Tuesday, November 20, 2001

A Day for Catching Up

A Day for Catching Up

It was time to get laundry done and we had spotted a laundermat the night before last that was fairly close to our place. Ron had decided that he would do the laundry, because I have needed a haircut for over three weeks. I was totally exhausted from the night before. Ron’s procedures for his apnea have not been that effective. It seems that he keeps me awake either snoring like a trumpet or by not breathing at all. I wake up often to see if he has stopped breathing when the sounds don’t wake me. It is difficult getting a full restful nights sleep. He left after we came back from breakfast and I took a nap for two hours.

After I woke, I still had to figure out what to do if I could not find an Internet café with Word on it. Something happened to my disk when I tried converting my letters to WordPad and it corrupted the disk. I spent an hour trying to fix the problems, but it was not fixable. My chore list included getting a haircut, finding an internet café that fit my needs and requirements, and to hunt down a photo developer that could get my pictures on CD Rom. Ron had not returned yet, so I left a note saying that I would meet him around 5:00 pm in our room.

I knew where I had wanted to go for a haircut and had checked out the price already. As I approached the shop, which was downstairs of a building, this man came out with a shaved head. I panicked thinking that I may not be able to make my needs know and my come out looking like this too. In California, I have been going to the same hairdresser for thirteen years and have seen her go from carefree and single to married to mother of two. She and I have had a bond and an understanding and I have never had anyone else cut my hair in all of that time. The last time she cut my hair was August 25th right before we left California. It felt like adultery going to someone else at this point in time.

The hairdresser shampooed my hair and gave me a great scalp massage, then proceeded to question what I wanted done with it. I explained how this was my first time with someone else in all of these years and she asked me if I was nervous? When I said that I was, she admitted that she was too. Great! Since her English was limited, so was our small talk. She actually did a very good job of getting it the length that I wanted. It cost about the same as it would have at home. My thought was to dye it myself the next morning since I had not done that in months and months.

After hours of searching, I found both an Internet café that has one computer with Word on it and a department store that can develop my film onto CD Rom. It was a frustrating experience since I hold this city in such high regard and then to have such limited options, but at least I found them. Of course, I had forgotten the film, so I will have to return.

It was nice having some time alone and I was sure that Ron felt the same. Doing continual twenty-four hour seven day a week shifts with someone for months is draining regardless of what the circumstances may be. The break was rejuvenating.

When I returned at 5:00, Ron had just returned himself saying that the laundry was busy, but later I had found out he had taken the laundry on a few jaunts. He found a park to walk, a gallery to peruse from the outside and discovered two little sailboats that were in the shape of wooden shoes.

The three things on our agenda for this evening were equally low keyed: get a beer, go to the Internet café, and get something to eat. Ron had to have an Irish beer after passing a bar that served Kilkenny. We have not been in Holland for a week yet and already he is tired of Heinekens. The bars here do not have selections like they did anywhere else we have been so far this trip. He misses the ability to select from ten to thirty pumps of draft beer. Some bars do not even have draft at all, it is all bottled Heinekens or order hard liquor. We stopped for a beer. There was nothing inside that would suggest this was an Irish pub other than the name and the beer they served. That was enough to fulfill Ron’s needs.

Last night, we had decided that it was cheaper to get a month pass at EasyEverything than it would be to pay each time. A month pass would provide unlimited usage and we would not feel pressured to get things done in such a hurry. I can’t upload and send the newsletters from there, but we can read and respond to e-mails. We are not sure where we will be going when we leave Amsterdam on the 30th, but I have been checking hotels in Cologne, Germany and Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

Ron wants to visit Cologne because he believes that is where his grandfather was from. As soon as we were in Germany the last time, you would have thought he had reached Mecca. All he could talk about was being back in the homeland. You would have thought he had been born there and was kidnapped out of the country. He had the same reaction to Ireland since that is part of his heritage also. You already know that even though I have family from there, it did not hold me in as much rapture as it did him. I am waiting with humor to see what visiting Cologne brings. I can almost place a bet that he will be looking for a book by a German author that has been translated into English. He has been trying to read from at least one author native to each country we visit. If he gets too carried away, I will have to suggest he start taking German lessons if he wants to really be part of his heritage.

I have also been looking into apartments in Budapest for a minimum of a two month stay, starting sometime in early December. That means we will be there for Christmas, New Years, and my birthday. If it works out, we may stay longer and see what types of jobs we may be able to pick up there. Once there, I will contact the school in Slovakia and see what their situation is like also. It is much quicker to check these things out via the Internet and when you have unlimited access to the Internet, it is more relaxing than when you only have an hour at a time. Since I am the one that knows how to find things on the Internet, I hate being rushed doing it.

Dinner was the Dutch version of an automat. There are still some restaurants if you could call them that that have little glass windows with different food items behind them. You put in the coins for the cost of each item, then open the little glass window and take your food. They also serve French fries or patates as they are called here, with mayonnaise. The over the counter choices are very limited, as they put their energy into the auto serve foods, not that they are any gourmet treat. The fun is to see what you will get since we don’t know Dutch and it is not translated. Anything that has kipper in the name, though, I associate with fish and avoid. It is a cheap dinner since you can be satisfied by a couple of items and it only costs about $3.00 each.

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