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Published: February 14th 2010
Sarah and I woke up later in the morning and caught breakfast after checking out. I ate brown bread with butter and jam, orange juice, cheese, anc coffee. Then we headed through the red light district, which was still sleeping and muddled around with the map until we found our way to the Rijks Museum, Hollad's storehouse of art treasures. We waited outside in the bitter cold in a line that was way, way too long.
Behind me, I heard a couple speaking in French. The man was saying he wasn't feeling well, and she suggested he eat something. A few minutes went by and then out of the corner of my eyes, I saw him holding on to his chest with a wide eyed expression on his face. His whole body started twitching and he reached for the gate to steady himself. His wife started crying out frantically. I cupped my hands around my mouth and called "Help!" to the other people in the line. "Is there a docor?! Medcine?!" Another woman asked me in French if I knew the emergency number and I told her I didn't. I had reached for my phone, too, but had realized frustratedly
outside our hostel. this christian hostel was one that sarah had stayed in before. i thought it was funny that they were in the red light district of all places. missionary work?
that I didn't know the number. This was something I should have looked up. His wife was screaming to call an ambulence. By this time there was a brown liquid running down his chin. I was still calling to see if any of the people in the long line were doctors, and the museum safe ran out. One man had the ambulence on the line. They were coming. A group of people layed him on the ground because he was losing conciousness. His body was twitching and convulsing; I think he was have a seizure. The museum staff covered him in a thermal blanket, as his wife held his hand and the man kept EMS on the line. It seemed like forever until the ambulence came, and the stress of the moment brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to be able to help, but I didn't know what I could do. With each minute that we waited for the ambulence to come, I thought, he was losing time. If he'd had a stroke he was losing brain capacity--where was the ambulence? Everyone in the line stayed in line, watching the people tending to the man on the ground. It
was a somber moment, as I think we all realized how quickly something terrible can strike. I was trying to keep back my tears when the wailing of the ambulance finally reached my ears. The EMS people ran out, but I couldn't see much because we had already moved up in line.
It's strange how despite catastrophe we don't want to lose our place in line.
Then we were in the museum, and the ambulence still hadn't left. I worried that this was a bad sign. However, one of the museum workers was walking quickly back to the entrance, and he passed by us with a happy expression on his face. I hope this meant things had turned out ok. I'll never know.
This brought a grey tinge to my experience of the museum, though I still enjoyed wandering through a melange of Rembrandts, Vermeers, Brughels, et. al. It was a truly great museum.
After that, we met some of Sarah's friends for lunch at a Dutch restaurant. I had a smoked salmon wrap. Then Sarah and I wandered over to the Van Gogh museum! What a great museum! They had like 200 hundred something of
his paintings I think, and we got to see the evolution of his style. This is probably my most prefered museum yet!
Next, we wandered through the canaled streets and visited some souvenir shops. We went to the Albert Cuyp market, which is known here for being the bastion of all things you never needed. It's a sprawling street with vendors and shoppers strolling by. We saw shoes, make up for sale, cheese, sausage, pickle vendors, and of course chocolate vendors (selling chocolate molded into the form of a dildo...something neither Sarah or I had ever seen before that's for sure! ah!) But our favorite was the struffwaffle vendor. A struffwaffle is a very popular snack here. It's made of the same thing waffle as a waffle cone (except fresh and hot!). You get two waffle circles with hot caramel ozzing in the middle. It was SOOOO delicious.
For dinner we headed to a MEXICAN (that's right, you heard it!) restaurant someone had recommended. I practically dropped to my knees when I saw the sign for this Pacifico place, because Mexican food has been severly missing in my diet here. Sarah and I gobbled down chip and salsa
yes, these are what they look like
with guacamole, while sipping on sangria. One sangria and one margareta each later, we were still gorging ourselves on the chorizo cubano and fried potatoes we'd ordered after drink #1. We ate there until 9pm, and then decided we should catch the train back to Tilberg.
So we hopped on the train, and got off at the connection in Den Bosch. Getting off the train, I missed a step and slid down a couple stairs to the platform. Don't worry, no harm done! I have a bruise today, but it's nothing serious 😊 But at the station, everybody was dressed in crazy costumes and running around like mad people. Now that we were back in the southern part of the Netherlands, we were in the region where they celebrate Carnival! It's like Mardi Gras, and it's an excuse to dress up in goofy outfits and get VERY drunk and VERY high. Holding to each other to avoid the crowd, Sarah and I made it to our train.
It was great to be safe and sound in Tilberg at last!
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