summary judgement.

It's good to remember that vacations are not real life. Or, maybe they're real life, but they're not daily life. It's easy to visit somewhere and have it seem comparatively wonderful and trouble-free because you don't read the local papers there or see the local news there or hear about any of the bullshit social dramas that may or may not be occurring in your whorl back home. And when you actually do encounter local people on vacation, you understand even less than usual of their conversations, so you don't overhear random asocial retardedness or general xenophobia.

I say all of this to explain to myself why returning to Amsterdam seems like re-entering a pressurized space, and to remind myself to rise above it.


Final capsule review of Ooooostende: I/we had a very good time, and just about the perfect amount of good time. It's hard to imagine having stayed any longer: we'd exhausted the promises of our research, and random flailing around was proving fruitless. Though I didn't sleep awesomely, our hotel itself was pretty awesome. The beach at night was excellent. We found a lovely local, met a nice girl there. My favorite edible thing may have been the baked goods: in my limited experience, your average Belgian bakery is a solid step above your average Dutch bakery. Also had some good mussels and frites. Though I think I prefer Dutch mayonnaise. And the mussels themselves were Dutch.

Summary judgement: there are few better palate cleansers than a quick vacation in a foreign country, even if it's just the country next door.


As always, the downside of travel would be forced proximity to people whose language I actually do speak, because I'm a fucking elitist. Though I think just now my IQ dropped something like 25 or 30 points so I'm probably feeling slightly less elite.

In front of us on the train from Antwerp to Amsterdam were a gaggle of English teens (based on appearance I would've guessed they were 20 or so, but they referred to themselves as "teenagers" at some point). The things coming out of their mouths were so unbelievably vapid and unavoidably audible that over the course of our 2 hour trip I found myself slowly being overcome by despair for the future of humanity.

They talked CONSTANTLY. For two hours. At a certain point they couldn't multiply 6 by 8. No one had any idea how much a gram was (a cup?). Actual Serious Question: "What's a marsupial?" And they were saying not just dumb things, but morally and socially clueless and completely un-self-aware things as well. "I really like well-written books, I mean, like those are pretty much the only kind I read, ones that have got a bit of effort put into them, know what I mean? Yeah...I feel a bit bad lately for downloading them, I don't really know why." (friend asks unintelligible question) "Oh, yeah, illegally. Yeah, I don't have any money at all. (she says whilst juggling her three portable electronic devices, iPhone, iPad, iMafuckingidiot, etc.)

I swear I'm not usually this much of a curmudgeon, but their voices were simply unignorable, and apparently having my undivided attention for two hours is not always a good thing.


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