Amsterdam, The Second Part.
Due to the many pictures that I will be using to illustrate this post about Amsterdam, I am splitting the post. This is Part 6b, the final post.
This is Wim, our local guide in Amsterdam. Beside his native Dutch, he speaks German, English, French and a few other languages fluently. Wim is full of knowledge with information at his finger tips. Above all he is very witty and most jokes were about himself and he certainly knows how to take care of the sensitivities of others especially the German driver. If the driver was a Dutch, the German would have been the butt of his jokes. Wim is divorced from his wife and lives in the same block of flat with his ex wife. He said that often made his wife jealous and angry whenever he brought his girlfriend to his home. He considers himself poor and made use of the many loopholes in the system to enjoy a comfortable life. Earlier he gave us a younger age but at the end of the tour he owned up to the lie and announced his actual age. POTO Travel certainly employed the best guide for the Amsterdam tour. His only mistake was when he went to the wrong Artemis Hotel in the city and not the Artemis Hotel which was in the outskirt of town where we stayed. Anyway Wim caught up with us at the diamond factory. At the factory Wim managed to pick up the brains of a few of us to determine our basic profile to prepare himself on how best to handle our group. That is a professioanl guide for you.
After having lunch of half a chicken shared with my other half at a Turkish restaurant in the shopping area of Amsterdam, we boarded the bus heading for Zaanse Schans, in the north province of Holland. This place has a number of well preserved historic windmills and houses.
We were scheduled to be taken to mosque in Holland and Wim did manage to arrange with the official of a mosque for our impending arrival. Due to poor time management, the visit to the mosque was cancelled. Somehow along the way we spotted a mosque almost hidden by trees surrounding it.The entrance fee to the village was included in the package so we didn't have to pay it ourselves. At the entrance, two photographers were at the ready to photograph us individually. Our photographs will be mounted on a card with pictures of the village and would make great mementos at Euro 10 per pic.
Pak Zawi chose to shoot the photographer instead.
The sight of a small boy in an extremely large clog being photgraphed by his mother caught my sight.
This pretty lass was being photographed in an even bigger clog.
In the woodenshoe workshop, the group was given a briefing on how a wooden shoe is made.
This shoemaker showed us how a shoe is made with his machines. Oakwood was used for making the wooden shoes.
The traditional way was done using this gadget to slice off a small piece of a block of wood in this large 'kacip' like contrapton. It was a tedious excercise and machines were later invented to hasten the process to just a few minutes based on a ready mould.
Even chiseling the inside of the shoe is done automatically and the workmen even had time to make phonecalls. Similar routine were performed for other groups including the phonecalls. Now I know the phone isn't even connected as it was just a dummy.
The finished products on display.
An intricately carved pair of shoes.
This one is even more unique. It could serve as a weapon much worse than the stilletos.
Next we moved off to the cheese making factories.
This girl demonstrated on how a ball of hard cheese is made into slices ready for cooking. Later we were offered to bu the cheese with the slicer included. Can we generalise that most cheese lovers are overweight?
All the cheese you will ever want.
The windmill is of course the main item to see. Windmills in its traditional form is used to generate the power through it's system of gears to pump water froma lower elevation to a higher one. This is how farmlands were kept above water level otherwise it will be flooded. Another main use is as a grinder to grind grains. We had to pay extra to visit the inside of a windmill.
We were in Netherland! The windmill is the proof.
This is a typical Dutch house.
While walking around we saw these two birds flying.
As if on cue, they landed in the canal quite close to us. They are wild ducks!
Floating houses quite similar to the 'rumah rakit' along the river bank of Kota Bharu. The only difference is the 'rumah rakit' in Kota Bharu sits on bundles of bamboo poles which needed to be replaced after a few years. Later plastic drums were used instead. Another difference is the raft houses in Hollands are not exposed to the vagaries of bad weather whereas in Malaysia, the water level will rise several meters during the monsoon and even the best ropes used to tether the 'rumah rakit' may snap or the anchor points maybe uprooted sending the houses adrift towards the river estuaries.
We were on the bus again moving towards Vollendam, a fishing village along the lakes formed when the dikes were constructed.
We saw a new house being constructed and was really amazed to see the amount of insulation required to keep the houses warm during the winter. The roofs were highly raked to allow the snow to fall off during winter.
Even the smallest of space was used to plant pretty colourfull flowers for landscape.
A seemingly sophisticated bike.
The statue of the Dutch lady made Fatthiah looked very slim in comparison.
The beauty of the lakeside with the fishing vessels berthed along the jetty.
One for the album infront of this giftshop by the name of Keko.
The shopowner (assumed to be one) is a friendly lady who entertained many of our requests including a discount. We found the merchandize on sale here to be much cheaper than in Amsterdam and the quality was better.
When we reached home, we found that this was one of the things she regretted for not buying, the wooden tulips. Ladies, don't make the same mistake as my other half did.
Another one for the album.
On the way back to the hotel we had to pass through the city of Amsterdam again. We saw this sculpture.
A stop at Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam was a must as somebody among us had to buy a T Shirt at all the outlets of the Cafe. I bet she missed the one in Manama, Bahrain when we first stopped enroute to Europe.
The Holland Casino is just nearby to Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam. Don't miss it if you think you are lucky enough that you can recoup all your travelling expenses by having a binge at the casino.
Since I wasn't interested in any Hard Rock Cafe merchandise, I was left free to do my own things.
A lovey dovey couple passed by.
This young lady had to wait for her friends whose bike decided to drop off its chain that drives the whhel's sprocket.Here the friend had to catch up and was amused when I took a shot of her.
We returned to our hotel.
There was no adult movie on our TV at the hotel. It was not that they were not available but we had to pay for it. It would be our last night in Amsterdam.
The sun rose early in Amsterdam. Well it was around 4.22 am that the sun rises. Subuh was at 2.17 AM. I rose early to catch the rising sun.
This is how the hotel looks at the beginning of daybreak. This hotel is in a new neighbourhood. Among others in the neighbourhood is IBM Holland and Price Waterhouse Coopers. PWC should be on every body's lips now as it is involved in the audit of the PKF scandal that is going to cost the people of Malaysia a big fortune and at the same time make some people very rich.
Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Just to let you see how nice is the inside of the hotel compared to the ones we had in Luscerne, Switzerland and Classic Hotel of Paris.
This stork waited for me to get ths close before flying off to the other side of the pool. How cheeky.
This is Francisco from Nicaragua. He is a very friendly waiter at the hotel and we struck up our friendship at first sight.
Time to hit the road again. This time we were headed for Brussels, Belgium.
The ladies were ready on the bus.
New buildings at the outskirt of Amsterdam. Above is Hotel Holiday Inn.
The rural landscape of cows and pastures.
This tunnel reminds me of the tunnel in Paris when Eddy the driver mentioned that was where Princess Diana and her lover died in an accident trying to run away from the papparazi.
We saw these magazines again at another pee stop on the way to Brussels. This is what I regretted most for not buying them while I had the opportunity. The customs in KLIA didn't even bother to ask me to stop for inspection. I could have brought in a couple of them, the extras could be given to my friends in Malaysia.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Amsterdam, The Second Part.