Amsterdam, Part Drie & Paris, Part Six

The Amsterdam portion of this posting will lack many words since I’m mostly just posting photos (finally). I’ve also created an Amsterdam 2006 photo album in my gallery (link to the right). Like the recent Paris photos, these are all still un-edited so they may be sideways (and I still haven’t mastered the process of enlarging them so they don’t get distorted….sometimes I miss the old blog server).

Here’s a typical Amsterdam scene.

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Here is Mike before his pancake with Nutella and vanilla ice cream (you should have seen him after!)

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This is Central Station – where the subway dropped us off after having parked the car in the burbs.

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This is the Rotunda in some church near Central Station (I forget the name)

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A typical canal in Amsterdam….so pretty.

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This was one of the first pictures I took in Amsterdam. Notice how the buildings in the tiny side street are leaning in. This is how buildings are all over Amsterdam. I wonder if they’re going to have some major structural issues to address over the next 100 years?

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This was our room at the guest house (it had a loft – which is from where I took the photo)

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Another canal scene.

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I took this on Tuesday morning when I went for a walk. The building on the right is the oldest church in Amsterdam…the shop windows on the left are where the prostitutes sell themselves (it’s illegal to photogaph them directly). But even at 10AM, they were still working. I can’t believe it’s allowed so close to a church. America this is not.

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This is a shot of the same church – without the sex shop windows in view.

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Now, back to life in Paris.

Yesterday started off really well. I blogged, we went out for baguettes (and pastries), then we did some shopping for the big (I believe) semi-annual sales (soldes). Mike took home much more than I did, but I was able to find a really cool shirt and some underwear from BHV and two really nice button-down shirts from Zara for just under 8 Euros.

We then stopped off at a cafe next to the Bear’s Den and had salads. Mike wanted to go to a bookstore and I want to rest/read along the Siene so we split up.

And this is where the day fell apart. Back at Mark’s place (where I was going to pick up my book), I stupidly popped online to check emails. I wanted to confirm that our train tickets to London arrived OK and that they’d be FedEx’d for Friday delivery.

Well, they couldn’t. Despite the package having my co-worker, Mark’s (Veselka Slut’s) name AND office address on it, the mailroom saw my name in a window and automatically put it in my office (despite the enormous sign on my door anouncing that I wouldn’t be back until July 5th). So, that glitch, on top of the order not arriving as early as expected (even though we requested overnight delivery) has resulted in two useless tickets sitting a continent away.

Instead of a restful afternoon on the Siene, I spent my time emailing, IM’ing, and speaking with Mark (in Boston) and Mark (our host in Paris) trying to come up with a solution. FedEx, UPS, DHL…nobody…could provide a Friday delivery (our train is Saturday).

The solution? Return the tickets for a maximum refund of 25% ($45 back on a $150 ticket) and buy new tickets in Paris for nearly $300…EACH!!! So, my $150 ticket is now costing me around $400.

Needless to say, this put a damper on my afternoon/evening. As many of you know, I’m quite anal. I stress out easily when plans are changed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Amsterdam (you saw the pictures!). But the stresses of all of the last minute changes simply exhausts me (realizing the day before our flight to Paris that we weren’t going to Oxford, realizing 3 days beforehand that we weren’t going to Amsterdam, realizing two days beforehand that our tickets to London won’t arrive on time). I’ve always been so organized and thorough (hello? I had Excel spreadsheets prepared for this trip) that I tend to freak out when I’m not sure what’s going on. Plus, there’s the unanticipated expense of it all that’s got me a bit worried.

Anyway, once Mike got back to the apartment and a train solution (though crappy) was reached, I went to the Siene from 7:30PM until 8:30PM. I brought a book, but couldn’t focus. I just sat there and stared at whatever caught my fancy: a floating bottle, an ant, a boat, or my favorite – a crowd of gay guys setting up for a picnic.

It started with one dapper fellow in summery white (see-through) pants and one of those $100 tank tops you find at boutigues. He set out a blanket and started pulling out wine glasses from a basket. Next came a small group of friends with an ENORMOUS floral display to place in the center. These gays know how to dine!

Anyway, I returned to the apartment and Mike, Mark, and I went out to dinner at the Gai Moulin restaurant (the owner knows us now – this being our 3rd trip in the last two weeks).

Today is our last day in Paris. I’m not sure what’s going on yet. I plan on continuing my search for good sales and finally reading along the Siene (since my attempt failed yesterday). Wish me luck.

2 Comments

  1. Comment by Will on June 30, 2006 9:18 am

    Bummer about the tickets, Karl, but try to not let it bother you too much. Enjoy what’s left of the trip and–and then beat the crap out of someone in the mailroom when you get back!

  2. Comment by karyn on June 30, 2006 11:08 pm

    Yup. What Will said. A bad day in Paris is better than a good day in Boston while you sit in your office working , subject to atrophy. 🙂

    Mwah!

    ……so wait – you ARE going to London now???

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