Ice on the Singel

Living here on the water has its similarities to living on the Buzzards Bay back in Masaschusetts. Although the body of water out our window, the Singel, is much smaller, it is ever-changing. The morning of 29 Jan. 2006 was the kind of snap cold that you feel as soon as you step outside. The fresh smell in the air, the sun out, the scent of a potential for snow (…which we didn’t get). At any rate, the closest we’ve come this year to skating on the canals is to watch the ever present ducks slide on the ice. Here are some shots of what we saw out our window this brisk morning-

Dusseldorf Trip

This week I was invited to a dinner at the Dusseldorf Boat Show. Photos from my first trip from our new home are here.

Upon investigating it I learned that the ICE Train gets there from Amsterdam in just two hours. This train is what the Amtrak Acela aspires to be. Roundtrip in first class was only 90 EUROS, which is much cheaper than the Providence to NYC Acela, with….much better service. I took a short movie as we accelerated to approximately 175 MPH, which, even with the relatively low quality video, gives you a feel of the sensation- click here to check it out.

The dinner was hosted by Royal Huisman Shipyard and premiered the new film documenting the creation of Jim Clark’s new yacht “Athena.” The RHS people, as always, were extremely gracious and friendly.

Stepping into the Central Station in Dusseldorf put me in a completely different world than that of Amsterdam. The Netherlands has much more of a loose, albeit very organized feel. I avoided taxis and took the Dusseldorf Tram to the hotel; German trams being another major difference from Amsterdam’s. The Dusseldorf tram accelerates to about 70 MPH in several seconds, whereas the Amsterdam tram flows along at a measured laid-back pace.  Kind of a metaphor for the two countries.
The show, Boot Dusseldorf, is the largest boat show in the world. Having done technology trade shows with our companies in every major venue in the US I arrived as fairly knowledgable about large shows. Nothing in the states, not even Las Vegas, compares to the Dusseldorf facility. It is just plain gigantic. The facility is about the size of all of downtown Providence, with a series of giant buildings interconnected with “tubes” with people movers, similar to a large airport-

Quite an enjoyable two days !

ISA (school)

I am having a really fun time here in Amsterdam. I love my school, the International School Of Amsterdam. I have so many friends there. The school’s in Amstelveen, the suburbs of Amsterdam. I have to take the tram to school, it takes 35 minutes on a good day. I have to get up at 6:30, then at 7:15, we have to leave the house. It’s a 5 minute walk from our house to the Spui tram stop. From there, we take the No.5 to WTC(World Trade Center), then the No.51 to Sportlaan, which is the stop right outside my school. ISA is really big and it’s all carpeted and red and there’s red bricks outside(I thunk red’s the school color).

Our playground is really cool looking. There’s these things stuck into the ground that you spin around on and play this game that we call switch. then there’s a big plastic circle that’s off of the ground that you walk on and it spins around in the opposite direction. The jungle gym has a bunch of ropes hanging from the top with plastic circles on it so that you can sit on them or climb when you play tag. There’s also a bunch of stuff that you can climb on for games. Then there’s 2 or 3 soccer fields that are fenced in. And there’s also 2 tennis courts for tennis in the spring. And there’s a long road that you ride all these little red bikes and scooters on. They’re really fun because you use them in really weird ways like you petal with your hands or the steering handles are in a strange place, like behind your back. You have to watch out at recess because the boys in my grade go crazy on them and they’re going in circles all over the place running into people. If you keep going on that road, you get to these other jungle gym type things that you can spin and do flips on and stuff. And if you go EVEN farther(I know, we have a big playground) you get to this wooden little seating place with a roof, and then behind that there’s the flying fox. The flying fox is this really long wire with a round circle to sit on. You go up on a hill at one end of it and someone pushes you to the other side then lets go. Then you fly to the other side and back, and to the other side and back and so on and on. It’s really fun.

The lockers here are hard to get used to because they have locks that you have to spin around in a circle to get it open. It took me forever to finally get it open. You spin it one in a whole circle, then in another circle until you get to your locker code’s first number. Then you turn it in the opposite direction in a complete circle and around again until you get to the next number on your code. then you turn it slowly in the opposite direction until it starts getting harder to turn( or it SHOULD get harder to turn.if it doesn’t get harder to turn then you did it wrong. believe me, I’ve done this MANY times). And then you push it in and then out and you open the locker.

Our cafeteria has good food but sometimes it may look a little gross. We have things for lunch like chicken cabobs, Dutch pancakes(these are by FAR the best, dutch pancakes are really skinny like crepes with powdered sugar on top), pizza, white rice and chicken curry, chicken noodle soup, hot dogs( I’d stay clear of those), cheese tosti’s(they’re just like grilled cheese except they’re not fried so they’re more healthy), chicken wraps, macaroni with tomato sauce, and spaghetti. During school you’re not allowed to buy anything, but before and after school you can buy whatever you want. They have breakfast stuff like donuts and everything, and there’s a bunch of gummy candy and doritos and gatorade and ice cream and candy bars. And you can also buy stuff from the vending machines in the cafeteria, too.

I miss all of you in Massachusetts, so write me an e-mail at


Pre-dinner stroll

Our dinner warms as we wander out the door to
de Oude Spiegel Straat
and mozy ’round the block,
The Herengracht at the Beulingsluis,
Wonderment at how people have lived and still do
in this place that has magic oozing from every cobble.
The cool damp bite of the North Sea breeze,
Kit feeding the ducks,
Canal boats slip by,
The sun drops below the bridges,
We’re back home for dinner…