Funny Thing About Europe…


LOCATION: “Centraal” Station in Amsterdam, feeling the odd need to write this down while I wait for my flight so here it is…

There are definitely a few funny things about Europe that are worth noting. First of all, even in February, women in Amsterdam seem to be able to pull off the “I’m keeping warm yet I’m dressing sexy” look… complete with stockings and mini skirts even in minus10C (granted, they might freeze in Montreal’s -40C, but who doesn’t! At least they are brave

Vending machine selling interesting meals at the train statio, Amsterdam "Centraal" Station

Vending machine selling interesting meals at the train statio, Amsterdam "Centraal" Station

enough to find creative ways to strut their stuff 365 days a year!) In Montreal’s winters, women look like they are wearing a Polar bear’s worth of layers and in the summer they basically bring it down to the bare necessities (damn good compensation)… and since seeing skin is essential to a man’s healthy blood circulation (I didn’t make this up, this is scientifically proven!), we go off to the south in the middle of winter for that crucial 7-day getaway, you know the one where you actually count down the minutes you have left in the country you’re in (oh yeah, the sun is also an important factor I assume…)

Second of all, the architecture in Europe actually follows a theme/design that is nice to look at, most buildings in the downtown areas match and they kept  them low so you feel cozy even in a big city and that includes many modern buildings… I guess this impresses someone like me (although it shouldn’t) only because I come from a city (YUL) where brown blocks of concrete stick out like sore thumbs and let you wonder how pissed off the architect must have been at the world to give birth to such atrocities… if you don’t know what I’m referring to, check out the 1970s McGill University buildings, or the glass Congress Hall on Viger street (Palais des Congrès) with the Gaudi inspired tree columns (unfortunately they look nothing like the Spaniard’s work, since they are pink and ugly and don’t actually use their full support potential)… or better yet, the yellow-shaded glass academic building on Sherbrooke just west of St-Laurent… makes me shake my head every time I see it…

Moving on to bathrooms, have you ever tried to find a bathroom in Amsterdam’s Central Train Station? If so, you follow the WC sign (for a good 10-minute walk) to a tiny kiosk where you pay 0.50 Euros for a urinal and a sink (no paper, no toilet bowl, and they don’t accept anything other than 10s, 20s or 50s cent coins (No 1s, 2s, {yes they have 2s!}, or 1 Euro or 2 Euros allowed!)… and if you try to ask the assigned clerk to exchange your coins you’ll get a nice facial expression saying “can’t you read the sign that says the only coins allowed are bla bla bla….”. I mean, this is not a small train station, it is bigger than Montreal’s International Airport… and there’s ONE bathroom and it’s a paying one and men don’t get more than a urinal…all I have to say is…”Wow, that sucks”.  Definitely makes me appreciate North America, we can easily pee and poo where and when we want (by the way I went to almost all the cafes and restaurants in the train station, seems they have a “monopoly” deal with the WC since none of them built any toilets for their customers!)…

to be continued…


2 thoughts on “Funny Thing About Europe…

  1. I was about to make a judgment before finishing reading. You called “the architecture in europe” as a 1 generic thing, where amsterdam is the same as gaudi’s barcelona. Then I realized you were not saying that, you where just comparing the general design of europe vs the one found in your home place, making a criticism of it. However, even if Europes architecture is magical, each particular town, country and city are overwhelming, our hometowns have their own misticism too(atleast in the WC)!

  2. The Libraby at McGill IS ATROCIOUS! HAHAHAHAH The architect really had it in for us… oorrr, he thought he would be cleaver and recreate Habitat 67 on Sherbrooke… mmmm nope!
    URGH ! and the “Lifesaver” bldg crap!! (Palais des Congrès)
    Gaudi is lightyears ahead of us… at that was in the 1920’s!

    God bless the Jazz Fest…

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