Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-08-29

Stayed the night in Amsterdam

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From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 22:01:38 +1000 (EST)
Went to look at 'Anne Frank House' - but the queue looked too big, and
the price too much. Kate went off to send some packages to Australia
(wedding gift for Karl and Louisa) and Austria (a toy koala and some
very well travelled postcards!). Hopefully they didn't muddle the two
countries! Meanwhile, I climbed the tower of the church nearby. Heard
the carillon play in the tower - they have an instrument with 50 bells
attached to a keyboard. The instruments are all made in Amsterdam and
shipped to other parts of the world - there are only about 70 people who
know how to play them! The view was very cool, though we were only
allowed to the 6th floor of 10.

Went to the Rijksmuseum after lunch, and saw lots of cool history and
paintings. I saw the first European artifact in Australia - a plate
that was nailed to a tree in Western Australia by a passing dutch
ship, well before Cook first sailed along the east coast. The dutch
didn't find water or supplies, so they gave the place up as a desert
and went back to the east-indies instead. Saw pictures by Van Gogh and
Rembrandt ('Night Watch' is huge! - and it's been cut down from the
original as well), but then it was 4:45, and the guards refused us
entry to the doll-house that Kate really wanted to see. We pointed out
that the brochure said they closed at 5, but they kept blocking us
until it was 5. We tried to complain, but the head guard said that
only security was left in the building, and no they couldn't refund
our tickets or let us in. They said 'write a letter' - as if that will
help when we're out of the country. They also said that they have to
clean the place at 5 to 5 - basically closing time means when they
want to go home, not the time that you can see things until. We
weren't too impressed with their attitude.

Met up with other computer people from the newsgroups for dinner and
drinks at a pub - the food was good, and the conversation was great
- lots of very cool people there - never mind that none of them are
  actually locals! It appears that Dutch IT infrastructure is run by
  imported people...

We kept chatting until nearly 10pm, when Bruce dragged us off to see a
free comedy show. There are a bunch of people who decided to set up a
comedy act in English, and do 3 paid shows a week and one free 'teaser'
in which they test out new ideas. It was fantastic, very clever acting
and script writing.

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