Consumerism makes a surprise comeback and other thoughts on Amsterdam

I really like Amsterdam. The city is friendly, clean, diverse, and ripe for exploration.

I arrived in Schipol at 5 in the morning and took the train to Amsterdam Centraal. I was precisely 1 stop from the airport when I realized that I had left my Zomba District map and my infamous “Don’t Panic” moleskine beside a phone booth outside the train transfers area. I got off the train, turned around, returned to the airport, found my belongings exactly where I had left them, and took another stab at the trip to Centraal.

When I arrived at my hotel (the lovely Intel Amsterdam Central), I was not expecting to be able to check in but the concierge was very accommodating and placed me in a great room on the 4th floor. When you walk into the room, you head down a short flight of steep stairs and emerge into this awesome exposed beam-peaked roof room. It is hard to describe but it is hands down the coolest hotel room I have ever stayed in. I took a quick nap, had a yummy breakfast (CHEESE! PROSCIUTTO! YOGURT! BERRIES! after 2 months in Malawi, this was a great change), and set out for a crazed shopping spree.

Okay, okay. I know I am a graduate student and should not even be uttering the words shopping spree but after 3 months of wearing the same 7 outfits week in and week out, it was great to just splurge a bit in an exciting European city. I made my way to the 9 Streets District which I would classify as the Amsterdam version of Main Street (or maybe like an extra-large gas town). Had lots of fun talking to store owners, picking out some fun new clothing, and generally living the good life.

So now I am back in my glamorous hotel room and planning on making it a night of movies, room service, and 100% shameless relaxation. Tomorrow morning I catch a 7am train to Wurezburg in southern Germany where I will be staying with family friends.

Hey, life can be pretty good eh?


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