Wednesday, 18 June 2014


After 6 months.. I am attempting at writing again.  This time, it will be a bit different because I am actually headed to Kenya for about 2 months with a volunteering organization called GIVE (Global Initiative for Village Empowerment).  Since flying over to Kenya is not the easiest, my teammate Rashma and I decided to stop by the Netherlands for a couple of days instead of being in layover for about 35 hours.  We flew to Amsterdam from Vancouver which took us around 9 hours, found a nice cozy place on air bnb and decided explore this city.  

We didn't do any research before our arrival so it was exciting to find things along the way by asking the locals. After yesterday's first glimpse of Amsterdam, these are the things I learned about Amsterdam.

1. Cafes everywhere.  Funny enough, I was actually looking for a big fat burger with fries to realize that I wasn't in N. America anymore.  Most places serve sandwiches with soup.
2. Cannabis.  You can get your own starter kit for 2.50 euros.  
3. Sex.  Sex museums, red light district, prostitution etc. etc.
4. Flowers.  There is a flower market which sells the root of the plant.  It was an interesting to realize once again how ugly roots grow into something so beautiful.
5. Cheese. We went into one of the stores and just tried out their cheese. #hippielife
6. Canals. Of course the signature. 
7. Cyclists. Some, very angry if you are getting in their way. This lady gave Dina, who is also a GIVE traveler this year, the biggest disapproval when she stepped on the cycling lane.  We went because the signal told us that we could walk.  I am not sure how that works around here. 
8. Very tall people. Some look like models. 

Uniquely, this city has this sense of calmness (other than cyclists). Everyone seem so chill and relaxed until you walk 5 minutes into the central area where the streets are busier, bustling with people.  I am really liking this city so far.  The food is great, which is of course a bonus.  

While we were roaming around, we found this cute cafe called Toon. To be honest, we just picked a random one because we were so tired of walking but we sure picked the right one!! 


The waitress took out a map while we were paying and circled all the places we should visit during our short stay here. The people here are generous and kind even though many don't seem to know the city itself very well.  We asked for directions to 3 people at the airport and they couldn't help us at all. 

We arrived at 10 am yesterday and checked into our BnB around 12 and walked around the city till 7 pm.  I was exhausted.  I have never felt this worn out. I was transferring photos onto my laptop and realized that I was dosing off which usually never occurs.  Unfortunately, due to the jet lag, I woke up 3, 4 times but managed to sleep till the morning.  Hopefully, jet lag won't be a problem in Kenya.

The canal

Today, we will be visiting the Van Gogh museum, Heineken Brewery, watch the Netherlands vs. Australia game and finish off at the ice bar. Another exciting day ahead!



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