This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Amsterdam Day Four

No April Fool's Jokes today. Thank goodness. I probably wouldn't believe it was a joke in another country.

Today I promised CJ to get some shopping done, since we were unable to get much done yesterday (since I got us lost). And today we would hit Magna Plaza, the indoor shopping center that is where the Royal Palace used to be.

We took the #26 tram, which is below the streets. This is the lift we take to get to it, although technically, taking the stairs would be MUCH quicker, but the girls enjoy riding in this slow moving thing: And the tram station itself:

Uncle Phillip joined us for this journey. Once we got into the city, we ate lunch first. We hit another pizza place, much to CJ's delight. This time, I had a coke with my meal, although I did see patrons having their glasses of wine. Mi-Mi had some cheese garlic bread and I had a sandwich that was made with mozzarella (the real kind, not shredded), tomato and basil PLANTS. It was so, so, so yummy.

We ordered Mi-Mi some chocolate milk, like we had yesterday. However, this time she received hot chocolate. I had to get a picture because you can see the real chocolate at the bottom of the cup. This ain't no Swiss Miss:

And I have to mention another kitty sighting. This time, in this restaurant, taking the stairs down to the loo -- this kitty was snug in her bed, which is on the ledge that is adjacent to the stairs. So technically, you can pet this cat as you go down the stairs. As you can see, she looks so comfy. Mi-Mi didn't see it that way. She wanted to play (but I got to her in time):

After lunch, Tim and Phillip headed somewhere else. As CJ has stated, and it really is true, her dad is not much fun to shop with. He just doesn't have the shopping bug in him. Neither does Mi-Mi, but I took her with us anyway. She complained the entire time that there were 1)no toys and 2)no clothes for her.

We ducked into an alley to end up on another street, which was awesome, because this was lined with shop after shop. This is what I wanted yesterday.

We ducked into a bag shop and had sticker shot, so we ducked back out. A little further down was a shop that had some eclectic, and some of it sexy, clothing. It appeared to be a consignment like store, but again, it did NOT have consignment-like prices. We move on...

CJ pointed out one store that had an escalator to go down. We decided to give that a try and this time, we struck 'gold'. It was good that I wasn't in a shopping mood, since I was able to contain myself and picked up only a few things; same with CJ.

Oh, I am forgetting our first shopping stop, which was a touristy souvenir shop. When we left Tim adn Phil at the restaurant, it started raining and the wind was just making things worse - slapping rain drops in our face. And in this time of wind, it's hard to hold the umbrella without losing it or it turning inside-out. So we picked up a few beanie hats and some gloves for Mi-Mi. Mi-Mi promptly whined about how her gloves didn't 'feel good', as we walked on the crowded streets of Amsterdam, with rain and wind beating on us. Really. That's not irritating.

At this last store, I asked where I could find Magna Plaza and the lady pointed me right to it. We found it without a problem, although my distraction looking for it almost caused me to knock a street-side musician over. Well, I say musician, but he merely had one of those winding things that _made_ music (like a jack in the box, with no jack). Still, he looked "odd", like maybe he was blind or, um, slow, so I would have felt bad if I had knocked him over.

We first went downstairs, in the basement, to, where else, Sissy Boy. The prices didn't change from our place to downtown Amsterdam. They were still high. But there's a small section of toys that allowed Mi-Mi to 'toy' with while I sat and rested my sore feet. Unfortunately for me, I decided on style over comfort and wore my boots, under the assumption that I would not be walking as much. Not sure why I thought that...

We then went back upstairs and looked around the shops. These were not the same types of shops we encountered on the way over to the plaza. These shops sold designer named items, like Dolce and Gabanna.

At this point, a lot of time had passed since we had lunch so CJ asked if we could take a break and have a drink. We stopped at one of the cafes in the plaza and refueled. It was a cozy place with nice artwork:

The plaza is pretty amazing, despite the high Euro prices. Hey, one can look and never have to spend the money, it's just not as fun :-):

Mi-Mi found a toy store, so that temporarily stopped her whining. She and Rina picked up a couple of things and by this time, we were ready to leave.

