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Holland 2009 – Day 2

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Today is Lisa’s Birthday. We’ve not really planned to do too much today through, The day started about 7am to pitter patter of little feet and rain drops out on our balcony. Neither was welcomed at that hour haha. We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Sort of a continental cum random nibbles sort of affair, but was good. Then it was off to get a tram to the Fashion and Museum District, home of the Van Gogh Museum, Diamant Museum and Rijksmuseum.

Having walked around for about 1.5mi looking at shops that apparently don’t open on on Monday until 11am, or if at all. One lessoned learned is NEVER go to Amsterdam on Monday, it’s shut!! We were looking for a tourist info booth, which should have been somewhere around the Diamant Museum, so we could buy a couple unlimited travel cards. Turns out they hide them from the tourists, never found either that was in the mile or so radius of each other, shocking. Finally managed to get some tram tickets, not the ones we wanted but whatever, got us out of the rain.

Then it was onto a tram heading towards the Central Station, looking for the Magna Plaza shopping centre. We’d missed the stop so had to fetch another tram going back the opposite direction to get back, we did that a lot today :).  After the Magna Plaza, we wandered the entire length of Nieuwendijk Street shopping area.  Ok, HOLY CRAP that’s a lot of places to go in and out of.  There must be 500 stores in about 1/2 a mile.  We finally decided to stop for lunch, the kids were starving, we were too to be fair.  We wanted to get some of the Holland pancakes.  Right, this is where our day starts to take a major shit, pardon the French but you’ll see why.

(Continue reading… it’s a beaut)

So, we go into this place called “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner”, not the most creative of resaurant names to say the least but it looked ok, it was busy which should, by most accounts suggest it’s half decent.  Right, we get ourselves sat down at a table, it was some cramped, I’m glad I’ve lost all that weight, we’d have never gotten in.  Next to us was a table of 5 girls, they finished up and cleared out.  We asked the waitress if we could move to that table as it had more room.  There was a hesitation on her part suggesting it might be a great inconvienence to her and the planet if we moved, but she said fine, just bring our own cutlery from the table we were at already (they hadn’t yet layed out the new table, only wiped it down), no problem.  Whilst at the first table we’d caught a whiff of what I thought was either dog or horse droppings.  Figured it was coming from outside through the open window.  The number of dogs walking around on leds in Amsterdam is quite impressive.  Anyhow, after we moved it was still there.  Anyhow, we get our lunch, which was alright I suppose.  The pancakes were really only crepes with our selected toppings, the kids had those.  I had a club sandwich, which was average and Yuki had a plate of chicken wings and chips.  Right, not long after getting our food the waitress notices a big turd on the floor near the 2 seat table next to ours.  She says, get this, … Is that yours?  Dead straight I might add.  I’d have considered saying yes, I’m often in the habit of pinching a loaf in the middle of a crowded restaurant, but figured it might well have been lost on her.  We answered, no, it most certainly wasn’t ours.  Now, this having been my first trip to Holland and admittedly not being fully versed in the local customs, she then accuses our kids of shitting on the floor.  Is it normal for children in Holland, or the parents of children in Holland to allow their kids to drop their britches and shit in restaurants? I’d really like to think it’s not.  Anyhow, now having noticed the aforementioned turd on the floor, it took the staff a good 8 mins to clean it up.  We’d finished up, only just, and Yuki mentions to one of the girls that was doing a fanstasic job with a mob to really spread it around the floor, she must be a farmer because a John Deere couldn’t have spread it better!!  Yuki askes her for the bill.  The women snaps back “Can’t you see I’m cleaning up your mess”  well shit (pardon the pun) that was a red rag to a bull for Yuki, she lost it a bit.. but rightly so.  She demanded to see a manager.  Things go from bad to worse now.  The women snaps back at Yuki to her demand to know who the manager is, she says “Ok, fine then, I’m the manager”, I’m guessing not.  There was a battle or words about how it WASN’T our group that crapped on the floor.

