Thursday, June 4, 2009


i got to Amsterdam insanely early - 6am flight from Milano (was at airport by 4:30am) so i arrived into Amsterdam at 8am. dazed and confused (and feeling stupid for booking such an insane flight), i was thankfully able to check into my hotel early.

as i wander out to explore the city (around 10am by now), on a random street, this guy (shaved head), checked me out as we walked along the same side of the street, then he aggressively made eye contact with me, then he started pacing me stride by stride on the street.
I felt slightly intimidated since i was still dazed from being up since 4am, so i stopped playing the game of chicken, and ducked into a tourist gift shop so i wouldn't have to continue pacing alongside the guy.

one of the funniest (funny to me) signs i saw on a business was this:

i think of all the madness that many friends of mine will cause given that this is a time-limited buffet for dimsum!!! (BP#1, and BP#3, i'm talking about both of you who did not stop eating at the buffet when power went out and they had to light candles in the dead of winter and you ate through the drama anyway)

i spent a lot of time at the Van Gogh museum - first of all, i realized that all my life i've butchered his name, second of all, try as i might, i still can't pronounce it properly the real Dutch way!

i've been to art museums before where they showcase a certain style or time period or group of artists. However i LOVE the Van Gogh museum... the pieces are shown in chronological order, and you can see the transition in techniques and styles that Vincent was trying. (we're on first name basis as of my visit to his museum...) I did the audio tour and reading through all the background and history of the time period, of the life and drama and events in Vincent's life, it gives you a real personal glimpse into how his art reflects his life and vice versa... it's made all the pieces very contextually relevant to who he is at various point of his life... LOVED this.

you weren't allow to take pictures in the Starry Sky exhibit, but i took this picture outside near the POSTER for the exhibit

I also went to the Rijksmuseum which has quite a few Rembrandts including the Night Watcher. I was drained and tired at this point, so i was a bit spoiled and only looked for the Rembrandts to see.

As part of the "IAmsterdam" tourist card, i got a free canal boat ride, which worked out perfectly because my feet hurt like mad - and sitting down for an hour sounded fabulous.

this boat looks like it's in trouble

i wandered by the floating flower market, these are some of my favorite flowers.

of course, no tourist area is complete without trying to sell you Dutch wooden clogs:

i loved the beautiful concert hall:

at night i decided to visit the Red Light District - there really is a red light that is at the frontiers of the start of the district:


i've read the diary in high school, i knew the subject... i went to Anne Frank's house where tons of tourists line up to visit it daily. (David Sedaris wrote about how surprisingly roomy the living area is).

however, i didn't realize how hauntingly impactful i would feel... i don't have personal ties to the holocaust, but seeing the video clips, the stories, the pictures, really hits that this all took place right here, not so long ago. in order not to repeat our mistakes, we must remember our past, the history.

even though it was lunchtime when I was done visiting Anne Frank's house, i really lost my appetite for the first time on my trip...


Amsterdam is a beautiful city, clean and scenic, it's got its own history...
the food was so-so, but it's definitely got its own flair. (fantastic Gouda cheese unlike i've ever had)... back to Milano for 2 days until wrapping up Italy, and heading to London on route back to California.

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