First: The balance of the weekend. I started walking after my last post. As I made my way into Heemskirk I discovered an ‘Aldi’ store, like the budget groceries in the US. I checked out the food but ended up buying an English to Dutch dictionary. From there I went to the center of the city where there was a very old church with a small cemetery around it.
The streets around here are interesting various lanes for bikes, pedestrians, cars, bus, and trams weaving in and out. In the United States sidewalks always give-way to streets, but in less heavily trafficked areas driving lanes go up and across sidewalks, not to mention the dynamic of having lanes for trams (street cars) and buses.
From the center of town I wondered over toward a very large church, noticing the architecture, soil (yeah that’s just me), people, and neighborhood as I went. The church was cool, and I continued wondering, this time making a larger swath through town. I did have a map. I eventually ended up southwest of town when I had been trying to go northwest toward another castle. It wasn’t a very good map ;-). I walked up the west side of town and saw the castle, and had dinner back in town and retired for the evening.
The next day I had breakfast with Steve from California and a couple french film makers. Steve and I walked back through town and checked out a few things. Then he headed back toward the train station. I when on through the 3 or 4 km of farms between town and the nature preserve with the beach beyond. I didn’t have a map of the preserve/park but tried to take a picture of one posted near the entrance. That didn’t quite work. I ended up walking 6 or so km south by southwest rather than strait to the beach. It made for a very happy arrival.
It was an overcast day just warm enough not to be cool in a tee-shirt and pants. There were large grassed dunes several stories high a few hundred ft from the water. I found the tallest one I could find within reasonable walking distance and sat down. About an hour later I woke from a nap and did some reading and writing.
From there I ventured down to the beach, collected some shells, eventually took off my shoes, shot some pictures, and got nearly knee deep in it. I continued wondering as I’d done most of the weekend north, hoping there would be a break in the wall of grass covered dunes. eventually there was. It was the path I would have taken had I been more direct to begin with. In the end I got to see a lot of the space. I couldn’t have planned it better.
I did a local italian pizzeria that evening and ran into a designer from another firm in Amsterdam. It was good to visit with her a bit. English is pretty propionate. Imagine if on the scale of good grammar and education in the United States finishing high-school would equate to being able to speak at least a little english here. The more educated and tourism focused definitely do a better job with it.
Monday I walked to the train station, long walk. Upon arriving in Amsterdam I looked up some information on housing and when that trail lead to the edge of town I decided to work on getting my dutch social security number so I can work instead. It was only a few blocks away.
I was to go to the town hall, or so I thought. The location I was directed to was five blocks wrong. After talking with four people I finally found a civic worker who gave me a better map and told me I needed to go to an office on the edge of town. After a 20 minute tram ride the officer at that front desk told me that the office closes daily at 1:00. It was 1:10.
From there I went to the check out the lead I’d had on housing. It was a university housing office and there where apartments posted, but nothing that looks promising. They let me use the phone and I called the Total Identity. From there I had to check in at the Shelter Jordan Youth Hostel. The trains took a long time, but eventually I made it to Total Identity. They had a housing lead that didn’t pan out.
Tuesday I waited most of the morning at the office that had been closed Monday. They gave me two stamps in my passport, one for living and one for working in the Netherlands. From there I was to go to another office some distance away to actually get my dutch social security number. Upon arriving was told I needed an appointment which was to be made by phone and usually take two to three weeks to get.
I then went to Total Identity and we worked the phones a bit to no avail. In fact, those with whom we talked told us there was more involved and that it would take even longer. Not having a phone had become a bear so it was decided I should get a cell phone.
The next day the first thing I did was get a phone and call to try to make an appointment to get my number. It rained a good bit that day (Wednesday). I was able to schedule an appointment for the 4th of October. That was to be as soon as I could work (I’d planned to start on the 19th of September.) because I have to have a number to work. This is the sort of thing I have been working with. I’d made no headway on a place to live, not even living in the hostel. I called to let Paul (the guy I’m working with/for) to let him know.
I spend the next few hours organizing and planning. Paul called back and said he’d gotten my appointment bumped to next Thursdays the 22nd. It was really good news.
Thursday I spent at Total Identity trying to plan my travels around Europe, and my phone charger turned out to be a dud.
Friday I got a new charger, walked around some (imagine little European streets that have been converted to outdoor malls.), bought a travel book, walked around some more, visited the US consulate, walked home by way of a pub where I had dinner.
I’ve been spending evenings at the hostel. I took a walk around the neighborhood the other evening. It’s nice. For now I’m living in the hostels. It’s okay and would be fine for the duration of my stay if there could be some accommodations made for me due to the fact I’m not just passing through, but those accommodations don’t seem to be possible.