By the way, the lift numbering system is the same throughout. I've noticed that is not the case in the U.S. and I can't understand why. Why do some places skip 13? Well, I know, because it's a bad luck number, but really...the floor will still be #13 -- that will NOT CHANGE even if you try to name it something else.

And then the basement? Is it the lobby? Is it the first floor? Is it the ground floor? Is it "A"? What is it? Why does it have to be so complicated?

Here, I've noticed that the ground floor -- what is even with the street -- is "0". If you go underground, it starts numbering in the negative: -1, -2. When you go up, it's 1, 2, 3. Simple, eh?

So the girls and I head out to meet Tim and Phil at Madame Tussaud's. We had planned to tour the museum in London but, well, we just didn't have enough time. So how cool it was to have one here in Amsterdam. Magna Plaza was not far so we were there in no time and I took these pics on the way. This time, I was very aware of the street musician and was nowhere near him to knock him over.

And now, Madame Tussaud and the first guy we see is Benny Hill (please excuse my poor photography skills...the dreaded FLASH):

Madame Tussaud's was a hoot. Not only could we bring our cameras and take pictures, but we could pose with them!! These things are eerily realy looking though, which gives me the creeps. I enjoyed it but damn, this is more like a Ripley's Believe It or Not adventure: Picasso: Me and well, guess who?A view of the city from within the museum:
Once done with the museum, we head back to Centraal Station. My feet are KILLING me. CJ isn't ready to go home so I suggest we go down the alley where all the shops are. Along the way, we passed the grim reaper, who we actually saw earlier -- me and the girls. He just appeared out of the door of a shop and I tried to pretend not to see know, just in case *I* was the only one who could see him.

Anyway, it was cute seeing these girls pose with him but Tim was chiding the parents and said don't be surprised if they end up missing:

CJ and I hit a couple of more stores and then I started getting cranky. My feet hurt, I was tired. I just wanted to go home. I eyeballed taxis, hoping that we could just take one instead of the long walk (it really wasn't that far) to Centraal Station, then the walk from our #26 tram stop. As I concentrated on Centraal Station (I could see it), I just thought "i can do this, i can do this". Then Tim said he needed to make another piss stop and I thought I was going to die of exhaustion.

Fortunately, Phillip came to the rescue and suggested that we stop for a walk break and a drink. He wanted to take the break at Teasers, which is Amsterdam's answer to Hooters. Although Tim claim the Hooters women were a bit more attractive, as some of the women were at the Red Light District. I thought the girls were cute, but I was proud to see flabby women show themselves...and that young ladies (they looked young) can have a flabby tummy too. :-)

I needed this so much...and apparently so did everyone else. My spirits picked back up and while there was no way I was shlumping around Amsterdam anymore, I found enough energy to make it back. Before we did, however, a really strange man came by and danced for us with a big tulip on his head: and then guess what he wanted? No, not that but 'donations':

Once we got off the #26 and took the walk back to the houseboat, we stopped at another 'houseboat', which was actually a restaurant, for dinner. At first, we thought it was closed, even though it was well lit, but Tim found out everyone was DOWNstairs. We had a scrunmptious dinner there -- a bit pricey though. Tim and I had one of the three course meals. I ordered filet, thinking I would get steak but instead, I got fish. I'm not a fish person but this was quite good and I enjoyed the atmosphere. CJ and Mi-Mi had chicken kebabs with chocolate sauce on them. CJ ate a few but Mi-Mi had two orders of it.

As we left the boat, we saw a dog on the upper deck. His owner had apparently gone down for dinner and the dog was allowed to hang out. I give Mi-Mi the camera and she took some great pics.

I said: "Please take a picture of the dog" and she came back with this:

Then she said she was going to get a picture of its tail and this is what we got:

I told her she got too close to it (I'm surprised she didn't get bit, she was so close) so she retook it and gave me this:

And last but not least, she left yet again and came back to excitedly tell me she got a picture of his tummy:

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