Tim's Blog

In Amsterdam
I'm in Amsterdam now. Having a miserable time. I'm not one of those travellers who enjoys too many new experiences at one go. I'm one of those sad people who get brain over-loads even from microwave cooking instructions. I'm here on a spur-of-the-moment split-second of weakness to please Sharm. She says she travels out of curiousity and she wants me to see more of Europe while I am here.

She doesn't understand that I just don't want to be in places where I don't already know at least one person. I can't relax enough to enjoy myself when I don't. Having someone who knows the city also provides a personally-insightful view of the city. At least it's better than the way I go sight-seeing which is to aimlessly wander the city and get lost.

Besides which I have no affinity for Amsterdam at all. I remember when I was in Bangkok and Perth as a child, I just hung around the hotel room for the whole trip simply because those places didn't peak my interest beforehand.

I arrived in Amsterdam around noon, having left Sharm in Brussels around 9am as she was headed for work. Sharm gave me a short list of places she thought I ought to visit.

The Van Gogh museum was one of them. Unfortunately, I don't have much interest in impressionist painters. I've always felt that one can only appreciate art if one understands much of the periods during and preceding in which the art was created. Just like literature. You can't understand Shakespeare by applying the same language rules as modern English. Only by understanding the politics of Spain, England, Scotland, Netherlands and France of the era can you get all the in-jokes and political references strewn throughout the texts. I quickly lost interest and wandered outside where the children feeding the pigeons in the park held more of my attention.

I also left because I distinctly reeked of fish and onions which I had for lunch. The Dutch make an excellent fish sandwich from fresh raw herring and onions between two toasted buns.

I also visited Dam Square which Sharm swore would be filled with the best art students from the Dutch art schools plying their skills for tourists. All I found was a version of the mechanical monstrocity known as a fun fair. At night when the fun fair was shut down, instead of fair operators, drug dealers offered "Cocaine? Ecstasy? Anything you want?" from among the crevices.

Can't wait to get back to London to see Robert and Vicky.

posted at 04:18:35 AM on 06/14/2001 by timyang - Category: General


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