Friday, August 15, 2008

My European Trip 2 - Amsterdam

Amsterdam is not my first stop in the journey, but
My memory of Europe starts from Amsterdam.
---- Jennie

On the train from Cologne to Amsterdam, a tall and neat man sat across me. Two warmhearted smiles initiated a three-hour interesting talk. Like me, we both witnessed Cologne's craziness for the final tournament of Euro2008 the night before, a game between Germany and Spain. Our topic quickly spread out from football, his Euro2008 experience, to whatever ideas flipped through our minds such as Barack Obama ... All of a sudden, I asked him, "Can you tell me how to correctly use the three words: Netherlands, Holland and Dutch?" After explaining the difference of Netherlands and Holland, he continued, "Dutch refers to people. Like me, I am a Dutch." At that time another man sitting besides him followed, "I lived in Amsterdam, but was born in Cologne. So I cannot be called a Dutch. But I could be a double Dutch." We bursted out laughing!

"Double Dutch" means being completely incomprehensive or difficult to understand. It immediately reminds me of other jokes about "Dutch". The most well-known is "Go Dutch". Others include "Dutch uncle" (a person who gives unwelcome advice), "Dutch courage" (the reckless bravery caused by drinking too much), "Dutch wife" (you can google it, ^_*) and so on. Why do people like to make so much fun of Dutch? :)

The Dutch may be, indeed, different from other European people. You see, even for the tourism logo, they would not choose the Cléché "I Love XX", but rather "I amsterdam".


The Dutch say that God created the rest of the world but that they created the Netherlands. The country is, indeed, a feat of engineering,and since most of it is below sea level, vigorous pumping and a series of dikes have created thousands of square kilometers of land (including Amsterdam) that was once under water. The Holland is a country where freedom has come with responsibility and hard work. It is a country where the word "land" means something special valuable resource won from the sea. Amsterdam itself is 10 feet below sea level.

To the outside world, the enduring image of the Netherlands is of a land unremittingly flat, criss crossed by canals and dotted with windmills. Popular imagination conjures up pictures of clogs, cheese and swaths of brightly colored tulips. Then there is Amsterdam, the lively, lovely and evocative capital, seen by many as a slightly wicked city.

A scenery from the flower street.


Holland is a country of flowers. For this reason alone, I would love to live there. People who love flowers are apt to love life as well, aren't they? The Dutch, as I observed, are more likely to be optimistic. I have talked with several Dutch, about the global warming and its increasing impact on Holland. All of them confidently believe that there will be a solution before the situation gets worse. Good luck, the flower-loving Dutch!

Summer is not the tulip season. Without colorful tulip flowers, I instead saw various tulip seeds.


In nine months we would expect these little seeds to bring us another fabulous blossom, wouldn't we?

你从风车的国度来, 应该见过那位公主。
From the land of windmills, you should have seen that princess. / Flowers are crowns, leaves are swords, bulbs are gold. / Her blossom bestows happiness and love upon us. / In the halo of light, have you ever seen / her smiling face?
-- Anonymous (literally translated from the above)

Everywhere in Europe there are many lovely Cafés. Each one is unique in its style and table design. In Amsterdam, the most representative decoration would be ....? Clogs (Wooden shoes)!


A window painting in a Café.

Those who know Dutch, could you please kindly provide any translation? (I just got one, "Dearest, the real animals are with fur coats to make love! Lifelong. " )


More clogs.


Kids dancing with the street music.


Observing a child's expression is pretty enjoyable. In their faces there doesn't exist any lies.


Night sights of Amsterdam.


Photographed by Jennie Bai.

Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

stenote said...

Interesting non linear experience... keep-up the blogging... May I share a blog about Todaiji Temple in
Watch also the video in youtube