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Old 3rd November 2010, 21:22   #46
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Originally Posted by chikkars View Post
I am also thinking of posting more pics from Holland
Dont think... Start posting them Would be good to have as many pics as you can show us. Throw in a bit of the story as well as you have done in the previous 2 posts. Makes for a good read and also gives an insight into what the places are that you have visite.
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Old 3rd November 2010, 22:39   #47
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Beautiful pics. Now the thread does look like a photologue. What I miss is the captions. May be not for all pics but some of the pics which are not so self explanatory. Would appreciate info on the name of the place/item etc. I hope to see the next set with some captions.

The two kids picture is beautiful. The story is really very touching. Dont know about this particular one but in most of the cases the killers used to be relatives and even elder siblings to reduce the claim to the throne. The game of power is real dirty and some are trapped in it without choice.
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Old 10th May 2012, 20:10   #48
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Default Re: Holland & Paris Photo log.

Hello,

Thanks for sharing your travelogue with the community.

Further to your reported post, I've temporarily moved your thread to the Assembly Line Section (More Information about this sub-forum (The "Assembly Line" Forum section)), where can EDIT your posts over an indefinite period of time. Add text, pictures, edits and more at your own convenience.

Please edit the opening post, complete your travelogue, and then report the post (Report Posts : Contribute in Maintaining Team-BHP's post quality) so that we can move your thread back to the public forum section.

Appreciate your support!
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Old 21st May 2012, 00:02   #49
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Default Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights

August 2010 – Was informed of a 3 week business trip to Netherlands; evidently was ecstatic learning about it. Icing on the cake – location was Amsterdam!! Autumn is holiday season in Europe when the weather is sunny and amazing; the whole continent goes on long holidays during this time.

Visa and other formalities were taken care of in a couple of weeks; unlike US visa, here I did not have to attend any interview. Flight tickets were booked with Emirates; route being Bangalore – Dubai – Amsterdam. Because of the autumn weather, I did not have to endure the pain of carrying warm clothes. This was a big relief given the flights to European destinations do not give generous baggage allowances like the US. Food items included the luggage were limited to just a few packets of instant noodles; lesson learn from the US trip - dont carry food which you will not consume anyway.

15th of August was the departure date; flight to Dubai from BIAL was at 00:30 I think. Travel to the airport by Meru, customs, security and other stuff at the airport were all normal. I had already done web checkin earlier in the morning, so that also helped. Apart from selecting my meal (Emirates offers several meal options), I also registered for their reward miles program. Just like that. During the same time, I had selected my seats (aisle) for both the flights, BIAL to DBX and DBX to AMS. However, at BIAL boarding counter, I was told that because of some issue my seat selection could not be confirmed, and was given a window seat instead. Big deal!

The flight from BIAL was on time, and the journey was also uneventful. Their beverages, food and service were all top class. Landed in Dubai at approx 6 mm local time, after a 4 hour flight. Had a 2 hour layover here, which I spent checking the stores at the amazing terminal T3.

Some pictures from the flight, clicked with my 2 MP phone camera.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-1.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-2.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-3.jpg

Was sitting at the waiting area expecting the boarding announcement to be made; however, was a little perplexed to hear my name being called out! I walk up to the counter where the flight crew, a young lady, tells me that my boarding pass needs to be changed as they have given me a different seat. Now, in BIAL it was the first time, so I’d thought it wasn’t a big deal. But here again? I give her a piece of my mind and reluctantly take the new boarding pass. She gives me a look; you know like the one girls give you when they think you are being a jerk? Yes, that look!! Anyways, I go back to where I was sitting where one of my colleagues was also seated. I tell him how annoyed I am because of the seat change for the second time. He looks at my boarding pass, and goes “Buddy”??!! “What are you so pissed about? Look at your boarding pass again man!”And that’s exactly what I did, looked at the boarding pass again. I go, “Woah, this is insane”!! Because that was when I realised I had been upgraded to Business Class. Yes, of all the hundreds of people in coach, Emirates decided to upgrade me to Business Class on their flight to Amsterdam. And how exactly did I show my gratitude? By shouting at their staff!

