Goedemorgen= good morning.
After the 10 hour flight in from Detroit and the tram rides around the country to find our hostel, I was a little too tired last night to do anything too big, so I spent the night in our hostel with Amber and Caitlin. But- I’ve already been able to pick up on a few things about the Netherlands.
First of all, I have yet to see anyone overweight. And people are everywhere. They’re constantly walking, biking and spending time outside, regardless of the 40 degree temperatures. Our hostel, located on a river, offers a great view of the downtown area of The Hague, and it’s weird to see the amount of public transportation! Right out of the airport, we jumped on a tram that took us across the country to Den Haag, and were able to walk to our hostel — after getting off at the wrong tram stop at first, of course. There are so many types of busses everywhere. Then, the bikers. They’re everywhere! There are so many places you can rent bikes here, and every time I look out our panoramic hostel window, I see a biker or six on the other side of the river. I suppose this goes back to the first line of this paragraph.
Also, food portion sizes are really small. There are a few groups of Dutch travelers staying at our hostel, and observing their portion sizes really showed how out of control America is. Each person had about a half-cup of pasta, two small servings of vegetables and a small dollop of raspberry mousse for dinner. Very weird! I’m a very tiny person and I felt like I was overeating just picking my usual amount of food from the hostel buffet. The coffee mug I got for breakfast was about half the size of anything in America, and my orange juice was served in a five ounce glass, about the size of many American shot glasses. Also, breakfast consists every day of coffee, bread, ham, cheese and very a unsweet yogurt.
Another weird thing? The drinking age! Our hostel (apparently) turns into a night club after dark — complete with disco ball. There is no technical drinking age in the Netherlands, though one must be 16 to purchase alcohol. Amber, Caitlin and myself spent time at our hostel’s bar, and it was very weird to watch the bartender serve us, and then the teenagers at the other end of the bar. Also, the choice in drinks was varied. Two of my favorites — vodka cranberry and amaretto sour — don’t exist here. The bartender looked at us very weird when we tried to explain that in America, cranberry juice is very common with cocktails.
Almost every person we’ve run into here knows English, and many are practically fluent. The one exception is our Dutch roommate in the hostel. She’s about 40-years-old, and the only words we’ve exchanged have been “bye” and “good morning.” The hostel lobby also plays music constantly and aside from Dutch and Spanish songs, plays quite a few American Top 40 hits.
Also- Dutch rap. Very strange. Watskeburt. (Google that- it’s on YouTube.)
Anyway, I’m off to explore the country! Caitlin, Amber and I are either going to walk around Amsterdam today, or explore the judiciary system seated in Den Haag. I’ll keep you all updated!
Tot ziens (See you later)!