has decided! I’ve asked for the final papers to be made up so I can sign and get the plates.

What a difference in prices though – the one I’m signing for is in the lower end, the higher end of the quotes I got was 2.5x as expensive!!

Carnival in Aalst

Yay. Soon it’ll be Aalst Carnaval, a so-called cultural feast. I rather call it a drunkfest, since there’s actually very little culture and loads of drinking going on.

The cultural part are the processions, made with styrofoam about events in the world. They’re usually fun and wellmade. Unfortunately, there’s also the other part, where people behave like pigs, trash everything they can (even the ceilings of the train stations have to suffer and be utterly destroyed), drink themselves to hell, let their kids alone home even though they’re not even 5 year old, etc etc. I can’t say much good about it, I find it a horrible waste of taxpayer money and wish they would either make the people that want to attend it pay a fee, or scrap it all together.

Also, don’t think of going to Aalst during carnival season with a bike – unless you’re a fan of punctured tires because of all the glass that’s all over the place. Best time to go back is around a week afterwards – then the smell of puke and pee will finally have gone from the place.

Here’s a nice pic of the trainstation of Aalst, all dressed up for the occasion:

Aalst Train Station

Can’t you tell I love carnival?!