I turned around to see if the lady was still at the counter, but she wasn't. Soon enough the boarding announcement was made, requesting the first class passengers to board first. This is followed by Business Class, which meant that I had only few mins to do something that needed to be done urgently. Which was? To click a picture of the boarding pass and upload on Facebook. Mission successful!

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-business.jpg

To be continued…

Last edited by chikkars : 22nd May 2012 at 12:34.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 00:27   #50
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Default Re: Holland & Paris Photo log.

So there I was seated in the business class, all settled and enjoying my cold beverage already, while the hundreds of others in coach were still getting into the plane. The fatigue and sleepy feeling was all gone; in fact I decided not to sleep through the flight in order to enjoy every minute of the experience. And that’s exactly what I did; I thoroughly relished the 5 course meal which included some of the best beverages from around the world, amazing cheeses, salads, delicious main course, yummy desserts and chocolates! The 8.5 hour flight did not feel that long thanks to the best in class in-flight entertainment, and the ultra comfortable 180 degree reclining seats!

Alas all good things have to end, no? It was a little past noon local time when the plane arrived at the Schiphol international airport, Amsterdam. The baggage claim and customs formalities did not take much time. The next thing for me to do was cash the travelers’ cheques and also withdraw some cash. My company travel desk had given me the directions to the ABN AMRO bank at the airport, which is the best place to cash TCs because of the low conversion charges. This was also the place where I was informed to buy the Chipknip prepaid card because it’s hard to find this card in other places. Btw, Chipknip is an electronic prepaid card extensively used in the Netherlands. It can be used for payments at parking machines, shops etc. It was imperative for me to buy this card because the office cafeteria accepted only these for payment. Next task was to go to the airport phone store to buy a GSM SIM along with calling minutes etc. All 3 things were taken care of in less than an hour.

With all the important things taken care of, I proceeded towards the taxi counter where a shared cab had already been booked for me. All I had to do was walk in and tell my name, and they found the reservation in their list. I must mention here that our organization has one of best travel assistance teams in Netherlands. Much before my date of travel, all the necessary things were planned and taken care of perfectly. Also, they had provided me with a document which was like a guide to any first timer visiting their country and included a checklist of things to know, do's and don’ts.

A hotel was booked for my stay for that night and that’s where the cab fellow dropped me. My colleague from Bangalore took a cab to his destination, Groningen, which is the northeastern most province of the Netherlands.

The hotel name was Bastion Deluxe or some such; not 5 star but a decent hotel close to the business district. When I reached the hotel, I noticed that there was no bell boy that came to carry my luggage. I waited for a minute and gave up after being unable to find any soul around. I walked up to the reception and the lady confirmed my reservation and showed me to the room. I noticed that she was the only staff in the front desk; I asked her if there were no bell boys and she replied in negative. I later learnt that in Netherlands, most non 5 star hotels do not have the concept of having bell boys, etc; they follow the self catering approach. In fact this hotel also did not have room service, not that I was looking for it. The person at the reception also performs multiple roles; for example, at the breakfast buffet next morning the lady from front desk quickly wore an apron and started service coffee to guests in the restaurant.

The room was tiny, see for yourself. Anyways, it was just for a night so I had no complaints.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-hotel1.jpg


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One of my colleagues from Pune who had arrived a little earlier the same day was put up at the same hotel as me. There were 6 others, who had come from Pune too, but they proceeded to their destination, Eindhoven; a town further south. After a quick chat with my colleague, we decided to take a stroll outside. I tried to check with the hotel staff if there were any eating joints like MCD or Burger King close by, but they were not very sure of the directions. The hotel surroundings seemed more like residential areas, with hardly any traffic or people around. We took a long walk, and finally found a tiny burger place, which incidentally was being run by an Indian guy. Finished our early dinner here and continued walking in search a super market to buy some snacks for later. Here’s some pictures from the evening walk.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-1.jpg


Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-2.jpg


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After a little bit of shopping at the store, we returned to our hotel. We had a long day planned for Monday; a visit to the local police station to register our details and submit VISA/Passport copies etc, and then sign the apartment contact with the real estate company before moving in.

