Thursday, March 13, 2008

Amsterdam - my new home

Have only been in the Netherlands a few days and already I’m feeling right at home! Flights were fantastic - saw some incredible icy scenery on my 1 hour lay over in Iceland (fun fact–total population is only 313,000 and over 75% live in the capital city, Reykjavik) and just a few short hours later I was gazing down at the lush greenery of my new home.
After collecting my 80 lbs of baggage I found my new boss, a Dubliner named Gerry. He took me to our offices in the World Trade Center, which are connected to the airport, where we met another co-worker, Atlanta Jim and had a nice chat about the work I would be doing. I learned that Eastern Europe will be my territory and that I am already traveling to one of my new cities, Budapest!!, next week. There was mention of me possibly handling Dubai and Cyprus – a tropical island country close to Greece. I’m jumping out of my skin with excitement….already this situation is working out to be beyond my wildest dreams.
A few hours later we called a taxi and a very friendly Dutch man, named Erik, in a sharp silver Mercedes arrived to take me to my home for the next few weeks --- NH City Centre Hotel on Spuistraat, just a few blocks from one of the main shopping streets (how perfect!!) and Dam square, the center of Amsterdam.
In my room I had a long, hot shower and fell into my bed for a 2 ½ hour nap. For dinner I met Atlanta Jim & Heather, another co-worker’s wife at an Indonesian restaurant where we had rijsttafel – a Dutch colonial adaptation of "rice table," 13 spicy mini-dishes such as chicken satay, sweet & sour cucumber, coconut salad, pork in peanut sauce, etc. and Dommelsch beers. Everything was delicious and the conversation with my new friends/urban family was enlightening…I have a lot to do to get fully settled in my new city, like buy a bike and learn all the rules of riding & parking it (you could end up fined if you ride without your nightlight or towed if parked illegally!), but I am very, very happy to be here!

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