I spoke to a guy that was dressed quite nicely and asked who the owner or manager was, he claimed to be manager.  I explained how unimpressed I was about his staff member accusing my children of crapping on his floor and demanded to know what will be done about the bill and we weren’t happy.  He said “Ok ok ok no problem, it’s finished, no problem” I asked if that ment we don’t pay the bill and we can go? “Ok, no problem, you go”.  Right, with that we leave.   He then chases us down across the street demanding payment.  WHAT THE FUCK?!?!  We have a discussion about the incident.  He’s demanding we go back and pay the bill or he’ll “take me back” hmm I said “No, phone the police and I’ll speak to them about the matter”  He kept saying no to that idea.  After he phoned for 2 heavies to come and help back him up I decided it best if I phone the police myself.  There’s no way that’s going down.  Anyhow, the police turn up.  We explain everything to the cops, one goes off and speaks to the now 4 people (2 staff from the shit hole and 2 heavies).  He comes back to inform us we have to pay, the law is the law.  They were completely unwilling to listen to reason.  Fine, I fork over 42 Euro for what will amount to be the worse lunch of my entire life ANYWHERE.  I handed the money to the cop and told HIM to give it to the guy I wasn’t speaking to him, the cop looked upset by this, but at this point I didn’t really give a shit (because apparently earlier we already had).   They returned my change and we finally went on our way.

That experience alone has just about put me off this country completely.  I’m sure it’s isolated and we might not ever encounter something like that again, but geezus, customer serivce and respect for the customers?  ZERO!!!

Right, back to the rest of the day.  We continued our quest for the shops.  We’re very wet (it’s not really stopped raining much of the day), were pissed off at how we were treated, not only by the staff but by the cops as well I think, and just generally in a unhappy state.   Eventually we made it back to the hotel to chill out and warm up for a while before heading out looking for dinner.  I’d found a number of places close by using Google Maps on the phone, awesome application BTW, if you haven’t got it on your smart phone GET IT!!!  However, it failed to remind me it was Monday and most of them were shut.

We finally found a very nice Indonesian place called Desa (selected it from the 2 listed on that page).  It wasn’t busy really, but there was a large party that arrived with near perfect timing of all the food hitting the table so as to prevent them waiting about.   We selected one of the sort of all inclusive meals for 2, they said it would be more then enough to include the kids (free), boy howdy, they were right too.  It was like 12 or 13 dishes of food that came out with 4-6 pieces in each dish, but combined it was massive.  We brought heaps back to the hotel.  Well, anyhow, Yuki mentions to one of the servers that it’s Lisa’s birthday, expecting maybe a free ice cream or something but the waitress brought around a couple of gift bags (pics on flickr once we get back to a proper internet connection, free wifi works but only just), and inside each bag was a few little toy things for the kids and a load of sweets.  These looked to have been made up before hand to give out in these sorts of occasions.  No free ice cream but the kids didn’t care, did I mention they have one to each of the girls?  They were over the moon haha    Well that experience was a good start to making up for lunch, certainly the meal was 100000% better for the value, which BTW was only 8 Euro difference, shocking.

Back at the hotel the girls got into their bags to see what they had.  I have an un-bagging video which I’ll get up later at home haha

And with that, the day is pretty well over.  Going to check emails and what not then get to bed.  Sorry for the long winded posting today, but there was a lot to say for sure.

2 thoughts on “Holland 2009 – Day 2”

  1. Still laughing. What a hoot! Not so much the blame you had to take for the mess on the floor, but by the telling itself! Too funny!

    I’m printing it now to let Ray read it.

  2. Rob, this is an awesome piece of work! What giggles can be had from someone else’s chaos. I do hope that you document all your adventures (on and off the road) like this, so that you can eventually compile a book, “The Extraordinary Adventures of Rob and Yuki and Lisa and Emma”, or “Ordinary is Boring”. LOL I look forward with great anticipation to the next episode.

    Warm regards,
    The Wop

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