Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Memories of Schiphol
A sunny day today in Het Gooi! It's been so long since I've seen it, I barely recognized it :)
After buying a new car (we are officially linked to the Netherlands with a major possession!), we had to return our rental to Schiphol. It felt so strange being in Schiphol and not having to catch a flight, lug around tons of baggage, and feel sleep-deprived/stressed. Very refreshing, actually! Somehow Gabriel talked me into eating Burger King. I have literally not eaten McDonalds or Burger King since I was 13, and as we ordered our food, I felt so guilty about what I was about to eat! As we sat there, across from the "Meeting Point" where we had to catch our first taxi to the Golden Tulip Amsterdam Centre 2 summers ago, I mentioned to Gabriel that I could barely remember all the times we were in Schiphol. They all seem to be in one big montage in my mind: a series of irritations, annoyances, sore shoulders, Gravol-induced-comas, and junk food binges. In the last 10 months we had flown in or out of Schipol 12 times...that's a lot, right?! Some of my fonder memories of Schiphol include:
a) Sleeping on the floor underneath a bench at 4am like a little vagabond.
b) Sleeping in the booth of a restaurant at 3am while Gabriel quietly ordered copious amounts of food and drink in order to let me sleep there as long as possible.
c) Sleeping for 4 hours on a bench listening to techno-music coming out of a giant mouth-shaped restaurant in the departures terminal.
Despite our less-than-perfect airport experiences, Schiphol is a very nice airport compared to others I've been to. The service is usually very efficient, the shops are nice, it's clean and easy to navigate, and it's very accessible by train. I shouldn't be complaining about dear old Schiphol, after all, it has been like a second-home to me this past year!
After Burger King (ick) we had to get a Starbucks coffee. I've only seen one Starbucks in all of Holland, and that is the one at Schiphol. Are there others? I'm not too sure, but I decided to have a taste of this coffee and remind myself of my University days. Then we browsed a book store in the airport. One thing I've noticed living here is that the English magazines are incredibly expensive. Something that costs $5.99 in Canada or the US will cost at least EUR10,00 here. I realize that this is because it's an import, but it seems too steep for me to shell out on a magazine. Instead, I opted for the much-talked-about book, "The UnDutchables". I read the book during the way home on the train, and I'm already in love with it! So many of the stories are so funny and true, and I'm sure it will help me gain a lot of insight into this country. I've heard other expats rave about it, so I'm really looking forward to reading more of it!
I actually decided to use my Dutch today when buying the book. My attempt at a Dutch conversation consisted of something like this:
Man: "Goedemiddag! Hoe gaat het met u?"
Me: "Goed, dank u"
Man (In Dutch): "Is this everything?"
Man: "Dat is zestien euro astublieft"
Man (In Dutch): "Would you like a bag (sakje?) for this?"
Man (In Dutch): "Here you go"
Me: "Dank u wel!"
Me: "Tot Ziens!"
Slowly but surely I'm trying LOL!