Greensboro. What a relief after everything. A quiet room in a Hampton Inn where the AC works pretty well and even if it's a little noisy, they provide quality earplugs. Gruhhhhhhhhh ....
24 hours. 3 planes. A quiet room with two beds. Woke up early - still on euro-time. Just spent an hour on the treadmill (No room is quieter than the gym in a Hampton in in the south.)
We were right in the tourist area and these weren’t the usual tourists. Many of them were kids looking for a good time, legal weed and the novelty of the red-light district. It draws a specific kind of person at a specific age looking for a specific kind of thing.
But there were highlights, yes there were highlights beyond that.
The Rijkmuseum – extraordinary building. See the old master. Learned a lot about the man. Rembrandt.
The Rembrandt house was much more our speed and size. Learning about his life – how he was successful early, and then sort of crashed and burned in middle age. His wife died. I could relate to that. Rembrandt ran out of money. I don’t think he ever recovered from his first wife dying. Like some of us creative types, maybe wasn’t interested in or great with money. He liked to collect interesting objects – curios brought back by sailors. Skulls and samarai helmets and shells and all manner of strange exotic creatures. The highlight was the young gentleman demonstrating how Rembrandt and the gang created pigments.
Ochre came from earth.
Black came from burnt bones.
White came from lead and the process was super toxic.
Red comes from bugs – in fact, they still use the same bugs to create red food dye! So gross. And the bugs need to be handpicked because when the females are scared they turn red and that’s when you kill them. Red #120 or something – something acid. Uck.
Anyway, you mix the pigment with linseed oil and that’s how you make oil paint. It’s incredible and mind blowing really that all of the shades
There was another room where a young woman walked us through the etching process – applying the ink, etc.
(I wonder if I will ever upload photos, or if I’ll just get sucked back into the drama. We will see.)
After the Rembrandt house we went to the Joods Museum, which was heart-wrenching. There were two Jewish Communities in Amsterdam and Holland, the Portuguese or Sephardic and the Ashakanzi, that were the more Germanic who spoke Yiddish – they each had their own communities and Synagogues. The narrative of the museum walks you through the Jewish experience, from being outcasts to fighting to participate into society to having their own community up until the Holocaust – out of 600,000 people, only 30,000 were left after the war. Those are the numbers. It was good to humanize the story behind the numbers and put faces.
I’m starting to lose my narrative of the trip, what happened when – Already! But we also went to a cool leftist bookstore that had books about the pre WWI period that I’m fascinated with – when labor and anarchists were actually on the verge of uniting the world’s workers – and we had a war that a) solidified the modern nation states, including the USSR, and effectively wiped the Hapsburgs off the map; and 2) Put the internal combustion engine to use in the form of the tank, etc. Created the machine first future.
Walking back from the Jewish Museum was hellish, despite the cute old architecture and picturesque canals. Unending times square, the dutch version.