Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt
cpratt

Amsterdam, a bad town for jet lag

Oh my. Well, I first woke up at 3 am; the bars here close then, and that's when the other guests seem to slog it home from the Warmoestraat. At times like that I wish that soft-soled tennis shoes were considered as masculine as hard-soled leather boots... but anyhow. I spent the next few hours sleeping on and off (OK, mostly off) and watching horrible late-night TV (at 5 AM it's mostly phone sex and Ginsu knife ads and nothing but, yeccch).

Amsterdam is a terrible town to be jet lagged in. Nothing here opens early; nothing gets started until very late. The "24 hour" Internet cafes don't even start serving coffee until 7 AM, which is of course absolutely useless. The streets are empty save for a few stoned teenagers who are probably taking the train back home to Bochum or wherever; they're harmless, save to themselves (platform shoes like those will eventually cause injury, I fear).

So... I have to kill ninety minutes until my brekkie is ready back at the hotel, and I can't even get a cup of coffee. Yay. This is always the least pleasant part of a European vacation; it's nine hours' difference from California, and it takes a few days to get used to the change. Typically, you wake up in the middle of the night, spend the rest of the night trying to get back to sleep... only to almost fall asleep over breakfast. You spend the day in a daze, trying to be alert enough to keep your wallet, and once the afternoon siesta rolls around, you find yourself passed out in the hotel room again, missing the loveliest part of the day buried under the duvet. When you awaken, you rush out only to find that the cultural attractions have closed, and the restaurants haven't opened. (At least they do serve coffee around 5 PM.)

So, this is what I'm doing. Waiting. Yawn. I thought I had left my job to stop waiting around for Things To Happen, but I suppose it's just something you have to put up with. Checking in at SFO, I was the first person in the "business class" line, and it took twenty-five minutes to get a free agent. (The entire economy class line had turned over twice in the meantime.) Landing at Schiphol, it took another twenty minutes to get the baggage, and twenty minutes' wait at the luggage depot for the Serbs in front of me to deposit eight enormous duffel bags. Finally, another twenty minutes waiting for an agent at the railway station - the elderly German woman in front of me in line had apparently joined the wrong queue, and spent twenty minutes trying to get information about how to get to some obscure village out on the Lueneburg heath. Ah well.
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