August 13th, 2001

Atacama

More rain!

To make a very long story short - this is necessary because I'm almost out of time on my easyInternet subscription - I spent all day Sunday in the Hoge Veluwe national park. It was easily the best day of this trip so far. Sure, it was cool and rainy - in fact, it never stopped raining while I was there - but it was a wonderful day. I finally got to see the Kroeller-Mueller museum, spent time chatting with a Japanese artist who had put together an exhibition there, and spent the rest of the day walking through the sculpture gardens and forest, followed by a lengthy bike ride up to the hunting lodge and back. Wheeee! It was wonderful, even if my clothes still haven't dried out again. I wish I'd gone earlier, or even spent a couple of days there. It was much more interesting than the city, and the art at the museum was great - some very cool Mondriaans, decent van Goghs, and a Brancusi thingy I wish I'd seen before - it was exceptional.

Today, I've just spent the morning in the Tropenmuseum, which was just fine. I especially enjoyed a slide show on the nomads of Central Asia, complete with pictures of goofy socialist buildings in downtown Almaty. This has fueled my desire to get on the road to the Caucasus - hopefully, some of Tbilisi and Yerevan will be equally wacky. I'm a real sucker for huge mosaics and murals of strong, healthy tractor-driving women holding one fist up towards the giant star floating over the wheat fields of Ukraine (or wherever). Call me silly, but it's a shame that so much of the socialist legacy was destroyed so quickly. I'll even go so far as to suggest that at some point in the future, people will realize that there was some value in all of that kitschy artwork, and suddenly folks will try to restore bad propaganda paintings from the 1970s instead of just tearing it all down. The House of Mao restaurant in Singapore was probably ahead of its time though - I think it's already been closed down for good. :(

Not much more to do today! I'll probably check out the Heineken brewery museum, or maybe watch a movie. I'm kind of museumed out at this point and I'm starting to look forward to seeing my family in London. I'll get up early tomorrow morning and head out to Schiphol - hopefully I'll get to take advantage of the business class lounge again. I should be in London by early afternoon, and hopefully at home with the parents by suppertime.

I'll try to remember to flesh all of this out later - I know this is too short, but hey, I'm down to less than $1 on the meter and I have to go. Bye!