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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 335 - Les Paris Diaries

Woke up real early 4:30 AM to go to Amsterdam. The trip was going to be real simple. I will take a metro to Gare Du Nord Station. Take the 06:30 Thalys train to Amsterdam. Roam in and around Amsterdam for the day and then take the 19:15 train back to Paris. Sounds Simple ?
Well, read further to know what happened.
The trip started well. Reached Amsterdam on time at around 9:45 AM. My first destination was the Ajax Amsterdam. After asking a couple of cops, i finally figure which metro station to get down. One thing that amazed me about Amsterdam is the massive use of cycle by the public. The use is so extensive that metro trains have places reserved to have people stand with their cycles. Very Very Impressive.

So i got down at Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena Stadium. Walked right in to the stadium for the World of Ajax tour. The football stadium is awesome. Situated at the 4th level, this is one of the few stadiums around the football playing countries which is not situated at the ground level. Here are some of the pictures.

 After that i headed for the Ice Cold Bar. The Bar was open but the show for which i had booked tickets for was not on because of systems failure so they asked me to come later in the evening. So i headed back to the Amsterdam Centraal station. The first thing i did was to go to Madame Tussaud's and check the various wax statues. I have uploaded all of them on my facebook profile so you can check it out on FB..

Then i had lunch at a place called Gandhis. Now this is a neat place except that the food is contrary tp the name of the restaurant. The Gandhi Special Thali has prawns. There is alcohol served there. Of course they have some amazing vegetarian stuff but if any of the congress party leaders go there, they will riot :)

Then i went to the famous Red Light Area of Amsterdam. Now this area is good only for a walk through. Unless you are desperate to have sex with a Prostitute. And yes, there are live women on show cases where you just tap your finger at the glass and you are ready to have a fine day / night :)

Due to high security cameras and warnings i couldnt get pictures of anyone of them but i have clicked one which will give you a fair idea on whats it all about.
After that i went to the Famous Xtra Ice Cold Bar. This is a routine pub, except that it has a small lounge which is set at -10 degrees Celsius. And one can enjoy a nice 3d short film with 4D effects with a couple of free drinks. The experience was amazing.
I had a couple of Glasses Heineken Beer. And those were served in special Ice Glasses. Absolutely fantastic.
The picture below was clicked in a ice chair.

Now it was time to head back to Paris. Reached Amsterdam Centraal at around 6:15 PM. About an hour left for the train. Had some Pizza and coke. Then the ordeal started. It was announced that the train to Paris will leave from Rotterdam (Around 40 minutes train drive from Amsterdam). Grr. So they arranged for a local train for that place and i headed to Rotterdam. From Rotterdam, caught the train to Paris. The train arrived at the next station - Brussels, at around 9:30 PM. And was just stood there for nearly 2 hours. The announcements made stated that the driver is not there. ???? What the fuck?? How the hell and Why in the hell did the train driver disappear. Anyways at 11:30, PM, the train manager says that the train will not move and we have two options. Either stay overnight at one of the hotels and catch the first train in the morning to paris, they wont pay for the hotel. Or, they will arrange for a bus at midnight which will take us to Paris Nord. All the passengers chose the latter.
The buses arrived (4 of them) sharp at midnight and by 00:05 i was seated comfortably in the bus. Reached Paris at around 4 AM. After a tiring journey, i wanted to just reach the Hotel and crash. However the metros and buses wouldnt start before 5:30 AM and i was not going to spend 90 minutes on the road. So after 30 minutes of hunting, i got a cab which dropped me at my hotel.

This was one helluva experience. :-)
But there was one thing that i noticed, and hats off. In all this ordeal, not a single passenger grumbled, raised their voice or did any unsavory thing. This is called true righteous behavior.   And this is something which I have never seen happening in any part of the country or even the continent that i stay. I am so sure if the same thing would have happened in India, there would have been a riot situation. 
This is probably, why India, is never a favorite tourist destination. Despite all the Atiti Devo Bhava Commercials on air(It means the Guest is like a god), nothing is going to change unless the change comes from within you.
If 1 person can learn from the experience above and pass it forward to 2 more and the 2 pass it to 4, India, will be a much better place to live.

On that note, i will end the diary writing for the time being. I will continue in about 3-5 hours time. Till then, your comments are most welcome.

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