Europe ‘09 – Part II

I’m not sure how to link the last post I did on Holland to this one, but I suppose I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. Kai is opposed to going to museums since he’s not as polished as other people I know (Hah hah) so we didn’t step inside. I didn’t mind so I just took a photo of the building as proof that I was somewhat there.

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Above is Amsterdam’s version of 5th Avenue or Rodeo Dr. It’s actually a very quiet street. In general, Holland is just a very quiet and family-oriented country I think. It’s quite similar to what I felt in Switzerland.

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At night we walked to the more crowded area of Amsterdam. It was comforting to see KFC for some reason.

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This part of Amsterdam will always be embedded into my mind I think. I was told that this is more or less the “Times Square” of Amsterdam. I was having ice cream here with Kai and JG when I noticed that JG was served something that didn’t look like photo in the menu. I said that “I was curious” as to why and the waiter actually said to me, “Yes, it’s good to be curious in life.” I wasn’t sure how to respond to such sarcastic remark. Hah hah.

Later in the evening, Kai took us to an ice bar. This was something that I’ve heard of but have never been to. Naturally I was really curious. €15 later, I was waiting at the bar to go in. (They let people into the ice bar every hour apparently) Once I went in, it turned out to be a really lame experience. Just felt like I was in a restaurant refrigerator. Worst part was, they wouldn’t let us take photos. But we managed to take photos before they gave us the warning.

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A pic with JG, while waiting to go into the ice bar.

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Kai and his girlfriend Ms. An.

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They gave us jackets to wear- don’t we look like astronauts?

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JG in front of the ice wall, which felt plastic to me.

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This was dinner before the ice bar- a Japanese dinner. Quite good but also quite expensive.

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Above are some photos we took at the pier. I actually forgot the name of this place, however this was where I bought a “klein” sized churro. JG ordered a klein sized cup of tea only to find out that it was the size of “sample.” €2.50 I think as well if I remember correctly.

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This is the famous “Centraal Station.” International and domestic trains can all be found here.

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A photo from when we visited the red light district. There aren’t many photos from here because photography is not allowed. The way prostitution works here is fascinating and it also leads me to believe that prostitution should be legal and should be done in exactly the way they do it here in Holland. There would be so much tax money to be made and it would clean up the “dark side” of prostitution immensely I think. Here prostitutes don’t stand at a corner nor do they solicit customers, they simply rent a little cubby with a glass door. When they don’t have customers, they sit by the glass door waiting. Once a customer opens the glass door and enters, the curtains close and they negotiate a price.

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Our drive to Schipol.

Europe ’09 – Part I

For this year’s birthday I decided to set off for Amsterdam. I had told my dentist friend Kai for ages that I’d come visit him in Holland but never did, so I figured, 2009 would be the year that I would finally come and visit. His friend MM also recently had a baby and I also wanted to say hello to the little rugrat so in January, I booked a flight on luxury carrier “Openskies.”

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I get to the airport and found that Openskies check-in is shuffled alongside of British Airways first and business class. Because of this, I was able utilized their own security checkpoint lane and entered the designated area easily.

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While waiting for my flight, I text Kai to let him know that I was coming. For this flight, I had ordered “Asian Vegetarian” as my dinner, only to have forgotten that when they spoke of “Asian” they meant it in the British way for “Indian.” (Openskies is a part of British Airways) What I thought would be stir-fry of vegetables Asian style turned out to be Indian food. I really don’t like Indian food so I guess you can guess how much I enjoyed the meal.

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My flight arrives to Amsterdam at 9:00 am.

I text my Kai.
“Hey, my plane just arrived, waiting to get out of the plane now.” (9:03 am)
No response.
After immigration and baggage I text Kai once again.
“Dude, I’m in the lobby area I guess you can say. Where to meet you?” (9:18 am)
No response.
Five minutes pass.
“Um… reply?” (9:23 am)
No response.
“Not texting me back, not cool dude.” (9:28 am)
No response.

I decided around 9:40 am that if Kai didn’t show up at 2 pm I’d go and book a hotel on my own and just spend the rest of the week by myself with my own hotel room. So I continued to sit and wait. Once again I text.

