Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hedonism Amsterdam

Friday ~ 20 October 2006

The view of the midlands glanced by as the train made its way from Nottingham, Beeston, Loughborough, Leicester, Market Harborough, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, and finally Luton. A short change to Luton Parkway Airport began my journey to Amsterdam. Arrived safely and sound at Schiphol Airport Amsterdam at approximately 10 pm (9pm UK time) via Easy Jet. Warm sight of Pak Uda relieved me, chatting while on our way to his place in Amstelveen, about 15 minutes from the airport. Had a heavenly sleep while the rain rattling on the window, breezed by the wind from the sea which the level is about 4 metres above Pak Uda's house. That is why Holland is named after, in Dutch it means 'the land in a hole' surrounded by the ocean. That night, the insulate climate whispered the songs by Phil Collins, Enrique Iglesias and Whitney Houston, and Juanes.

Saturday ~ 21 October 2006

Morning. It was windy as my eyes staring fixedly towards the window from the attic, the yellow leaves painted the glass. Accompanied Pak Uda, Mak Uda, and graceful Grandmother to East Amsterdam, bought some meat and chicken at a turkish market. Had a conversation with Pak Uda regarding the current development of the Dutch companies like KLM, Skoda, and Philips. Been told that the former and latter have been taken over by the French and the Czech, the only remaining left is Philips. My train of thoughts arrived to a blur conclusion that the Dutch is concentrating on their agricultural advantage, perhaps. As the car drifted around the city, I noticed that canals form important landscapes around it as a means of natural drainage from the sea. Paid a visit to Bovenkerk Mall and Ajax Stadium soon after.

In the afternoon, made our way towards Zaanse Schans; the place of wind mills, clog (a symbol of regional origin for those who wore it in Holland in the 19th century) and cheese factories. Passed by Bazaar Turkey, a location where cheap goods including meat and households itinerary can be found, attracting tourists and the Dutch as well. A story of Van Gogh really captured my attention, where the film producer was stabbed ferociously by a Moroccan as a result from the former's stupidity and lack of respect in showing a scene of a naked Muslim girl with the Koran's words all over her body in one of his movies. The ignorance paid its toll, which occured during the heat of the cartoon publication in Denmark. As the sun lost its smile, I went back, smiling of the sight of a Dutch lady feeding the cows, behind her was a big wind mill.

Comprehension arrived as the night came by, as the only main attraction in Amsterdam is the Red Light District. Believe me, apart from Centraal Station (1882-1889), Amstel, Canal Houses, Prins Hendrikkade, Dam Square, National Monument, and Koninklijk Palais (Royal Palace 1648-1665). I just knew that ABN-AMRO is the Dutch Bank, which sponsored Ajax FC. In addition, Holland is just about the size of half of the Peninsular of Malaysia and it takes about 4 hours from the end of the south towards the north. That night, the tram rattled away from Sacharovlaan near Pak Uda's place towards Oranjebaan, the curtain raiser of my night walk with my cousin. Most of the passengers smelled green, all the way.

Fear rose everytime I was about to cross the road. There are ways for bicycles, trams, buses, cars, and motorcycles worsened by my failure to adopt the left hand drive policy in this country; they complicated my sense of direction ;p One interesting fact, every Dutch owns a bicycle (as the land is flat, cycling from one place to the other is such a pleasure), and every Dutch experiences the loss of it from bicycle thieves ;) There is a huge space for bicycles at the Centraal, it is very huge till I wonder how on earth one will know which one is his?

Red light district self-touring commenced beyond the red-glowed small pillars. Window shopping made me laughed. Live show made me laughed even more. Smokey bar made me laughed the worst in this capital of hedonism. Hedonism, to the extent the illegals became legal is the sole attraction of the city. Tour it for my general knowledge, for every country has its own differing policies and legislations. It rang my bell of curiosity on why the Dutch students do not go oversea for tertiary education and it was understood by the fact that the education is free in this country. From the baby was born, everything would be taken care of by the government including if one's inability to buy a buggy due to financial constraint the government would fund it, and the human-norm teaches us the words 'thankful' and 'appreciate', and the same goes to the Dutch people. The black aspect glided through, as once a Dutch turns 21 he shall live on his own away from his parents for self-independent, in my opinion it affects one's grey relationship with his family. Worse, old citizens shall stay on their own too in places provided by the government with the reason not to burden their children, which I arrived to the same conclusion as before. Family is the most important part in our life, I strongly believe.

Sunday 22 October 2006 ~

Two trips. One was cherishing the 400th celebration of Rembrandt, the Dutch artists at Rijksmuseum and the second was the trip to Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht. The former, as it was called The Masterpieces, witnessed the fact that never have the Netherlands been so wealthy and powerful in the 17th century, the Golden Age. In the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648) the Dutch expelled their Spanish rulers and established an independent state. It was not long before the Republic of the Seven United Provinces became one of Europe's leading nations. The country grew rich on trade and shipping, merchants amassed fortunes and art and culture flourished. The museum presents the beautiful dolls' houses, a wealth of silverware, the best delftware, the spectacular civic company pieces, and of course the public's favourites like the famous paintings by Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Vermeer and Rembrandt. Over 400 masterpieces are on show. In a nutshell, they give an impressive picture of the political, economic, and artistic miracle of the Dutch Golden Age.

I relished the study of literature during my secondary school at Prinsengracht, where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary in the secret annexe of the house. The Jewish families Frank, Van Pels, and Mr. Pfeffer hid in the secret annexe from July 1942 until August 1944. But there were many more Jewish Amsterdam residents who managed to find a place to hide. Some 25,000 Jews lived in hiding across the Netherlands during the war. One-third of them were arrested anyway - ofen after being betrayed - and then murdered. Near Prinsengracht there is Gay Monument at Keizersgracht. It commemorates the persecution of homosexuals across the centuries. The monument is made up of three pink triangles. The pink triangle was the distinguishing mark homosexual prisoners had to wear on their clothes in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. My Sunday night was a pleasure in having a waffle with Belgian chocolate at Australian Homemade in the city centre, flown away by the song Mr. Postman by The Carpenters.

Monday 23 October 2006 ~

Nasi impit.
Rendang ayam.
Rendang daging.
Pak Uda and family.
Abang Ar, my cousin who paid a visit as a break from his Euro Trip at the moment from Berlin.
The voice of Mak and Abah, the well being of Adik and Nurul.

They all explained the day. Enough said. Dot.

I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone , and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support - Anne Frank, 12 June 1942


Nads said...

Selama Hari Raya Ijad...
Maaf Zahir Batin...
Hope that you will be in God's grace where ever you are =)

Mohd Sharazad Saiful Bahri said...

Hey Nads..
Selamat Hari Raya to u too.
May the grace of God surrounds u too ;)

afas said...

syok nyer raya - eppy raya jad,aku continue keje ari ni.cmner celeb. raya kat cna?gnners draw ngan evrton.huarrrhh