Thursday, June 21, 2012

Amsterdam Adventure -- Day 2

A splendid day. I managed to sleep until 5:30 AM which may sound early, but it's really good when one is adjusting to a new time zone. I was ready to get going by 8:00 or so. I walked over to the train station and found a train going to Amsterdam Central for 8:23 AM.

Got into Amsterdam Central and started to walk down the Damrak. My goal was the Tropical Museum. I've been to Amsterdam before and when reading guidebooks over the winter I learned about this museum and it sounded interesting to me.

Scenes along the way-- and it was quite a way, because I certainly didn't find the shortest route there.

The light was just right for another beautiful canal scene.

And a note about crossing intersections. First one crosses bicycle/scooter lanes, then two lanes of traffic, then often 2 tram lines, and two more lanes of traffic, and finally again a bicycle/scooter lane. I noted green walk lights for pedestrians don't mean much to cars and bicycles that want to turn right. 

I wandered into a quiet square to try to figure out on my maps where I should be walking.

 The bells were playing in this church tower and then it played a long time announcing 9:30. Notice the date on the tower -- 1674.

I was seated in this quiet square and was glad to have stumbled upon it. I was well aware from the tourist routes and felt like I had found a place where real people live.

A couple blocks later I found a fish market. Don't see scenes like this in Minnesota!

At last I got in the area for the museum. The first thing I found was the Tropical Medicine Institute. This sculpture was outside.

The sign with this explained that it used to be common in many African areas to see children leading adults -- adults who had become blind due to a infection commonly called River Blindness. The Tropical Medicine Institute had worked with many other organizations to try to eradicate this disease, so it's thankfully becoming uncommon now to see this type of scene.

The museum was great. I particularly enjoyed the area called in the history books as the Dutch West Indies because I know little about this area. The story of the Dutch presence was shown through figures with stories.

One display was Sayers -- a Dutch painter who live Bali.

 This shows how he usually looked -- riding his bicycle with his shirt blown open and his painting supplies in a box behind him.

On a nearby wall is a collection of his work.

Here's a photo of one:

This is called Temple Fest.

During World War II, Sayers was interned in a Japanese Labor Camp and all he died as a result of malaria combined with malnutrition.

Another figure is Anna.

Anna's story is a combination of stories of many Dutch women of this time. They married Dutch men who were in Indonesia and couldn't return to the Netherlands for the wedding. Instead the man's glove was there. These women were referred to a Glove Brides. After their marriage they journeyed to the Dutch West Indies to live with their husbands.

I spent time, too, in the area devoted to culture from India. This is a story cloth. I've never seen anything quite like this before.

By this time I was getting hungry. It had been a long time since breakfast at 7 AM. I found the restaurant and decided to try the small Dutch pancakes -- sorry I can't correctly write the Dutch word for this.

After lunch I wandered into an exhibit by clothing design students studying in the Netherlands. The exhibit materials  said the students were to select a culture other than their own and design clothing to represent this.

Here's the U.S. clothing.

What do you think? Does this represent U.S. culture? Particularly since American Indian tribes are considered to be sovereign nations located within inside the United States.

The exhibit I found about Papua New Guinea was interesting too. It gave a good explanation for the head hunter culture. Once one understands the belief system the behavior makes sense, but at the same time I surely don't want it to be my head that ends up in a temple/religious area display.

Here's a food pot from this same culture.

Sorry for the window reflection. Didn't notice the quality of this photo  until well away from the museum. In this culture the women make the pots and the men create the faces.

I walked away from the museum by a different route and one that was shorter. It was easy to find signs to Amsterdam Central, it simply hadn't been easy to find similar signs to either the Tropical Museum or the nearby Artis Zoo until I was almost there.

In a few steps away I found this scene:

Finally go up to the canal along which is the fairly new Amsterdam Public Library. I wanted to see this so walked over there. I went up to Level 4 and found some chairs by a large window overlooking a canal. I sat and read for 30 minutes because I'd been walking steadily since 8:45, except for the short lunch break, and it was now 2:30. Here's the view:

I knew there was supposed to be a restaurant in this building, so after a rest break break I went looking and found it. I had a wonderful piece of apple/nut torte. Yum!

At last I got myself back on a train to Schiphol. Got all turned around inside Schiphol Plaza and found signs to the Panorama so decided to go look. I think this is the only airport left with an outdoor viewing area like this.

Back at the hotel finally and crawled onto my huge bed for a rest. Dropped off to sleep for awhile. Then I decided to go cash in my e-mail message for a cocktail. When I stayed here at the end of May I couldn't make the shower work no matter what I did. Later I got an e-mail asking me rate the hotel and I gave it 8 out of 10 points because of the shower problem. The manager got back to me right away asking what was wrong and I explained . He said he would have maintenance check and meanwhile bring a copy of our e-mail correspondence and present it for a free cocktail.

Here's my Blueberry daiquiri. Enjoyed it and then went back to my room for a warmer jacket. Walked over to Schiphol Plaza again and had a Big Burger Special at the Grand Cafe. Can't leave Amsterdam without one helping of the wonderful French Fries they make here.

Thunderstorm rolled in while I was eating but most of the way except for bus intersections are under a covered walk way.

Ended the day in the lobby with many others watching the Czech-Portugal game. As I started out,  a splendid day!

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