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The Netherlands (April 9, 2002)

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We are staying in Haarlem. We went to Amsterdam and I counted little Amsterdammers.  Little Amsterdammers are posts on the sidewalk showing that you can't park there. There are three "X"s on them (or if you're counting both sides, six). I counted over 4, 202 Amsterdammers. Also, Cam played where he was the Uruk-Hai that always followed the trail that the Hobbits followed; so if I was spinning around a pole for 25 times, Cam would go over to the pole and spin around 25 times, and then follow the path that I followed. Or, if I went through a crack that he couldn't go through, he would just keep going, "Unh unh unh unh."

We took the train to Amsterdam. It took about 15 minutes. Cam was sitting backwards and I was sitting forwards, so Cam passed by some shops -- there was one called "Hugo" -- and stuff like that.

At first we went to Amsterdam's oldest playground, where there was a big rocket, a trampoline, a spin-swing, and a whole bunch of motorcycle swings. There were also teeter-totters and a play structure. I also got to drive on a fake four-wheeled car that turned and everything. At the playground, we also got to play on something where if you pushed one foot down, the other one would go up, and you would go forwards.

At the Van Gogh and Gauguin Museum, you were not allowed to drink and eat, which is very natural. Also, there were millions and millions and paintings of Van Gogh's and Gauguin's. Van Gogh liked to draw sunflowers. Also, they lived in a small house about four metres in each direction. Van Gogh painted so you could see what the artist felt like. Gauguin painted so that you only focused on what you were painting. And they got into big fights about how they painted. And also, Van Gogh's paintings never got sold, because everybody thought that his paintings looked like big blobs. They all liked Gauguin's because he painted like a normal artist.

At first, Van Gogh started out painting like Impressionism, where you put little lines of different colors and when you stand back it looks like a painting, but when you're up close it just looks like lines of color. We saw some big paintings of Van Gogh's sunflowers. At one time, he even drew sunflowers looking like they were popping out of the canvas (and also, he drew a lot of other paintings like that). And also, Van Gogh thought that you should see what the artist sees. Dad kept explaining to us what the paintings were of, and who painted them, and what year they did it. Although something I discovered was that over the paintings were the names of who painted them. But it didn't tell the date; it only told the names. The way dad knew what the year was that they painted it, was that we had small guide books.

We went to the Anne Frank House. Anne Frank and her family were all Jews, and they hid in a person's house while the Germans were searching for the Jews. Eventually, the Germans found them out. Although it was worth the hiding; if they wouldn't have hid, they would have already been dead. At the Anne Frank House, there was a small model of the Anne Frank House. The roofs were off. In the family room, there were bookcases. There was a hidden secret door which was a bookcase. There were two stories. And there were eight people living in there. They couldn't make a sound when they were up there. And there was a squeaky floor.

At the end of the Anne Frank House, there were computers telling all about the Anne Frank House. You could select what you wanted to know; it wouldn't just tell you on its own. We learned about the foods. They mostly had potatoes. Remember this was the Netherlands, and there were a lot of potatoes.

We also went to a flower festival where there were lots of flowers. There were especially lots of tulips. Mom said the tulips weren't for smelling; they were for the color. I see why, because they were yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, and all different colors. The way you could tell was you smelled them. Also, one time there was a yellow patch of flowers, and mom noticed something wrong in it. You know what it is? If you want to know, there was a red flower in the yellow flower patch. So, that was what was wrong.

Also, at one place there was a machine that made different sounds and made music. There were also micro-sculpted people that had wires in them; and in one hand they had a stick, and in the other a bell.  And whenever the machine needed to go "clang clang," the people rang their bells.

Also, we went on a walk. And after the walk, we saw a chess set. The people playing on it were almost done, so when they were done, Cam and I for the first time got to play on a giant chess set. I lost my queen, and then Cam lost his queen. Actually, it was the other way around. Although, since Cam lost his queen first, I was depending on not losing my queen; because without your queen, it is very hard to checkmate. And then I lost my queen. And Cam had already planned out a lot of his things without his queen.  But I lost my queen and I was planning for my queen, so that ruined all of my plans. If only I would have realized that his rook was there, I wouldn't have lost my queen.

When we got back to the car, I thought I had given my visor to mom. And mom didn't have my visor. So we had to search through the whole playground area again, until finally we found my visor on the grass. And Cam said he had looked into every yellow patch of flowers. I'm glad I found my visor. If I didn't, I would have had some major problems. After that, my glasses broke. What I mean by "broke" is one of the eyeglasses fell out of its container. It was easy to fix, though; all you had to do was pop it back in. Then after that, my glasses really broke. What I mean by that is one of the earpieces broke off, and mom didn't have her eyeglass repair kit.  So I couldn't fix my glasses.

We also went to the Bronze Museum, where they had experienced the Bronze Age. I noticed why. There was a lot of bronze -- bronze poles, bronze ladders, bronze gates. Mostly everything was bronze. Dad also took a picture of us hanging on a meat hanger, where they would roast you over a fire and spin you around, although there was no fire and they didn't really roast us -- we just pretended.

We walked along, and we saw lots of billy goats. Billy goats stink. Mom didn't tell me why, and dad didn't tell me why, although even though they didn't tell me, they still stink. We passed by about six or seven; I wasn't counting. We also got to play with the old-fashioned toys: stilts, stick horses, and a thing you rolled back and forth on a string. I had fun with the thing you rolled back and forth on a string. We also got to wear old-fashioned clothes and play with the old-fashioned toys with the old-fashioned clothes on. We also made rope with the old-fashioned clothes on. With my rope, I discovered now I could jump-rope with it. So I took off my old-fashioned shoes (I didn't put on my new shoes), and I started jump-roping. The reason I took off my old-fashioned shoes to jump-rope was they were very loose; and if you accidentally jumped out of them and landed on top of them, they hurt. They were made out of wood.  And I didn't want to have to jump out of my shoes and jump back in my shoes while I was jump-roping.

We went back a different way. It was closer. I found a huge sea snail shell, and mom found a miniature sea snail shell. There were goats over there, and sheep. We also saw black sheep.


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