Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt
cpratt

Even geduld a.u.b.

Every time I've been to the Netherlands, I've either been unable to swing a visit to the Boijmans-van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, or else it's been closed for renovations. Today, I finally made it, only to be told by the helpful coatroom attedant as I walked it that didn't I know that they only had a few rooms open just now? Sigh. We chatted for a while after I took my quick look around the museum, and she further explained that more would open with the Bosch exhibition in September, and that most of it would be back on display in late 2003. "You just have to be patient!" she said.

In any case, after she took my jacket and backpack, I went upstairs to see what they had... and it wasn't much at all. There were some 19th century landscapes. A totally ordinary Mondrian (small). An incredibly ugly van Gogh (it looked like it was commissioned by a wealthy individual, and judging by the quality of the work, it's no small wonder the guy died poor - if that's the quality you received if you paid him to paint your portrait, you wouldn't exactly be clamoring for any new works by the guy). What a disappointment.

The most interesting thing about the museum was the toilet, and I didn't even go in to take a leak. Because very little of the museum was actually open, they'd constructed a sort of temporary building that attached to an emergency exit door; it was covered in camo and had an amorphous quality that is shared by the weird 70s earth house near the rest stop on I-280 just south of San Francisco. Judging by the inside, it was all in a weird 1950s mental hospital green with curvy surfaces; I really should have gone in past the vestibule, but hey, I really didn't have to take a leak.

Upon leaving the museum, I walked around outside for a bit - they were putting up tents and booths for some kind of summer festival, probably something to do with Rotterdam being a European city of culture for 2001. Most of the signs were being spray-painted in situ by a very Dutch looking young man - frankly, this is one country that could stand to benefit from a spray paint can ban, but it appears to be part of the national culture. Even in tiny Frisian villages near Groningen, everything that wasn't porous was at least partially covered in spray paint. Yeeeesh.

In any case, I eventually wound up along the Nieuwe Maas, the shipping channel of sorts, and thought it would be a good idea to take a tour of the Rotterdam harbor, which is, I believe, the largest in the world. The cruise was pleasant enough, although nothing terrifically special; I've seen container terminals before (in Auckland and Oakland), and these were, well, just bigger, is all.

Afterwards, it was a long walk back to the train station (via those weird cube apartments); a couple of hours later, I was walking to the Zaanse Schans, which was decidedly lame (heck, Disney has done this kind of thing better before, and that Japanese amusement park... can't remember what it's called, but the fake Dutch village park, has GOT to be better than this was). Bought a large jar of freshly ground mustard for less than a dollar, and walked back to the train station via a mammoth detour through what appeared to be an average middle class neighborhood, which was much more interesting than the park itself. I'd rather see real people's living rooms than an old windmill any day.

However, the biggest problem with visiting the ZS was that there is a huge Archer Daniels Midland cacao processing plant just outside the train station. Oh my. I have no idea how the locals can put up with the smell! I suppose it was like walking through a chocolate factory - the smell was intensely chocolate, and altogether wonderful. Thankfully there wasn't anywhere to buy the product nearby, or else I most likely would have had my way with a nice bar of dark chocolate. Mmmmmmmmm.

Back in Amsterdam, I realized that I hadn't fallen asleep yet, which was wonderful! Hopefully this means I will be over my jet lag shortly. Right now, it's almost time for me to head back home to watch some TV and go to sleep.
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