Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bike Thievery, Company Tomfoolery, Blaine Curcio Hum-bugery, Zen Master wisdomery, Afternoon Sailboatery, and other made up words involving -ery

"It's been awhile since I posted anything" is becoming sort of a recurring theme for the first line of these blog posts, so for the one household reading these blogs, apologies, it's not that I've been terribly busy, I just haven't felt hugely motivated to write. However, I feel like the title to this blog may be my greatest creative achievement. Or just a weird combination of archaic words that’s a bit forced and nonsensical. But either way, here’s where we left off I guess: Missing Asia, and organizing a trip to somewhere last week on Saturday.

Saturday of last week Hunter and I went to Delightful Delft, perhaps the most appropriate alliteration of an adjective and a town name imaginable. Just a perfect little Dutch down of roughly 120,000 people (ish), with two very nice churches, a very Dutch (yeah that would be the best adjective) market, some wonderful canals, and a couple of interesting museums. The churches were both about 500 years old we think, though it was a bit difficult to be sure as they’d apparently gone through a number of refurbishments, rebuildings, fires, earthquakes, typhoons (in Holland), biblical plagues, and the like. But yes, point being, they were older than the US of A. The most interesting museum we saw was a museum outlining the history of Delft, which included a fair bit about William of Orange and Delft’s role as a revolutionary city. Decent, and the entry fee was negligible (like 3 euros or something). After that we went to the Indonesian museum. I thought this had some real potential, as I’d been to Indonesia and figured “well, I saw some Dutch colonial stuff there, it’d be cool to see what they have to say about it here”, or something like that. All I can say is thank God the entry was free. We walked in and I think they were under some kind of renovation or something, because the guy in the gift shop was like “oh the museum is right over there through that door”. We walked through that door, and I kid you not, the “museum” was basically a big glockenspiel on the floor surrounded by symbols and drums and such. We were pretty confused, and just left. We then went to this really cool public square that almost had a wild-west feel to it, in that there were, for lack of a better word, “walls” of storefronts on three sides of the place. By this I mean basically the buildings (in typical Dutch fashion) were build touching the neighboring buildings, so rather than having separate buildings, you had a “wall” of buildings. Again, for some reason, sort of wild-west-ish… or not. So Saturday night we got home and were just sort of hanging out watching Eurosport2 (think ESPN8, the Ocho, from Dodgeball… kind of) and they had on some big beach soccer tournament. We saw in the background “Crocs Challenge 2010: The Hague”. We were a bit surprised, and looked up this Cros Challenge online, only to find that it was taking place that very weekend at Schevinengen. So of course we went the following day.

Some observations about the beach soccer tourney: this was not a sporting event, per se, as much as it was just a social gathering. The crowd was fascinating. You had Rastafarian looking people just sitting on beanbags under a huge Red Bull tent just outside the place. The entry was free. During intermissions they had those same Rasta guys playing bongo drums and such on the field (beach). During the match they had music blaring the entire time, and all 500 people there (still about 100 times the readership of this blog!) were just sort of hanging out. Very interesting stuff. Also, beer was cheaper than soda. Welcome to Holland. Anyway, so we watched a couple of matches, including the Championship match between the Dutch and Turkish National teams. The match was 3 periods of 12 minutes each, and Turkey won 6-5. Yeah, 11 goals in 36 minutes. So basically, 3 times the goals of standard soccer, in 1/3 the time. Quite an exciting sport, at least for a short while.

