The Netherlands-Music and other Observations

9/5/16 update: I am eating herring in the featured picture. It is a pickled fish served with chopped onions. It was delish!

There were quite a few nights when I came home super late because class, and after-class activities ended late. There were also some nights where I had to get some Law school work done–yea, I didn’t get my full eight hours on those nights. Ultimately, it took my body about 4 full days and nights to adjust to the time difference. I tried everything literally to accommodate this change including counting sheep, keeping my eyes closed, prayer, and a host of other resorts. In the end, I either decided to just lay there in bed (they brought me a mattress pad eventually) or watch tv. Music channels were some of the few channels in English. I also watched a couple of Dutch shows (in Dutch) and here’s what I realized, along with some other general observations during my time in The Netherlands:

  1. The actors really looked like regular people. They’re not decked out in make-up. Even television show hosts look average–well like the average pretty woman.
  2. Dutch people are TALL. They’re giants. This is something I did not know until I arrived. According to my doctor, I’m 5’6 and 3/4 quarters, but I definitely feel taller than that– I’m thinking 5’8. It’s funny because in South Florida (my place of birth), the people are generally tall. Whereas in Georgia, the people are short. The people in the Netherlands however, make me feel short. The women are my height and above. The men on average are easily over 6’2.
  3. Referring back to my second point, this was a great thing especially when I went shoe shopping. In the U.S. my size (10/11) is usually sold-out. Here, my size was on the display model. Awesome! Unfortunately, I was being frugal with money at that point because I had spent a good portion of my budget, so I did not purchase these cute pairs of boots and heels that I saw. It probably would not have fit in my overstuffed bag anyways. As this was my first stop in Europe, I left the stores with the generalization that all of Europe, including my future travel destinations would be like this. WRONG.
  4. Bars are the norm. People in The Netherlands make it a point to enjoy life after work, especially when it’s not raining, which apparently it does…A lot. Fortunately for me, it did not rain AT ALL while I was there.
  5. Bikes, Bikes and more Bikes. Bikes with CAR SEATS for BABIES (Wow). Bikes with a wagon-like structure in the front. Little kids on bikes. Men in nice suits on bikes. – For some of you, you’re probably thinking ‘Everyone knows this.’ However, keep in mind that this was my first time in Europe, so I visited The Netherlands not really knowing what to expect outside of my class. The Dutch enjoy their bikes. Their flat terrain is perfect for bikes. Their gas prices also encourage bike use. When I saw that gas was  just under 2 euros I thought ‘Wow, gas is cheap.’ WRONG. That’s the price per liter. Meaning that one has to be making a pretty penny- no euro – to enjoy the luxury of having a car. It’s a luxury in the winter at least. The bike does have its perks though. It’s easy to navigate the small spaces and easy to park. I also saw bike parking lots and bikes without any locks. This led me to believe that, it’s relatively safe in The Hague. I mean they don’t call it “The International City for Peace and Justice”  for nothing.
  6. Which leads me to my next point–The Hague is so diverse. I saw all types of people, but I still had a fair share of people staring at me. In any event, one-fifth of the Dutch population is foreign, so it is very multi-cultural.
  7. Three kisses – right cheek, left cheek, right cheek. The third one seems a bit much for me. I’m used to two kisses (Caribbean way).
  8. The Dutch generally speEnglishish. Thank God because they’re words- like German- look like a bunch of scrambled letters to me.
  9. The Dutch love beer (biggest export) and coffee (They drink about 3 cups a day on average).
  10.  I knew before I arrived – The Dutch love a good deal. Some would even venture to say that they are cheap. Hence the phrase “Going Dutch,” which means to split the bill.
    1. They even have flessenschaper or bottle scraper to scrape the bottom of a drink container to make sure nothing is wasted.
  11. ***The Dutch are very direct. I thought I was a pretty blunt person, but I do not even come close to the Dutch. See my first post for an anecdote. lol

There was also many times during my 12-day stay when I had to get ready for a function or event. During those times, I usually had some background music. I did not want to leave the hotel with a dead battery (also Pandora did not work in Europe), so I resorted to watching the equivalent of “Fuse” on the television. For those of you who are not familiar, Fuse is a network that solely plays music. I chose to listen to the top hits channel, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that their top hits are generally the same ones that are over-played on American radio. Here are the top fifteen songs I recall hearing too many time in “Da Nedalands.” That’s how locals pronounce the name btw. See below:

  1. Gold – Kiiara
  2. This Girl – Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 burners
  3. This is what you Came For – Calvin Harris and Rihanna
  4. Don’t Let Me Down – Chain Smokers and Daya
  5. Never Forget You = Zara Larsson
  6. I hate u, I Love you – Gnash ft. Olivia O’Brien
  7. Into You – Ariana Grande
  8. Girls Like – Tinie Tempah ft Zara Larsson (I dislike this song btw lol)
  9. Send my love to your new lover – Adele
  10. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake (I also kdislike this song, but only bc it’s overplayed)
  11. Panda- Desiigner (Yes- I couldn’t believe it either. Atlanta followed me to Europe)
  12.  A lot of Drake-like sounding rappers with crappy lyrics
  13. Work- Fifth Harmony
  14. Too good – Drake and Rihanna (They mashed old Drake and Rihanna videos to create a video for this song)
  15. Closer – The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey
  16. Rihanna – Sledge Hammer
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