What is it about doors?
Posts Tagged With: Utrecht
Some of the most fun I have travelling is interpreting signs. I enjoy seeing how other countries convey basic traffic rules, how they advertise their products, and really get a kick out of seeing how American products are portrayed. Here is an especially Dutch traffic sign:
Very helpful, but there was another one for cars and pedestrians and sometimes they would not all be green at the same time even for people waiting to go the same direction. Here’s one that made me chuckle a little
He’s very focused and purposeful. This one confused me until I used Google Translate
I thought it meant no bikes or scooters, but it actually means do not enter “except” for bikes or scooters. Clearly there are cars in the “except” area though, so I’m still a little confused, maybe it’s one way for cars?
This one I appreciated for the sentiment on the bottom, which I think was added by locals.
Near this sign was this one on the ground which speaks to the sentiment I am trying to convey
I found it amusing, or maybe ironic not sure which, that this was in a small square next to this
But sometimes, you don’t need things translated especially if you’re hungry
Though the offerings might confuse you.
The translations can also make you grin
Perhaps you’d like more choices? No problem
No doubt Tony Stark would be pleased. How about some Vietnamese?
How about Chinese?
Chicken and ribs? No problem
Now, if you need a caffeine fix and you know nothing about Amsterdam except that it’s located in the Netherlands you’re going to be confused if you go here
Because they don’t specialize in coffee, they specialize in another plant. (I originally took this photo because the mascot of the school I work for is a Bulldog, didn’t notice the ‘coffee shop until later.) If you want caffeine you can always go to a kaffe shop or look for the ever ubiquitous shop in this photo
Sometimes eating at restaurants in other countries can be risky, unless they have this claim
At first I thought this advertisement was clever because it was suggesting having a Coke with the artists
Later in a supermarket I saw Coke bottles with common Dutch names on them; what a great idea, you could buy a Coke with your friends name on it! While sharing a Coke with your friend you could shop here
Though shopping at America Today you might run into this
I also got a kick out of graffiti, posters and stickers on poles
I agree. I’ll end with this one that made me laugh.
One of the things I enjoy most about the countries I’ve been to in Europe is their seemingly relaxed attitudes toward a great deal of things that would bend a lot of Americans out of shape. I happened to arrive in the Netherlands for Pride Weekend. All over Utrecht there were preparations for events that weekend including rainbow flags on the main cathedral
As well as cafes
I started to think about what preparations were happening in my hometown for Pride Weekend; not much. On the ride back from the airport my dad asked me what the Dutch thought about our Supreme Courts rulings regarding same sex marriage. I said, they didn’t seem to have much of an opinion one way or the other. To which he replied, “Yeah they tolerate a great many things because they’ve been around a lot longer.” Which reminded me of the Italian couple who sat across from me on my canal tour of Amsterdam with their bull terrier. I mean, I just watched this couple bring their dog onto the boat, it wasn’t a working dog, it was just their dog. I thought, “Awesome.” Then I thought, “Would this happen in the States?” Probably not, at least not without some sort of waiver, or muzzle, or something like that. Which made me think of all the ‘window pets’ I had been noticing. (This post seems to become increasingly random.) So I took photos of a few
I just really enjoyed randomly coming across critters in windows and store fronts. Very generally speaking I remembered the same thing about Spain and Italy that people seemed to take their pets, mostly dogs, with them everywhere and often in places where we would not take them here in the US like restaurants, grocery stores and even museums. Maybe this happens here and I just don’t notice it as much. Again I just really appreciate the generally tolerant attitudes I’ve observed in the countries I’ve visited in Europe.
I was one of the kids who couldn’t wear regular pants; I had to shop the ‘Husky’ section. I’m not sure how that word was intended to make one feel but it made me feel fat. (At least that’s better than the ‘pretty plus’ area they had in the girls section when I worked at Sears; that just begs the question, plus what?) I didn’t feel any less fat with my mom helping me pick my ‘Husky’ pants. “The regular cut are just too tight dear, let me get you some Huskies.”
The terminology got a little better by the time I was in 8th grade. I remember being fitted for a suit and the tailor told my dad, “We’ll have to let out the coat a bit, he’s got an athletic build.”
“Now we’re talkin’,” I thought. “Wait, what kind of athlete? Sumo wrestler? Football player? Weight lifter?”
Actually what ‘athletic build’ translated to is T-shirts don’t fit me. Sure there are worse problems to have, but when you’re squandering Euros on sweet T-shirts you want to be sure they’ll fit for a while. Meh, I’ll just continue to enjoy my beer, the view and this cafe on my last afternoon in Utrecht.
The day started with a bike ride out to my brothers office/data center that he is setting up here. Along the way I took these:
I love the world. Sure it has it’s issues but it’s also where you can find the best meal of your life in an unexpected place. I have never had Indonesian food and I certainly did not expect to find a great Indonesian restaurant in the Netherlands…though historically and geographically it should have been obvious. Sure the whole colonization thing was maybe not the best for everyone involved, but the lasting results worked out really well for me this evening.
