Amsterdam in One Page 2014
Booked this trip back in April because 1-I got an unexpected bonus; 2-Late October is when I always feel stuck at home despite having spent a week in LA in August; 3-I've never been. I'm doing this page short-form. From the response to the last post, it seems that about 12% of the people I notify actually look at it, so I have to wonder if it's worth doing.  Or whether it's worth putting in as much time as I usually do.
 
View from the porch of my B&B. It wasn't a house exactly. It was some kind of fashion design studio. Three people were living/working there. I hardly saw them and they never provided breakfast! From what I heard on TripAdvisor, that was probably an advantage.  And there was a great coffee shop two doors down.

By the time I got to Amsterdam, I forgot what the Royal Concertgebouw was playing. Two pieces I'd never heard. First, Brahms Double Concerto for 'Cello and Violin. He dedicated the piece to an ex-friend--he'd sided with his wife during the divorce. A heretical though kept bubbling up: "Better than Yo-Yo Ma". Remembering him at Wolf Trap (Dvorak B-minor), he made a big goofy grin, went into a trance, and made everything sound easy. While technically flawless, this cellist somehow conveyed how hard it was and why we should be impressed. The second piece was clearly early 20th century--wheedle wheedle bang bang. Atonal, but with a spirit of fun instead of the usual sturm und drang. The final movement got me excited. The first half galumphed. The second half was a slow, extended fadeout that was unexpected and intense. Turned out to be Shastakovich's Fourth. He wrote it in 1936, but the orchestra rebelled at playing it. It premiered in 1961 under Otto Klemperer.
Dutch is what happens if you were to put German and English in a box and run over it with a truck. If you stare at a word long enough, it'll resolve into one language or the other. The sign eventually turned into "Rauchen ist deadly".
This resolved into Freezegetranken
Brad Pitt wird pissed als he spared wird.
Andy in Zeedijk-area Chinese restaurant. Andy has moved to Amsterdam for six months to work a startup in an incubator. They're hardly short of capital; an investor is preparing to put in $6M. There's a market for the app, I think, provided that they get a critical mass of users before one of the big guys rips the idea off.  Which is exactly what the investor is planning on doing. Andy has been there three months so far, and want to emigrate to either Amsterdam or Berlin. I was there after three months in Australia--all the things that irritated me about the US were gone.  After 14 months I was ready to go back. I (usually) understood the English, but lacking cultural references, I was missing nuances and undertext. Wanted to go where I totally fit in, not 75%.
View from the van Gogh museum on the day everything went wrong. Bought skip-the-line tickets the day before. There was no line at 10AM on Monday. But the museum wouldn't scan it from my iPad. They have a printer for such cases, but it was broken. Helpful tourist offices? No, the tourist info offices turn out to be boat rentals. Back to the apartment. The landlady doesn't have a printer. She refers me to a print shop across the street.  It's moved.  Back to lookup the location on Google, which turned out to the the back side of the same building. Would only print from a USB drive, which the iPad doesn't have. For some reason they wouldn't take an email or Dropbox. Decided to make the e15 a donation and go buy a ticket. Line length at noon: 1:15.

The museum itself was a bit of a letdown compared to the Prado or Vatican or Louvre.  Big building with a small collection. The takehome: van Gogh painted a lot more than we ever see.  We see the same few paintings over and over. Like Dali, all we see is his late period. His early stuff is excellent--magical composition, but not the broad brushstrokes and magical realism that make his work recognizable at a glance.

The story of the ear: He's bought a house in Arles and wanted to make it an artist's collective.  After many invitations, Gaughin moved in. They couldn't stand each other. Philosophical difference too: van Gogh was see it/paint it, where Gaughin believed the future of painting was from imagination, not from life. After a big blowup, Gaughin moved out claiming that Vincent had tried to kill him with a straight razor. van Gogh was so remorseful that he took a chunk out of himself.  Went to the hospital for infection. After three months, checked himself into a mental hospital. What was the problem? Anxiety and hallucinations without manic episodes or diorganized thinking. The current guess is epilepsy.  I favor tumor (like Robert Schuman, similar case). Eventually he shot himself because he believed his talent was fading, and his brother Theo, who had given him living expenses in return for paintings, was planning to go independent. He died three days later with Theo by his side.

Theo was an art dealer in Paris. He relentlessly promoted van Gogh's works. So did his sister, after his death. Without them, he could very well be obscure today.
 
Rijksmuseum. Don't go for the painting, go for the naval scale models use to guide construction, and the weapons and armor.
 
Metropolitan Patisserie in the Red Light District. Stopped here for gelato.
There's at least two coffee+ shops on every block. I got no contact high, and eventually got tired of the smog.
And there were side streets with block-to-block walls of bump and grid.  How much is that ho in the window? The one who's waggling her tail? 
World's only gay halal restaurant.
I'm going to quit apologizing.