Last Full Day In Rotterdam

Trip Start Jul 16, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Netherlands  , Zuid-Holland,
Saturday, July 26, 2008

A familiar face. I first met Adjive at the IJK in Hanoi. Here at the UK with his girl-friend, who's name I can't quite spell... Aoue maybe... I hope he writes in to correct me.

A last pic of Bazar, one of the cool pub/restaurants in the district.

I started the day by buying 8 pens. Including one for 33 Euros. All Lamy's which are pretty hard to find in Australia nowadays. On the other hand I write all day on a computer and I carry a pocket pc around with me if I need to write away from my computer. But I'm sure these pen companies only stay in business because of the tradition of using a nice pen... no-one really uses one that much.

I also did (finally!) some research on the next part of my trip. Seems there is a bus from Rotterdam to Vienna, as well as a train. They're both about 18 hours although the train makes it to Szombathely in that time. Trouble is I've left it so late that there's no longer a cheap train option. The last minute fare is about 260 Euros... compared with 95 Euros on the bus. According to the bus website there are no seats left on tomorrow's bus but luckily the website wouldn't accept my credit card so I rang Amsterdam and indeed there are still a few seats left and the fare by ringing up was 10 Euros cheaper. A nice bonus.

As I got to the station they were already promoting the carnaval. Weirdly enough, when I was at the train station, there was a woman there with the usual Esperantist congress badge around the neck, and she was confused about when it was her turn so I explained it to her in Esperanto... and she replied in English! Then I asked in Esperanto whether she spoke Esperanto and she again replied - in English. Bloody weird. It seems they think that Esperanto only exists within the conference area. And the only Esperantists are ones that wear the badge of the congress. Imagine if I'd been just a local that happened to speak Esperanto... I'd be most discouraged by all that. They've certainly got the wrong attitude.

In the afternoon the Germans and I decided we'd have to check out the inside of the cube houses. We read that one of them is a display house so we had to have a look.
Hehe, even the signs have the same cube theme.
Inside they are indeed quite interesting. One of the Germans remarked that you'd want to wear a helmet inside all day as there are sharp edges all over the place.
Plus all the windows on the top floor (they have three storeys) would make them very good for growing tomatoes inside.

We stopped off for yet another beer before heading back to Esperantoland. This was a great spot by the water in the inner harbour...

A regular occurrence nowadays at the UK is the auction - an auction of Esperanto memorabilia the proceeds of which go to, I think, the Esperanto cause. It's actually quite a major event as the auctioneer is Humphry Tonkins, a well-known Esperantist with a reasonably good sense of humour, so it gets quite a crowd. I decided it might be nice if I donated one of our mi longe penis t-shirts. It ended up being the last item on auction and got a few laughs and was bid up from 10 Euros to 25 Euros. Nice!

The final event of the day was the internacio vespero which is I suppose, basically a display of talent from the various people at the congress. I missed some of it but I wasn't that impressed and what can you expect when the talent pool is only about 1700 people. Well, on the other hand I suspect I could come up with something pretty good just from our handful of Esperantists in Hobart. I think their talent scout needs to be a bit more rigourous in weeding out people. Really, I hate to be mean about this and I really admire the people that do get up there... but some go for a bit too long and I suspect that there are many that should be up there but either they don't try to get in or the talent scout gets things completely wrong and doesn't know what people like. Or perhaps I've been going to this event with the wrong attitude.

As we left the internacio vespero we walked into the start of the carnaval in Rotterdam, which by coincidence just happened to be in the street of the conference centre.

The whole street was blocked off with a huge stage at one end. The street was absolutely packed with people. It's obviously some sort of South American carnaval as all the music from the stage had a Caribbean feel and in fact, of the people on the street, we estimated that at most 5% were white. That's not to say there weren't many people there. The fact is though that Rotterdam has a huge black population.

Judging from the fact that the food on sale at the street stalls had Papiamento names and I was able to buy a Surinaam t-shirt, I'd have to presume that the black population comes from the Netherlands Antilles and Surinaam. The food was great despite having to eat standing up at the stall. It was pork with potatoes and an interesting sauce... and there was a really interesting pot of onions that one could add to the food. The onions seemed to be marinated in chilli. They looked quite normal but they had a real kick to them.
This was one of the bands parading about early on. Later on it was nothing like this as it was wall-to-wall people.

It was excellent and nice and unusual but... probably not so ideal for the last day of the UK as I can well imagine people leaving the congress centre thinking they'd meet up with some friends for some farewell drinks... but they would have been just swallowed up in the crowd.
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