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I am now officially broke.
Between the 160 Euro SkyEurope flight to and from Schiphol, the hostels, the coffeeshops, the expensive-ass food and the public transit, I am almost completely out of money.
I think Amsterdam might be the greatest city on the earth.
I took a train from Graz to Vienna on Friday with a long weekend of no classes until tomorrow (combination of Austrian holiday, well-planned weekly schedule, and the absence of some professors) and spent the night in the lovely and accomadating Vienna airport. At one point I had a really nice bench to lie down on, and tried to offer space to passers-by as I knew it was one of the last free ones in the entire building. But when I got up to go pee, I came back to find that somebody (to whom I had actually offered some of the space) had replaced my stuff with his, laid down, and fell asleep. Eventually I managed to doze off, but suffice it to say this really pissed me off. So I wake up around 4:20 AM (the irony of this was lost on me at the time), check in for my flight, and wander around the terminals until I board two hours later. As soon as we're off the ground, I passed out and didn't wake up until the wheels touched the ground in the most ridiculous goddamn country on this planet.
Much of the Netherlands is recovered land, meaning that at some point or another, somebody looked at the patch of land you're standing on (covered in ocean) and said "Y'know, fuck it. Let's push it back." The train station I came into in Amsterdam, Centraal, is apparently built on artificial islands and woodpiles hammered into the earth. The Dutch, to put it simply, do not fuck around.
As soon as the trip from airport to train station was complete, my only desire was to meet up with my friends and get to exploring. It wasn't even 10:00 AM when we walked into our first coffee shop, and that was pretty much what set the tone of the trip. Smoke a joint, go to the Museumplein; smoke a joint, take a canal cruise; smoke a joint, then smoke another joint. I know that I'm taking advantage of the lax legal situation and ignoring the sometimes negative view that locals take to all the tourists who come to their city to smoke pot, but in my defence, I would have gone to the city without the marijuana. It's like a weird combination of Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans, with a few dozen museums scattered all over the place and a constantly reoccuring smell of something burning. . .
I think the van Gogh museum was the best, since I really didn't know that much about the man and didn't realize how much there was to his art. As far as favorite coffeeshops go, that might be a tougher call, but there was one we found called simply Coffeeshop Reefer that was out of the city center, really comfortable with a nice selection, and (a rarity) not filled with overly loud dance music.
It was really cool to look at all the buildings in the city since, being built on a marsh, they have all begun to tilt to one side or the other, and some ingenious bastards have filled in gaps where two buildings have tilted apart with yet another building. These people never cease to amaze with their prowess in cramming more people into this country and making do with what they're given. I remember wondering how, exactly, anything of that magnitude gets done with the language they speak. Written, Nederlands is really not much farther away from high German than the Styrian/Graz dialect I deal with daily here (Gebau becomes Gebouw, Straße becomes Straat, etc). Spoken, however, it might be the most beautiful and bizarre language I have ever heard, like phrases spoken in sing-song English and then played backwards. I think it might go onto my list of languages I want to pick up a few choice phrases in; my friend studying there assures me that it's a fun one to swear in.
(PS - any of you German-speaking folks out there know some good ways to dog-cuss somebody? Because I've got some noisy fuckers who linger right outside my window all the time blaring their music, but I don't think "dummer Schwein" goes far enough . . .)
I'll believe in anything if you'll just believe in anything
PS - any of you German-speaking folks out there know some good ways to dog-cuss somebody? Because I've got some noisy fuckers who linger right outside my window all the time blaring their music,
Mmh, it depends on how exactly you want to insult them (their mother, age, social status, taste in music, mental abilities, ...) but a more refined stream of select insults alone probably won't shut them up. I suggest you take a time-tested non-verbal approach: get one big-ass speaker and a power amp and play some really funny 'music' or, if they're from former Yugoslavia, Dragan & Alder (although this might get you in trouble with Political Correctness people). A long-range Super Soaker or garden hose might also help, if you get two of them you can even share the fun with a friend and turn it into a shooting-range-style competition.
(Still, if you need some assorted insults, just yell and I'm sure many people will happy to be of assistance!)
Oh, and congratulations on your travel diary. It's an interesting read and it sounds like you've had fun.
Life's too short to be able to afford not to enjoy the things you see on detours.
I'm a statistic. I know no language fluently, outside my own. So i pop out to the links thoughtfully provided by you and ginsterbush, and all of you over there, and i know there's great stuff there, and I miss it, having been failed by my public education system.
however. i always find something interesting, even if i have know idea what it says.
my word of the day is: Partyzelt!
which i found following a link, from another link to the Death Fest--enjoy death, under the open sky :)
The Cranesbill--a surprising pick by Emmet.
I definitely agree that if the language isn't your first, then some of the sting is bound to get "tamed" in the process. It's best to go with the non-verbal, nonn-culture related.
I think fairly universally, farting in someone's general direction is insulting, expecially if you bend over and drop your trousers in the process.
Also, a belch in someone's face tends to relay a certain sentiment of dissatisfaction--very effective after a few pints at the local pub.
And also, last but not least is my personal fave, that translates into any language. Pick you nose, look at it, and then offer it to the offending party as if it's a fine delicacy.
Any one of those, in varying combinations can usually get you message across, with a minimum of confusion, nearly worldwide, I'm thinking.
The Cranesbill--a surprising pick by Emmet.