It's interesting to see how different the culture is in certain ways here in Amsterdam. For instance, the difference that everyone talks about: marijuana. There were several times where I was sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for someone and I smelt an overwhelming smell of smoke, and NOT cigarette smoke. Not only that, but you find Bongs, Hookahs (sp?), and various other drug parafenalia at the local corner store.
The impression I get though is that Europeans (at least those here in Holland (the small sample that I hung around with)) tend to have a great sense of culture. There is definitely a sense of community and history that you get over here (that I haven't gotten in the States).
I know this is going to be a gross generalization, but it always feels like in the States you are surrounded by people driving their SUVs to work without a care about anyone around them, working all day, and then heading home and not investing back into the community in any way. I know I'm certainly guilty of this type of life myself. But why? Why am I a hermit? That's something I want to think more about while I'm away on this trip.
One other thing, the public transit system here ROCKS. Other than the charter bus I took to the venue a couple of days, I took the train everywhere I went. And it never failed, I was always within three stops on a single train when I did go there. And it's so efficient. Everytime I tried to catch was either on time, or one to two minutes early. I can't imagine this is the way it always is, but it certainly was when I tried to take the train.
Seeing how much traffic sucked when I did take the charter bus here, it's no wonder why bikes and public transit are so popular here. And with how many people I saw riding their bikes or walking, it's no wonder why there were so many people that were not obese.
What a great country. It's so great to get a different perspective on life every once in a while.
Next up: Singapore.