Eindhoven back to A'Dam

Wednesday night I wandered Eindhoven and spent some time writing at a downtown cafe/pub. I ended up meeting a couple of pediatric nurses and having drinks with them. This keyboard (plus the IC recorder and headphones I use to listen to it while typing my thoughts for the day) and Palm are great conversation pieces. Much better than a puppy. Puppies don’t fold well and are difficult to carry in a backpack for long distances.

Anyway, I was still planning on staying in Eindhoven and was expecting to hear back on the crash space my friend had offered.

Ahh, the plans of mice and men. So my theory of staying in Eindhoven until the party didn’t pan out as hoped. My friend’s family, like much of the rest of Holland, is on holiday. The Dutch get approximately 300 days of holiday a year, and everyone flees the country during the summer to places like Madrid, where they are now trapped en mass by an airline strike and are buying homes….

So my hope of a free night Thursday was dashed. I’d spent Wednesday in a small hotel/pension with an obnoxious Dutch proprietor. She had immediately decided she didn’t like my kind, and spent an amazing amount of breath making sure I knew not to make noise, that I couldn’t use the phones, that I needed to give the keys back when I left, that I shouldn’t track mud in the place, to remember to give the keys back, check out is at 10:30 am, breakfast at 9 am sharp, give the keys back ….

As I was calling around Thursday morning trying to find a place to stay, she came in at 9 am and announced that the painter was going to come by and paint my table. No, she couldn’t wait till I left, that would be most difficult. But don’t worry, he would only need 10 minutes or so and then I could avoid the table until I left. And remember to give the keys back.

As I packed up and left it took every ounce of self control had not to spread the maps I was using across the newly pained table and embed the keys in the paint. Don’t let anyone tell you I’m not a nice guy.

I called every cheap hotel and pension in town, and all were full until September or so. Outside, it was blowing over signs, small trees and at least one Dutch bicyclist and occasionally pouring rain, so I decided that staying at Eindhoven was Not Worth It and went to the train station to buy a ticket back to A’Dam.

Ok, Amsterdam is really cool, but I must admit I’m getting tired of “traveling” and staying in the same place. Problem is that I did want to make the party in Eindhoven, and A’Dam was the only place where I really knew anyone or could find a cheap place to sleep. I’d made a bad assumption about traveling in the country of Holland when I thought that it would be easy to get cheap accommodations compared to the big cities. A room in a national youth hostel was fl.40, about the same as A’Dam, but every other option (hotels and most pensions) ran higher; from fl.40 to fl.90. That adds up fast. The only thing cheaper was food, but not enough so.

So Amsterdam seemed like the best choice, and my Dutch friend offered to put me up for a night. I bought a train ticket for fl.37 (about $16) and an hour later was in Amsterdam. At 200kph (120mph) these trains move.

Once in A’Dam I went to an internet cafe and discovered I’d gotten multiple responses to my CV. I’d slightly reworked it earlier that morning while waiting for the train and sent it to maybe seven ads. I’d gotten replies from three of them within hours, plus a couple replies from earlier CV’s.

I spent several hours on my new GSM cell phone talking to recruiters, all of whom unfortunately are in the UK. One position would pay poorly but put me in charge of building a large game department, another would pay mediocre but put me in a company that might have some neat things to teach me, and a third would pay like blazes but would be boring.

Remembering the tax differences here is important, because it changes what ‘well paid’ means by about 20%. For Holland that’s closed to a 25% drop in real income. The devil is in the details.

Spent most of last night talking with my Dutch buddy, contemplating the possibility of work here. Still in the mental conundrum of do I, don’t I? I’m going to be making a conscious effort to overcome my mounting paranoia about money to avoid jumping for stability even when it isn’t really what I want. I need to remember that my goal is to either be here in a great job and living space (like city, people, etc), or be home in Seattle building a great job for myself (since Seattle has great people, living space, etc).

I’m also considering how to get around over the next couple months. Trekking around both bike and pack is just as difficult as I was afraid it would be. Not too bad while riding in the boonies, but a major pain for getting around in a town where I’m not settled or transiting long distances. I’ve gotten much better at getting around with the bike and gear, but it’s still limiting my options. I can’t afford to play things very fast and loose this way, so I’m considering ways to put the bike and extraneous heavy gear in storage here until I need it for the trip through Turkey or someplace.

Tonight or tomorrow I head back to Eindhoven for the weekend, and by early next week hope to have a better idea of my next step. By then, assuming I can afford it, I should be on my way to Berlin for a week of dance and debauchery. Then probably on to Italy, then ….

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