Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Best Mildly Rude Awakening

As I've always been a big fan, I was excited to receive this recently published first big biography of Kurt Vonnegut for Christmas.

I learned many, many things about the author from this book, but the main thing I learned was: If you think you admire someone, maybe it's better that you don't read their biography? Or, as my mom pointed out, there's that saying . . . how does it go?  "If you like sausage, it's best you don't see how it's made."  Something like that.

Let me be more blunt but still put it lightly: The book made him seem like a grump and a jerk.  Hard to reconcile that with the wise humanist persona of his voice in his writing.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Sudden Trip to Amsterdam, pt. 9: A Tale of Loss and Recovery

The above picture was the last picture I took with my M8 when I was in Amsterdam.  It's of the menu at the Amsterdam Airport McDonalds.  I snapped it while waiting for my final Dutch McDonalds treat (na Apple Pie McFlurry) and got in So Much Trouble.  Every worker started yelling at me, the manager came out, I got lectured that this information could fall into the hands of a competitor and they made me delete this picture.  Which I did.  And of course, like an idiot, I also erased the rest of my memory card.  Meaning I deleted my last 24hrs worth of Amsterdam memories.  My blood ran cold for a moment, but I said to myself: "There must be a way to save these pictures, they have to still be on this card" and I stopped taking pictures with it.

The next day, back in America, after tense hours of worry, I downloaded a photo-rescuing program and rescued every single one of my last photos.  Including the one of airport menu!  So there it is, Dutch Burger King, I fulfilled my assignment and got a photo of the top secret Amsterdam Airport McDonalds menu.  Secret Amsterdam mission, successful!

When I thought my photos were lost the one I was saddest to lose was this one of my co-worker (and seat buddy) Francisco from dinner the night before.

Co-Worker Marco brought us all over to a fine Dutch restaurant serving Dutch food called Noordwest.  The night before he had made good buds with the owner and we were treated like kings.

I had this boar salad

and Stewed Beef.

All around me my coworker buddies were having salads like this,

and scallops like these.

And at the end of the meal our owner buddy brought out these apparently quite stiff drinks for us, I gave him mine, it was a time for brotherhood.

The Noordwest bar, our waitress serving drinks.

So, anyway . . . the next morning I woke up and went out on my last Amsterdam explorey walk.

Don't know what this means.

Look!  It's toothbrushes on a Ferris Wheel!

Remember what I said about Coffeeshops loving their copyright infringement?

This was like a ladder elevator for making deliveries to upstairs apartments.

I wandered into Noordwest, our restaurant from the night before.

Amsterdam, I'll miss your cats in store windows.  (There's two here, don't miss the guy on the far right.)

Can we just be mature about this immature lamp and say that it's funny?

I do not know who this bunny is but I know it was popular over there.  It was like not knowing who Mickey Mouse was.

At the end of my walk I met up with Franciso and Marco at Singel 404, another one of Marco's spots in the city.

We got there right before the lunch rush.  By the time we were done it was packed with locals.

Singel's speciality is open faced sandwiches like these.  Sandwiches that did not mess around, sandwiches that made me smack the table in approval.

Also at Singel 404: small spoons and giant spoons.

Lovely soups.

If you order a mint tea, they give you a hot glass of water full of mint leaves.

And if you order an apple juice (as I did) they give you a . . . holy smokes . . . glass of fresh squeezed apple juice?  Do we even have that in our country?

So if you're ever in Amsterdam and you see this storefront GO INSIDE.  EAT.  It is the very best in there.

Walked home after work, saw a final few things.

I think those gents/ladies ones are funny.

Tiny peanut van, I'm sad we met so late along my way, but I'm glad we met.

Goodbye, favorite mall that I never went into.

This square down the street from the hotel?  In my mind I called it "Ben Franklin Square" even though I had absolutely no reason to be calling it that.  Sometimes I just like to go to new places and start naming stuff.

Finished packing up the room.

(I forgot to tell you!  The hotel was nice enough to do a light load of laundry [a week's worth of underwear, socks, a few shirts and a pair of pants] for me for a very reasonable 130 Euros.  They even folded everything up real nice in a cardboard box.  But I've decided not to post a pic of the box of my underwear)

Goodbye, Hotel lobby art.

Goodbye, Hotel lounge.

Goodbye, you wonderful bicycling people.

Goodbye, beautiful Dutch freeway.

Hello Vertrek Terminal 2.

And here, chronologically, is where that McDonalds photo goes.  Here is where I delete all the pictures you looked at today.

But I still had my Canon . . .

Getting situated.

Had slightly more legroom on the way home than the way over.

And then we were off.

And, believe it or not, that's the end of my Amsterdam posts.

No, wait.  I have to make another one about a few meals I didn't post along the way.