Yi's friend K flew from Switzerland where he's temporarily posted so we went up to Amsterdam (1 hour by slow train) last Saturday. This time, Amsterdam was much better without all the rubbish. The city was in World Cup mode with buildings decorated in orange, Nederland's national color.
Tilted houses that reminded me of Rumpelstiltskin and There Was A Crooked Man. I don't need to go to Pisa. Note the bikers. The cities in Nederlands are so easy to explore on bikes which can be rented at 7 euros per day. Every road has bike lanes and there aren't many cars. A really green country.
Febo is the chain of vending machines shops where you can avoid lines and impatient waitresses. Most of the food are fried croquettes and sausages, not tasty but edible.
Poffertjes are yummy little Dutch pancakes with butter and icing sugar.
So much cheese that they line the walls to the top. And that 7-footer? Lots of them in Nederland, the country with the tallest people in the world.
The flower and bulbs market is huge and we only did half of it. I was so tempted to buy the bulbs but controlled myself because every item adds to my baggage weight. Btw, tulips were 50 for 8 euros but in Delft you can get 20 for 1 euro when the market closes.
Yi was looking at some rings at a street side stall and a guy gave her 20 long-stemmed roses "because your're a pretty girl". We brought them home and had nowhere to put them except a bucket.
The last time I ate Chinese food was on our first visit to Amsterdam a month ago. We had a good meal at Kam Kee in Chinatown so this time I decided to try Nam Kee, 2 doors away, because there was a line and also the sign said it was awarded the best Chinese restaurant 2009. Lines and awards are misleading. The wonton filling was pork (although the soup was good), the Chinese 'goulash' (ngow nam) was lacking in deep flavor and the roasted meat hardly any flavor and was topped with a strange bland sauce. The fried noodles was the only dish up to par. We decided that it was true that if a Chinese restaurant is full of caucasians, the food's bound to be more to their taste and less authentic.
Before I came to Nederlands (I like to spell it Dutch so that I don't have to type 'The' each time), I thought the place was filled with drug addicts, prostitutes and human traffickers and that it was lawless. We even discouraged Yi from doing her exchange here. It's like how Americans think that Malaysia is full of terrorists. It's not; it's full of corrupt politicians. I think Amsterdam is way safer than Kuala Lumpur; we walked until 11 pm everywhere and never felt threatened.
Btw, 'coffeeshops' are where you get marijuana legally. Brownies and muffins spiked with weed are more for the tourists I think. I didn't dare take photos of people smoking but they looked normal, not like druggies so I think they must be tourists or casual smokers. The hard core ones probably take the stuff at home. Some coffeeshops have window seats. It's a strange feeling to see people smoke/sell weed liberally when back home you can be jailed/hung for the same thing.
Piss pots are placed in the most open areas. I find them disgusting. The red light district is filled with more tourists and gawkers than the people in the business.
Anne Frank's house. We weren't particularly interested so we didn't join the line, which was very long as usual.