So last week at work was decent. It was Hunter’s last week, so there was kind of a bittersweet feel to it, but overall I got some good work done and had some valuable meetings with some people. Good stuff. Friday was the much anticipated “Company Boat Tour”, which was basically 30 or so employees taking a boat ride around the canals of The Hague. At about 4:00pm we (about 15 of us) rode over from the office to the boat. We all parked our bikes near the boat. My bike was locked. Anyway, so we took the boat tour, got back about 90 minutes later, and to my general indifference, my bike was gone. It was actually a bit hilarious that I was probably the least upset out of anyone, but eh, the whole ordeal reminds me of the story of the Zen Master, which I first heard in the film Charlie Wilson’s War (though this is slightly different from that version) :

“So there’s a small village somewhere, and in this small village a farmer’s horse runs away, and all the villagers say “oh how terrible, the horse ran away”. And the Zen Master said, “we’ll see”. Two days later, the horse returns, bringing with it three more wild horses. Everyone says “Ah, how wonderful, now the farmer has 4 horses to tend to his crops!” and the Zen Master says, “we’ll see”. A short while later, the farmer’s son is riding one of the untamed horses, and he falls and mangles his leg. All the townspeople say “oh how horrible, his leg is broken”. “We’ll see”, said the Zen Master. A couple of weeks later, a war breaks out. All the young men are required to go fight in the war, except for the boy with the mangled leg. All the townspeople say “oh how wonderful”, and of course, the Zen Master replies… “we’ll see”.

Anyway, so now that I’ve rambled about the Zen Master: after the bike theft, we went to the company drinks held at a nearby restaurant/bar. Was a real good time, got to meet some employees I’d previously not talked to much, which was quite nice. I ended up taking the bus home awhile later while Hunter biked. Saturday we headed to Amsterdam for the last time for Hunter. It’s a bit interesting, he spent 11 years of his childhood here, but he’s more or less decided that, odds are, he’ll not be returning at any point (as he spent his childhood summers in Chicagoland prior anyway), so a bit sad to see him leaving the place for what will maybe be the last time.

Sunday morning Hunter left for the airport quite early (this would be the cause of the aforementioned Blaine Curcio hum-bugery), and I spent the morning Skyping Lexx all the way from Gold Coast, Australia. Good to hear the Aussie accent again, though as I type this I regret not asking her to pronounce an “h” related acronym just to hear their horrible mispronunciation. Spent the afternoon at some park in The Hague reading a book about second world economies before exploring The Hague’s “Chinatown” neighborhood (real dodgy relatively speaking), then headed home to speak with the parentals and Grammy. That was very nice, especially as I was also able to speak to Aunt Trina, Alex, and The Hen, as my family was at their house. So that was the weekend.

A bit bittersweet as well, word from the lads back home: Dan's 21st was the other day, so they went to Vegas where Dan rented the penthouse at the Aria. Apparently there's been a fair bit of debauchery, sounds like they've had a blast, and the legend of Mike Greenwood has made a guest appearance all the way from LA. So yeah, wish I could be there, but eh, Netherlands isnt' bad either, certainly.

This week should be interesting, I’ll be starting to wrap up this whole project, as I finish work here next Friday. This evening I’ll be going sailing with some people from the office. To answer the obvious: no, I have never sailed before. But then again, as a one Sabutai Haider can attest to, my introduction to cricket was a semi-competitive match, and while that ended in tears (ish), I did nonetheless show up and play (and still have the scars to prove it!). Plus my second time I batted an 8. So yeah, sailing today, should be good (provided I don’t fall into the water, and even if I do, I’m always one to see the hilarity in things like that). This weekend will be a trip to Paris which I booked last week, roughly $135 for R/T high speed train Rotterdam-Paris. Can’t complain. Hoping to see Chanwa there, as he may be around this weekend. Other than that, the next few weeks will undoubtedly be hectic, with Paris this weekend, The Hague/Amsterdam next weekend, flying home Monday, flying to Bogota Monday, then spending a bit of time there. Its been a real good internship, I must say I’ve learned far more than I’d’ve ever anticipated, about myself, satellites, marketing, sales, people in general, etc. It’ll be a bit sad to leave the Netherlands, but at the same time there isn’t much here that interests me at this very point and time. Anyway, that’s about all, this blog has far exceeded the length I was hoping it would be, but eh. If you’ve read all this, many thanks, it’s people like you that feed my ever expanding ego! (but really, a big thanks, I’ve been told by a few people how much they enjoy reading it, and that really, really does mean a whole lot to me, I can’t thank you all enough).

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