Saturday, May 23, 2015

Amsterdam, Day 3: Holy Crowds, Batman

The conference is over so I switched hotels to be closer to the center of the city.... which means that going anywhere today meant navigating through swarms of people.  It might not always be like that on this holiday weekend (not Memorial Day but Monday is a public service holiday) but it was even more so with a major protest--of the trade agreement Europe is negotiating with the US.

Besides dodging the crowds, what else did I learn?
  • I had Tibetan food for the first time.   Very tasty.  One of my tourism rules is to eat what I cannot get back home, which usually means eating a heap of Indonesian food while in the Netherlands.  I have already engaged in some of that, but I found a Tibetan place as I walked all over.
  • Seems to be a day for bachelorette and bachelor parties.  Otherwise, folks are wearing matching shirts/hats/whatevers for no apparent reason. 
  • I think riding a bike here would be more dangerous than driving the narrow roads of the Scottish highlands in a big SUV---just too much traffic, too little rule following.
  • The new project is off to a good start.  The Dave & Phil & Steve effort kicked off with two papers (Dave on US/UK, Phil and I on Canada) that received much insightful commentary from the participants at this conference.  And this morning, Dave and I chatted about the next steps.  
  • Last night I learned not to travel with Dave or with Juliet Kaarbo (American ex-pat at U of Edinburgh), who also participated in the workshop.  The stories of strangest foreign travel they exchanged made my trip to Kabul and Kandahar in 2007 appear to be devoid of risk and adventure.  
  • And as always, I love my job.  Such great opportunities not just to travel but to learn and engage with sharp people.

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