i arrived in Heathrow on August 15th early in the morning. The plane was not full, and I was able to enjoy the luxury of laying down on 4 empty seats. I knew I only have a day and a half in London, so I am not about to be overly ambitious with my itenerary. First and last on my list was to visit Tate Moderm Museum. Tate Modern is located right inside a disused power station right at the bank of the Thames River. The entrance to the museum was very impressive: grand ceilings and plenty of natural lights. Right when I entered, I was introduced to an exhibits about Global Cities. Did you know, Los Angeles produces nine new person each hour? I always find couches in museums extra comfortable. After I explored the entire museums, I was exhausted and took a nap in one of the leather couches Tate provided me. When I woke up, there was three others sleeping next to me.
The following day, I headed to Gatwick Airport to catch my flight to Amsterdam. The flight was short which makes it tolerable. Once I arrived at the Central Station, I started to look for a place to stay. I found out that most budget accomodations are mostly full. It took me two hours walking around the whole city trying to find accomodations. Yes, I was lugging around my heavy backpack. What a workout! It was painful. I suppose that’s part of the fun. Yay!
I have always fantacized going to Amsterdam for a long long time. First thing I did after I checked it was to get a cup of coffee. I always heard coffee houses in Amsterdam is one of a kind. I was extremely excited. I was so excited I think I had a little too much coffee. I was so high on coffee I got lost walking around. Getting lost is fun for the most part, but not under the state that I was. While I was lost, I passed by the infamous Red Light District. Red Light is an interesting place where one can commit many sins. It was interesting passing through half naked ladies, all sizes and shapes. Afterward, I was so tired, I passed out in some random hotel lobby next to the bar with a beer on my hand. I woke up about an hour after and braved looking for my hostel through all the chaos. The following day, I had to checked out of my hostel and was left looking for another hostel for the night. Another two hours of searching, I found one in the south end of the city. Luckily, the hostel was nearby the RijkMuseum. The museum houses Rembrandts and many others highlights from the 17th century including works by Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. I have been extremely fortunate to appeciate such work in the largest museum of art and history in the Netherlands.
On Saturday, I needed to check out of the hostel. It was a never ending moving in Amsterdam. I highly recommend to book in advance before heading to this place. Luckily, I need not to search for a new accomodations. My cousin Rommel, whom I met at the Central Station that day made reservations to rent an apartment in Jordaan. It took us a while to find the place. It’s very hard to get used to the way this city was planned. It goes on a circle. The apartment was pretty phat. On the 5th floor, with some view of the city from the balcony, and right next to a canal. Score!
I have always liked the impressionist period and have admired Van Gogh’s work. The world famous Van Gogh museum is located here. First thing Rommel and I did was to visit the museum. Let me tell you, it was a trip trying to find our way there. On the way, we passed by the Museum Plein. We sat right next to a sign IAMsterdam. I hate it when people are on my pictures.. and that was exactly what we did. We sat between the letters I and A, and for all the tourist taking pictures.. we will always be in your photo albums (unless you crop us out!). Anyways, it was interesting being inside the museum. It was like being in Disneyland. There was a line to see each of the pieces. It was difficult to appreciate the art with so many people in the building. Right after, we hung out outside the building and met a beautiful girl. She was so exotic I wish I took a photo of her. As I talk to her, she told me she is from LA, an actress and have a ring. Boo! After the museum, we went on to get some freshly brewed coffee. Rommel had an episode. Right when we walked out of the coffee shop, he couldn’t move. I keep telling him to relax! He knocked over some bikes and fell on a chair. Thank goodness for the chairs. We sat on the chair and he started to sweat profusely. I kept telling him to relax.. relax.. I felt that couple days ago.. its okay… that kind of stuff. An hour passed, he started to feel better. Ah.. everyone must have experienced some kind of moment like that being here in Amsterdam. Thank God he didn’t die on me!
The following day, we tried to go to the Anne Fank House. I remember reading her journal in 8th grade. The journal gives you hope when times are rough. But, the line was extremely long so we left. We then walked some more.. sat.. walk.. walk walk.. We sat around the Dam Square, get some coffee, walk some more, and after, couple hours before Anne’s house closes, we made an attempt to go in. And we did. The line was shorter this time. Walking through the house where Anne wrote her diary was really hot, quiet, and smell like body odor. However, the house has alot of heart. That same night, while me and Rommel was walking around, we passed by a building with a line. The place was called Bitter Sweet and its a place where small shows are performed. The line up was Punk Rock (I don’t remember the artist). One of my goal is to see as much shows while on the road. The band totally rocked it. Right after, we wanted to wait for me to turn 26. We did this by sitting in a coffee shop having a big cup of coffee.
Hip hip horaay!!! It’s my birthday and I didn’t get out of the apartment until 5PM. We just had our own little trip inside our own rented place. It was cool. Once we decided to explore the city on our bikes, first, I wanted to go to church. It’s a tradition for me to go to Church on my birthday. This time, I tried.. the place that I thought was a church was a museum. I don’t want to pay to pray. Then we were off to meet a friend for dinner. Ouxu is my friend J’s friend who lives in Holland. It was a pleasure meeting her and having her company for my birthday dinner. After Ouxu left, Rommel and I just wonder around the city…
The following day, our last full day, we came down from our place. As I looked for my bike I realized it was missing. WTF! My rented bike is missing!!! Ah man.. what did I do.. I must have been out of it when I parked it.. Maybe I forgot to locked the bike?!? Ahhh!!! Now, I need to do two more things, pay in full for the lost or I should say stolen rental bike, report the incident to the police (for insurance purposes). Oh well, it could be worsed.
Man, I wouldn’t think Holland would have the best Pad Thai. Right outside the police station, Thai Fast Food was located. They make the most tasty Pad Thai that I have had for a long time. Highly recommended. Once our stomach was full, we decided to go to the Heineken Brewery. Now that my bike was stolen, we have to walk far. Ah.. it’s always nice to see a city by foot (but I prefer on bikes!). The museum was very interactive. Inside, there were rides, history, beer making, and free beers that comes with the admission.
Amsterdam is a place where we were in a state of constant trance. There’s no ups or down…. It is beautiful city. Take out the drugs, sex.. Amsterdam is still a wonderful place.
Man, the train ride from Amsterdam to Cologne was really scarry. The guy seating in front of us got checked by security once we crossed over Germany… ah!!! Really lucky that we didn’t get checked. We arrived in Cologne, Germany yesterday. We will take a train to Essen tomorrow to attend one of the biggest electronic festival in Germany.. the Love Parade.. Then on Sunday I am heading to Berlin. My high school prom date Karin will be meeting me in Berlin (She moved back to Germany awhile back ago).
If you make it this far here’s my London & Amsterdam photos: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=2AbtXLNq1cMWFN&emid=sharshar&linkid=link3