I've finally gotten over my cold and done a little bit of work, so I can indulge myself (and the rest of you!) with some tales of our vacation last weekend. I've posted a few of our photos here.
Brad, Chris, Patrick and I left on Friday morning after feverishly getting as much work done as we possibly could, and boarded the Airline bus at around 5:30 in the morning. Now, by way of excuse, a certain member of our group is a great fan of the all-nighter. I don’t think it's a procrastination thing (it seems like he does work during the week), but he always stays up finishing his essay the night before his tutorial, and then doesn't go to bed until the next night. As it happened, this particular individual (who is short, has red hair, and shares the name of an Irish saint but otherwise will remain anonymous) didn't sleep on Wednesday and then packed before going to bed for three hours on Thursday night.
You know where this is going, right? Of course he forgot his passport.
Ever resourceful, the Boy Wonder took a bus to the city center and managed to get a cab that took him the four miles back and forth between the bus station and his house in four minutes, weaving in and out of traffic and nearly taking out some pedestrians.
I won't say that we had written him off, but it's not like we ever expected to see him again.
Happily, our flight was cancelled and we were moved to a flight an hour and a half later, so we all got to Amsterdam without further incident - I'm happy to say that's the most excitement and worry we had to deal with, and it was nice to get that over with at the beginning.
It was a nice vacation: we ate lunch along the canals and in the park, and soaked up the sunshine with about half of Europe. It was a little crowded.
Apparently the thing to do (if you're European) is to go have a weekend-long bachelor or bachelorette party in Amsterdam, and for everyone in the party to wear a t-shirt with the bride or groom's face and name on the back.
What a bunch of dorks. It gets worse, too.
While sitting on the grass eating our lunch, we saw a bicycle gang arrive in the park. Yes, bicycle gang. It was perhaps a half dozen middle age men and women on bicycles that had been pimped out like choppers. I could not make this up. Instead of leather, they were black jeans and wife-beaters. There was nearby a bachelor party that had started a small, smokey fire to cook their food. Now I know in the States, when somebody does something they're not supposed to do like that, people tend to leave them alone and let the police or forestry service come by.
Though they were outnumbered 2 to 1, the apparently leader of the "gang" walked up, arched his hips and placed his hands on them, snapped in a z-formation and told them off. Then he stomped out their fire, said something else and stared them down. They let him get away with it, until about thirty minutes later one of the guys from the bachelor party approached Queenie and decked him. Biker guy landed hard and stayed there.
It was pretty funny.
We splurged on dinner at a "Mexican" restaurant owned and operated by a Dutch man. We asked him about the food before ordering, and he got defensive a bit when Brad said he was from California. It's pretty clear why: he overcharged for food, charged me for water, and the nachos had cucumbers on them. The only thing Mexican about that nonsense was that it was good food that happened to be wrapped in tortillas. The similarities ended there.
We had a lot of fun together, and I'm glad we went. Patrick and I hit the Rembrandt House for a couple of hours, and that was pretty interesting.
Oh, and there were drugs everywhere.