Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Amsterdam Amble: A Lazy Noordwijk Retreat

With the cool seaside breeze blowing around me, the sound of waves in the background; a beer in hand, and piping hot barbecued spare ribs in the other; I sat back in my chair, propped my feet up in another chair, and thought, "This is the life...".

I'm currently staying in a hotel at Noordwijk, a quaint little seaside town 45 minutes out of Amsterdam, and that was the exact moment when I realized how long it's been since I've actually had a REAL holiday. Oh, I don't mean holidays where I do nothing but stay at home - I mean a holiday in which I actually do sightseeing and traveling and doing nothing AT THE SAME TIME. But today changed all that. For the first time in ages, I'm enjoying a nice little holiday out of the country, away from news of arrested alleged sodomizers.

And the best part? The holiday has barely started, and I'm not even in Amsterdam yet.

Oh, I DID go there yesterday, for a couple of hours, with two other dudes who were with me on this trip. But it was more exasperating than relaxing, because those two don't seem to know how to travel on their own. I had to go around asking about tickets, buses and so on, while they stood around looking confused. Kinda reminded me why I like to travel alone most of the time.

You see, I don't travel very well with others. No, really. Ok fine, it depends very much on who I'm traveling with, but then most of the time, if I'm visiting somewhere new, I like to do it alone. That way I can just go out, walk around, and get lost without someone nagging me about whether they can go shopping now, or whether I'm lost.

Take yesterday, for example. It was our first day here, and we took the train to Amsterdam because well, we had a whole day to kill. The two dudes spent a whole hour of the four hours we had there searching for the local Hard Rock Cafe, just so they could buy a T-shirt that said 'Hard Rock CAfe, Amsterdam'. And they couldn't understand why I wanted so much to go look at some old Rembrandt etchings instead. No, I didn't follow them to Hard Rock, I split from them as soon as I could, mostly because I couldn't stand the complaining Chinese guy who refused to eat anything Dutch, and ate all his meals in McDonalds instead.

Anyway, Amsterdam on the first day was great, but I'll talk about it later. After all, I'll be doing a lot of looking around there over the next two days. Hehe.

Right now, I'm in Noordwijk, and it's been a very relaxing day so far (besides the two hours spent cooped up in a room with 7 other journalists and interviewing the voice of R2D2 and the guy who made some of my favorite Pixar movies, that is).

I'd just came back from cycling around the town (in which I had to keep remembering to cycle on the RIGHT side of the road), having checked out a sand sculpture competition (there was even a sand Wall-E there!), strolled about a beach-side street market (where I bought my BBQ spare ribs), got lost in some residential areas (I was looking for the cathedral I saw in the distance), done some typical Malaysian kepoh-ing at a car accident (there were lots of Dutch kepohs as well, ok?), and chasing ducks (don't ask) - all within two hours.

I know it's 3am in Malaysia right now, but it's only 9pm here and the sun hasn't even gone down fully yet. I've finished my BBQ spare ribs (yum yum yum), and my beer (Heineken tastes SO MUCH better here); and was 'inspired' to actually write something about it. Gee, I haven't written so much in a post since.... ages. I think. And no, I'm much too lazy to post any pictures. You want pictures? You're in the wrong blog, dude. Go read a blog from Innit or something.

Anyway, today's also the end of my free Internet here. Tomorrow onwards I'll be moving to a hostel in Amsterdam, where I doubt I'll get to go online. But who cares. For me, the holiday starts NOW! WOOHOO!!!!

PS: The Wall-E by the seaside in the last post was taken from the balcony of my room here in Noordwijk. Pretty cool view, huh? Now excuse me, I got a sunset to catch...

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