Four days in Amsterdam.
Saturday, 07.15.2017 - 10:29 am.

Amsterdam is one of the nicest places I've visited so far. It was a wonderful trip: the surroundings, the food. Of course, it was impossible for us to cover everything a tourist is supposed to cover when visiting the city. I had some ideas but we could only do so much, with limited budget and time.

We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and this one nice Airbnb host was waiting for us at his wonderful apartment. I'm still bitter by the host we got in Ireland, even though the place itself wasn't bad at all, so I was glad this one was on time. It was a 10 minute walk from the apartment to the conference venue, that was great, too. Andrew and I settled down and walked around the neighborhood, had an amazing coffee on a sidewalk, and went to the supermarket. So many kinds of food, and all we got was just delicious.

After making ourselves at home, we went to the Psych conference to register and maybe mingle a bit. We didn't last more than a few minutes there; we didn't know anyone, the place was packed, and the reception food was almost gone. I did recognize an eminent psychologist (labeled as such by her peers, due to her contributions) who works on social cognition and whose research I'm a huge fan of. I knew what she looked like because just months ago I'd written a small profile on her for the Psych department newsletter that no one reads. I fangirled a bit and then I noticed she was giving a keynote speech on Friday. Score!

The Psych conference itself was great. So many events to choose from that appealed to many interests, including my own. We had an app with all the information we could possibly need, and it allowed us to make our own program based on the symposiums and talks we wanted to attend. The venue was big and comfortable, the coffee with danish cookies was great. At first I thought the lunch was a bit limited but it was free, so I appreciated it just the same.

On Wednesday it rained all morning, which was fortunate. That way I could stay at the conference not complaining about wanting to see the city. Andrew insisted that we tried to make the most of this conference, at least for half a day. Indeed, after lunch, he and I walked downtown, it took us almost an hour. I enjoyed walking along the canals though, and the day turned warm and partly cloudy, just perfect to be outside. All public spaces are so well taken care of, and there swarms of people on their bikes to look out for.

We tried to see the Anne Frank museum, but I'd read about the ticketing situation and I confirmed it would be impossible for us to enter. We moved on to the Red Light District. I was attracted to that place, I don't know why but also, I know. Nearly naked women on windows took me by surprise, at first I thought someone was just changing clothes and left the curtain open.

Andrew and I bought fries in a cone, and sat to eat them in front of the statue of Belle, which below had a heartwarming plaque that said "Protect sex workers all over the world", or something like that. I bought weed souvenirs for my old pals Lighthouse and CR, though I don't know when I'll them again. The guy at the souvenir shop gave me a weed lollipop, and later my friend Virginia laughed saying that only I go into the Red Light District and come out of it with a Chupa Chups.

I noticed Andrew was getting restless so I said I had all I need, which at the moment felt like the truth, and that we could go home. It was almost 5pm. He was turning moody and we went for walking back home instead of taking the bus. It was long hour of walking, we were both tired after a long day, and I started to resent how he always get pouty after a while of being outside, and I feel the need to cut short whatever I'm doing so as not to make it worse. I know he gets desperate in big crowds, specially after a day of attending talks and walking among tourists, but, eh. I resented it and got pouty too. We did have a nice dinner at home, with stuff we'd bought from the supermarket, so with that and some rest, we felt better and were ready for the next day.

On Thursday, we both presented our posters, I in the morning, Andrew in the afternoon. Poster sessions puzzle me, it's a nice chance to bring in more researchers but no one seems to care much for them. I was feeling confident because some talks I'd attended showed me that even some psychologists with big titles aren't that impressive. I did get a few people looking at my poster and had interesting exchanges with them. It was good networking. I also walked away realizing what a big deal my second supervisor is; most of these people knew her name and had a high regard for her research.

We spent the whole Thursday at the conference, between posters and talks. I was excited. I actually would have had a hard time choosing between attending certain symposiums and exploring the city. After a rewarding day, Andrew and I had pizza and wine at the apartment, also bought at the supermarket. Our first night there we had bought cheese, olives, meat, wine and crisps and ate watching a movie. Our evenings were quite nice in Amsterdam, I didn't want those to end.

On Friday, our last day, we returned to the Red Light District. I wanted to explore it further, on Wednesday we only walked two streets on the outside. Luckily, Andrew was back on his usual come-with-guy mode. We went looking for a famous place for breakfast, with a famous resident cat, but we hated the place: the lighting, the noise, the air, the heat, the lack of clarity as to how to order, and the bunch of bros that started to come in. I laughed when I noticed they did sell Chupa Chups there.

That was not a disappointment though. We ended up having an amazing breakfast at a bakery, on a roofed terrace under the rain. We were lucky the skies cleared and we were able to get into the RLD, again. We walked around, bought something for the both of us at a sex shop, that was a bonding experience. On our way home, we stopped by a cool store (not sex-related) for some gifts. By then it was noon. We went back to the apartment, packed our stuff, and headed to the conference venue for our last talk to attend, the one of the eminent psychologist.

We barely found a couple of seats available. Only after the conference I realized the nice man who patiently waited for me to pass through with my huge backpack was the eminent psychologist's husband. Her talk was great, I walked away with new ideas and some references to search for. I wanted to talk to her afterwards but I didn't know what to say.

The rest of the Friday we spent it getting home. A walk, a train, a plane, another train, a taxi, with waiting times in between, some of them spent buying some more souvenirs and food. We made it home safely and pretty much smoothly, without trouble. Andrew and I are into our second year of our four-year long honeymoon.

Now, back to reality: I have a lot to catch upon. My niece is coming tomorrow, after spending a few days in Scotland with my nephew, her cousin. I have to do some preparations in the house and planning for next week with her. We're going to London and Liverpool, plus local sightseeing. It's going to be a bit rough for me, but I'm happy she's traveling and coming to visit.

I will not be able to work next week either, so academically I'm getting a bit behind. Plus, I need to send my poster to the people who requested it, and update my CV with this new accomplishment *throws confetti*

Then, personally, I have some writing to do but it's not like someone cares, e.g. yesterday I posted a cartoon, scheduled before I left for Amsterdam, that strongly suggests a character coming out as bi. Absolutely no reaction on any social media. But that's just a reminder that what I do it's not interesting. On the plus side, that means no negative reaction too, and it makes me feel free to continue writing whatever I want, which is always the driving force: I care.

Onto another week of traveling and sightseeing!

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