RSS

Category Archives: Travel

Amsterdam: Trouble Adapting

The trade show is over, Dick has arrived, and I’m on vacation in an amazing city. It feels odd to complain, but I’m having trouble adapting. Before I left I was having a minor panic over my iPhone, iPad and MacBook not being able to work there. Did I need a power converter or would a simple adapter work? Would my cell phone work? I thought I was being overly anxious.

My friends reassured me I’d only need an adapter, so I picked up one at Best Buy. But at the hotel, I found the adapter didn’t fit the outlet. The prong configuration was correct, but the plug body was too big for the outlet.

So I had to recharge my beloved devices during the day at the trade show on power strip in the booth. At the show, I could get internet access through a network cable at the booth, but we had to share. So at the hotel: no power, but internet access. At the show: power, but very limited internet access. All frustrating.

After the show ended, we moved to a hotel closer to city center, where they had the same type of outlets so I really needed an adapter. I asked the guy at the check-in desk and they didn’t have any, nor did they know where to buy them. So I wandered the streets searching for one while Dick slept off his jet lag. I finally found this little hardware store with “keys made” sign in the window. I wanted to hug the sales guy who not only had the right adapter, but also explained how the new deeper outlets were grounded, which is why the old style adapters didn’t fit them.

For the cell phone concerns, an internet search said that AT&T doesn’t off cell service, so I’d have to pay very expensive international rates, which I could reduce by upgrading my service. I decided I would upgrade my voice service only, and not use my data services at all. I didn’t know just how how lost I would be without them. As we meandered around the city today, there were a half dozen times pulled over to reorient ourselves and couldn’t find our location on the tourist map. Where was my little blue GPS dot showing my location?

Fortunately, we found that if you’re looking at a map, especially in a tourist area, some genial Dutchman will stop to give you not only directions, but tour advice. A man stopped to help us at the Westpark, and we later saw another man helping these girls too.

What items would you be lost without in your life? Your phone? Your watch? Your favorite cup of coffee?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Travel

 

Amsterdam: The Windy City

I guess I should have expected wind like this since the windmill is one of the most famous symbols of Holland. I’m glad I’m driving today, not riding a bike. Poor Dick is flying in this morning. I think he’s in for a bumpy ride.

When you think of Holland, what do you think of first? Windmills, wooden shoes, canals, or something less innocent?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Travel

 

Amsterdam: Minicars or Maxicycles?

The cars on the sidewalk are much smaller than they appear. Smaller than SMART cars, they’re legally not even cars, they’re light engine-powered quadricycles. They’re classified as four-wheeled mopeds and because they’re regulated to speeds less than 40 kph (25 mph), they don’t require a drivers license.

Who drives these things? According to their manufacturers, 65% are people over 50, mostly men living in rural areas or remote suburbs and who for various reasons don’t want to drive standard cars anymore. Another 30% are workers between 25 and 50 and don’t have the time or resources to take the driving test. Apparently in some countries the wait can be between 1 to 3 years to take a driving test. So no more complaining about the inefficiencies at the California DMV for me.

But the perception among my French colleagues is that because these minicars don’t require a license, many of the drivers are people who got caught driving drunk. The industry doesn’t agree, saying that only 3% of the drivers have been fined for minor (albeit multiple) traffic violations, not DUI or excessive speed violations. But then again, without a license requirement would the police even care?

Do you think minicars aka quadricycles should require drivers licenses? If so, what about bicycles? Where do you draw the line?

(See I told you they were small)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Issues & Infrastructure, Travel

 

Amsterdam: The Boating Party

You know those boring corporate events you hate to go to after a long day on the show floor? This was not one of them. It’s hard to beat a canal boat cruise on a warm night in a beautiful historic city.

Our alliance partner BlueArc sponsored the event, inviting about 40 customers, resellers and alliance partners, plus a half dozen people from Hitachi Data Systems, which acquired BlueArc last week. With beer, wine, hors d’oeuvres and lively conversations, the three hour tour passed quickly. Then we rushed across town to join our colleagues for a late dinner.

