Posts Tagged ‘ birthday ’

Amsterdam catch up

Last Monday started with a call on my Dutch mobile phone, and talking to a guy who I can’t understand anymore.  He spoke in Dutch, I tried and failed to understand then said stuff back to him in French.  He sounded a little confused.  Eventually we agreed to talk English and he told me that they were going to change the windows in my Amsterdam apartment 2 days later on Wednesday!

My landlord and I had been expecting new double glazed windows to be installed, but I’m in Paris and he lives in Slovakia so getting back to Amsterdam on 2 days notice was a little difficult.  Also this was the first phone call that we’d had about it, as they’d sent letters to the apartment but of course no one had read them.  A few phonecalls later my landlord decided that he’d have to fly back from Bratislava as I wouldn’t be able to get the time off work at such short notice.

So when I made it back to Amsterdam on Thursday night, the day the installation was finished, I had nice new windows and the noticeable smell of sealant.  A nice surprise was also that the apartment was much cleaner than I had left it, as all my stuff needed to be moved and the fitters made a huge mess, so my landlord had spent all his spare time cleaning.

I’ve liked going back to the Dutch office while I’ve been working in Paris.  I normally go back for 3 days every 6 weeks, Friday in the office and the weekend to catch up on friends, post and other things that I need to do in the city.  The days at the office are mostly days of catchup meetings and chatting to people, and this day was no different so it was pretty relaxing.  Just to let people know that I’m still alive.

I spent Friday night seeing The Social Network at the cinema, and before the film started I was a little apprehensive mostly because of the trailers.  Usually when I see a film the trailers are for similar types of films, go see an action film and you’ll see action film trailers, horror films have horror film trailers, etc.  Before the film started they had quite a few action film trailers as well as a romance I think and a couple of other genres, so I was a little confused by the time the intro started as I was fairly sure that it was supposed to be a based-on-a-true-story drama.

The film was OK for me. Not bad and not great. I think it’s the first mainstream popular film that I’ve seen that had proper geeky bits.  Hackers had lots more but only laughably bad ones and Sci-Fi films have lots of course, but I generally don’t go out of my way to see films with computery subjects.

I had a really busy Saturday which included taking my camera back to the shop to get it repaired.  I don’t honestly think that Nikon will repair the problem (I’ve got some pixels that show up as red/blue/green instead of the correct colour on my DSLR), but gotta try!

So now I’ve got my dad’s old camera that I don’t feel so comfortable with, but I guess it’s better than nothing.  A friend’s asked me to take pictures for her in 4 weeks from now so hopefully I have my camera back, repaired or not, before that.

When I’m back in Amsterdam, my Dutch generally improves through the weekend, and I can understand more on Sunday afternoon than Friday morning.  My speaking doesn’t really improve much though, and I think it’s something that I may have lost for good.  On the flip side, my French is OK now but as soon as I move back to Amsterdam I’m going to forget that instead, so I need to find a way to keep practising.

Last stop on Saturday was in Haarlem for a 30th birthday which was really good.  Good to see people that I don’t meet often enough and share a few beers, as well as being well fed!  We were enjoying ourselves so much that I decided to miss the last train that would get me back to my local station, figuring that I’d find an alternate way back later.  My friend Laura and I decided to catch the last train back to Amsterdam Centraal then I’d make my way home from there.  We actually got the time of the last train wrong so ended up half running and half jogging through Haarlem at 1:30am and made the train with a few minutes to spare.

So when we got to Amsterdam I found that I’d just missed a night bus and decided to walk home, which would normally take around an hour.  I mostly avoided the other drunk people in the city except when I got to Burger King on Leidseplein and felt hungry.  Inside there was a mass of people that had just come out of the bars and clubs.  They were all pretty good natured but it looked like total chaos.

After taking a detour to my local station to collect my bike I eventually made it home at around 3am.  I woke up at 10:30 later that morning, so I was a little tired on Sunday and didn’t get up to much apart from buying some overpriced English language photography magazines.

Just before I got on the Thalys back to Paris I grabbed some dinner at the station which I think set off the food poisoning that knocked all the energy out of me for most of this week.  So a bad ending but the rest of my time in Amsterdam was pretty good.