Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trip to Zaanse Schaans & Amsterdam

We were very fortunate and grateful that ISS Student Office took us to a trip to Zaanse Schaans and a boat trip in Amsterdam. We reached the preserved village through a bus (felt like a high school excursion) and we were greeted with a Dutch man who took our pictures as we entered. We thought it nice that he said "Ooohh...Filipinas, maganda...maganda" Somebody said his wife was also Filipina but we had to pay 5 euros for our "ambushed" picture-taking later. We were forced to claim it, otherwise, "basin ipanghadlok tong among mga picture sa mga creatures, if any, nga gapuyo sa old windmills." hehe Anyways...

Zaan district, the oldest industrial area of the world held about 50 windmills, what are left of the 1000 in 1920. Now, the Zaan village has 12 windmills in perfect condition and operates them regularly. I was amazed at how meticulously the Dutch have preserved the mills for future generation, transporting for example, a whole mill, and even the old Dutch houses in Zaan from other districts. I find the old Dutch houses' architecture to be very practical and in-tuned with their climate. Most of the area is marshy so that when a person jumps in some portions, one could feel it reverberating or something.

The wooden shoe factory was also another interesting that highlighted typical Dutch practicality. We were also treated to a variety of cheeses in the cheese factory.

The boat trip in Amsterdam took us to the main canal thoroughfares where we saw typical Dutch houses and flats along side the canals. Very interesting are the leaning houses that have withstood time and are still intact.

Hmmm... it had been a great day!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

weekend getaway to Scheveningen

After a long week, I thought it a weekend getaway at the beach in Scheveningen would be a treat. The morning was spent with doing our first laundry and since it was our first time to try out the laundrette at the Dorus building, we practically spent an hour just looking at the spinning machine and almost 30 minutes of machine-drying. It would also be my birthday the next day so I had all reasons... plus...we at the Dorus dorm (just the building beside ISS) would also like to check out the accommodations of our fellow scholars at Gondelstraat. They were near the beach at Scheveningen, already outside of the Hague.

I had a different feel to the place. I don't know if surreal would be the right term. It was different from the ISS vicinity...while the ISS vicinity feels more sterile with its surrounding offices and shops, Scheveningen beach was more relaxed and sub-urbany... more like the other sub-urb parts of the Hague (which we accidentally toured by getting lost in the way to the Open Market, riding by way of Tram 6 earlier in the day).

It was a blast capturing the beach environs in the afternoon before our fellows would have offered us the prepared dinner. The Museum Beelden Aan Zee was the highlight of the suroy with its sculptures of fairy tale stories: Moby Dick, Hansel and Gretel, Gulliver, among others.

Monday, September 1, 2008

interactions with a shoe shop owner

My dormmate, Angie, and i went for a walk around the vicinity of ISS.

We also needed to purchase a new fone for our local numbers. Mine was not working, hence, the need. We also purchased a few warm clothing... a bit too excited for winter, eh?!:)

We started feeling slight pangs of gutom.We passed through the new Parliament house. A sandwich stand was right there before the entrance. Too bad we couldn't really figure out the english names so we had to forego the sandwiches.

We found the Maurithius Museum bannering a large tarpaulin-like material of "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" picture. I felt awed staring at the tarp while remembering the film starring Scarlet Johanssen and Colin Firth. Angie and I noted that trip to museums in our tour list in the coming days. We passed by a plaza with William of Orange statue, with a large white bird perched atop his head. The Department of Justice stands at the side. We came to this road still full of small shops as we were about to head back to ISS.

A man was looking at us uttering some vaguely comprehensible words... it sounded like greetings in different Asian languages. nagtagna-tagna diay sya unsa among nationality ni Angie and the greetings he uttered didn't quite hit the Filipino. He gave up guessing and asked..."alright what nationality are you?" We replied, "Filipino". And he uttered "magandang hapon" and "mahal kita". He invited us to his shoe shop. Incidentally, when he learned that we were new students at ISS, he began telling us about his friends at ISS and some tips in buying around Netherlands. He was also kind enough to tell us a brief history of how his Indian grandparents and parents migrated to the Netherlands. And the best part... he gave us a short lecture on Dutch people... more particularly men...differentiating them from Asian, Latin American and African men... Courtship and marriage was emphasized. His friend arrived at his shop and joined in the "culturation".

We kindly told them it was the least of our worries as Angie and I were already married. But no, being married, he said, was an advantage as those married would suffice with certain "consenting adults" arrangements... more mature... less whiney, and the like. The weird thing is, he appeared to genuinely orient us with how things were around here yet we felt like he was suggesting that it was OK and that as we are human, some things just happen during weak moments. how existential. Angie and I were like: "Asa na man ni padung ning istoryaha ni?"

Anyway, we thanked them for the info and graciously declined their offer to have dinner with them or hitch a ride in his car to ISS. We said goodbyes and rounded the bend, praying we wouldn't be too lost in the maze of streets. We were ready to get lost but the two spotted us so we couldn't anymore decline the offer for a ride back to ISS.

Well, aside from the kindness, at least we got to ride a BMW for a few minutes... but boy was that both scary and film-material huh?

Settling in Part 2

since the first week here is supposedly all orientations, i have a relaxed schedule.

funny though coz i woke up early, 5AM and had breakfast of brown bread, pesto spread, blue cheese and milk. haha lysho. back at home i woke up around 8-9 am and no breakfast. lunch had been my first meal of the day. it's my body clock may be. may be it's still confused. why else would i have woke up at 5AM. whew! i am amazed at myself. it was colder as i stepped out of the building. i was just in my knee-length shorts, t-shirts and shawl.

i decided to wander a few blocks away from Dorus to find KRINGLOOP, sort of a second-hand store (like ukay-ukay) and i found a handful of winter coats. apat wala na lang diay ko gadala og pangwinter. gabug-at-bug-at lang sa akong luggage diay to. hehe i bought 3 pieces. it's past 11AM already so i hurried back to the dorm. i was keen on starting cooking my first meal this time. rice (mejo hilaw gamay) and ginisang string beans with sprinklings of cubed pork. plus a light soy sauce i bought at the oriental store. yummy!:)