My brother took my to Restaurant Blauw, which he said was the best Indonesian place in a country that has lots of them; a result of that colonization thing. I thought, “Yeah, whatever, I’ll give it a shot.” I didn’t know what the food would be like, maybe a mix of Filipino, Indian and Thai or something; not even close. I cannot even begin to describe the culinary experience I had, though I now have a new appreciation for what Anthony Bourdain and Guy Feiri do (hope I didn’t butcher their names too badly there.) I’ll just say that each bite I took required me to wait for all the subtleties locked in the food to emerge and entertain my taste buds. We ordered, for lack of a better term, a sampler that arrived looking like this
Itinerary to date: (for context)
28 June, arrival, walking tour of Utrecht with brother, ending with beer, then Afghan food with brother and his colleague.
29 June, brief walking tour of Amsterdam guided by brother, wandered solo around Utrecht
30 June, baby sat nieces for 6 hours or so, remainder of day was spent lazily with brother and nieces at amazing local park that had some play structures that would fail safety inspections in the States.
Random thoughts from the first three days:
1. The Dutch seem really nice.
2. Wow. That is a LOT of bikes.
3. Why can’t we have affordable clean public transportation?
4. Dutch people are tall.
5. Wow. More bikes.
6. “……they flip the fuck out if you walk in the bike lane,” says my brother, “I thought they were just being dramatic, then I started riding a bike.”
7. I’m going to need to carry a stool around for these damn urinals. (Refer to #4)
8.Ha! The “Americaans” section at the local supermarket is junk food!
9. Europeans smoke a lot.
10. Man, I’m sleepy.
11. Hey, guy in the costume that makes it look like you’re riding on someone’s shoulders; the fake guys head is awkwardly placed.
12. This fried cheese is good….
13. …so is this beer
14. The Dude abides
15. Fried eggs on top of cheese on top of prosciutto on top of giant slabs of bread? Yes please.
16. There are few things more funny than you’re two and a half year old niece saying, “I just farted.”
17. The Dutch seem to not be fond of Nazis
Sometimes I just want to write shit down. It’s faster, or at least it seems to be. Sure it’s messy and perhaps not as cool or sexy as tapping it out on my iPad or iPhone, but it does seem faster; in most cases.
To use an electronic device just to jot down some quick ideas or a note I have to turn it on, enter a passcode, open the app I want to use, then start typing. While tapping away I get distracted by auto correct, tapping the incorrect keys, and generally get frustrated that I can’t get my ideas out fast enough. Sometimes I even lose the ideas because of the afore mentioned distractions. So generally old school pen and paper work better for me, except when I don’t have either; like today for example.
Waiting at SFO for my flight to Amsterdam I had several impulses to write, but I didn’t want to hassle with my electronic device to do so and I lacked the necessary old school tools. I wanted to write about the passengers on BART that I surmised had just been released from jail. One got on and repeated, “FUCKIN’ great day!” loudly. She also had what appears to be a change of clothes in her hand, which she left on the train when she got off at Fruitvale. Another followed her on board shortly after and he carried a large clear plastic bag half full of paperbacks. I didn’t realize he was part of the possible jailbird contingent until the other two got on board, I just wondered why he had a bag of books.
The last two of the jailbird group got on, one of them carrying a brown paper sack which contained a couple of burritos and a 40.
“Burritos and beer at 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday? What is this, Chico?” I wondered.
The one not carrying the burrito sack recognized Book Bag Dude, who had previously been happily greeted by “FUCKIN’ great day!” girl, and took a seat next to him. I was looking out the window trying not to listen to “FUCKIN’ great day!” girl (she was talking a LOT and was very happy and energetic) and pondering the clues that linked these four seemingly unlikely people together.
Two of the group Burrito Bag Dude and Sackless Guy were people of color and appeared to be late 20’s/early 30’s, “FUCKIN’ great day!” girl, also a person of color, looked to be early 20’s, and Book Bag Dude was a person of no color, maybe in his 40’s and a bit hefty.
The last clues that this group was somehow linked were that Book Bag Guy had to tell Sackless Dude how to lace, not tie, but lace, the shoes he had on his feet, “FUCKIN’ great day!” girl remind them all where to transfer trains, and Burrito Bag Guy gave Sackless Dude the 40. Maybe they weren’t jailbirds but they were an odd group.
I also wanted to write about how interesting it is to wait in an international terminal, hearing announcements in Chinese and how people have different names for the same things. For example, I bought a sandwich at a little deli and sat outside to eat it where I observed other people deciding where to eat.
“Well, here’s a little cafe.” said one person passing the deli.
“Oh, it’s a luncheonette.” claimed another. (Though I cannot swear that the word used was in fact luncheonette b/c at the moment I was eating I…
a) did not want to hassle with my iPhone
b) lacked old school tools.)
After the sandwich I ventured to the snack/news shop and bought an oversized (think 3rd grade pencil) Giants novelty pen and a Moleskine notebook. Now, I have tons of both pens and Moleskine notebooks at home, I just didn’t happen to grab any….because I had my iPad. Oh the conundrum.