Sunday, June 11, 2006

Somebody visited Amsterdam...

I say "somebody" because I am not sure at all it was ME. It's a good thing I don't do drugs because, for some reason, I was already so out-of-focus that I would have forgotten my head if it wasn't attached!! Forgot my hotel confirmation; didn't know when my return flight was; forgot my Servas letter...But remember, I went to Prague on Thursday to see Marriage of Figaro, and I didn't come back to Zatec before Amsterdam. I KNEW I was doing this, but somehow my brain couldn't handle it. I'd been really distracted.

Luckily I met really nice people. Well, I met A really nice person, Roeland (of Servas); he is the one taking my picture here. Despite his busy schedule, he showed me around, went to dinner with me, and was just very nice to talk to. I forgot (in TWO meetings) to take a picture WITH him. =(

After some initial trepidation, I strolled the Red Light District. It was very nice. Nothing to be worried about after all: "chips, dip, chains, whips, sex, drugs, rock and roll--the usual stuff." They (sex and drugs) are business all over the world. Here, it's just open. No pretending. I am not saying I like prostitution and drugs. No, no, it's definitely NOT for me, but it somehow wasn't weird to see it out in the open like it was here. It could be just the atmosphere of this place. I wouldn't suggest everyone legalize the things. Somehow, I feel it only really works...HERE.

Marijuana cookies

Having dinner, and chillin' when suddenly a waiter lights this big torch thing and plops it down on my table. Nobody else had a torch; they all had regular little tea lights. I was...perplexed, but then I kind of liked it and went with it. Que Sera Sera.

Rijks Museum--didn't go in there. I think it was closed for renovation anyway.

Rembrant house--he actually lived here, folks, in the green shuttered building. 1606??? Didn't go in there either.

Van Gogh--DID go in here! But wasn't allowed to take ANY photos. =( I could take them in Paris, why not here??? Beats me.

Anne Frank House--Also went in here! Also, no photos allowed. But it was brilliant. I had been in the play Anne Frank (as Mrs. Frank) when I was in high school, and so it was something kind of personal for me. It was so amazing to see the ACTUAL place. It was vivid--I could feel it. When I read about the fate of all the inhabitants (which I already knew, of course) it was like reading about people I knew, my friends. They did a really good job with the displays here, I have to say. The video clips of interviews, the photos showing the people and the rooms...Excellent.

Museum shop

Central Station


Lovers--As we waited and waited for the Canal Bus that never came...

These guys showed up instead



Do I have to say Amsterdam is beautiful? Do I have to say I would love to go back there again? I hope not. =)

I stayed here--Nice hotel, excellent service, expensive breakfast, but it's OK--I skipped it! =)

Trains--the thing about my hotel was that it was not actually IN Amsterdam. It was in a city by the airport. No problem. There was a train station just a short walk from the hotel. No big deal getting into the city. However, on my last night, I stayed in Amsterdam late. There is limited train service after 10pm. I was to take the train to the airport and then take a taxi to my hotel from there...except I fell asleep on the train, woke up at my stop but too late to get the doors to open and let me out. I had to go to another town (it was the Rotterdam train, so I was lucky it didn't go THAT far) and take a taxi back to my hotel. A very expensive adventure!!!

Airport survival kit--I arrived early, too early to check in, and there were no restaurants outside the gate area in THIS airport. A very nice airport though. It is that I realize I left my leather jacket in the closet of the hotel. I don't know who this new, forgetful person is (who is inhabiting my body), but I hope she doesn't stay much longer. =)


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