Last edited by chikkars : 23rd May 2012 at 19:04.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 00:34   #51
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Default Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights

Monday was going to be busy day. Our cab was already booked for 8AM by our company travel folks. This meant that we had to be finished with our breakfast, check-out formalities and be dressed in formal attire. The cab arrived 10 mins before 8, and when I looked outside the window I noticed it was a brand new looking Black Audi (RS5 I think). The driver was dressed in a black suit and looked more like the owner than a cab company employee. Upon probing, he confirmed that he owned the car and was doing this as a part time thing. Not for general public, but he had tie-up with companies like ours. The car had cool looking navigation system and many other gadgets. The ride of course was ultra smooth! Within a few minutes, he dropped us at the Aliens Police office so we could finish our business there. You are required to report to the local immigration authorities (Aliens Police) within three days of your arrival in the country, for a stay of up to 3 months. This place looked more like an IT company than a police office actually. We were done with the formalities with half hour.

Next we were to proceed towards our apartment, to meet the real estate agent and complete the check-in formalities, such as rent and deposit payment, signing the contract documents etc. The apartment was 2 BHK, fully furnished property on the first floor of a 3 floored complex. (Real estate is a very expensive affair in Netherlands, which is one of the densely populated countries in the world.) The agent clicked several pictures of the apartment and gave us the keys after all the formalities were completed. My colleague looked delighted, as he could now cook his meals finally! By this time it was already 2 PM; so we decided to make some quick meal of maggi noodles. Our reporting to office was planned for Tuesday, given that all these formalities had to be taken care of on Monday.

Front view from the living room window

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-apt1.jpg


Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-apt2.jpg


A few pics from the locality. Notice that almost every apartment has cycles parked outside. Also, the road has a dedicated lane for Cycles and Bikes, apart from the tram lines.


Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-apt-surr.jpg


Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-apt-surr-2.jpg


Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-apt-tram.jpg

Another thing on the agenda for us that evening was to visit the Amsterdam Centraal train station. Our travel advisor had suggested this to help us gete familiar with the bus route to the station, and also so that we buy our train tickets to Eindhoven for Tuesday. We were required to visit our office in Eindhoven for a common cultural training planned for all the folks who had traveled from India.

The bus ride from our apartment to the station took 20 minutes; we were also able to buy return tickets for the next day’s travel without any hassles. The station was (still is) under reconstruction due to the construction of some metro lines. We also visited the tourism offices close by and collected maps, info cards, bus/tram/train schedules etc.

Some interesting trivia from Wikipedia about the history of Amsterdam Centraal station:

Quote:
The building of Amsterdam Centraal is situated on three man-made islands, themselves resting on 8,687 wooden piles which have been driven deep into the muddy and sandy soil. The current location of the station is not the site the city of Amsterdam had originally hoped for; other possibilities included somewhere near the Leidseplein, the Weesperplein, or in the vicinity of the modern-day Sarphatipark. Officials in The Hague, however, felt that the eventual location at the head of the city, along The IJ, was the best location. This was viewed as a highly controversial decision, as it effectively cut off Amsterdam from its own waterfront, making it, for all purposes, an inland city. In his History of Amsterdam, Dutch historian Geert Mak writes that:

Almost all of Amsterdam's own experts and others involved in thought this to be a catastrophic plan, 'the most disgusting possible attack on the beauty and glory of the capital'. Nevertheless, the building of the Central Station in front of the open harbour was forced through by the railway department of the Ministry of Transport in The Hague, and the Home Secretary, Thorbecke. Finally, the plan made its way through the Amsterdam municipal council by a narrow majority. (Mak 1994)
Here's some pictures of the Centraal station building and the surrounding areas in the district:

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-city1.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-2.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-3.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-4.jpg

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Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-6.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-7.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-8.jpg

Last edited by chikkars : 23rd May 2012 at 19:49.
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Old 24th May 2012, 15:48   #52
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Here's some information about the country, courtesy wikipedia:

