Monday, January 24, 2011

De Train, De Train

Just a few thoughts on life in The Netherlands after my first day of research.
  • I found it amusing that the trains happen to be a big source of complaints in the Netherlands.  Apparently the rides are too smooth and too on time.  Of course, I have only a bit of experience, but if they only knew what the trains in North America were like, they would not be so quick to complain.
  • I am an idiot.  I left my camera in the room where I was doing the interviews, so I missed a chance to take some great pictures (pic to the right from the web).  Breda, where the Dutch Royal Defence Academy is located, is a very nice college town.  The historic prison does not look like a prison but more like a sports dome.  The academy is in the site of a very old fort, complete with its own replay of the Trojan horse tale.
  • Several of the people I interviewed were Dutch officers who had served in Afghanistan and then started to work on their dissertations.  Talk about serious fieldwork.  Indeed, these folks have some great data, some very interesting questions, and proved to provide a bunch of useful insights into the Dutch processes, dynamics and outcomes of their deployment in Afghanistan.  Good start to the week.
  • And, as always, imperialism rocks!  Ok, perhaps not, but it does mean that the food in many European cities is excellent because of its past.  Had some great rijsttafel--Indonesian food that is tapas-like with many small, tasty dishes.     

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