Friday, July 5, 2013

If we had blogs in 1997: Something Rotter in the state of Holland

The student goes to Holland and discovers the Dutch are lovers of art, as if she had never seen those dark paintings of those miserable looking people in their uncomfortable pilgrim clothes and the children that looked like miniature adults with hollow eyes that revealed no souls. For whatever reason she thought she could visit every city in Holland in two days and apparently tried to walk on every street in the cities she did get to. 

Thus I present to you the latest entries in my 1997-1998 journal from Europe. I recently purchased a printer/scanner and will be including my photos from the year as well. I had not yet learned how to take good photographs on my cheap 35mm point and shoot (that ended up breaking during the first semester, so I bought another cheap 35mm point and shoot to replace it.) I didn't take a lot of photos back then - probably because it was expensive to develop film. I think I started to learn how to take a good shot during this year. You can see my recent travel photos on my Tumblr of the same name as this blog.

As always, spelling, grammatical, and factual errors have been preserved and today's comments are in red italics.

7 Oct 1997

Just took a walk through the dreary night in Differdange after a lecture by a mathematics professor. It was quick, and he did a good job of keeping our attention (those that were there, anyway.) The day was unexciting. I got up at 7am though I didn't have class until 4:50pm. I did laundry, e-mailed (eDASHmail?), read Locke (John), and worried about money. I had to talk to Matt about money. I only have $500 left with 11 weeks to go. There's no way I can make that last. And I took two roles in for developing today. That was stupid. Plus I can't access my savings account. That's where all the money is. (What little of it there is.) I don't know what I'm going to do.

I really don't like V. She is such a snob - and she's too ugly to act like that. Oh no you didn't. But her and A. are really shallow - they're wannabes. They're the type of people that always wanted to be "popular" in high school and never were. So now they're trying to be "popular" when they are juniors in college. How transparent they are. What losers. Oh, snap...

14 Oct 1997

Traveling solo to Rotterdam/Amsterdam for the weekend was a good idea. Rotterdam was a cool city. It's very modern. I took the 4:50am train, but didn't switch at Petange and went back to Differdange then to Esch and it stopped. So I had to wait an hour for the next train to Luxville. Then the next train was 40 minutes late, so I ended up getting to Rotterdam at 1:30 instead of 11:30. I didn't go to Gouda like I wanted, or Den Haag either, but I wouldn't have had time anyway. Actually, I couldn't figure out how to get out of the Den Haag train station, so instead went to my hostel in Haarlem.

The hostel was great - there were a bunch of English guys that worked there. I was actually tired and wanted to go to bed early, but I was talking to one of them for awhile (or rather, he was talking to me). He asked me to go to a rave, but I have no desire to attend one. Then he asked me to go to a bar to watch a soccer game with them. I wish I wouldn't have been so tired, because I would have loved to go. How can a 20 year old be too tired to go to a bar with an Englishman to watch soccer? Maybe he was just ugly... Rotterdam had been exhausting. Having little money, all I could do was walk around, but I love that.

I walked around the shopping district & decided I would love to go shopping there someday. They had a lot of cool stuff. I bought two oranges & some cereal bars for the weekend but ended up eating at Burger King, mostly just to sit down and to get out of the rain. Uh huh. Getting tired of this fast food. It rains everyday in Holland. I walked through a flea market after I had basically given up on finding the cube houses, but as I got through the flea market, I saw them. Those have to be the strangest looking apartments in the entire world. After that, I walked down the river, thinking I would get to the ocean, not realizing Rotterdam is not along the ocean. It is the biggest port city in the world. This was true at the time. Singapore took over in 2002 and Shanghai took over in 2009. There's something irrationally sad about that to me. I talked to a very nice Dutch guy when I was walking back to the train station. I left the city with intentions of going to Den Haag next, but my knee couldn't take anymore walking. Rotterdam was flattened in WWII, and very few buildings are more than 40 years old as a result. There are some awesome architectural designs. There was a fountain that spit little bits of water out at a time that was really cool. I'm sure the water was actually cool. They wouldn't heat the water for a fountain.

Amsterdam - a beautiful city
I left Haarlem early Sunday morning for Amsterdam, only a 15 minute train ride. If I ever go to Amsterdam again while I'm still poor, I'll stay in the Haarlem hostel. Great price, too. Amsterdam was beautiful. It was a lot better than I expected. I thought it would be a modern city that people only visited to smoke. But I was amazed by its canals, its buildings, and its art. I was unaware it was such an artistic city, and it inspired me to take up painting. (Actually, I can't afford to buy art supplies, but I would paint if I could afford it.) I wish I would have seen the Van Gogh museum, but I got to see the art show of local artists for free, which is always good. I never did take up painting, but I did eventually get to go to the Van Gogh museum, and I drink my coffee from a Van Gogh mug. Though I didn't get it at the museum - I got it in Columbia, South Carolina. That's a story for another day.

I walked until I couldn't bare to walk anymore because my knee hurt so bad. I bought a bunch of Christmas presents and spent too much money. I ended up going home earlier because I couldn't walk anymore. I rode to Bruxelles by myself, not knowing Jared was on the same train. He saw me in Bruxelles so we rode together back to Lux. That reminds me of Sano, a guy from Amsterdam who was just returning from a month long trip through Africa. I really wanted a peaceful trainride but he started talking to me. He gave me his address and phone number and told me to call if ever I was in Amsterdam. I lied and said I would be back in Amsterdam next month.

I've been working at the school sweeping leaves in the courtyard. Last Friday I helped stuff envelopes with Maga. She made me tell her who broke the stein. Today I found out that she yelled at Brent & Grant. I fell horrible about it. I hope they don't think I'm a tattler. This refers to the injury I sustained in Munich.

It's odd to me that I didn't write more about the things I observed. Like this.Why was I looking for the cube houses? What did they look like to me? Why didn't I mention how the windows point downward and how I wondered how it looked on the inside. In Beirut, I tried to capture everything. Read the "Like this." link above to see!

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