Friday, January 30, 2009

Photos of Bruges have been posted

Yes, we’ve been slow in getting our photos posted. No excuses really, but a big batch went up to the Web site today. After ruthless culling we still have six pages of photos from Bruges. It was awesome. If we had put all of the pictures on one page, only those with the fastest of connections would have been able to load it—and that would rule us out.

We do have more photos to upload, but I think we’re done with Belgium now. Check the links on the left side of the home page in "Recent Updates" under the menu or look on the photos page under Belgium.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Inauguration day party in Amsterdam

Several people have asked how the party at the Hard Rock Café Amsterdam was since I announced on Facebook that we were going there to watch the inauguration with Democrats Abroad Netherlands. The short answer is very crowded! The party sold out at 250, but that was for dinner, I think. I don’t think they actually turned anyone away.

When we arrived, we were directed downstairs to the bar (we signed up for the second seating for dinner). There we greeted Dems Abroad friends and had our picture taken with a standee of Barack Obama. Inauguration party in AmsterdamBy the time Rick Warren gave the invocation (which was largely ignored), we were packed in and it was standing room only. In this photo you can see us way at the back behind those taller people. If you stayed home and watched on your TV or computer, you had a better view. Despite all the jostling for drinks and conversation that went on during the preliminaries, when it came time for the oath to be administered, the room was totally still. And it remained quiet, except for occasional applause and exclamations of agreement, throughout Obama’s outstanding speech. Of course, everyone was euphoric, but also quite serious in light of the enormous tasks ahead.

Together with ObamaLater our Dem friend Donna joined us, and we all sat together for dinner. The food was good, the conversation at the table was interesting, and it was a relief to get to sit down. We met three new people at our table for six, and that’s always fun. Still, we didn’t linger after dinner. By then the Hard Rock Café had switched their TV screens back to videos of rock bands, and that isn’t so much our kind of thing.

I apologize for the delay in posting this. I was waiting for the photos to be posted elsewhere. The credit for the crowd scene goes to Fred Byrman. Obama with us is by Waking up in Amsterdam!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Video blog of our Atlantic crossing

While I was in Portland for the holidays, John worked on editing the videos we took almost daily during our Atlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Flores in the Azores. Now the clips have all been uploaded to YouTube, and John has created a playlist to play all of them in order. Below I've embedded the whole playlist. If you want to watch the videos but don't have time for all of them in one sitting, you can go to his playlist Atlantic Crossing from Florida to the Azores and play them one at a time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back in Amsterdam

The combination of flights that replaced my scheduled non-stop from Portland to Amsterdam made for a longer journey, but I’ve finally arrived. Not only that, but I’ve had a nap, so I’m hoping to skip jet lag this time. There was no way that I was going to be able to stay up all day after arriving here at 5:30 a.m. (They fed us breakfast around 4 o’clock!)

I had a great visit in Oregon with my family, but it’s good to be home.

And finally, at long last, I’ve posted some more photo pages on our Web site. Check the links on the left side of the home page in "Recent Updates" under the menu or look on the photos page under Belgium. I'll post more when John assembles the pictures.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flight canceled

Last night as I went to bed, I was thinking how glad I was that my flight to Amsterdam wasn't until 3:50 pm because I never sleep well when I have an early morning flight. That was just one thing I remembered as I saw my email this morning from Northwest Airlines (now part of Delta) that my confirmed, non-stop Portland to Amsterdam flight (scheduled for today) had been changed. Now I'm leaving at 6:30 am tomorrow with a three-hour stop in Minneapolis and arriving in Amsterdam at 6:30 am instead of the civilized 11:00 am of my original itinerary.

It's nice, of course, to have a few extra hours with my family, but I'll miss out on the choral concert in Amsterdam tomorrow evening. Marike's niece Lean is in it, and I was really looking forward to it. Plus I know I won't get much rest tonight, and John won't get much tomorrow night.

I did call NWA to confirm the change. They said it was due to airplane maintenance. One would think they did that in advance, so I suspect that it's really due to inadequate ticket sales. How do you ever find out the truth about these things? I know that they're reducing the number of non-stop Portland-Amsterdam-Portland flights.

Oh well. At least I got to fly non-stop on the way here—and business class at that. Maybe I can get a free upgrade on the Minneapolis-Amsterdam leg of the new itinerary.