Some of us had a free day on Friday so we took the train to Amsterdam to see what it was like. Some other people from our group had been the day before and regaled us with their adventures at some of Amsterdam's more 'scenic' locations. Eric said that while they all brought their passports, they had never needed to show them so we might not even need to bring them.
So five of us headed out early on Friday morning on the express train to Amsterdam which took about 2.5 hours to get there. About 1/2 way along the trip, the passport control officers came through the train asking for our passports. I had figured that I should bring mine in case of emergency, so did Lara and David (the poo) but Jordan and David (skippy) didn't bring theirs. The look of panic on their face was priceless. We showed them our passports, Jordan explained that he didn't have his but he showed them his drivers license which seemed to be ok but David, had absolutely no photo id on him at all. After a minute or so of us vouching for him, they gave up and continued on. I also brought up that the EU website mentions that you don't need a passport to go between EU countries but logic would state that you would have some sort of photo id in this day and age...
Since Eric had mentioned that we didn't need passports, we decided to let him know what was going on, but have a little fun with it as well since he had kept us informed with the progress of his trip to Amsterdam the day before via SMS. The following was the SMS conversation that ensued:
Me: Ugh! They made us show passports in Holland. Jordan and Skippy didn't have theirs. Do you have the number for the consulate?
Eric: are you serious or joking?
Me: Yup. Passport thing real I was both serious and joking -- the passport part was real
Eric: Us embassy #020 575 5309
Eric: How can I help. And who is skippy? Are they getting sent back?
Me: Crisis averted. Arriving in Amsterdam
Later, I sent the following messages to Eric as a status update on what we had seen.
Van Gogh... yup
Lots o' bikes... yup
Being serenaded... yup
So we got to Amsterdam and started to walk around. Wow, what an amazing city for taking pictures! Open squares, small alleys with tons of character (and characters), canals, museums, hundreds of thousands of bicycles... and that doesn't even include the more "unusual" aspects of the city. It seemed like there was a cool picture to take around every corner. I'm still working through all of the pictures I took but I'll post some later.
In the interest of complete transparency, there are a few important details that we should add to give the full flavor of this event.
First and foremost, although it is true I told the gang that our passports weren't checked when we visited Amsterdam the day before, I VERY CLEARLY said, "because it's a different country, you really should bring your passports."
Second and nextmost, the cute little SMS conversation that Chris posted lacked some important context...
So, there I am minding my own business at the Photokina booth about to get up on the Microsoft stage in front of somewhere between 10-200 people, some of whom might even speak English (it actually ended up being about 12 I think). Then I get a pleasent buzz in my pocket, look at my phone and see the "ugh" text msg.
My first thought is, "they have got to be joking" and I was extremely tempted to ignore it. Then I had visions of just how big a jerk I would be if it was true and I blew them off, so I responded with my "are you serious" query. After several more responses, I hop on a machine, look up the embassy # on the web (yes it's a real number - call it!) and send it to him.
This is where it should begin to be clear a) how nice a guy I am and b) how mean Chris is. You can ask any of the 1 or even 2 people I talked to at the booth about this dilemna that I was seriously considering breaking into Skippy and Jordan's room to get their passports and hop a train to Amsterdam when I saw Chris' all clear mail.
So in summary.
- Chris is mean
- I am nice
- We did go to Amsterdam
- No we won't tell you any more about it
Eric's post is as factually accurate as mine is :)
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