The Netherlands

Quote:
The Netherlands, (Dutch: Nederland, also commonly called Holland in English) is a Benelux country, bordering Germany to the east and Belgium to the south. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands are referred to as "Dutch". With over 16 million people on an area roughly twice the size of New Jersey; it's a densely populated country with its gorgeous capital Amsterdam being just one of many interesting cities. Once a great naval power, this small nation boasts a wealth of cultural heritage and is famous for its painters, windmills, clogs and notoriously flat lands. A modern European country today, it preserved its highly international character and is known for its liberal mentality. As a founding member of EU and NATO, and host to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands are at the heart of international cooperation. Its small size, welcoming attitude to travelers and many sights make it a unique and fairly easy to discover destination and a great addition to any European trip.
  • Geography - The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. No matter where you go, you are never far away from civilization.
  • The villages, tulips and windmills are there for sure, but you just have to find them (for example, in the Waterland and Zaan Region) and most Dutch have never been there actually.
  • Cycling - One of the most popular activities among the locals is cycling. And for a reason — the Netherlands has about 22,000 km of dedicated bicycle paths, which criss-cross the country with many of them numbered. It's as easy as getting a map, picking a number, and start cycling!
  • Snackbars - In town centers, near public transportation areas or even in more quiet quarters you can find a snackbar, sometimes known as frituur or cafeteria. These snackbars are pretty much the antithesis of high cuisine, but their snacks are considered typical for the country.
  • Healthy Living - The Netherlands has some of the best 'tap water' in the world. (Near the coast and in Amsterdam*) it is even considered to be of similar or better quality than natural mineral or spring water and is distributed to every household and controlled by 'water authorities'.
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Old 24th May 2012, 23:20   #53
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We were picked up the next morning again by the same cab which we had used the previous day. Our travel assistance team had booked the cab to drop us at the station, as this was going to be our first day to office which included outstation travel. So we were at the station to catch the 8.30 AM train to Eindhoven. This is how our intercity train looked like:

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-train.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-train1.jpg

And the inside

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-train-inside.jpg

Some random pictures clicked during the 80 minute train ride to Eindhoven.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-1.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-2.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-3.jpg

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Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-5.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-6.jpg

There are vendors who sell coffee on the trains; the Cappuccino was worth the 2 Euros!

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-coffe.jpg

Right outside the Eindhoven train station is the bus stop, from where we had to take a bus and travel 30 minutes to reach our office campus.

Our bus approaching the terminus

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-bus-stop.jpg

One of our offices in Einhoven is located inside an IT campus/park called the HTC (Hi Tech Campus). This campus is really huge, not only area wise but also because it hosts several companies head quartered in Eindhoven, such as NXP and Philips among other large MNCs. Here, I met with with my other colleagues who had traveled from India. We had an interactive training session about Dutch culture to help us work with our colleagues in Holland. Well, the session was very good, and I learn quite a few interesting things about Dutch people, and also their perception about India and its people. I think I will dedicate a separate post to write about those details.

A few pics of the wonderful campus

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-woods.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-lake.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-lake1.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-parking.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-htc51.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-entrce.jpg

The building across the lake had the cafeteria; one could either choose to take a 10 min walk from the office or ride one of these cool office bicycles. Well no prizes for guessing what I opted for

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-cycle.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-cycles.jpg

and that's me riding one of those

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-me-cycling.jpg

Some pictures of the office

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-inside.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-lobby.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-lobby1.jpg

Our hosts at office were so sweet that they even had a coffee vending machine training on their agenda. No rocket science there, it's just that the main menu was in Dutch and they showed us what button to press to get the display in English

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-coffee.jpg

A picture with some of my colleagues

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-grup.jpg

And the apartment they had been offered; it was HUGE compared to my apartment in Amsterdam.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-apt-eind.jpg
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Old 25th May 2012, 16:11   #54
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The first day in office was also when we were assigned our individual training schedules for the next 3 weeks. My training which was scheduled to be held in Amsterdam originally had been changed to Eindhoven due to some unavoidable reasons. This became a challenge because I had been allotted an apartment in Amsterdam. The apartments in Eindhoven allotted to my other colleagues were also fully occupied, so there was no way I could shift. This meant that I would have to travel from Amsterdam to Eindhoven and back each day, which was going to take minimum of 2.5 hr journey each way (Bus – Train – Bus). However, our host manager was generous enough and suggested that I leave office by 4 PM every day.

