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The Flying Dutchman

Too Jet-lagged to Come Up With a Witty Title

NETHERLANDS | Wednesday, 13 January 2010 | Views [1729] | Comments [11]

So this is my travel blog, (hopefully) chronicalling my adventures in Europe.  I began my journey in Winnipeg.  After hugs and kisses, I took off for Chicago.  I anticipated a long and boring two hour trip, but ended up sitting next to the most interesting 67 year old guy around, and he told me pretty much his life story ALL the way there.  Maybe five minutes of silence. Total. But anyway, we had clear skies almost all the way there and flew right over Minneapolis - which I thought was sweet cuz i was in the window seat.  We flew over Chicago for about 15 minutes cuz the city went on forever, and then we just kept going.  We unexpectedly continued to fly over Lake Michigan but eventually turned the plane around as I guess the pilot knew what he was doing. So we got a great view of the skyline and landed safe and sound in Chicago.  

OK that was the boring part.  Part II.

I got off the plane and collected my stuff and knew which gate I would be in next and got really proud of myself cuz I was being a responsible adult.  Then I got into the airport (by the way we had to walk out on the tarmac to get from the plane to the terminal - i felt like the president) and found my buddy Alice already waiting for me.  We next took the exciting step and began the flight to Amsterdam.  The flight went by really fast.  Partway through, I had to go to the washroom.  This was really exciting - as exciting as a toilet can be - because I've never used a washroom while flying that I remember, interesting stat.  After nearly walking in on someone I went to the washroom but then got extremely freaked out when I flushed and it sounded like I had punctured a hole in the side of the plane.  I guess they can't use water to flush or they are really cheap or something but it was like an extreme suction powered toilet.  I stood cowering in fear in the corner of the TINY, dimly lit, washroom for an unnecessarily long time.  I survived though, and have moved on.  The rest of the flight was 6 hours of half-sleep/half-awake limbo where I'm not quite sure what was part of my flight or part of the in-flight viewing of Paranormal Activity.