“This is Kai’s phone right? If not SMS me and I’ll stop SMS-ing to this number. If this is, where are you?” (10:04 am)

I began to feel anger. I would’ve called, but internationally, my phone can only receive phone calls and text out. Suddenly at 10:16 am, I get a call from Kai telling me that he arrived at the airport at 9:20 am and was looking all over for me. When I asked if he got any of my texts, apparently, he got none of them!

Kai drops me off to his house and immediately rushes back to work. I attempt to stay awake, but decided I was too tired to bother, dozed off and then woke up at around 6 pm for dinner. MM came to pick both Kai and I up and we traveled to Alkmaar for dinner.

 

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Above: (1) View from Kai’s bedroom (2) View from Kai’s yard area.

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Greasy breakfast was served by Kai when I awoke at around noon. Once breakfast was finished we went over and picked up his friend JG. Had a Japanese dinner at an authentic Japanese restaurant followed by a brief exploration of the night life in Amsterdam.

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Being that Kai is a dentist, I’m all up for freebies so Saturday morning JG and I went over to Kai’s practice for a checkup. My teeth are great and healthy as Kai diagnosed.

holland_16The lobby area of the practice

holland_17Kai’s workspace.

holland_04Kai and I standing outside his practice.

After the visit to his practice we went to a place called Zaanse Schans which are where all of the following photos are from:

holland_05Why Kai is running towards JG is beyond me.

holland_06You know you like my big shoes.

holland_07They made shoes with this huge machine. Though, it would have been more interesting to see them hand make it.

holland_08The shop was filled with these wooden shoes for sale.

holland_09JG and I standing by the shoes.

holland_10I’m in love with the Dutch baker!

holland_11The famous Dutch windmills.

holland_12It’s my “cool” pose.

holland_13One of the hundreds of toilets in Europe that charge 50 cents for a piss!

holland_13Beats me what this is, but it was elaborate.

holland_15One of my favorite photos from this trip. I thought of doing this pose. Bwa ha ha.

holland_18What happens when two people attempt to “ride” a shoe.

Tap Water- To Drink or Not To Drink

The other day I was drinking the chilled water that I had boiled a few days prior and was surprised to find the water tasting… flavorless and dry. Being that I drank a lot of water in HK (Watson’s green label water is the best by the way), my mouth is starting to be able to detect what’s good tasting water and what’s not. So out of sheer curiosity I took a taste test- water directly from the faucet and water that I prepared. In the end, I concluded the tap water tasted better.

I’ve always been taught from a young age that one shouldn’t drink water right out of the faucet because it carries bacteria and germs which will get you sick. Mind you, this was told to me by my parents who had grown up during the revolution in China, in which carelessly drinking water will get you sick. Now, I live in NY which has preached for years (Since I was a kid) that the water here is the best in the nation and very much drinkable… but like old tradition and religious beliefs that are hard to break, it’s hard for me to remove the thought of “I must boil my water.”

Right now I’m torn between traditional beliefs and my right of good tasting water without the need to pay for it. (I don’t believe in paying for drinking water) You know what? Other people smoke cigarettes and while I for one, will begin to drink my water straight from the tap.

Tuesday December 16, 2008

Just got back from a really tiring business trip to Boston… I’m always reminded once stepping out of New York how the rest of America is so… homogeneous. Anyway, when I got home and checked my post mail, I was so surprised to see a handwritten piece of mail addressed to me- a Christmas card from wifey! Normally I am the one that sends these things out and I seldom ever receive them in return so it was quite the surprise! A really adorable card at that that I felt like sharing as well.

It came from Macau! Nice stamp as well…

I already knew it was a great card when I saw a monkey holding a bouquet of hearts on the front saying “寫給… 我最愛!” (For my love!)

When you open it up a pop-up Christmas tree adorned with hearts! Wah!

The view from the side!

“我最愛的你” (To my beloved you)

But the most warmest words- 愛してるよ! (I really love you!)

ありがとう Wifey! 今回は本当にビックリしました!今 Wifey が居なくて寂しいよ!
ところで Merry Christmas! 今年 Wifey は何の予定があるでしょうか?