Archive for the 'bonny' Category

That was waaaay too short–

That visit was way too short, but seriously productive. It’s strange to be back in New York, and Amherst will feel even weirder. I can’t help but have the strangest urge to move there.

At the baggage claim, I was standing next to little Dutch family of three looking for their bags on the trolley. They had a little girl, about the same age as my adorable little cousin who I met yesterday, and they were all speaking Dutch. This made me overwhelmingly homesick for the Netherlands. I think I need some recovery time, but I just don’t know when.

In the interim, I’ll just watch this video and wish I was there:

Speaking of sex work:

Yab-Yum, one of Amsterdam’s most “exclusive” and expensive brothels, has just been shutdown because Hells Angels have been running it behind the scenes. Hells Angels in America is a quaint little motorcycle gang, but in Amsterdam they’re a huge and scary deal, with their fingers involved in organized crime. Apparently, three bodies of Angels members were recovered in a river in Limburg up to 2004. They’ve had a lot of legal issues, and are fighting to government not to get banned.
It seems strange that a motorcycle gang would try to take over a city of bicyclists.

I wonder why they didn’t just open up their own documented Hells Angels brothel? Everyone knows that they’re there. Might as well put your name on it. Yab Yum is quite legendary.(I thinkĀ  one of my professors lived on the same street as it, actually.) It was in a canal house on the Singel, and had a tawdry, baroque decor meant to attract “high-rollers.” I wonder who will fill the upscale brothel market now?

Since I Packed the Dictionary Away: PartIII

Things I’ll Miss:
Biking
Walk to Wok
Hearing Dutch everywhere
Pannekoeken aan elke hoek!
Evil Dutch Professor (for real. he’s hilarious!)

Things I Won’t Miss:
The Euro
Bad Internet
Lack of a campus feeling
Drug/Anne Frank tourists (the only thing they have in common? the nuisance they cause)

It was the trip that never ends


Dutch Word of the Day

reis: travel
Goede reis!
Have a good trip!

I had two, nonstop back to back field trips today for two different classes. The first as 7 AM to the Deltaworks in Zeeland, the second to Hilversum for an interactive TV studio “experience.” Yeah, I don’t know how I’m alive either. I got back home at 10 PM on the dot.

The Deltaworks are on the southern coast of the Netherlands near Belgium. They are constructed to keep the North Sea from flooding the southern part of the country through a system of dikes and dams. Dikes are dams on the land and are usually constructed from the land. They enclose whatever area they are meant to protect. Dams are manmade structures that are built in a body of water to keep the water back. We got a tour of the inside of a dam.

It was very nice except our tour guide was a royal jerk who tried to get into an agrument with me over the predominence of the English language instead of Dutch. (Um…wasn’t my idea, that’s for sure.) Then he gave a somewhat sloppy presentation of how things worked and then got annoying about President Bush. (Yes, we’ve heard it all before. Not much we can do at the moment, can we?) At first we thought he just hated Americans until our professor reassured us that the guy hated on him in Dutch, too. He just hates people, so being a tour guide was a wonderful career choice. Someone’s gonna talk to his supervisor.

After that we came back to Amsterdam and into another field trip to Hilversum, home of the Dutch television networks and such. There was an interactive television experience called Beeld and Geluid (Sight and Sound) which brings me to the weird picture above. The entire building was fascinating, but this really caught my eye. I took this from the ground floor. We didn’t go into this part, but I feel like I’ve had an elaborate nightmare in this place. The kind where someone’s chasing you and you can’t get out. Who would want to work in those red basement offices? Click for a large image, it will freak you out.

Anyway, the rest of the building was nice. It would’ve been nicer if I spoke more Dutch. None of the interactive activities were in English. I think that was the last of the field trips for now.

FINALLY


Dutch Word of the Day
pindakaas: peanut butter, but literally translated is “peanut cheese”. ew.
Het is pindakaas gelei tijd!!!
It’s peanut butter jelly time!!!

No, not really. But it was high time that I finally got the bike. So here’s the realization in three stages:

1. Nice weather: I mentioned going to the parks yesterday, but I didn’t mention that it took me forever and day to get there. In the time it takes me to walk up Prinsengracht, past Leidse and Museumpleins, then turn into Vondelpark, a bike would’ve gotten me there and back. Besides, there aren’t any ice storms to brave at the moment.

2. Little kids on bikes: They’re just appearing from out of nowhere. They’re usually accompanied by a vigiliant adult. It’s bad enough that the dogs know more Dutch that I do, but little kids having a more effective mode of transportation is more than I can bear.

3. Evil Dutch Professor: He’s not really evil, just kind of loveably snarky. So we’re having a guest speaker talking about city planning. He asks how many of us have bikes. Everyone but me raises their hands. Then he goes, “Well, who doesn’t have a bike? Anybody? Nobody’s without a bike?” Silence. Then Evil Dutch Professor goes, in a rather smug tone: “Lenore? Did you get a bike yet? Muahahaha.” You know it’s bad when real adults make fun of you. Gr.

Despite my horrible experience with the CIEE bike earlier and the fact that all the bikes are too long to fit my legs, I found a very nice one for a decent price (and size) at Waterlooplein. I can recognize it easily because it’s usually the shortest bike in the rack. And I’ve got three locks on it: the big chain on the front wheel and frame, the built-in back wheel lock, and an extra back wheel lock I attached just for kicks. My dorm has a bike shelter in the basement so the chances of it being swiped by junkies in the night is slim.

In a way, it’s better that I get in later on in the game. It takes about a month to learn to walk in Amsterdam, let alone ride a bike. This is going to be a lot of fun.

BYAH.

Amsterdam Got Too Typical Today:

  • Teacher absent from class
  • Class hosted by guest speakers with smug sense of superiority over the US
  • Caught in a 10 minute ice storm
  • Got ice on my frites (met mayonaisse) during this storm
  • Stalked by a drug addict mumbling in Dutch for three blocks*
  • Hid in Albert Heijn to avoid the drug addict cause I didn’t want him to know where I go to school

Damn. Damn. Damn. I’ll probably get hit by a bike and a tram on the way home. Then fall into a gracht.


*Yeah, the drug addict thing was actually quite scary. The funny part is as he kept following me from across the street I was listening to “Natural Anthem” by The Postal Service on my iPod. For those of you who’ve heard this song, you know that it has this strange, gradual build in tempo and becomes quicker and more frantic. On the one hand, it made me more panicky, but on the other hand it was rather cinematic. But I was out in broad daylight with tons of people around. And it’s impossible to successfully stalk someone in Albert Heijn. Think I’ll take the tram on my way back home, though.

Oh, Dutch Class

Best. Dutch Class. Ever.

The Professor shows up mad late, clearly a little buzzed from this school reception thing before hand, and they usually keep the wine going. He’s just laughing like, “Whoops…yeah, you had a quiz today. Sorry I’m late! OK…for today the class will just be the quiz, and then we’ll head out for drinks!” And then we went to this bar and he was like, “First round on me!”

See, in the Netherlands, it’s all good. In the US, an investigation would ensue.


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