Friday, January 29, 2010

Everything Starts At the Seam

I have finally made my way to Amsterdam and am working on getting adjusted to life here. Unpacking might help.

So far, I've done a lot of orientation-ing, which is completely unfun. I love all the informative stuff (particularly a brief history of Amsterdam lecture this afternoon) and the practical instructions, but I could do without people expecting me to talk to them. I'm not completely misanthropic, but I don't like meeting people when they're in cheery-show-off-the-best-part-of-my-personality mode. I prefer making friends by sharing a conversation about Harry and the Potters at a coffee house. 

One of the fun parts of orientation was a canal ride through the city. Here's a few photos from the canals as well as some from my first morning of wandering around. You can tell which were taken on the canal because those have a dirty glass filter (I definitely did not expect it to be an enclosed canal).

The view from just about every single block in Amsterdam.

A lot of the houses are crooked with the front faces looking like they're about to fall off. They're all so narrow because, when most of them were being built in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, they were taxed based on width.

Centraal Station (to write in Dutch, add extra vowels to everything) is one of my favorite buildings in the city and I get to go to it multiple times a day so I look forward to taking many more photos of it.

Anchored outside of the science museum, Nemo, is a pirate ship!

Being a pirate ship is already cool, but having Hermes on it makes it officially the coolest ship in the entire world. Poseidon is also on the ship, but I can only bring myself to care about him thanks to Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series (which, by the way, is completely awesome and everyone should read it so I have someone besides ten year-old boys to talk to about it).

This is a Chinese floating restaurant. How effing awesome is that? It's modeled after the original one in China (I think). The original seats 5,000 patrons, but this one is much smaller. I most definitely intend on going here at some point.

Another photo of an Amsterdam street. You can see the falling fronts of the houses a bit better from this angle. These ones aren't too precarious as compared to others I've seen. At the top of the gables are hooks that Amsterdammers use for moving. Since all of the front doors/hallways are so narrow, all of the furniture goes out through the windows when they move.

Earlier today, we turned down an alley and I saw a Christian hostel. I was not expecting to see anything overtly Christian (besides churches) in Amsterdam. It came as a bit of a shock. A few meters on, there was a mannequin in a red lit display case. Then the mannequin moved! It was a real woman and we were in the Red Light District! And there's a Christian hostel in the Red Light District? 

Fortunately, it was still daylight out and there were about seven of us so we didn't feel in any danger. We just rushed through without doing anything and went on our way. I couldn't take any photos because I have been advised not to do so. My first meeting of Intro to Sexual Studies is supposed to include a trip to the Red Light District. I doubt I'll be able to take photos then either, but I'll be able to include a more descriptive blog about it. 

I have two projects planned for the blog while I'm in Amsterdam (one of which I've mentioned before). They should surface sometime within in the week. For now, look out for some photos/commentary of Utrecht on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

great pix, pal--the Chinese place looks like food fest fun...

Jake said...

I'm looking forward to this vicarious adventure.

Janice said...

That's the hostel Mike and I stayed at. The Red Light District is not frightening at all. Don't worry about it. I walked around there around 11pm by myself - no problems.

p.s. This is Austin, not Mom.

Janice said...
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