Yesterday evening I met up with my first couchsurfing host in Leiden, a young CS major (computer science/ couch surfing). I was wiped out, but somehow made it through helping to cook some dinner and going out for a beer at one of the local bars. Heading back from the bar around midnight, we were caught in a torrential downpour/lightning storm and ended up following the lead of many unprepared New Yorkers and running back with whatever flat materials we could find in the dumpster over our heads. Needless to say, I got pretty wet...and really hoped that it would be clear in the morning. I had been spoiled with sun thus far.
In the morning, it just seemed gray, but I took the precaution of wrapping all of my dry clothes in my space blanket inside of my backpack, and puting my phone into a ziplock. It definitely started raining...but a lighter rain. More like the kind we have in Washington. Felt like home.
I ran through a bunch of farms and saw some sheep, goats, llamas (or maybe alpacas...), and cows, all of whom were also very wet. When I got into the Haag, I took the above picture (a reflection of myself on a store window through a wet ziplock bag) which I think sets the overall mood of my run. 23 km, and I was in the Den Haag, the seat of government in the Netherlands
I ended up at the apartment of Kevin, a RE/MAX agent that had contacted me after my mom (also a realtor) sent a worried e-mail to the office in the Netherlands looking for some friendly people. Thanks Mama!
Kevin and his girlfriend Wendy were great hosts, and it wasn't long before I was in my dry clothes and wearing Kevin's old shoes which were about 3 sizes too big. Kevin drove me around the Haag and (being a bit of a handyman) explained to me many of the differences in construction techniques here relative to the United States. I think we both do some pretty goofy stuff.
We went by the beach at Scheveningen and sat in front of a nice fire while beach stormed around us, and went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant at another beach. Of all things, we ate barbeque ribs with fries and salad (Mexican?).
I've got a good couch to stay on here, and (I think) a place for tomorrow in Rotterdam. Nothing in Numansdorp or Roosendaal yet though...or anywhere until I get to Brussels in a week.
Thanks by the way to those of you who are reading this stuff and making comments. I really appreciate the support.
27 May 2009