Sundays are made for it
Trip Start Jan 31, 2010
141Trip End Jul 21, 2010
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Where I stayed
I’d successfully eaten a whole box of cereal and was hoping to get some more that morning before Robert got back, having spent the night at Marje’s, so he wouldn’t notice. But no.
Something that is open are the museums (well, most of them anyway). Having consulted the map further still I discovered there to be several museums near Robert’s that I am yet to experience..
Robert had suggested the Aboriginal Art museum, as it is said to contain the only stuffed replica of the dodo
Utrecht is a town made up of canals, much like Amsterdam and many other cities in the Netherlands. Three rings of canals and countless bridges cut through the city. Yes, I got a little lost once again.
The aboriginal art museum has no dodo. The aboriginal museum has a lot of aboriginal paintings (to be expected). The resident artist Paddy Blackwood has left his mark on the city with a number of works in the traditional style of the aborigines. I like the paintings and value placed on them as in actually fact many of the are maps or storyteller’s books. Other than that there is little on offer here. The tourist guide says it’s a great place if you get sick of your Rembrandts and your Van Goghs….. wtf?
After lunch the university museum is not where I thought it is, but is not far from Robert’s house.
The rain starts as I pass cafes full of cakes and wicked street art, it’s meant to snow again soon. Bless the layers. The Museum turns out to be much like science works. Exhibits are for children or younger minds in mind. You have magnifying slides, sound monitors to measure wave lengths – everything to make you feel like you’re a scientist too, that discovery is fun (and just because you’re in a laboratory, it doesn’t mean you’re not an explorer. I swear I heard some guy telling his kid so
To the back (which turned out to the be front, as I came in through the out door) is the bit that’s on all the promotional material, the anatomy hall. Inside we have wall upon wall upon cabinet (really a few, but I like talking with my hands) of the most amazing cutaways and samples in jars I have ever seen. A lot of monkeys, with is kind of sad, and lots of mammals, which I suppose is to be expected, and lots of organs and skulls, which is wicked! To one wall the cabinets are filled with deformed skeletons, all positioned as if they’re looking right at you. One with bow legs like a frog, one with a rib cage that sticks out like a fin – the one I found most interesting is of a small human with a skull that appears to have stopped closing over before its time. Instead with have the back of the skull opening like a flowering plant. And they wonder where mind altering art comes from – not drugs, freaking real life! The one next it has a similar problem, but this has closed and thinned out like tissue paper. Further on there are collections of teeth and animal bones, along with devices used in the 70s for removing said teeth from skulls, but probably not from animals.
The garden out the back mentioned in the book as a place to escape the skulls and the bits and the whatever is simply that, an area to have le snacks you pay millions for. Heading out towards the next exhibition the wind picks up. Much like Melbourne the breeze flies through and directs the locals down whichever street it decides, you have no choice in the matter. One such street is decided for me, and I come across shop signage not intended for the shops below. Each is part of a permanent exhibition name Evening Time is Reading Time, one side shows the name of the group, the other taken from 50s old school advertising, with lines like "Open 24 Hours" “We Give Personal Service” “Bait For All Kinds Of Fishing” and more
The church is being renovated – surprise surprise – so I nearly miss it, if not for same well placed graffiti signage, which ends up pointing to some hideous piece of work by the front door.
Lingam: 122 contemporary fertility symbols invites artists from around the globe to contribute with their own interpretation of a phallus, Lingam. The Lingam is used as a sacred object of meditation and offerings in Hinduism and Buddhism. It embodies all aspects of God, embodying both creation and life force, something that appears to have been lost by the Western world, where the phallus is associated with sex, lust, power, and numerous insecurities. The room is orange, bright orange, so gives al the pieces a strange glow. There are some humourous and cynical - one an erection pump, another a collection of lipstick tubes, with all manner of materials – rubber, silver, measuring tape, wood and a hell of a lot of penis. Sadly I could find little reading material in English, and got a little tired of asking the old lady next to me what it says about this penis here.
When I get home Robert is upstairs reading. I show photos of phallus’s and skulls and we talk of language and words. There was something that escapes me, a word that had several meanings in English that confused the hell out of Robert when I used it. Something that I called ambiguous, that its meaning was rather open to interpretation. Robert laughed and commented that ambiguous itself sounded ambiguous.
Dinner is to be had at said party, I’m freaking out quietly as I still have idea what to expect
As we are about to leave Robert stops me.
“I feel your wardrobe is not up to meet the Dutch cold, so I have an offerings of a jacket if you would much like.”
“A jacket? Thank you.”
“One, I would like to keep back when you leave. One is not so bad that you keep, you may take with you.”
Upstairs. One you can see is one Robert is fond of wearing, It’s a loving brown and is much like the top you keep because you like wearing it, regardless of the way it looks. I’m not so sure
The other is a black leather jacket. A black faux-leather jacket. I ask why he does not wear it and where he gets it from. Apparently it was given as a present from a Balinese Princess, who just so happens to shack up with a friend across the garden (for only two months at a time due to visa restrictions)
Bike time is considered not as successful as Robert would like, so suggests I walk in the nicest way possible. I agree, not liking the feeling of falling from the back of a moving two-wheeler. I try to keep this walk more of a sprint and give Robert a run for his money keeping ahead of him most of the way. For at least the first fifteen minutes this is true.
We nearly get lost (see it’s not just me), but the shout out from a lady with crazy flowing blonde hair signals the party is upstairs. The place is largely bigger than Roberts and slowly fills with people. The host if from Croatia, her best friend and her came many years ago a love it here. The rest of the band arrives slowly, and I meet and greet al of them. The double bass player came on bike, I see him at the top of the street – double bass on the back, mobile phone in one hand and a killer headwind trying to take him off the seat. Flawless.
I am the only one who cannot speak Dutch, but many see me listening in on conversations and change so I can understandcommicadence).
I get to see Robert play – he is a god. The band is amazing - two guitars, double bass, violin and vocals in between (when the song requires it – Robert comments on the placement on a singer in the band, how a singer can never change from a solo feature to part of the background, where as something like a violin or guitar can feature as required. I disagree, back up singers have existed in bands since the beginning and back up a violin melody sounds like an amazing idea). She arrives late and looks sadly at the food “I had a Big Mac in the street, I didn’t know there’d be food.” She looks familiar, then realise her face is on billboards and leaflets throughout the country, getting people to vote in their elections like good citizens. The band is hoping to cash in on this shortly.
They rock out for a good half hour, crowd pleasing and clapping a plenty. They break for dessert, when Robert tells everyone that I will playing to the sounds of everyone chomping down on cake (which I happen to be doing at that moment, all eyes now on me)
I blast out five songs including This Charming Man, Christmas card from A Hooker In Minneapolis, and (Are You) the one I’ve Been Waiting For, and I was surprised how many of the songs everyone knew. So I got the applause I needed before returning to my wicked cake dessert, which much congrats and amazement from those around. One asks for my email as he took video (heck yes! Which is now of facebook) and the two girls living here suggest I play at the open mic night at Café Averechts, they’ll even put my name down early to guarantee me a spot(!!!!!). The night stretches on into morning, I dance like a crazy man (ever so slightly), and walk home, only getting a little lost once again.