Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hello, the Netherlands!

The Netherlands welcomed us with glorious weather - it was a nice and sunny 26 degrees, with not a rain cloud in sight. My friend A. picked us up at Schipol airport and took us to the house she grew up in. With her parents away for the summer, she generously allowed us the use of their beautiful home while we looked for a place to stay. (A., thanks again so much!)

We've been here three days, and I think I'm over the jet lag (after forcing myself to stay awake twenty hours for two days in a row, I think I've nailed it now). It's early in the morning, and we're not due to be in The Hague until 11 a.m. today for ID purposes. We had a really busy day yesterday, as we tried to get a feel of the transportation system (bicycles and trains), looked for an apartment (Dutch brokers are very different from HK brokers - they'll only show you the apartment whose pictures you saw on the internet, unlike HK and Singapore brokers who'll show you that apartment and thirty other places) and sampled the local produce (i.e., cheese and beer). Here are some pictures:

Canals are everywhere!


This is the village where we are staying, about thirty minutes from The Hague. I don't think I've seen so much vegetation since I left Singapore almost two years ago!

This is the Dutch version of a parking lot.

It was 17 degrees, and for people from the Tropics (like me!), that sounds like winter. Here, it's very much summertime, and people were happy and smiling and enjoying their lunches at cafes in the Hague like this one.

Here's an impressive looking square - the entire structure (which was too big for my camera to take) is called the Binnenhof, originally the 13th century hunting lodge of the counts of Holland, but now houses the parliament and government buildings of the Netherlands.

And here, folks, is where L. will be working for the next year. The Peace Palace:

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