Saturday, December 15, 2007

And the Oscar goes to...

I guess it would be a Tony award, actually...for best performance in live theatre. Maya's Year 2 class (the equivalent of 1st grade in the U.S.) but their best feet and voices forward this week with a stunning holiday performance. Maya's class performed a snowman theme skit, and the kids did great.

Maya seems like a natural on the stage, honed with hours of dancing, singing, and generally hamming it up at home. Gee, are we proud parents, or what? It was pretty funny to hear all of the kids deliver their lines on stage. Most accents are British, so when Maya delivered her lines with the bland American accent, the contrast was striking. One of the scene stealers had to come during the Nativity story, when it was revealed to all in the audience that the young man playing the part of the innkeeper was definitely, without question, from the wonderful nation of Scotland. His thick accent was incredible...and wonderful at the same time.Here's a short video of part of the end of the performance. The file is pretty big, so please allow it ample time to load:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

...Well, I'll just carry it on my bike!

I knew I'd see it sooner or later: A guy carrying a newly purchased Christmas tree on his bicycle. They carry everything else on bikes, so why not a Christmas tree??

This photo was taken in 1936 in Cardiff (just across the English Channel from our location, mind you), as a postman takes home his new tree. (Photo courtesy Fox Photos/Getty Images). But at least you get the idea.

It makes me wonder if I'll see anyone hauling a plastic reindeer (or a giant bunny on Easter) on the back of their ride.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

London Calling

A quick trip to London last weekend for a quick business meeting was refreshing, if not relaxing. It was odd to hear people regularly speaking English in public.

Although my trip there was a quick one, I did manage to see a few sights in the city. Nothing of note really, but then again, London is much more than just Big Ben and the Tower. Her beauty lies in the quirky little neighborhoods, a pub with intense football action on the screen (the local team, Reading, took it to Liverpool on Saturday night), and chip stands & betting parlors on every other block.

I got a good education on London’s tube system, since I utilized it quite a bit during the weekend. Contrary to popular belief, it’s well run, seems (mostly) clean, and was very punctual for me. Strangers were extremely friendly and courteous when asked a question.

But it was good to be back in A’dam on Sunday night, even if it did mean a harrowing late-night bus ride from Centraal Station. The nachtlijn (“night line”) starts running if it’s too late for the trams to operate, and this particular bus driver made me feel like I was on the L.A. city bus in the Keanu Reeves movie “Speed.” This guy was cruising through central Amsterdam doing around 45 or 50 miles per hour in a long articulated bus. Pedestrians must have been shrieking in horror, but I can’t tell you…I was holding on for dear life in one of the middle rows, praying that I’d make it to Leidseplein and live to tell about it. Or, perhaps late-night A’dammers are accustomed to seeing the crazy bus drivers make their rounds. Note to self: Beware the nachtlijn as I step from the curb after a few late-night Heinekens.