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It's that time of the year again, tests, papers, extra things that just bug the hell out of you.  But, doing it in a different city is very nice.  Fall is truly upon us, it gets almost to freezing, and let me tell you, coming from Pittsburgh certainly helps where wind is always moving over water.  Those SoCal people however....The thing I love the most though, is when going out in the morning, or late at night after the boats have been docked up for the night.  The water is completely still, and the ducks are all asleep, and there is a beautiful reflection of all the 17th century buildings.  It really is something to see, and a sight that is practically endless in this city. 

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Fortunately I had the chance to climb the narrow, bell-filled cavity of Westerkerk to see an entire 360 degree view of the entire city, and the faint glimmer of Utrecht.  Bells from before the true settling of America? A king's etching in the wood planks? Yea very cool.  Not to mention that the entire thing is at a very nice lean west and is built on a "sliding frame" that is meant to absorb the vibrations of the giant. truck sized bells that get played from time to time.   To see the city from many meters up was breath taking, and nothing says "hello" like freezing fall wind in one's face.  But trust me, with what I was seeing, the weather was the least thing on my mind!

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I must comment on this, that throughout this busy two weeks, full of midterm cramming and being highly efficient in getting stuff wrapped up, I managed to cross a lot of things off the list.  First, I had a Dutch pizza, which is really just cheese, mushrooms, and ham on paper-like crust, its good, but I really could of used an appetizer to fill me up.  Not nearly as good as Dutch stamppot of hutspot, which consist of mashed potatoes, saurkraut, endive, carrots, and always accompanied by a nice big stuk of rookworst. They say Dutch cuisine isn't very expansive or world class, but hell, give me a plate of mashed potatoes and meat and my inner Pollack goes wild.

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I can also say that I ate Indonesian, Ethiopian, Japanese, and Turkish too all in one week.  Talk about being multicultural! There is just a crazy amount of ethnic places to go around (plus the ethnic ladies in the windows down on Ruysdaelskade).  This melting pot (yes lots of fondue here) is wonderful for me, you never know who you'll be talking to, and thus, helping to try and get them to the nearest tourist spot.  Let's see, in my time here I've helped French, Dutch, Russian, Belgian, American, Canadian, and Taiwanese people get around.  I mean I don't have blond hair, don't slick it back in the Duthc style, am not at all tall, and my Dutch is sub-par. Maybe its some boyish, innocent charm I have, or maybe its my bright green monstrosity that I ride around that alerts people to my presence.  I really don't care though, makes me feel needed and real good that I can get people to where they need to be, and that I may leave them with a little memory that not all Americans are pompous, unhelpful idiots (though those British visitors are much, much worse, see we've been put in our place, but they are always too drunk to realize what is going on).

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Well, its off to Brugge, or Bruges if you're French.  It's a nice little UNESCO Heritage site that is still stuck in the 1200s.  After the hell-week that I've had, its much needed.  I can't wait to dig into wafels, praline-chocoladen, en poules moules, not to mention a nice dose of Vlammse brew.  I think that Belgium may be the perfect place for me on paper, but Amsterdam will always be my home away from home.  No sense getting all sentimental here, I got a great weekend planned, not too mention a national Bokbier festival on Sunday in the middle of OccupyAmsterdam protestors (anti-capitalistic group and seasonal beer, how could this get any better?). I think next week I need to give A'dam its culinary midterm quiz, and I revisit some of the favorites to get updated pics (its hard to take pictures when you're holding an entire bag of patat frites smothered in oorlog saus).  So off to Vlanders, and back to A'dam to finish up October!!

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