The return train fare to Eindhoven from Amsterdam cost approx 35 Euros, and the bus tickets cost 2.6 Euros each. The same evening while returning to Amsterdam, I checked at the train station if they had any weekly or monthly pass that I could buy and save some money on daily commute. And they did! They had a monthly pass for approx 450 Euros, which was valid on all local & intercity trains across Netherlands and also on local buses & trams across all cities in the country. Well, this sounded perfect, and I immediately opted for it. Walked up to the nearby self photo kiosk and clicked a few passport photographs, and submitted the form at the counter. Et voila, the pass was made and given to me in 2 minutes. I was very excited because I could now travel within Amsterdam unlimited everyday for all my sightseeing using the same pass!

And that’s exactly what I did during the 3 weeks. Leaving office by 4 allowed me to reach Amsterdam city by 6 PM. And there was no hurry to get back to the apartment anyway. And thanks to the season, sun would also set only post 8.30 PM. So each day I would visit some or the other place and get back to the apartment by around 10 PM; I had to hit the bed early to be able to get back to work next morning, right. I was able to visit several city attractions, such as the Rijksmuseum (from outside), the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, the Flower Market, Albert Cuyp Market, and the Vondelpark, to name a few!

Now for some interesting trivia of the wonderful Amsterdam, courtesy wikipedia and wikitravel

Quote:
Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North, because of its lovely canals that criss-cross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges.

Amsterdam is just 2 meters above the sea level!

Amsterdam is not the seat of the government, which is in The Hague. Partly because of this, the city has an informal atmosphere unlike other capital cities its size.

Amsterdam's centre is fairly small, and almost abnormally flat, so you can easily get to most tourist destinations on foot - from the train station, within half an hour.

There are several rental boat companies in Amsterdam. Here you can rent your own boat for max. 6 persons. You will get a personal instruction and a good map before you leave. The boats are electric and easy to drive yourself.

A pleasant way to cover a lot of ground is to rent a bicycle. There are approximately 750,000 people living in Amsterdam and they own about 800,000 bicycles.

Amsterdam has one of the largest historic city centres in Europe, with about 7,000 registered historic buildings.

For food during the day, the Albert Heijn supermarkets (largest national chain) usually have cheap ready-to-go meals on hand, from pre-packaged sandwiches and salads to microwavable single-serving meals. In fact, I have noticed these shops in every train station and almost all streets in the city.
And here's some pictures I clicked of the days on my way back from work, at Albert Cuypstraat:
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by chikkars : 25th May 2012 at 16:15.
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Old 25th May 2012, 17:51   #55
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Default Re: Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights

Thanks for reviving this TL! I look forward to seeing more posts about your trips within the Netherlands and across Europe. Especially the visit to Paris

By the way there is a post on Page 3 of this thread that mentions pictures of icecream, but I cannot find that post. Can you help?!
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Old 25th May 2012, 18:02   #56
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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Thanks for reviving this TL! I look forward to seeing more posts about your trips within the Netherlands and across Europe. Especially the visit to Paris

By the way there is a post on Page 3 of this thread that mentions pictures of icecream, but I cannot find that post. Can you help?!
Thanks!! There is lots more to come which Ill ensure I update on a daily basis. Reg, the ice cream pic and some others mentioned in the posts, is because of the earlier photolog which had those published. Hence, my note on the first post to jump directly to post 49 to avoid the confusion. Anyways, you will see the pics of the ice cream, chocolates and more in the coming posts.
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Old 25th May 2012, 19:46   #57
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Exploring Dutch and Indian Culture

The culture workshop we had was very interactive and interesting. Several topics were discussed ranging from Dutch culture, People, Climate, Survival tips for foreigners, Indian culture, perceptions about each other, etc. The strong point about this workshop was that it showed us both cultures, both perspectives. It also showed us our own culture through the looking glass of our Dutch partner.

Needless to say, when it came to discussing Indian people and Dutch perception about us, the debate and discussions really kicked off. However, it was a healthy discussion which helped us understand cultural aspects that we were likely to encounter in the working environment while working in Netherlands.

Here’s listing just a few of my takeaways from the workshop which I still remember. (we discussed a whole lotta stuff, for almost 4 hours!)

