Monday, March 9, 2009

Canals, bicycles and lollipops

Entry is written in pieces as I post what I wrote down on my pink post-it notes as I was experiencing things. I plan on buying my own personal journal sometime in the next week as I realize that there are some things which need to be taken down without attention given to audience.

It's strange how different and yet, similar my trips to Paris and Amsterdam were. In both I saw Van Gogh paintings and guys peeing in the street. Whether in France or The Netherlands I found people to talk to and sketchy people to avoid. I felt slightly safer in France, but I think that was because there were more sober people and I never felt lost. Yet, I enjoyed both countries and feel as though something is more complete by visiting them.

In Paris Mona Lisa was actually larger than I thought she'd be. Everyone had talked about how small she was bigger than I imagined. In Amsterdam there were even more bikes than I imagined. They weren't as aggressive as I thought they might be, but they were simply omnipresent. And the parents have their kids on the backs and fronts of their bikes. Friends are comfortably riding with a person or two on the back. It's really a bit of a spectacle. I ran when I was in Amsterdam and until I got to Vondel Park I didn't see a single other runner. I had to stop quite often for bikes or scooters or slow people on the path. I didn't particularly enjoy running in Amsterdam. There were more people running in Gronigen, but I didn't run there.

After running by a certain fenced in garden in London, I learned that the smell of marijuana makes me tummy feel a little funny when running, Amsterdam confirmed this. I'm glad that people don't normally smoke week near tracks or cross country courses.

While in Amsterdam I walked around quite a bit, exploring the neighborhoods. I didn't take quite as many pictures because there weren't as many "monuments" and after awhile you get a little tired of bikes.
Miller had told me that if I go to Amsterdam I should definitely visit the Anne Frank Huis (House) despite the wait and this was good advice. I extend the advice to you. It's worth it... although you might find yourself wanting to read the book again by the end :)
On Sunday night, Els (a relative of mine) took me to see Valkerie which I thought would just be okay, but following Anne Frank's house, it was a great combination. Although I was a bit emotionally exhausted of WWII by the end of the weekend.

I wandered around for a bit and found Sara's Pancake House that was in my sister's pictures. I ate there. It was alright. The service wasn't the best, but hey, it had my name in the title :)
I also found this cheese house that my brother recommended. He had the street names one off, but I ran into it on accident. He was right when he said they had the best cheese. I'm not even what you would consider a "cheese person" and-- delicious. De Kaaskamer Van Amsterdam. I recommend it. It was probably the best cheese I've ever had. Next door there is a tooth brush store which my brother recommended to me. Here is a video of their awesome ferris wheel of toothbrushes. You may have to tilt your head. Ignore the sound.

On Saturday I went to an outdoor market and bought a few exciting things. One of these included a 14e dress (which I probably should've tried to lower the price for). When I returned home I realized I didn't have anywhere to wear the dress so I wore it yesterday to school. Many people complimented it and made me feel quite good about myself. I even got to twirl in it in acting. It's a lovely twirly dress :) It's pink with black designs which have some glitter on them. The dress poofs on the bottom. It fits a little funny on the top as it's a bit used, but it's still lovely.

Note for all you costumers out there: While at the Van Gogh Museum I discovered Rorbye has quite a few lovely pictures of costumes from 1850s Italy so if you ever do a show set in that period, look him up.

Also, people can tell you how many bikes there are in The Netherlands and how they run the roads and how they are essentially used as cars (people carrying everything from grocceries to children), but until you see it, I don't think you can really properly imagine it.

Written Saturday, March 7th:
"Call me crazy, but I think I'd like Amsterdam more if there was less pot and no red light district. I am not against pot, I just don't smoke it. The only time I was really tempted was when I saw the lollipops on Saturday morning. They looked quite delicious. I resisted. I can understand why people go to Amsterdam to do pot though. It's accessible everywhere and there are lots of people doing the same. Plus it's cheaper and safer than in the US. And I think the safety is what matters. The Red Light District is a whole 'nother story... having the first time I stumbled upon it being when I was quite lost, exhausted and by myself probably didn't help my judgement on it. To be honest, it feels like it's something that doesn't really exist. It's a surreal story, not a lucrative business..."

Then my coffee came and I stopped writing.

Welp, those are snapshots are my experience.
The pictures- which there aren't many exciting ones so don't hold your breath- should be up on facebook within the next week. Thanks to friends for your encouragement. So far my travels have been consistently interesting and "new experiences"... just like I asked for.

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