Both my flights to Newark and Amsterdam were half an hour early to arrive. Waiting to board was the stillest I’ve been in months. The rest was wonderful. I drew a picture while at Newark I’ll have to make it available here whenever I get a chance to scan it.
The Amsterdam airport was like most airport and for that fact was comfortable. I was able to drift through the baggage claim with relative ease, purchased a city map (that doesn’t include Total Identity’s area), exchanged some cash, and ate some chocolate my mother sent while setting across from a fancy chocolate shop. I quickly learned I needed to purchase a train ticket on the national transit system rather than Amsterdam’s local transit system. The lady at the desk acted like nobody ever made that mistake before ;-). The airport isn’t connected with the local system.
Upon arriving at Amsterdam’s Central Station I wrestled my bags out of the train car aided by my experience wrestling them in. Let me tell you, looking for the signs at each stop which indicate what each one is, while looking for one in particular, not knowing which one is next is no easy task in Dutch – trains, buses, whatever.
My next challenge was to find Shelter Jordan, the hostel which had been recommended to me. I’d ask upon purchasing the map where it was, and they had narrowed it down to a stretch of few blocks. So I determined the appropriate tram, wrestled my three 50+ lb. bags on, and counted the stops to where I was going. I walked two blocks and found the hostel. They were full, and upon calling around a bit found that several others were too.
Not to worry, I would continue and perhaps later in the day there would be a cancelation. The nearest bank was said to be a ten minute walk away, but I was not prepared to walk with 150+ lbs of luggage if I had a local transit ticket. I’d managed to buy a 72 hour pass for the weekend at the central station in an attempt to establish at least one sure thing, public transportation for the weekend.
So I wrestled my bags back on, but a block later there was a roadblock so I carried my things the balance of the distance to Dam Square (that’s it’s name). On the far side of the square the lady at the back explained I needed a Dutch (sofi.) social security number in order to open an account. That had been next on my list for the morning.
By now it was 9:30 I’d been in town three hours. I returned to the Central Station in hopes of finding a locker or something to store my baggage in, but an attendant there said my bags probably wouldn’t fit. So, I decided it was time to got to Total Identity. I got on the Metro (subway), and away I went. I was able to follow a map posted on the interior of a slightly less cramped train car as we traveled. From my stop I followed my nose to the street that I thought should Total should be on. It was, and I recognized the parking garage across the street from my video chats with Paul Wolfs, the man I will be working with/for.
Up one more fight of stares with my bags and I stepped into the reception area of Total Identity. The two ladies there looked a bit surprised, and offered me coffee and water. I told them I was their new intern and that I was looking for Paul Wolfs. He was down straight way and gave me a tour of the place. I shared the gifts I’d brought. They like the half sized “American” footballs I brought. The creative director and and his friends started tossing his around almost immediately. Paul used his as a thinking aid, rolling it in his hands.
Our next stop was to meet Edo. The design graduate alumni from Ohio State. I’d picked up three apple fritters just before leaving Columbus from Buckeye Doughnuts …(“Born in the USA” just came on the radio here – in English – HA!)… We, Edo, Paul, and I, sat and chatted about my trip and where each one of us were originally from. The apple fritters were a hit.
I spent the next 4 or 5 hours calling around and looking online for a place to stay – the night, the weekend, or even just the duration of my stay. Paul took me to lunch at the hospital a block away. Imagine Tuttle crossing with a stadium rather than a mall. That’s what the area is like, lots of office development with the grass still just getting started around it all.
Finally, we found a hostel in a castle 45 minutes on the other side of town. I sent a few quick emails to my mother and those i had hoped to meet up with over the weekend, and took off for the central station where I would buy a ticket for Beverwijk from where I would take a bus to Heemskerk. I did make reservations at Shelter Jordan by phone for Monday and Tuesday nights just in case.
An hour and a half later I arrived at the hostel in Heemskerk. I had to get some help with the bus. The hostel is a 13th century castle on the opposite side of town from the ocean. I had to stay in the servants house Friday night because there was a wedding in the castle, but I am now in the castle. I got to my room by 7 p.m. and slept through till 11:30 a.m. I’d only slept an hour or two on the plane, but somewhere between adrenaline and not having a very good sleep shedule to begin with I haven’t felt to out-of-whack due to the 6 hour time difference.
I plan to hangout for the weekend here and head back to Amsterdam on monday to try to get a bike, sofi. number, and apartment. The government paper work should take a few days. So I will be until then without a bank account. Hopefully, by tuesday or wednesday I will be ready to brave the UK. I am definately making reservations and planning a bit more before I go anywhere.
So, I’m off lest I end up blogging about blogging. I’ll check back in when I have more to report. Hope all is well with you.
Here I go-