Sunday, May 29, 2011

Randstad Complete

Today I went to Rotterdam for the day thus completing me seeing the four big cities in the Randstad (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag, and Utrecht.)

Rotterdam was cool.  It had a bunch of big modern buildings which I m not used to seeing around here.  This is mostly due to the fact that most of Rotterdam got blown up during World War II so new buildings had to be made.  I walked all around looking and taking pictures.  I saw the famous bridge called Erasmusbrug.

You can see all of my pictures here in my Dutch picture collection:

Holland Sites

Rotterdam

Finally made it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pittsburgh Trip

Been wanting to write this one for a while but haven't gotten around to it, so here we go...

My boss and I left Holland in the beginning of May for a trip to the US.  This would be the first time that my team was all together in the same place at the same time.  From Amsterdam, we flew to Detroit where we met Kavin, the guy who works in China.  From there we continued on to Pittsburgh.  That was Saturday night, so I spent it with my family who came to meet me at my hotel.  We went and had Mexican food!!  mmmm.  Next next day was Mother's Day so we all went to Schenley Park for Race for the Cure.  It was a good time as usual.  After that, we went to Irwin to have Mother's Day dinner were I then got to see the rest of my family, some of which I haven't scene in over a year!  So that was really nice.  We went back to my parents place for a bit, but then pretty much everyone left.  Would have been nice if they could have stayed longer, but I'm glad I got to even see them in the first place.

Sunday night I got to see Erin and Sara in the hotel bar.  I wish I got to see more of them but unfortunately, it was a short trip.

The next day we went in to work.  It was pretty nice to have the team all together for once.  It would be nice if we can do this every once in a while.

It was also good catching up with everyone back Downtown.  A lot has changed since I worked there.  Market Square has a bunch of new places.  Some, like the Cajun place were really good.

While I was hanging out with my fam on Mother's Day, Jeroen and Kavin went to the Chinese grocery store in the strip and asked for an authentic Chines restaurant.  They suggested How Lee in Squirrel Hill.  I could not believe that is were they picked.  I never ate there before, but there is no way that place could have been good.  After we got there, it turns out they totally redid the place.  Kavin ordered all of the food for us, and it was awesome.  So good...
We met Megan and Justin after that and hung out for a bit in Squirrel Hill.
Kavin also brought me some hot oil from Hong Kong that I've been using here in Holland.  It is so good.

 We had a couple of other nice dinners and then on Friday it was already time to leave.  It was a quick trip and was glad that I got to squeeze everything in that I could while I was there.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Zaanse Schans



Today we went to Zaanse Schans which is a traditional Dutch village that has windmills, little shops, and clog making.

The coolest part was going in the paint windmill, you got to climb up all through it and see how it worked.  It was amazing to me that the whole thing was mad out of wood!  No metal at all, wooden beams, gears, and everything.  Sometimes it would really start turning fast and the whole building would move if the wind picked up enough.

video
We also got to see clogs getting made.  It was pretty cool to see.  The machine that they used was an old German machine that works on the same concept of how a key is copied.  With these machines, you can actually make a clog in 5 minutes.

We also saw and tasted some cheese, went in a bunch of gift shops, and played with some old Dutch toys.

It was also pretty amazing how many Japanese people were there of course with their cameras the whole time!  :-)

There were some other things to see like the first Albert Heijn, but we were not there in time to do that.  We had dinner at a pancake place.  It was okay but nowhere near as good as the Pancake Bakery in Amsterdam.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Koninginnenacht and Koninginnedag


Queen's Night and Queen's Day were fun this year even though I did not feel like going to Amsterdam.  For Queen's night, Novita made an awesome Asian dinner and Alena made a Russian cheesecake.  After eating too much and being really tired, we took some shots and went bar hopping.  Fun as usual.

On Queen's Day, I woke up and went looking around the vrijmarkt for stuff to buy.  I ended up getting shoes, chocolate, and underwear all at really good prices:
 €2.50!

 €1.00

 €10.00

I also of course bought a bunch of food all over the place then took a break for a while.  Later on I met up with Novita and we went to a bunch of different concerts and walked pretty much all over Haarlem.  Then we met Alena, had some beer and sat in the grass by a canal.  Finally we had dinner at a pretty decent pizza place that did not coast all that much.  Will have to go back.
To end the night, Novita and I went to the carnival in the Grote Markt.  We road the Dancing Monster which turned out to be a really good ride:


http://youtu.be/nu8K5AbBgqU

Then we met Leo and his friend, road the bumper cars, had one more drink, and called it a day.