Arrival in Rotterdam

Trip Start Jul 16, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Friday, July 18, 2008

I got so engrossed listening to some overbearing New Yorker mother (woman in the foreground of the pic) terrorise her husband and son 'don't do that', 'no we're not taking the train... I'm not going to shlep the luggage for ten minutes'... that I didn't even notice my fellow arrivals from Helsinki all get their luggage and leave. So there I am wandering around trying to report my missing bag when I realise that the last bag on the carousel.. is actually mine. How embarrassing. Luckily my mother always ties blue string on the handle to make it easier to recognise - otherise I'd never have realised.
After all that I managed to get to the train station just as my train was pulling in - perfect timing.

In Rotterdam I took a taxi to my hotel and was rather amazed at the $11 flagfall! Luckily it was still on $11 when I got to the hotel. Not sure if they're all like that or whether it was something dodgy.

Checked in and went for a wander. I managed to find a pretty interesting street with lots of cozy bars. Well actually there are interesting bars all over the place but when you're by yourself it can be a bit daunting if they're too packed - and this was Friday night...

Finally found one with a good spot for me and before long a group of workmates sat at my table through lack of space anywhere else. They were all speaking in German so I thought they were tourists but it turns out they were all architects and live in Rotterdam. More surprising was that one of them was Irish and one Romanian - who says that everything reduces to English?

One of them told a great story of going to the station to pick up a friend from England. The friend was already waiting but he'd been hassled by a beggar. First the beggar had tried Dutch, then English and when the friend was so shocked by the beggar's perfect pronunciation and grammar that he couldn't speak, the beggar tried French and German as well. In the end the English bloke said, 'You're the one that can speak four languages and me just one, I think you should be able to give me a hand-out.'

Anyway, an extremely interesting group and it wasn't until two in the morning that the pub closed and we went our separate ways.

On the way home (lost as usual), I found a great Turkish food joint. Some of the best food I've ever had.
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