Butchers should cut meat, not my hair

Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
Trip End Aug 03, 2008

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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I showered this morning, and on my way out, this Asian girl tells me that this was the women's dorm, and the women's shower.  "No, no - there's only a women's shower downstairs, and there are no other showers up here so this must be the guys shower.", I lectured.  Oops!  Turns out that there was also a men's shower downstairs, though I missed it.  Still, they really should put a sign up if it's the women's! 

Breakfast was ham, cheese, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.  The bun kicked ass, when warmed - very tasty, especially with the fresh-squeezed OJ.  I needed a haircut and killed some time until some places opened up.  It was a mistake - the guy butchered my hair!  It was way too short, and the cut accentuated the odd shape of my head!  My usual stylist does a good job of hiding it - today, it looked a lot like a pineapple, because he shaved the sides so that they tapered at the top, but left a brush cut that flared back outward.  People were actually staring at my hair today, because it was so bad.  I should've just shaved it bald again, like I had considered before leaving on the trip.   

He needed massive amounts of gel to call it down - I could probably stab and kill someone with my hair!  He did take a lot time cutting my hair, but I suspect that he kept making mistakes, and having to cut the hair shorter and shorter to fix it.  He actually did a good with the sideburns, actually using a straight blade to shave them and the back of my neck.  Too bad my neck was all red and inflamed for the rest of the day ...

At least it was a cheap haircut - I thought about paying an extra couple of Euros for a wash after, but didn't.  I probably would have if it was a beautiful Dutch girl cutting and washing my hair, but unfortunately, it was some dude from Krygistan :(

I checked out of the hostel - too bad, that receptionist from yesterday only works nights :(  I hoped that it would be a repeat of Kalmar, where an equally hot sister showed up for work the next day, but it wasn't meant to be.  I used some free internet at the TI before heading to the train station

It was a cold day today, so I wore some pants that hadn't fit in a while - after a few weeks of starvation in Scandinavia, they finally fit again!  I picked up some snacks for the train ride - water and some crappy cookies.  I thought they were covered in chocolate and chopped nuts, but it turned out to be big chunks of sugar, instead.  WAY too sweet! 

Today was a bad use of the railpass - I was late getting to the train station, and couldn't find the ticket office.  The automatic ticket machines in Holland don't take North American credit cards, so I just hopped onto the train and used the railpass - I didn't want to wait around an hour for the next one.  At most, this cost me an extra 5-10 Euros, but I just felt like moving on.

I was restless and had trouble sitting still on the train today.  It was actually a pretty quick ride to Amsterdam, but seemed much longer.  I was greeted by the unmistakable scent of weed as I stepped into the train station.  The train arrived late, so I didn't have enough time to grab lunch before my connection to Den Helder.  Instead, I bought a Snickers from a vending machine and pieced together a very unhealthy and crappy lunch of chocolate, those disgusting sugary chocolate biscuits, dried mango, and water

From the Den Helder train station, I needed to catch a bus to get to the ferry to the island of Texel.  Apparently the bus connections in this area suck, because the bus was 30 minutes late.  Some North American family complained to me about other late bus connections they have had over the last week.

Grabbed a crappy pastry on board the ferry - it was basically a flattened version of a sausage roll.  Definitely not gourmet, but definitely better than those crappy chocolate sugary biscuits I've been eating.  I was anxious to get to my final destination, and was initially happy that the ferry ride was only 20 minutes - but then I noticed the typically beautiful Dutch women on board, and wished that the ferry would last much longer ...

The ferry dropped us off at Het Horntje, from where I took a bus to Den Burg.  The driver told me that he would tell me where to get off for the hostel, but forgot - d'oh!  It wasn't a big deal in the end, because it only took me an extra 10 minutes to walk there.  

I dropped off my bag, slapped on some deodorant (it was a long, hot travel day) and went into town.  The people here are quite friendly - I paused to look at my map, and within five seconds, a local was asking if I needed directions.  Den Burg is a charming little town, but very quiet at this hour (6 PM or so), because all of the shops had closed up.

Dinner was at De 12 Backen Tavern - I insulted the waiter a little when I asked him to recommend me a good Belgian beer.  "Why??" he questioned me.  "Our Dutch Koning Honing honey beer is an award winner!!!"  Ok, ok - take it easy!  Your fellow countryman was told me not to bother with Dutch beers!  The waiter (and the rest of the staff) turned out to be quite friendly.    

His recommendation was good, the beer was nice and light, with zero aftertaste or bitterness.  The heavenly smell of grilled meats filled the tavern - the guidebook had recommended the ribs and I originally considered something else, but the sound of sizzling pork was calling to me.  

They offered two types of ribs - marinated, and smoked.  Having trouble deciding, I noticed they offered a half and half platter - perfect!  The guidebook suggested that the ribs could feed two, but that was stretching it a little.  It definitely was a little too much for one person, though.  So far the Let's Go guidebook has given good restaurant recommendations for Holland (such as last night's phenomenal satay chicken and peanut sauce) - I'm liking whoever wrote it.  I've found the Let's Go restaurant recommendations to be quite often crap.  

Sitting in a state of bloated culinary ecstasy after dinner, I started wondering about living in Holland.  There are good jobs here, being the HQ of Shell, and I have an "in" there.  The lifestyle is good ... there are lots of beautiful Dutch women, and more importantly, lots of Spanish tourists here ... hmmm ... food for thought ...

I waddled back to the hostel, and chatted with Rolf, an older German guy that was staying in the room.  Used to be a physicist, but is now a realtor, from the Essen area.  He's considering moving to Canada or the States, because his son loves Miami and want to go to university there.  I'm betting that it has something to do with the Latin women! 

Rolf offered to take me around the island on his scooter tomorrow, but I decided against it - I didn't want a repeat of that debacle in Kelowna with Khanh last summer, where people were laughing at two guys sharing a scooter!
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