This is the 23rd of a series of posts recalling my trip to Europe, using e-mails sent at the time. Unlike later trips, I didn’t e-mail people everyday. Trip reports are largely as I wrote them at the time with two exceptions: I was usually pretty rushed due to Internet fees in Europe, so I’ve cleaned up my e-mails to make them more coherent, which wasn’t a priority at the time. Also, in some blog posts I’ll add additional thoughts with the hindsight of nine years later or to add further clarification. I’ll use “NOW” in such cases.
This 23rd report covers my second day in Amsterdam.
[IMPORTANT NOTE: This report comes at a time when everything came bubbling to the surface and is extremely negative. In fact I nearly edited this one for content. So this might be one for people to skip unless you can handle a particularly negative commentary, typed however long ago. However, I made a promise to only edit for typos and similar minor corrections and thus am presenting my rant from nine years ago as originally typed. Remember, many years have passed so I’m a lot calmer now. I’ve also included at the end a calmer post addressing this one.]
I'll start with the last thing first. Checked a few times at the Anne Frank House; found lines a bit long so went and did something else; finally got in. I took a few pictures of a display. Unfortunately my psychic powers were not working so I was unaware that no photography was allowed. I found out where one of the ladies working there hit me hard on the shoulder. Not sure if it's going to bruise but there's definitely a lot of heat coming from where I was hit so it wasn't a light tap. Guess I got to work on those psychic abilities a bit more.
[NOW: The other thing might have been the “World’s Smallest Museum” – probably a misnomer even at the time, but can’t recall for sure.]
Unfortunately this ruined the whole experience for me of that monument. I was so upset that I couldn't really concentrate on the tragedy of the displays and got through everything and back outside in record time. I don't like being hit and coupled with previous experiences my emotional state did not allow me to calm down enough to get back in the moment.
To address something that others have referred to repeatedly: For me this trip was not worth it, is not worth it, will not be worth it. I recognize that for others in the similar or perhaps the same situation it would be. I would like you to all respect the fact that this is not the case for me. Please don't try to turn this into the wonderful experience of a lifetime because the reality is that while there have in fact been good moments, this trip has been one of the more unpleasant traumatic times of my life. Except for maybe in parts I will not look back on it and laugh. I will look back on it in the forms of traumatic flashbacks.
[NOW: I was of course, addressing responses to previous e-mails above and not to anything on this blog. The anticipated traumatic flashbacks happily haven’t really happened. I still maintain that the trip wasn’t worth it, but my line now is, it wasn’t worth it but it did have some positive aspects to it despite this.]
When I get home I am putting the film in storage. When I've put a bit of time past things I will either have the film developed or destroy it. In the meantime, when I get back (not now, when I get back) I ask that you do not bring up the trip unless I do first, at least initially. I may not want to talk about it. I regret that this is not the trip that it should have been and that I am not reacting to it the way some of you wish I would be. But this is not for me. It is at best an educational experience. For an educational experience I could have spent less money at the university and had more fun. Please respect my feelings on this.
[NOW: This was before I got a digital camera. I developed and looked at the photos sooner than expected. I think looking at the photos and showing them to people sped up the healing aspects than might otherwise have been the case.]
Now that that's off my chest other things today: went to the Heineken Experience, the former location of the factory. Mostly a lengthy ad, but a fun one. You get three beers (or soda) and a souvenir glass as part of your admission costs. Highlight is a motion simulator duplicating the process the beer goes through in being bottled.
I also visited the Torture Museum. Not huge, but quite throughout. Illustrations are relatively tasteful (more so than the Sex and Erotic Museums) so I would actually recommend this to the squeamish, unlike the other two museums. It has lots of actual devices (though the chastity belt was missing from its display case). A few items not intended as torture but similarly nasty are present (I actually touched a guillotine)
All the best. Hope you weren't too bothered by the rant. A lot of people I think are still underestimating how upsetting this has been to me, so I wanted to use what just happened to clarify where this trip stands with me.
[NOW: Again, referring to the people who were responding to my e-mails at the time.]
Off to dinner now but will probably log on again before the end of the day.
[NOW: Here’s what I later sent people addressing the above, sent the next day after a few other e-mails that will be tackled next:]
A general note since this came up: just wanted to clarify that I was not targeting any one person yesterday and was mainly trying to make sure everyone realized that something serious was really happening to me during this trip.
By no means do I want to deter any e-mails. In fact the e-mails that I have been getting, even the ones I disagree with, have been a big comfort to me during this trip and have been critical to getting me through the rough spots during the trip.
Or in other words, GROUP HUG! :)