Amsterdam - carnet de voyage
July 20th, 2011
Arrival at my guesthouse. The owner forgot my reservation, acts panicked because my room is not ready. He looks East-Asian. He gets me a coffee, the keys, and asks for time. I like him a lot. I think he looks like a the clichéed gay -maybe he is. Says I look like his cousin Mary Jane -calls me by my first name.
He looks at my single (small) backpack and asks where is my luggage. I travelled light.
I stop in a Starbuck's to take stock of things.
The city is beautiful, cosmopolite. I could probably fall in love with it. It doesn't looks as prestigious or intimidating as Paris -more accessible. I don't know yet about the people, but they are said to be open and welcoming. We'll see.
Coffeeshops are everywhere. I don't like the smell. I never could stand it.
It is difficult to find benches. In that regard, Paris is better. I wanted to look at life passing by, reading a bit, but I had difficulties finding a seat. I found the Hard Rock Café withouth trying, though, almost right away.
I visited the Erotic Museum. It didn't strike me as particularly interesting -not enough explanations? Ok, I hear the snickers: it's not that I need explanations, it's more than when faced which ancient cultural object, I like to know more about them than their age and where they came from. In my memory, Paris' Erotic Museum is better. But then, I didn't visit it by myself.
I keep feeling that I am on a reconnaissance visit. I will come back, maybe less as a tourist and more as an hedonist. I think this could become a getaway to be myself, to look at things -to look at me. I am drawn to the city, its haphazard architecture, its canals.
July 21th, 2011
I am on a cruise boat on the canal circuit. The visit is in 4 languages, German, English, Spanish, Japanese. Since I have already walked along the canals, I am less impressed by the sights and more interested in the commentary. I play at trying to understand the German version before confirming my guesses with the English commentary.
This morning I visited the Rijksmuseum, with the Flemish paintings. I had breakfast alongside, then spent 2 hours reading in the Vongel Park.
I discovered a yoghurt swirl, flavoured yoghurt mixed with fruits in a cup to go.
What they do with their cheese is amazing! I went to this tourist's cheese shop, and I found smoked cheese, perto cheese, herb and garlic cheese... I'm cheesy happy.
I went around the streets, found the commercial ones, ended up -again!- in the Red Light District.
Dutch speak a mix of Dutch and English (between themselves). They all seem to speak English (well, other than the shopkeepers, they seem to be confortable in this foreign language).
I found a new plastic duck for my collection, a prisonner duck.
Many people made remarks about my T-shirt (I'm almost single), which is funny since in France, nobody ever says anything.
There's a gay pride bus parked in front of the guesthouse. There's disco since a few hours, with a speech from, I think, the burgermeister. I think it is in the preparation of the gay pride, which is, I think in two weeks.
The upper deck is a dance floor, with a DJ and beautiful men and women dancing; a bit later, one comes down in the street dressed with silver boots, shorts, and wings. Nothing else.
My room feels like a dance floor. The house is old, leans slightly towards the street, the windows don't close that well. They are square, with small panes, and the bottom part slides up.
July 22th, 2011
I went to the NEMO this morning -it is the Dutch Palais de la Découverte. There are some fun experiments to make. I bought a giant virus plush going out. On the way back, I take the rotating bridge: for pedestrians, bridging a canal, it rotates back towards land when a boat a bit high wishes to pass.
There's also a Chinese restaurant floating near the train station; it is wonderfull to my tourist's eyes.
I'm in the train back. Tired, I spent the afternoon reading again in the Vondelpark. I had bought food to eat on the bench, à la française, and I had a restful time. I had another yoghurt swirl as well. I'm beat.
I want to go back.