Yesterday was my 26th birthday and I spent it in Haarlem. The weather was a least a little bit sunny but still pretty cold when you were not directly in the sun. I wish I would have brought a jacket with me when I went to go walk around Haarlem Centrum. After walking around for the day, I am really looking forward to living a lot closer to there than I do now at this stupid hotel.
First I went to my apartment to see if my BSN number came yet, this is the Dutch equivalent to a US social security number. It was not there. I hope it comes soon because it is needed in order to import my shipment of stuff from the US. I was surprised to see that forwarding my US mail to The Netherlands did in fact work though!! I had a piece of mail waiting from me that was sent to my Pittsburgh address that was forwarded to my Dutch address via the US postal service! The apartment still looks nice, just waiting to move in.
The first thing I went to after my apartment was a market that was setup by V&D. I got two really good egg roll type things, one kip (chicken) and one saté (kind of a peanut like sauce.) Very good but burned the hell out of my mouth because I was so hungry. After that I went into V&D because I heard there was a really good restaurant on the top floor with a great view of Haarlem. I heard right, the food was great and the view was amazing!
Next I walked around the shops for a while and saw a man with a big old band organ (the kind usually found on carousels) walking right down the middle of the street playing music. It was pretty cool. I stumbled in to the center of the city where the big church is and found a huge open market they were having that day. So much fresh fish, cheese, fruits, vegetables, meats, and so many other random things. The smells were awesome. I can't wait to go back when I have a kitchen...It is killing me not to cook for this long! After walking through the market, I walked around the shops a little more and then went back to my hotel for a nap before going out.
The plan was to meet Kris and Erik at a pool place at 21h00 but I set out early to go to dinner too. I ended up getting a kipburger from the same place that we played pubquiz last time I was here. It was good and I was done just in time to meet them at the pool place. We played pool for a little while and I did bad as usual. After that we went out to a bunch of Haarlem bars. It was a fun night and I didn't get back to the hotel until a little before 5 in the morning. Thanks Kris and Erik for making my birthday fun.
On an unrelated note, I really am going to have to get used to everywhere closing at 6 and being closed all together on Sundays. It is really strange to me how everything can close so early and not even open at all on Sunday. I was pretty much foodless today because I thought the grocery store was open today but I was wrong. I thought that's what Sundays were for...grocery shopping! The one good thing is though that store do at least stay open until 9 on Thursdays. I think once I move closer to center, there will be at least one grocery store that I will be able to get to. Today was shitty kipburger and fries lunch from FEBO and a snickers bar from the vending machine and veggie wrap for supper. It wasn't even a true veggie wrap, just some left over salad mix I've been using to make sandwiches with... I guess I'll be walking back to the grocery store again tomorrow and this time I will be sure to buy a lot of items.