Kate, Amsterdam, Gtown, etc.

Quick update for anyone that's wondering what I've been up to. It's been a little crazy lately with frequent visitors and other commitments. I'm on hiatus at Ellis Brigham due to friends and travel. Last Thursday, Kate came to visit and it was an amazingly relaxing time spent touring London. We went to some not-so touristy things... like the Apple Store in Brent Cross (Zone 3, man) to fix Kate's constantly afflicted Mac. Although the computer received a bad prognosis, all wasn't lost. We stopped at Camden Town on the way there and explored the markets and checked out the part that burned down. The British really freak out about fires, because I expected a huge part of the market to be gone after all the news it got. But when I looked, there were only 2-3 structures that looked destroyed, including the famous Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse watering hole, The Hawley Arms. Other highlights of Kate's visit include the Annie Leibovitz documentary at ICA. Maybe it was Kate's presence or just seeing a bunch of American icons on screen, but I loved it. So... if you have the opportunity, see the documentary Annie Leibovitz: My Life Through a Lens.

What else... I've been struggling to make time for climbing in the midst of visitors and trips. I've been practicing lead climbing to prepare for Sardinia and took my first fall (on purpose) on Friday to overcome my fear. I'm not going to lie... it was not glamorous and I spent a few minutes clutching the wall as my calves shook from fatigue trying to get the nerve to just jump. But hurrah, now I did it and I'm less scared and will look less stupid in the future!

Some quick thoughts about Amsterdam... so many canals. I'm really ignorant about world cities to the point where I did not even know that Amsterdam was famous for tulips. Of course, we strolled through the Red Light District, both during the day and at night. The first time I saw a prostitute in the window, I was immediately sad. But then I got over it because if seeing a prostitute caused sadness, then I'd probably be sad for the majority of my time in Amsterdam. What else... museums. We went to the Van Gogh museum and the Rijk museum. Thumbs up to the Van Gogh museum, although Jared and I both felt a little guilty/proud that the MoMa in NYC had Starry Night. Fun facts: Van Gogh painted a lot of Japanese-influenced pieces... lots of trees with cherry blossoms or other flowers and even imitations of Japanese woodblock prints. I wasn't that impressed with the Rijk museum, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of Rembrandt or Vermeer. It was also really small. Quickly... we used the trams a lot, even though city was really walkable. Finding genuine Dutch food proved to be a challenge, as Argentine Steakhouses dominate the culinary landscape in Amsterdam. I'm not complaining because the steaks were amazzzing. Maybe it's just because I've been deprived of quality beef for 5 months (U-S-A!). One last comment on Amsterdam since I've kind of gone overboard. The Dutch are extremely friendly and speak impeccable English. We walked into a butcher's shop and asked if she spoke English to which she replied, "A little." And then she proceeded to give us directions to a Dutch restaurant in what I would consider to be fluent English. Anyways. Amsterdam in a nutshell... not morally corrupt and actually quite quaint. It's more metropolitan than Prague and holy hell, do they ride bikes there.

Alright. I'm pretty behind on work and am set to head to Brick Lane in an hour. Still, life is good. I watched Georgetown beat Marquette at Bodeans BBQ in Soho with newly arrived Gtown friends (Claire, Nathan, Ashley, and Lauren) who are here for Spring Break. J-Wal saves the day... yet again. Ok, hopefully I'll be posting a little more frequently leading up the end of Lent Term but until then, I hope everyone is well.