You might find that the Dutch:

- seem to be unimpressed by authority
- work very concentrated, leaving little time (for fun) or gossip. Are slow in replying to Email; they prefer using telephone or direct contact
- consider their privacy to be the cultural norm; socializing will not be very easy (family life and private life are important and paid attention to). For example, our host manager and the lady who moderated this discussion have been working together for the past 20 years. Yet, each doesn’t know if the other is married, or had kids or any such. That’s how private it can get!
- follow strict rules & procedures; get confused when there’s no rule or procedure to guide them
- Favorite small talk topics: Football, traffic, the weather, holidays and the weekend. Questions to avoid: about one’s religion, salary or political conviction.
- Cost of labor is high; be it for a doctor, a housemaid or a carpenter. You will find them spending lot of time working in their gardens, or painting their house, etc.
- Pedestrians and bikers in traffic are not at the bottom of the food-chain
- Views on euthanasia, abortion, same-sex marriages and drugs are liberal
- Religion plays no role at all for 50% of the population; the other 50% are private about it
- Sarcasm and irony are quite common and looked upon as fun. I love sarcasm too
- attach high value to their coffee drinking ritual, several times a day. I volunteered to be the coffee man on a few occasions too!!

These are tips they give to Dutch when working with Indians:

- Show respect for seniority in age, experience, position etc.
- Food is a way to break the ice. Mixed lunches are appreciated.
- Engage in small talk. Enjoyed topics are: cricket, politics, and films. These are the most popular conversations starters.
- Disagreements are expressed indirectly. ‘I’ll try’ often means ‘I am not sure or confident’. It may be expressed as yes, but.

OK, enough of "People" gyan there. I don't want to kick up another storm here listing other things which caused arguments. Lets move on to other topics.

Some remarks on food
If you are a pure veg, life will not be very easy during the first few days. Lunches in Holland are a rather boring affair with slices of bread (from white to dark brown) with thin slices of cheese or meat, or sandwich spreads that come in small cups.

The country (again)
Holland is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries of the world. But still, if you are used to Mumbai, you’ll enjoy the quietness and the abundance of open spaces. Roads are excellent and public transportation is good.

Conversation and language
Dutch, the official language, is spoken by around 90% of the population. The Dutch avoid the use of superlatives to illustrate points, and compliments are offered sparingly. When something is "not bad", "OK" or "nice", it is good; the remark is praise, rather than a sign of disinterest.
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Old 25th May 2012, 20:38   #58
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Default Re: Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights

A funny incident

It was another normal day at work, when I joined my Dutch colleagues for lunch at our campus cafeteria. I and another colleague were engrossed in our chat about New York city, discussing about the coincidence that she had also traveled to US in the same month as I. We were both chatting away to glory with animated gestures and excitedly speaking about Travel, Food and what not. Then suddenly she asked me something, and I was taken aback, also literally I mean. This is how the conversation went..

She - "hey, btw have you tried dope yet?"

Me - (Shocked) "say what now?"

She - "yeah, how can you be in Netherlands and not try dope?"

Me - Still in shock. "well, I am not sure I want to"

We continue walking; just walking, no talking. The talk stopped the moment she asked me that question.She obviously had not realized that I was in shock, because I had not made it evident with my gesture or expressions.

We were now inside the lift, when she started looking inside her purse.

She - "hmm, lemme see. I reckon I should have some of it in my bag. If you're lucky you might get to have to some now"

Me - Thinking ("woah, this is insane! I know you guys are liberal and all, but carrying dope to work, in a purse? gotta be be kidding me")

She - "hard luck, I dont have any. No worries, lemme check with the others once we get to our desks and we'll get you try some"

Me - This was getting too much. So I ask "this thing that you are looking for, it's dope you said? Can you spell it for me?"

She - "Sure, its d-r-o-p. Its like a candy, very popular here"

Me - "woah woah. you know what? I thought you meant d-o-p-e, coz the pronunciation is exactly the same"

She - "omg, ha ha ha... you really thought so? ha ha. what must you have thought of us? ha ha"

Me - "I know, right. sorry about the whole confusion"

She "don't be! I can understand."