Getting better. Part III

So we landed in Amsterdam and everything is in Dutch!! I was kinda really excited to see a language that wasn't French or English.  So we breezed our way through immigration, picked up our bags, and hopped on the tram to get to our hostel downtown.  It was really exciting cuz the buildings just got older and cooler and Dutcher as we went, and then we finally arrived at Amsterdam Centraal.  Everybody on the train got off at that stop, but not before Alice held the train hostage for a while.  She was the first one to the door and obviously doesn't speak dutch or use public transit much so she pushed the first button she saw and waited for the door to open, along with everyone else on the train behind her.  Unfortunately, Alice had pushed the "sluiten" button that translated to "close" instead of the one next to it "openen", which SOMEHOW translates to "open" or something like that.  After a few long moments she figured it out and the train breathed a sigh of relief as we safely exited the car.  So (since I forgot to print out our directions) we blindly made our way into Amsterdam to find our hostel.  We strayed a couple blocks from the path but surprisingly quickly found our hostel.  It's located in a skinny street with no cars and shops in grand old buildings all along it.  At this point in time, I was a little confused as to the time of day, as it was morning again, although my body thought it was sometime after midnight, and I had hardly slept.  I also was a little numb to my surroundings as everything I had encountered today had been so new.  FLying by myself, Europe, a foreign language.  I had been rendered unable to comprehend much of my surroundings, so was in no condition to face any major challenges, such as the push button door-unlock, that granted me access to into the hostel, after a few tries.  We made our way into the hostel, which immediately smelt potlike/weedish/spliffy.  Welcome to Amsterdam!  Also exciting upon our entrance, we found another person we knew! Kendra! We tried so hard to avoid her but it is such a small world... WAY too small.  We found our rooms and dropped everything off. We went to explore Amsterdam - on foot, and in parka.  We did not even pretend to be dutch (except for some strategic hacking and phlegming on my part) because at first sight we were quite obviously tourists.  I was in my red parka, red canada mitts, and cold red face, and had Canada symbols abound.  We set off towards the main square where the main attraction was a very creative beggar slash possibly confused trick or treater.  He was dressed up in like a ghoul or a demon or something and was waving an axe and was bloody and stuff and wanted money from us so we made a wide arc around him - stopped for a picture or two, naturally - and kept going.  We were making good time and feeling quite comfortable with the city when we came to a big, scary, crosswalk. Not very big, and not very scary, in truth, but it was a moment that would change the course of our lives, forever.  As we approached the road, Alice started to slow down and turn right, so I unconciously pushed her towards the road in the right direction, but she shouted "Red Man!, Red Man! RED MAN!!" (that crazy australian).  Kendra and I ignored her, assuming that she was making fun of the way I was dressed, yet again,  but ended up walking straight into traffic, with moving vans, deadly dutch bicycles, and horns honking.  It may have been the scariest moment of the day. Turns out, Alice had been warning us that the crosswalk signal, was a red man, meaning that we weren't allowed to walk, but us from the country are used to having the right of way, ALL the time.  Not so much here in Amsterdam.  We continued on, rattled, but still determined to master this city.  We came upon a beautiful old cathedral, and all three of us stopped and took out our cameras, after I shouted "picture time!".  Kendra then asks, "Wait, are we in traffic?", and sure enough, there were cars and cyclists bearing down on us from all angles.  We all panicked, again, and scattered, each of us to a different sidewalk.  We decided that Amsterdam needs to differentiate between the cobblestones on the road and the sidewalk, it is a bit of a hazard.  Continuing on, we found the "I AM sterdam" signs, and took several pictures in different configurations in and around the letters.  We next hit up, the main attraction, the world renowned: Rijksmueseum! It sucked.  Really.  Who sent us there?  I think we are too young or too interesting or something to truly appreciate the 100 different winter scenes on Amsterdam canals. It was pretty much all paintings, with a few sculptures (haha they were naked) and polka-dotted guns thrown in there.  We breezed through it in like 45 minutes, but did learn one valuable fact, as follows: Floppy collars were in vogue in 1662.  I thought that was kind of interesting. At least compared to the rest of the museum.  It was later revealed that Alice interpreted that to mean that in the 1662 edition of Vogue Magazine, many floppy collars were displayed (She's really jet-lagged, poor soul).  After ditching the museum, we went across the street (looking both ways and reading the signs), and across the canal (which are everywhere in Amsterdam) to the Hard Rock Cafe! We had some delicious Mexican Food cuz that's what they eat in the Netherlands right? After, we walked home, taking pictures of every old building and canal we could see, but didn't waste much time - it was frickin cold.  And it wasn't just like cold like it is in Manitoba, it was different. I was a wet cold. One could say a moist cold.  Eww right? ya it was uncomfortably cold, and it sticks with you, as I am currently still thawing out in the hostel.  

So, as you may have been able to tell by the quality of this blog entry, I have recently crashed from the jet-lag, and am extremely exhausted.  Leaving Winnipeg Airport feels like 3 days ago, and in reality, I have been up for almost 33 hours straight now, so i'm going to hit the sack.  I am sure I will sleep well, the hostel is great, I just need the loud spanish group to leave the room please.  They can go make their sandwiches somewhere else.  I'll talk to them... 

ANYWAY, if anybody out there reads this, thanks! I love you all and I'll try to keep this updated as much as possible, but maybe keep it quite a bit shorter.  

NIGHT!      by Neil! 

ps. Kendra says: Peace out A-Town.

pps. Alice says: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Tags: alice berents, amsterdam, damrak, kendra eyolfson, neil loewen, the flying pig, the netherlands




You guys rock my socks!!! This sounds like an amazing time! Can't wait to read more!!

