Thursday, July 10, 2008

That's What She Said: While in Amsterdam....act Amsterdamian...or not...

That's What She Said: While in Amsterdam....act Amsterdamian...or not...

China's puppet show

July 3rd was the first day after three month that the capital of Tibet opened for foreigners. In theory it is possible to visit this spiritual city, but being in Kathmandu and asking around here learns that the Chinese government doesn't give out any visa. The first estimated date might be the first of August.

It would be a tour in a four-wheel-drive with three other people interested in the forbidden city on the roof of the world. Five days through the giants of Nepal and Tibet, two days in Lhasa, than an airplane back to Kathmandu. Food, guide, accommodation and entree-fees, everything is included. But there is a price: $800,- or €510,-.

It's a lot of money, but it would be great to be one of the first to enter Tibet again. I have to admit that I'm not sure if it's possible to enter from within China, so maybe others have succeeded in visiting this mystic country. But it seems impossible at the moment unless you pay.

The money isn't such a problem. I would be willing to pay it if the local people were profiting from it. But my ethical consciousness starts to work here. Should I pay the money and have a scoop and support the destroying of an ancient old tradition or should I decide not to go as a form of protest? There is a reason why the Chinese decide to keep it closed or if entered, completely restricted to the things they want you to see.

Another thing is: can I make a story out of this that's interesting enough for Western countries to read? The fact that I'm interested doesn't make it an appropriate story for the rest of the world.

I have two or three weeks to decide because I'm off to the Anna Purna mountains to do a trekking. But when I come back, the bureaucratic machine has to start once I've decided to go. But it's a difficult decision. So dear reader, what do you think?

Holland through the eyes of a Turk....

The Netherlands home to tulips and windmills

Holland is one of the nicest countries in Europe, and it attracts a large number of tourists. This is a land known for its milk, windmills, tulips and canals, but some prefer to describe it as a country of freedoms.

Damrak Street is the first place to see upon arrival in Amsterdam. The street draws attention owing to the continuous presence of large numbers of tourists. It is also a favorite place for the Dutch. The town square, encountered in all major European cities, is also seen here in the form of Dam Square, the center of Amsterdam and home to the queen's palace. Amsterdam is also Holland's cultural and economic center.

During a brief stroll through the city I noticed that Amsterdam hosts a large black population, indicating Holland's position as a colonial country. In the past, the Netherlands was one of the leading countries in the slave trade and colonialism on the African and American continents. Owing to exploitation in the colonies, Holland became an economic giant in a very short period of time.

Half of Dutch territory is below sea level; the Dutch call their country Netherland, which literally means low country. Amsterdam is a city of canals, boasting more than 100 canals. It is almost a custom for visitors to this city to take a tour of the canals. Travel with special boats produced for canal tours gives us a great opportunity to experience the city from a different perspective. Amsterdam is connected to the North Sea by a canal. The canals divide the city into 90 islets joined by 400 bridges. Homes and land are pricey because of the land shortage.
During the city stroll, you will notice the houses floating on the river. If they have been legally constructed, the houses are provided with gas and electricity by the state. These houses remind me of the shanties in our country; the only difference is that they are situated on canals instead of land.

Green parks that you may encounter at the very heart of the city are the classic and indispensable components of city life in Holland. Even though the country has a very small territory, authorities pay the utmost attention to the creation of public recreation areas. The parks and other similar areas also host flowers; this is why Holland is called the flower garden of Europe.
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Day opening - July 10

Ashimo. One of the famous Japanese models.