Trip Start Oct 17, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Monday, December 4, 2006

I am convinced you are only aloud three days in Amsterdam before it becomes life-threatening.  Amsterdam challenges even the most open-minded, and refuses to let you out without a fight.  The addiction is not just in the drugs and permiscuity, but also in the canals and museums.  What is considered the foremost of backpacking meccas seems to be made to please.  However, I could not have wanted to leave sooner.
For some reason I find nothing appealing in the drug or sex culture (well, created culture pandering to tourists) of Amsterdam.  I visited the Rijks Museum to check out the masters (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals), and enjoyed these 17th century artists far more than I had expected.  In particular, Frans Hals, to me, is a genius- even more so than Rembrandt.  His bold strokes created movement on the canvas that I havent seen before (not that I have seen a heck of a lot of art) (nor am I knowledgeable of art- so forget that last sentence, I am just full of sh**).
The rest of my stint in Amsterdam was spent fruitlessly trying to get myself out of a self-inflicted pickle.  The kind of pickle that makes even the finest Chicago-style hotdog tast like hell.  This was one big stinking, rotting pickle.
I had my mother send my NEW debit card (the one in my wallet at the time had expired just days before (I tried to get a new one before I left, but also failed at that)) via Post Restente-a way of sending mail to a foreign post office that would be put on hold for you to pick up.  Kind of like your own PO box wherever you want.  With my diminishing luck the Netherlands postal service rejected the package, sending it back across the Atlantic and into my mailbox on ol' Eden Glen.  So, with no way of getting money out of my account, and ever decreasing reserves in my wallet, I attempted to find a way out.
Without much more detail:  I had my mother send the package to a friend I met 5 years ago when she was an exchange student at Carmel High School.  She lives in Berlin- not terribly far from Amsterdam, so I figured this would be a wise move.  I ended up receiving the package there with the card inside.  Now the issue is one of a PIN that was changed, and because I am in Denmark I have no way of finding what it was changed to.  A week later things are still unresolved-- try traveling without cash for a week.  Thatll humble you.
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