Monday, April 4, 2011

Easter Holiday: Day 2: Beer/Wine & Chocolate tour: Friday march 25, 201: Amsterdam

So my alarm didn’t go off at 5 this morning like it was suppose to, luckily I had an just-in-case wakeup call for 6. I caught the bus back to Gatwick Terminal N. I was able to walk right up the counter and check my bag. And I literally walked right through security. No line. No thinking my Kindle was a bomb. No taking off of the shoes. No thinking my Kindle was a bomb.
On the plane I got to sit next to a real life Rastafarian! Sadly, there is no picture. While one of my brain was doing cartwheels at the thought of seeing Kat and Drew in a few hours, another part of my brain was singing, “Jamaica we have a bobsled team!”
My flight was only 40 minutes, in no time I’m at the designating meeting spot in Amsterdam. I find a nice comfortable spot to sit on the giant cube at approx 11:45. Kat and Drew’s plane is suppose to land around 11:50, so here I am thinking I’ll see them before no time. …When 12:40 rolls around I get up, go get some cash out of the ATM and go to check the boards to see if they’ve been delayed. …They’re flight isn’t on the board anymore. Where are they? I go sit back down. 1:15 comes around and I go grab a quick bite to eat and come back to the cube, and tell myself if they’re not here by 14:00 we’ll make my Sherlock Holms and track them down…make sure they aren’t being detained my customs.
Around 1:30 I get a call my from, “Are you there? Are you good”. “Yeah. I’m in Amsterdam,” said all nonchalantly when though its hella-cool. “Drew’s luggage was lost…” …So that is why they’re being detained. …His stuff might be lost but at least they aren’t being detained my customs.
They show up around 1:50! Yay! 

We took the train into Amsterdam Centraal. We found our hotel, the Convent Hotel, no problem. We had lunch on the top floor of the central library or Bibliotheek. 

The view from the top was amazing...

We did a bit of the walking tour of the city but most everything was closed,  but we got to see some great canals.

Towards the end of the day, we swung through the Red Light District. …Weird. I never really considered myself a feminist until I walked through the Red Light District. It was almost too much for my brain to process. I’ll be back in Amsterdam in a couple of weeks on another trip and the Red Light district is on the itinerary; it’ll be interesting to see how I react now that I know what to expect. The one thing that did penetrate my shock, was how normal these girls look. By day they looked like they could be sitting beside me in University. Isn’t there some unspoken rule that prostitutes should look like…well, prostitutes? I think that’s why hit me the most by far, was how normal they looked.
We had pizza to-go and beer (Cider for me) from a little shop in our hotel room for dinner. I think we were all tired.
The one thing you should know about Amsterdam…watch out for the bikes! Let me tell you, I am lucky to be alive. I almost got run over by a Vespa! Because when you’re crossing the street in Amsterdam, you aren’t just crossing the street. Oh, no, you have to cross the bike line, then the road, then a set of trolly tracks, then another, then another road and the another bike line. And there are more bikes than stars in the sky. Seriously, I know I exaggerate on a daily basis but this is not an exaggeration. Just look at this bike parking deck outside the train station:

And the bicyclers! They smoke and bike. They text and bike! They use their smart phones and bike! It’s a hazard! …Those of you headed to Amsterdam watch out! 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Easter Holiday: Day 1: Beer/Wine & Chocolate tour: Thursday March 24, 2011: Travel Day

My day really didn’t start until lunch with some of the girls on my hall. I hate really quickly and then dashed up to the Learning CafĂ© to print off my boarding pass. So, I go to wait by the printer and this girl is scanning and obviously doesn’t know what she’s doing…she jams it! She opens the side door, rips the paper out, closed it and walks away while the copier is still jammed. And there’s a witness to this dastardly deed…me! By this point (and note the girl that did the jamming has disappeared) there is a line of three people and we all need to print…but its jammed, and I’ve got myself a train to catch. So I, with all my (I know understand to be) invaluable work with the various copiers at the law firm, get to work unjamming. I had the printer up and running in no time. Boo-ya!

My walk to the train station normally only takes 15/20 minutes, loaded down my bag it took closer to 40. But I got there with time to spar, bought my ticket to Gatwick Airport. There was a change at Clapham Junction which was negotiated with some sign reading and pretty soon I was there! I tracked down the hotel buses, waited for the G23 that dropped off at the Ramada and Bam! I was set up for the night.