Day 2

I finally did get back to sleep early this morning and slept till 08:00. Once out of the room I got something loosely resembling a breakfast and then collected my things and checked out. There was a time constraint today, but still a lot of time to kill. The first thing I did was set off in search of the Groninger Museum, which I found easily enough (it's in the canal and is unmistakable in appearance). It seemed way too early to be going to the museum, though, so I wandered off into the city. I didn't have any solid plan at that point, I was just walking. Then I turned right and walked in that direction for a while. There were some other nice old (looking) church buildings to see and I wanted to find the eastern canal, which wasn't hard (walk east till you hit it). Then I turned back toward the city center and the crowds increased in density. Lots of school-age people (I guess classes haven't started yet?) at cafes or hanging out. There was a sort of carnival set up, but not currently in operation (probably opens toward the evening) with classic carni rides and games. It was mostly just odd to see that right in the city. Then I found a T-Mobile store and went in to ask if they sell pre-paid SIMs, which they do, of course. I purchased one for $10 Euros, dropped it in my phone and off I went. I have never investigated getting a pre-paid SIM in the States, but I suspect it would not be nearly that easy.

I walked around feeling awful proud of myself, but again, no set mission at the time. When I got to the Grote Markt I found a farmer's market in full swing. I've never been to an open air market before, so my first visit to one was in a distant country. New experiences all the time! I didn't get anything, just walked through and then headed south back toward the museum. I did go in this time, paid my 13 Euros and checked my daypack (they don't let any bags in, I guess) and went to look at the exhibits. There were a few exhibits, but I think the one I liked most is called "Fuck Off 2" which focuses on the state of life for the average citizens of China. It's a really interesting look into many aspects of Chinese life seen from several different perspectives and often presented in challenging ways. One exhibit in particular was a video of a Chinese woman explaining the hardships she has encountered since contracting HIV from a blood transfusion. Most of all, I think the isolation struck me. She talked about how her only family are her brothers, but her sisters-in-law won't let her see her brothers or their children for fear they might catch the disease. Because she can't work (I guess no one will hire her) she's dependent on the state, who basically just forced her to live in a back room in a hospital. The only company she gets is from her cats because they don't run away from her disease like humans do. There was a lot more to it, but that's what stung me so hard.

After getting my fill of the museum I went upstairs to the restaurant and got lunch. I don't know the name of the food (I probably wouldn't be able to pronounce it anyway) but it was basically croquettes filled with beef stuff on dark bread with a side of mustard. It wasn't too bad, I think. After lunch I walked back toward the hotel, but I still had maybe 45 minutes to kill, so I parked on a bench and watched the various car and bicycle traffic go by. When the time came, I went back to the hotel and picked up my bag and then walked over to the rail station to get a ticket and jump on the train toward Leiden. The ride over was roughly 2.5 hours, but not as bad as the train ride out to Groningen, I thought. Perhaps because I actually fell asleep this time (unintentionally). As I walked out of the station I realized I recognized where I was and (internally) lit up with excitement. I met Sander out front and chatted for a few minutes until our bus got there. Once it did we hopped on and took that to near Sander's house. Once we got in I dropped my stuff off and I met Verena and then we left almost immediately for dinner. We went to a place that I think is called the Pancake Farm? It's Dutch pancakes and we all got savory dishes that look like pizzas. My pancake had onions, mushrooms, green peppers, bacon, ham, and cheese and tasted like a cross between a quiche and an omelette, which is a good thing. While Sander ate all of his and I think Verena may have as well, I only managed to get about 2/3 through mine. There may have been a little shame, but mostly I was happy to not be stuffed and sick feeling. Then I ordered a hot chocolate, which was delicious and even better was the real whipped dream it came with. I could have eaten the whole dish easily, but limited myself to several (tiny) spoon fulls.

We walked back to the house and then fiddled with the network for half an hour to try and get my machine online and eventually did. Once we were satisfied there, we played a board game that I cannot immediately remember the name of. Sander won, though. That was it for the night.

Re: Day 2

The game was Maharani.

Re: Day 2

Thanks! Details are so difficult to remember this late at night...