24 February 2006

invisible country

So, here I am in Holland, but I haven't actually seen much of anything actually. Everyone's all "oo, foreign travel on an expense account, so exciting" but it's really not so amazing. I've been here since noon on Tuesday and all I can really say about Dutch culture and countryside is flat, they have great road signs, and apparently the croquettes are great. I've seen the inside of three offices but that's pretty much what you'd expect anywhere. Industrial carpet, neon lights, plate glass, and some lightly padded chairs, and you get the picture. Yeah, some different light switches and a bottle opener next to the toilet in my hotel room (can ANYONE explain this one?) but I have yet to see much of anything else. I went to dinner yesterday and my surprise 3-course meal ended up being cod with lobster sauce for the main dish. Why am I in Holland for this if I live in Codfish Land?

Sure, it's better than going to suburban Connecticut (my last business trip destination in my former job) and I understand more Dutch than I expected, but at the end of a day of intense discussion, the last thing I want is mysterious words and an anonymous bed. I have always been in new countries for the experience of being in new countries, so all my energy is focused on the experience, but now I have no energy left for that. I hope that my bonus day in Amsterdam will be enough time for me to learn something about this place, so if someone asks me, "and how do you like Holland?", I'll be able to have more to say than, "lots of bikes."

Ship sighting: Believe it or not, I DID see a boat today! There's a canal behind the hospital I was at a meeting today, and there's a gravel works (I think that's what it was) on the other side of the water. They had some kind of gravel-transport boat tied up there. I think of water and rivers as an untamable wildness so it was weird to see this perfectly straight, calm channel of water there at the end of the street just like any other road. I was there yesterday and I hadn't even noticed that the street we parked on ended in the water. That's almost cool enough to make up for the eerie flatness of this place.

2 comments:

carmen said...

Yeah, some different light switches

are they also upside down, like in Iceland?

and a bottle opener next to the toilet in my hotel room (can ANYONE explain this one?)

more comfortable than a corkscrew?

ECS said...

The light switches are the same in Iceland as here- the big square ones that I guess are upside-down. Basically, the only difference between the meetings I had in the States and the meetings I just had was the switches were different. And lots more coffee of a higher quality was consumed.

I don't think I want to think about that last comment of yours too hard... it might make me wince!