  Della Brynn Jan 14, 2010 8:53 AM


LMFAO!Hiding from the toliet.....You guys are ridiclous :) ~ waitin for the next chapter in ur exciting tale (^_^)

  Katie Jo Jan 14, 2010 9:05 AM


you are in amsterdam! cure your fucking jet lag with LEGAL MARIJUANA


who misses Neil and Alice

  Tanner Jan 14, 2010 9:19 AM


loveeeeeeeeee it. the team misses you guys!
now go find some of those special brownies.
and find out where the prostitutes are.

  gabby Jan 14, 2010 11:00 AM


My all time favorite part of this blog is without a doubt the toilet story. I'm thinking about printing it and framing it...is that strange? I laughed out loud, that's for sure.

I also liked:
"I was in my red parka, red canada mitts, and cold red face, and had Canada symbols abound".
Try to look a little bit less like a canadian...just a thought?

"Kendra and I ignored her, assuming that she was making fun of the way I was dressed, yet again"

"It was pretty much all paintings, with a few sculptures (haha they were naked) and polka-dotted guns thrown in there"
Hate to break it to you but that's like 95% of all the museums you'll find. Better learn to like it my dear old friend.

I can't wait to read more stories:)

  Eygló Einarsdóttir Jan 14, 2010 11:57 AM


Neil I love this!! Can't wait to read some more.
p.s. Braden and Jamie kept looking at me funny because I couldn't stop giggling.

  Sandra Sutyla Jan 14, 2010 12:08 PM


Well that was hilarious haha. All events sound exactly like something you and Alice would do!! Miss you guys so much, and can't wait for more crazy adventures cuz I am sure this is just the beginning!

  Bree Jan 14, 2010 12:45 PM


So me craig and cody went out tonight. and all night long craig wanted to fight this guy, so i was calm down were good. then Cody went home. then the guy that was after Craig who I calmed down to let it go was good. then the guy wnet and did some stuff i don't want to put on here in front of me and it was on. whoooppsss. To bad you guys missed it though. was a great night, great stress reliever :) then sh@t hit the fan. shoulda been there. @NEIL & ALICE. It was fun. they ran away like um you know whats and we were able to stay.so ya, but in the end we ended up walking home. so that is the 311 room blog. en response au ton voyage au France. C;est la France que tu va... oui??? LONG VIE LA FRANCE!!! :) but ya, 311 misses you Neil, Come back in one piece! well.... two is decent tooo:D jk, Next update shall be whiskey dix. going to be a gong show!!!Again Wish You guys were here. OH and Friday. Guessssss WHAT DAWY IT IS????? THATS RIGHT EAT YOUR FN HAT!!!!! Really going to miss you guys though, just going to have to make it so i pull up the slack i suppose! hehe, have a blast though let me know if something goes down, we well be there in what was it like 2 hours?:) JK honestly, although it would be cool if it were a joke! but no not overly, oh ya im going to say "HI" FOR EVERYONE. We all miss you.... not in the way that isn't natural. but ya i guess in that round about way. so ya, we decided to start the welcome home party early. too bad you missed it:P "JUST KIDDING BOY" pronounce like a Native!, We'll seee what weee kan dooo ehhhhh! whacha think?


  Matt Jan 14, 2010 8:08 PM


omg. between you and alice you are doooomed. i laughed till i cried about both your washroom experience AND the RED MAN RED MAN.

Have a fabulous time kids! x

  helen (aka. alice's sister) Jan 15, 2010 12:03 PM


LOVE IT!! Neil you should become a professional blog writer!! I'm extremely hung over atm and managed to get thru the whole thing. I believe that says something. lol Cant wait to read bout your paris adventures!

  Heather Sparkes Jan 17, 2010 3:55 AM


Love the blog, keep it updated as much as possible, don't go skating on some of those canals, they look if'ish, and maybe update your Pedestrian insurance, just in case you get hit by a car... just saying, think ahead, you dont have free health care there.

  Odinn Simundsson Jan 19, 2010 11:23 AM



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