Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Second Easter Day

They call it Tweede Paasdag here. It's essentially just the beginning of a nice string of days off in the spring - if you're salaried. If you're not (like me), it can get to be sort of annoying because it's just a bunch of days when there's no income. However, there are worse things.

Easter is supposedly the beginning of spring, isn't it? It's snowing here. Even on third Easter day, it's snowing steadily. Little icy flakes that are building up slowly on the roofs, cars and trees in the square. I say it's Global Warming. Really, it's just strange.

Yesterday, we went to the Tropenmuseum, or Tropics Museum. We'd been planning on visiting for the past couple of weeks. We finally made it and I'm glad we did. We have these museum cards that will get us into any almost any museum in the Netherlands, which is nice. It was my brilliant idea to get them, and it was, indeed, brilliant.

The current incarnation of the Tropenmuseum opened in 1926. The idea of it is to promote knowledge and understanding about non-western, cultures. I was really impressed. After church on Sunday, woman in the choir went on for a bit about some poles (bisjpoles) from New Guinea that are on exhibit there. And I must say that they were pretty impressive. There are some videos that go along with it, but the poles are on this platform that's raised a about four feet and surrounded by a dense black mesh. So they're in their own space. It's really well done. The lights kept going up and down, so it was difficult to get a picture. Sepia seemed to work best for me. Fred preferred black and white.

The rest of the building is beautiful as well. There's a bit of a shopping mall look to it, but that just lends an open feel. Again, it's all non-western cultures. There's a great exhibit on India. It puts the exhibit on India at the British Museum in London to shame. Of course that's not really the point of the British Museum, but it's so much better. It's very interactive. Lots of video and things to listen to and buttons to push. Of course that brings up the subject of kids. There were hundreds of them, swarming the place like so many rats. Don't go on a day when the public schools are closed.

Of course, if you have kids, it's a great place to take them on a day off of school.
What I really liked about the India exhibit, as well as the others, was that there was a lot of color. Color in the pieces, color on the walls. And while everything has this little international sign with a hand and a stripe through it meaning, "Don't touch," people were touching everything. Not a guard in sight. I saw a middle aged guy knock on a big hollowed out log about ten times. Then he looked at me and he knocked on it again. There was a sign right there! (And then there's the logic that tells you not to touch stuff in a museum.)

I've heard for years about all the museums in Amsterdam. And then recently I visited the Amsterdam Historic Museum and the Tropenmuseum. I'm crazy about both. They're amazing and amazingly well done.

In the evening, I went to Stitch 'n Bitch and taught someone to knit. Wow that's difficult. She eventually seemed to get it. And then I came home and saw that my girl, Jaslene, had won America's Next Top Model (Cycle 8 - yes, we're a little behind here.) So it was a good day.


Menchuvian Candidate said...

Did you see the touching (and banging) as being a cultural thing, or a class thing, or a human thing (in the absence of guards)-I'm curious.

Andy Baker said...

To me, the banging this was more of a "I'm a ten-year-old trapped in a grown man's body" thing. It definitely wasn't class or cultural. I'm sure he was curious, but it was such a childish thing to do. It's that "let me see what I can get away with" attitude. Something made me think he was American. Maybe I heard him say something.

Menchuvian Candidate said...

Been there, done that, when it comes to identifying the person with the boorish behavior as our countrymen. You said, though, that people were touching everything, so I was curious.

I've stayed in the Netherlands twice (I have family in Roermond), and, yeah, there are things that struck me as being in the national character-like what you have commented on regarding the compulsion to be outdoors when the weather is foul, or mayhaps a certain agreeable earthiness.

Shephard said...

Found your blog, and enjoyed exploring. :)