I had a totally uneventful flight (hooray!). I watched Life of Pi (Ang Lee! Also I loved the book when I devoured it, years ago, wrapped in bed and wracked with doubt, adrift in my own sea of turmoil) and then, immediately, Les Mis, which is such a stupid story I could barely stand it. Curiously, I’d never seen Les Mis in any form all the way through–I’d only caught glimpses of the version they used to play on kqed channel 9 all the time, where they didn’t have the full stage setting and the orchestra was on stage and the actors performed in front of skinny microphones, and even then I only ever paid attention to Lea Salonga, who is captivating and gorgeous and talented and expressive. I’d heard the names Gavroche, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, and Eponine, and now I know who they are, and bemoan their uselessness. ‘ponine, you could be so much more interesting, and there are other fish in the sea, and anyawy you need a sassy gay friend oh look someone made one and also how do you make double quotes on a European computer? I keep typing it and then mashing the keys and then deleting the äs that appear.
Anyway that’s not what I was trying to talk about. Here are my Amsterdam adventures so far:
– sat in airport lobby and read these travel books maiki gave me and finally decided to go to a library
– wandered around the airport trying to buy a power converter that would take my three-pronged plug for my laptop charger. Discovered, after choosing one, that I was still in the duty-free zone, and I wasn’t allowed to buy there after I deboarded. You’re only allowed to buy stuff there if you’re waiting to get on a flight, or something.
– Bought one elsewhere, along with a small backpack that I plan to use when I get home too. It’s green.
– Wandered around the giant section of the airport that says “train tickets here” (oh the way to make double quotes reliably is to press the key, then type a consonant!). Was stymied by the machines not taking my credit card or atm card (although both had just worked elsewhere). Finally discovered that only 1 in like 10 of the machines takes coins (and none of them appeared to take bills). Successfully bought a ticket to Amsterdam Centraal.
– Wandered around the station for a long time looking at maps trying to figure out how to figure out which train would take me to Amsterdam Centraal. Asked some people who were looking for a machine that took cash (and I helped them find one), who helped me.
– Got on the train as the doors were closing. The first car appeared to be a bike car. The train is beautiful, sort of like caltrain, but more well-used, and prettier, and smooth! Rode a few stops.
– Got out! Walked outside! Into the rain!
– Went back inside! Walked into some kind of drugstore-ish thing that sold everything from clothing to chocolates and bought the most offensive umbrella I could find (it’s orange with flowers! I had a hard time choosing between this orange one and the pink one with pinkish reddish carnations, but I’m glad I got the orange).
– Walked towards the library! Passed reams and reams of parked bicycles! Have never seen so many parked bikes in my life! Thought about renting a bike, but haven’t yet!
– Wandered around inside the library, which is white and huge (7 stories tall I think?) and covered in giant windows and recessed LED lighting on the shelves and so bright inside and full of interesting-looking students hard at work! Dismayed to find taht accessing their wifi is €1 per 30 minutes, and not free, like this tour book said (maybe things changed snice publication). Bought 30 minutes at a paystation.
– Their wifi login system isn’t working and an employee confirmed as much. Logged onto a public workstation instead (they are plentiful and line these balconies). Am sad about the continued inability to post pictures. I guess I could transfer them from my phone to my computer adn then from my computer to this public workstation via usb drive ….
Anyway, I’m figuring out stuff about the Wikipedia Engineering Meetup/Hackathon in Amsterdam now hooray! Also, trying to figure out my phone situation. Maybe I should go get the cheapest prepaid feature phone I can find so I can call/sms or something.