What was the venue of the best corporate event you’ve attended? The worst?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Travel

 

Amsterdam: Neighborhood Bike Racks

Today I stepped out from the trade show for a walk in a nearby neighborhood. Being Amsterdam, there are bikes everywhere, on the cycle paths and locked to anything imaginable. In this little neighborhood, I found large bike racks on the sidewalk for the residents. The racks were overflowing. I guess when your bike weighs 40 pounds, dragging it upstairs to an apartment doesn’t make sense.

A few weeks ago I read an article about why San Francisco doesn’t install bike racks in residential areas. The short answer: they’re focusing on racks at commercial locations because they have more demand. But based on the article’s comments, there’s also a fear that the racks would be used by residents for long-term parking, not by visitors. Sounds reasonable at first—why fill up city-provided bike racks with resident parking? Shouldn’t residents or the building owners foot the bill for bike parking?

But take a step back and consider that long-term car parking in neighborhoods by residents is not only allowed, it’s demanded. That’s why converting street parking to bike lanes meets a lot of resistance. Some neighborhoods go so far as to restrict parking to residents only through permit programs, giving them priority over visitors. So why not give bike owners the same privilege as car owners?

What do you think? Should cities provide bike racks in neighborhoods, just like they provide street parking for cars?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Issues & Infrastructure, Travel

 
Gallery

Bike Date Friday: Florida Family Dinner

Visiting family in Florida didn’t mean we’d have to miss our bike date. We just took them along for the ride. The plan: dining alfresco Florida style, which translates to dining on a screened-in porch at a restaurant down the beach. This is a far cry from the Florida of my youth, where the better restaurants boldly announced “Air Conditioned Dining Room” on signs visible from the highway.

As we rolled out of my sister’s neighborhood, a pedicab driver tried to sell us on a ride. Given that pretty much everyone in their seaside resort town rides bikes, it was a tough sell.

Besides, my sister Patty would rather pedal than sit. Doesn’t she look great in her Donald Pliner gold lame mules? It was her first time riding in heels, but it was no problem.

The parking lot at Borago wasn’t set up for a party of seven on bikes, but we made do, chaining our bikes together with cable locks. Not that the typical oversized Grayton Beach pickup truck couldn’t have held all of them.

Everyone enjoyed their dinner. My chicken piccata and Dick’s eggplant were particularly tasty.  The Pinot Grigio wasn’t bad either, but it was hardly at the optimal 45-50 degree serving temperature.

Air conditioned dining room or screened-in porch?  In a car or on a bike?

Where would you rather be on a warm and humid summer night?

20110801-064533.jpg

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2011 in Bike Date, Travel

 
 
Let's Go Ride a Bike

Adventures in city cycling

The Backpack Objective

Excursions of a biking and hiking homeschool family

Shop by Bike

How and where to shop by bike in Silicon Valley, California

The Empowerment of the Silent Sisterhood

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

Fix The Toaster

Nearly 32,000 Americans die in car crashes annually. 80% of car crashes are PREVENTABLE. If the TOASTER was killing that many people we'd think it was ridiculous. We'd un-plug it and say, let's Fix The Toaster.

chasing mailboxes

Bikes, brevets, commutes, runs. Washington, D.C.

Urban Adventure League

Exploring the urban environment through fun human-powered adventures, riding bicycles, and gawking at bicycles in and around Portland, Oregon, Cascadia

CARDBOARD BOX OFFICE

A world of film, a house of stuff.

Wanderlust

Exploring Europe by water

Ride On

Australia's most widely-read bike magazine

articulate discontent

a look at societal and economic influences on human systems.

Pedal All Day

Endurance Cycle for Macular Disease

sistersthatbeenthere

Just another WordPress.com site

Gas station without pumps

musings on life as a university professor

wife. mother. awesome girl.

Just another girl who used to be cool.

Why Bike

Tackling The Reasons You Don't Bike

Save Fabers Project

Save San Jose's Famed Faber's Bicycle Shop

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,874 other followers

%d bloggers like this: