Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Netherlands....Again

At this stage of my life, it would seem prudent to go to as many different countries as possible before my back refuses to let me go on a plane for 10+ hours.  But that does not take into account the human is more fun to visit people than places.  I realized that a few years ago in Paris...I was there for the people, Paris itself was incidental.

So...back to the Netherlands.

This time I made an amazing discovery.  Who would think that, in the summer, in a country that is below sea level and filled with stagnant scum covered canals, that there would be mosquitos?  Add that to my list of stupid lessons learned.

Of yes, I was supposed to talk about people.  Well, I got to see Stephan again, and his parents, and his little sister, who is now 4.  And I met his girlfriend, and his girlfriend's parents.  So I met a bunch of neat people.

And they wanted me to have a true experience of the Netherlands, so they took me to Madurodam. This is a place with replicas of important Dutch buildings, like palaces, canals (complete with tour boats that are barely larger than the carp swimming in the canals), and the Mars candy factory (which will deliver a small candy bar for the cots of 10 cents) and Schiphol airport.  (Which is pronounced Skip pole, not Ship pole.)  Well, here is the building nicknamed the "Cookie Jar," and its replica, followed by a palace in Den Haag.

The coolest part, I think, was replicas of the storm control devices on the North Sea.  One of them you can operate yourself.  There are two types of people there...those that wanted to protect the cities and villages of the Netherlands from the storm surge, and those that wanted to see just how much flooding the villages could take.  (Fortunately, most of the Dutch were not of the latter type.)

Oh, and tulips are big in the Netherlands.

And here they are together.  Aren't they cute???

OK, so this post was about Buildings and what not, but it wouldn't have been so much fun without them!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Obligatory Travel First Post: Toilet Humor

Unfortunately, this time I did not encounter any interesting toilet signs.  I did, however, get away from where English-speaking tourists regularly go and encountered this choice:

Any guesses?

The top is men, the bottom women.

By mutilating the pronunciation of the bottom, which is kind of zjeny, but with a soft j, I got "Jenny."  I also got some raised eyebrows and a snort of exasperation.  But mutilating the pronunciation of foreign words is what we are good at here in the U. S. of A.  At least I did not change the meaning, which is also one of our talents.

Pension (or sometimes Penzion) means hotel.  SOKOL is the name of the hotel, and means "falcon."  I warn you though, I used Google Translate for this, and it gave me "economy" when it should have given me "lord," and "jerk" when it should have given me "sing."  So trust me at your own risk. (You can trust me that muzi is men and zeny is women, because I was talking to actual Czech speakers who are also competent in English)

Inside, I encountered my first pull string toilet.

How to flush this toilet is obvious.  Just pull the string, right?  Well, you have to pull the string for a second or two, or flushing is...incomplete.  Some people at camp must have been in a hurry.

Also, if you pull the string too hard, it can break.

Ask me how I know this.

And I should probably warn you:  do no use the public toilets in the main square of Cesky Krumlov.  You are better off holding it.