When I first arrived in Amsterdam on Saturday morning I immediately bought a train ticket to the Amsterdam Central Station, which is where all the fun starts. It was the first thing I purchased in Europe. I put my card in the machine as it requested and then removed it, because it seemed to be that kind of machine. I put in my pin code and after a few seconds… was denied. I tried again, and tried again. Denied, denied. “Oh!” I thought to myself. “I’m in Europe with 80 euros in my pocket and I can’t get any more money or buy anything. Perhaps I’ll cut my wrists!”
Panicking, I ran down to the nearest ATM and easily pulled out a fat pile of euros. So I went meekly back to the train machine and tried again. This time I noticed it wasn’t really indicating I should pull my card out, so I left it in, bought my ticket and was on my way.
That’s one example of a dumb tourist thing I’ve done.
Another, which is more applicable to this evening’s festivities is that the ticket I bought for that train was 1st class. I could have chosen 2nd class but I had no idea what that meant. Would I be riding with sheep? Cows? Would I have my kidneys stolen if I fell asleep? So I bought the 1st class ticket and hopped on the train when it arrived. I didn’t realize until after I had gotten on that the train cars were labeled 1 and 2 on the outside. I was in the 2 train. Turns out the only difference is that the seats are a bit more comfy, and the 2nd class seats are in the top of the train where the 1st class ones are in the bottom. Whatever.
What the hell does that have to do with anything? I’ll get to that.
Today was another work day. Once I got ready I went down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. They had a pretty standard assortment. I’ve been having cereal for breakfast a lot, so I poured some into a bowl and hit the milk tap. No milk. Well, there was a pitcher of buttermilk sitting there so I said what the hell, buttermilk. I’ve never had buttermilk. Oh God, please let me never have buttermilk again. I’m pretty sure someone left their yeast infection in it.
Jeroen picked Anjali and I up and we headed to work. Then we worked. Yea.
Dinner was Indonesian with Heinreke and Kees. It was great. I’d never had Indonesian before so I let them order. We got this thing called a rice table where they put these candle powered heaters on the table and brought out about 20 small dishes of different types of food, and three types of rice. I had all kinds of good stuff. Beef, chicken and something curry. Maybe lamb. Fried bananas, some kind of sweet, fried weird little crunchy things that I probably wouldn’t have eaten if I knew what it was, lots of rice, crunchy bread with peanut sauce. Yum.
Something that surprised me was that Kees ordered a beer. That’s it, just a beer. Not Heineken, or Duvel, or Miller Light. He said “I’d like beer.” and they brought him the house beer, which was Jupiler. Aparently that’s common in Europe, so that’ll come in handy when I don’t know what to order.
After dinner they walked me back to my hotel and were off. I came upstairs and started trying to decide what to do tomorrow but got sick of trying to navigate the train sites so I took a walk to the train station. I’ve gotten to know the ticket machine pretty well. We’re tight. So I walked about 15 minutes to the train station and browsed tickets there. You remember all that talk about 1st and 2nd class. Here’s why! The ticket I decided on for tomorrow, which is to Brussels via Rosendaal is EU 12 for 2nd class or EU 27 for 1st class. That’s a $987 difference! (Have I worn that joke out yet?)
So, since the seat seemed to be fine and I arrived previously with my kidney’s, I’m going 2nd class baby.
And that’s basically it for Breda and The Netherlands. Tomorrow I work until noon and then try to find my way to Brussels, Belgium. There I hope to visit at least one brewery, but if not I’ll at least go to the beer museums and try some Belgian beers.
I posted a few pictures of downtown Breda to Flickr. It’s very much like Amsterdam but much more quiet. The park is beautiful and people really use it. There were groups of people just hanging out, chatting, making out and just generally being out on a nice day.
Goodnight, talk to you soon!