A few months ago I got a rare opportunity. I was invited to speak at a conference. In Amsterdam. Robert Curlette was hosting the first ever Tridion Developer Summit, and, as an MVP, I was extended the opportunity to stand in front of people and run my mouth about code or what-have-you. If you know me, you know that I don’t have a problem not shutting up. So, I accepted the invitation, and began preparing my presentation (which is why I haven’t been blogging much lately). The conference was fun, but the results of that are for a different post (or series of posts). This one is about my adventures in Europe.
Amsterdam, so nice to meet you
Getting off of the plane is easy enough. Amsterdam is definitely a city of English speaking tourists as all the signs at the airport are in Dutch andEnglish. The airport was actually pretty well laid-out, and the money changing counter was easy to find. The best part of standing in line at the currency exchange is hearing Americans gripe about how few Euros they got out of their dollars. Eurotrip might not be an accurate reference tool; entirely too many Americans were half-expecting to buy Latvia with couch-change.
Sleep is for the weak
They always say to sleep on the plane, that way you’re well rested for Amsterdam. What they don’t say is that if you have narcolepsy, and take a magic pill that keeps you awake for 18 hours, that it’s going to sleep will be a tad more difficult. Sleeping is kind of my thing — what with the sleepy-time disorder and all. Heck, I can even do it while driving. I’m mister sleepy time. Getting sleep on a plane? Piece of cake for me. Right?
Nope. The body refused. I might have gotten in a short, 30 minute nap. Maybe.
Plan B: Stay awake and use my magic narcolepsy meds to create a new, Amsterdam-based sleep cycle. There’s absolutely nothing that could possibly go wrong with this approach, right?
Drinking just two beers is also for the weak
When you’ve gone more than 24 real hours without sleep, obviously the thing you should do is take another anti-sleepy-time pill 18 hours after you took the first one. And, most obviously, you should have a beer three hours later. ‘Cause, you know…it’s always beer-time o’clock in Amsterdam.
From the airport it’s a short walk to a train station. A few minutes later, we’re at the central station, and a smooth 15 minutes of walking goes by before we get to our hotel. Piti is with us, and he lived in Amsterdam for 6 months. He can navigate this town using his inner google. This makes it a frustrating, but short-lived trip. If not a tiny little bit exhausting. Because…awakeness is hard.
We check in to our hotel, which was easy enough. Three of the four rooms are immediately ready. Mine takes a few minutes because I asked it to be changed to the ground floor. We negotiated up to the first. It’s not that I have a fear of heights. It’s that I have a fear of noticeable urine stains in my pants at the thought of gravity forcibly unfriending me. Mr Peepee-pants-from America will not have a room on the fifth floor. No thank you. Yes, I’ll wait 20 minutes for a room at a height with a 100% reduction in successful suicides.
We regrouped some 20 minutes later, some folks went to a coffeeshop – which is not the same as a coffee shop. At one, they serve coffee. At the other, they serve you…not coffee. You get the same variety in flavors…but the names are a tad different. Pike’s Peak is at a coffee shop; Peter Piper’s Peak is at the coffeeshop. So one of our crew goes on to a coffeeshop for a chemically induced buzz. The rest of us go on to the Anne Frank house for an emotionally induced buzzkill.
When you go to the Anne Frank house, you should drink afterwards
Let me offer you one little tip when you go to the Anne Frank house. If you paid for your tickets online — which you should do because they sell out — you should not wait in line. That’s why you paid for the tickets. They’re the, “I want to feel really sad now tickets.” 45 minutes passed before we figured that out. And it’s not so much that we figured it out as it that the attendant said, “you pay for these tickets online to get in now.” Screw you mister know-it-all dutchy-pants. We’re Americans; we’ll do what we want.
The Anne Frank house absolutely fantastic, by the way. You should really go. But you’re totally going to feel sad afterwards. And I mean sad. But, you should go so that you understand that the diary of Anne Frank is the voice of a real person, with a real history, who gave us a real story of what it was like to be a loving child in a world of hateful adults.
We had one person in our crew that is a natural Happy-Pants McGee. It’s always Sunny in the Rainbow Farts of Joy when you’re Happy-Pants McGee. Except when you go to the Anne Frank house. Then Happy-Pants McGee needs a drink about like Danny Devito needs heel extensions. So we agreed to chemically alter our buzzkill with a buzz.
Drinking is Never the Answer
Unless the question is, “what is one thing that’s never the answer?” In this case, it’s okay to say, “drinking.” If the question is, “should you stay awake for 36-ish hours straight, have a beer, and then go out for a few beers before you decide to finish up your presentation?”, you should definitely say, “no, much older-and-wiser-Frank, that’s an awful idea. Definitely don’t go out for beers.”
That emphasis is on the “go out”. There’s that… je-ne-sais-quoi with the act of arrival, isn’t there? But that’s part two…