We both couldn't stop laughing for the next 15 minutes or so. The other colleagues got curious and asked her what was up. I could hear her telling them the story in Dutch and they started bursting out with laughter too.

After this whole fiasco, how could they not let me taste this thing called Dorp. Apparently, it is famous Dutch sweet that they are crazy about. One of them quickly walked up the vending machine and grabbed a packet of Dorp. They handed some to taste, and I did.
These candies are small, black and look much like gums, can be either sweet or salty (or very salty). You either love the aromatic flavor of licorice or you hate it. And I? Hated it! I just could not keep it in my mouth, but had to, because they were all staring expecting me to give them the verdict about its taste.

When they insisted that I tell them how it tasted, I told them "it's interesting". They got the message, and then we all started laughing again

Last edited by chikkars : 25th May 2012 at 20:42.
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Old 25th May 2012, 23:51   #59
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Default Re: Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights

Getting around Amsterdam...

While returning from Eindhoven in the evening, I had the option to either get off at Station Amstelveen and take the tram (55 minute ride) or continue in the train till Cenraal (20+ minutes) and take a bus (25 mins) from there to my apartment. Either way, it took the same time to reach home; but that wasn't the point. Since the Tram & Bus routes were both different, they allowed me to explore places around both the routes depending on the mode of commute for that evening.

Here's collection of pictures of the several places I visited after work each evening.

Amsterdam Centraal, and the Tram station right outside

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-1-cent.jpg

Look at the number of cycles parked outside the station!!

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Across the road from the station

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Church of St Nicholas - Church of St. Nicholas is located in the Old Centre district of Amsterdam, very close to the Centraal station. It is the city's major Catholic church.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-5-cahedral.jpg

The following pictures are of (and around) The Museumplein, which falls in the tram route from Amstelveen station.

The Museumplein (Museum Square) is located in the centre of Amsterdam. It gets the name because of the many museums located around it, such as Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Diamond Museum. The "Museum Square" is also used for mass events such as concerts, etc.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-6-museum.jpg

Some major reconstruction work

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-7-mu.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-8-mu.jpg

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-9-mu.jpg

Time to catch the Tram

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Can you imagine this pic is from Amsterdam?

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-12-indian-store.jpg

In the mood for some Indian food?? Nay!

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-13-indian-menu.jpg

Cyclists everywhere..

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Walking along the tram lines I reached a major junction and saw this, the Heineken brewery.

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A family enjoying a nice warm evening on their boat. Notice the floating houses on either side of the canal.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-19-canal-boat.jpg

Canals everywhere

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-20-canal.jpg

Amsterdam has large number of settlers who are originally from countries such as Turkey and Morocco. Because of this there are several Turkish restaurants and bakeries that sell good food. It was the holy month of Ramadan when I was there. I had noticed a bakery close to my apartment which used to be closed during the day. However, one evening while returning from office, I noticed it was open as it was after prayer hours. The variety of sweets and savories on offer was amazing. After packing some stuff, I asked the young man if I could click a picture of the freshly made sweets. Initially he was hesitant wondering why someone would want a picture of his shop. But when I explained to him that I was a visitor and hence doing the typical touristy thing, he readily obliged.

Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights-21-snacks.jpg
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Old 28th May 2012, 14:50   #60
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Default Re: Travelogue – Country of low lands & the City of lights

Inland Waterways of the Netherlands

The Netherlands boasts of the most dense network of inland waterways in Europe. Fine old cities, windmills, bulbfields and water everywhere define the image of the Heart of Holland. There are more than 6000 km of navigable canals and rivers which cover the whole country; and it is also possible to cross the whole country with boats. There are of course some routes identified for safe recreational boating, such that they do not get mixed up with the busy routes used mainly used for commercial transport.

During my travel, the SAIL 2010 boat festival was on in Amsterdam (more details in my next post with pics). Also, there was a major canal that ran parallel to the Asmterdam-Eindhoven train route. By the looks of the huge ships, it was evident that it was a busy commercial route. It was quite an unlikely sight to spot such huge ships sailing on the canal which looked liked only as wide as a road!

Here are some videos that I captured during my daily train commute. In the second and third videos you will find the ships sailing along.





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