Bye, Bye, Arkansas, Hello Schiphol... travel blog


I really did want to attend the International Day of Peace in The Hague, but guess what? My body didn’t. I could not imagine taking the train and going into crowed Den Haag for this event. I really hate that we’re missing the parade. It was suppose to be various cultures showing their dance and costume. I am so angry at myself for getting sick.

So, not one foot was stepped outside of the front door today. Fortunately, a Skate Jam is going on below on the street was enough to keep us entertained for the day. It started around 12 noon and continued until about 10pm. The music was so loud even with the windows and doors closed it could be heard easily, here on the 8th floor.

We watched the competition the Moroccan Rap group and funky Dutch band. I have to chuckle to myself that all of the lyrics and rapping is in Dutch but the music is so American hip-hop. You hear a lot of yo, yo, yo!!!! There was one poor girl on a stage with her guitar partner. Simon said she was the worse singer he’d ever heard. She wasn’t that bad. But there was little bit of everything for everybody. Rock climbing, football (soccer), a “graffiti wall” for those who like destroying public property with their art, face painting for the kids, etc., etc. It really made up for not leaving the house.

My thoughts on Dutch television—which I devoted time to today—it’s not bad. There are, of course, several channels completely in Dutch. Simon enjoys them, especially the news, and because I have chosen not to devote my free time to learning Dutch, I suffer as I rightly should. But they’ve got reality TV (Big Brother originated here), talent shows, soap operas, dating shows, movies, etc., all in Dutch, of course… However, and fortunately, they’ve got some channels that have American shows. Some shows are outdated, but the great thing is that they’ll have Dutch subtitles. That helps with learning Dutch a whole lot and it’s nice to hear the American English.

Dutch TV and commercials do show nudity (as I’d always heard). It’s not vulgar, it’s just shown as being a part of life, as it is. Now, there are some 800 numbers advertising chatlines (like we’ve got in the states). They show nudity as well. The profanity is not blocked, so on regular network TV you get all of the F-words. It’s also true that the celebrities who wouldn’t do commercials in the states do them here. I’ve seen George Clooney and Richard Gere in Dutch commercials here. No judge shows here, but Oprah and Dr. Phil come on everyday. CNN and MSNBC have European editions with mostly non-American reporters and anchors. The BBC is big here.

The reports on the American financial crisis have been big news here. The news about things as it’s represented here would have one to believe that America is on its last leg and life there is all doom and gloom. But I know at home there is nothing greater than America’s Spirit and resiliency. Only being away for this long do I realize how much I do love America. It will always be my favourite country.

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