Write something when Jin’s kids getting ready to go… We’re really here! Norbert picked us up from Schipol last morning, going back to the 3-room apartment, picking up the family for Blomencorso. It’s really cold: no sun, windy, temp at most 10C. There’re thousands of people lining up in the street of tiny Sassenheim to see the parade, must be 10 times more than the number visitors the town sees in all other days in a year combined.

In the afternoon we went to Haarlem (must be where New York’s Harlem came from, part of the original New Amsterdam). It’s a nice town, the center is too toursy, though. The Grote Markt is filled with a theme-park like playground, with a huge swing swinging people up higher than the top of the church tower. The church has many shops occupying the ground level, a really bizarre scene–the Dutch is obviously more commercial than religious.

Had dinner in a Chinese restaurant called Nanking, recommended by Rick Steve. It’s surprisingly good–much better than what we expected. The signature Indonesian “rice table” combo, which has one big plate of sauteed chicken and beef, 8 small tapas-style dishes, and rice, is tasty and filling. The waitress is from Wenzhou, a relative of the owner.

Today the sun came out and the temp will be in lower 10’s, so we’ll go to the huge Keukenhof flower park, the tulip-growing area Bollenstreak, and hopefully with time for the windmills of Zaanse Schans, Holland’s most stereotypical scenes. Go Dutch!

BTW there’re a couple open hotspots here and one has pretty good signal. I’ll write as long as it’s open, and we have time besides organizing pictures and planning and playing with the kids and Skyping with families in China and …

Picture of the day: