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where here is

On my IM userid is the question: I'm here but where is here? <-- this thing appears every time I talk on IM. I think I wrote it in there once last Feb and I forgot how to update it.

After 12 hours of jet adventure, here = The Hague. It's close to Delft. Stay tuned.

One of my friends said, in the Netherlands "we don't do hills." TOO right. Everything is flat or underwater in the canals. This makes for interesting experiences when you try to cross the ueber-plaat-straaten [over-flat-streets.] Because all this flat space has lanes for bikes, motorbikes, cars, busses, trucks, and trams. I found at least one location where it's all the same place. It's like the pavers laid down all this cool brickwork flat as a pancake, and then ran for their lives.

Also it's awesome that there are all these traffic signals. You look across the streets and see this green light, but, surprise, it's not for you, here comes the motorbike brigade from hell and the Australian Deserts. [No matter that the light's pointing right at you.] So you jump back up on the curb. Except Holland has no curbs. You're walking right back into the bike lane which you do not notice. If you are lucky the cyclists will ding their little dingies at you. If you're not, you get EMS to come to pick you up wit a soup ladle unless, on the way, they get powdered and pranged by a tram.

So far, the most bestest thing that has happened to me overseas is Lois and Neta. Neta saved me [us] from traffic-headline status in Haifa more than once, and Lois is, well, Lois, who did not have to die to teach me to have traffic-eyes in the back of my head, and Thank the Goddess, she didn't.

What they cannot save me from is my own stupidity / impulsiveness, and I am seeing why hardly nobody walks in these parts. It's a survival mechanism O.o Just not used to planting my feet solidly behind a lightpole and looking three ways nine times before running off to the next lightpole :O

But I had a great experience with a shiny new Aston-Martin DB5 convertible. It did not hit me. It was parked. In the middle of the straat, too. Wha? It was being raffled, I guess: spotlights on it and everything. I want to move into it. The safest car I've met yet.

Then there was Deetje and her friends. They run the Simply-Bread Natural Food Company. Deetje greets my inept attempts at speaking Dutch with hilarity. There's always body-language but that's not usable with everyone, so Brad needs to learn how to say stuff like LECHER and DANK JE and GEOPEND and DICHT. Deetje had lots of fun teaching me "dicht", she made all these cute lip motions and guttural sounds [it means the restaurant is closing.] UUR is hour. Deetje thinks that Dutch is very hard. She is soft. I do not think Dutch is hard. I'm brand new here. There is prob a tight correlation between those last two sentences.

LECHER means good and I soon found out that it applies to lots more than food or films. Grrls, for starters :P

I took some pics and will post them soonish. I avoided doing this when I was an American: cuz I thought I'd just buy a Europe-to-American voltage converter thingie when I got over here. Right? Wrong. After Deetje got through with me I found out that the converter store closed 05. uur earlier.

Crap. The Queen lives here. How can there be only one converter store that just closed until Maandag? [= Monday.]

I should have asked Deetje about it but we didn't get that far with electronics, just language skillz ...

So: no operating laptop even though I am sitting next to it right here, right in a hotspot [WI-FI in Dutch means the same thing as it does in Boston]. *Will go to explore more stores tomorrow*

A learning experience.

I love it that I managed to mail the second Elf-Gift off to Florida just before getting wrapped into the wings of United and Lufthansa.

I'm totally reminded of another friend who told me, if you can't see where you are going and you reach the end, you'll either feel new ground on a bridge underneath you, or you'll be taught to fly.

More imagistically, as Yogi Berra said, "If you find a fork in the road, take it."

GEWISS.

That means "certainly" in German. Don't know the Dutch for it yet. But I'll find out.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
kala_ayule
Dec. 6th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
Love the icon. Congrats on finally being in Holland. You should teach me some Dutch as you learn it. Have you found a place to live and everything yet? And be careful not to get run over by all those bikes!
silverplate88
Dec. 11th, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)
This tank is up here because I don't just need it in Jerusalem Old City!! Brad will teach them wild-ass truckers a thing or two.

The main breakthrough so far is finding an inexpensive City Library computer to use in the daytime [this one is about 3.75 US dollars / hour. The Den Haag Bibliotheek is awesome, easy to reach, open lots of hours.

I'm all eager to teach you Dutch as soon as I learn the phonetics, which seem to differ depending what province any Dutchgrrl I talk to comes from [dialects and all, like the US.] I can spell things like 'tegenwoordig' and 'kerstboom' but vocalizing them is quite another thing. Kerst = Christmas, Boom = tree.

There is The Big Dividing Line over here, at three months in-country. Less = you're fine. More = you have to go get yourself entered into the Dutch National Computer Database with your legal address, job, all the employer stats, on and on and on. The tax office of the Queen gets very interested in you. In fact, she gets interested from Day One of the first Euro you earn [about 73 cents American] and your boss can go to prison if she pays you under the table and you don't declare what she does to you down there. So Brad is learning the customs pretty fast.

This is all smoothed out if you find a job with an American company who has an office here. That's like your chances of winning the lottery lol

Bikes are not so much the problem, as are bikes + motorscooters + police motorcycles + trams ['trolleycars'] + delivery trucks, the whole lot of them, all trying to use the sidewalk as the same time as you EURGH. The only place there are railings here are across the canal bridges. [I exaggerate, the trams have to stay on their tracks, mostly, but there are a lot of tracks, many of which intersect each other ;P]

So, fun fun fun.

Yearning for Colorado wilderness. I look at your pics a *lot* !!

Well, the North Sea is just up the tram tracks and I will go have a look soonish. Maybe I will go live out there in a rowboat. Rain every day, now, no snow yet though. I'm picking out future places to hide from all those vehicles snow-sliding all over the place. Not that they need a *sneeuw excuse......

Edited at 2008-12-11 12:31 pm (UTC)
elvenforever
Dec. 12th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC)
*big smile*

The Dutch build well.

First order of the day when you have money again: buy a bike!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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kiota too late for the stars
silverplate88
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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