Friday, October 26, 2007

Continuing Misadventures in Holland

Just when you thought it was all settling down and you could relax - two new things in Holland happen:

1. I received an email from my former landlady/colleague - the one I had originally rented my first ill-fated apartment from - it turns out that the one utility bill that was in my name, the internet bill, was never completely turned off. Even though I sent a letter to them and tried to cancel it through their Dutch internet site - it's been on since August when I moved. And since they didn't hear from me, they just kept debiting it out of her bank account. She signed a years contract for the internet access starting in March, I will now have to pay for August - March internet access at an apartment I don't live in costing me about 200€. No way around it. Doesn't matter that I don't live there according to the sales company/accounting department at said internet company.

2. I got the light on my bike fixed about three weeks ago - its the type that has a little generator that rubs against your front tire and it powers the front and back light. I hit a big bump coming home one night and it just stopped working. Until I can get it fixed (when I have money and time to go to a bicycle shop in the middle of the day since they all close at 6pm), I wear my backpack with a little red light on the back and carry a detachable light inside it that I can stick on the handlebars. But sometimes, I don't bother snce most of the Amsterdammers are going light free and the streets are pretty brightly lit. Yesterday, I decided not to bring my heavy backpack since I was going out to dinner and just carry my purse.

Sure enough, I got caught in a traffic stop. The very cute Blonde police woman and men were standing near the Weteringschans traffic circle and pulling over bicyclists without lights on their bike. They listened politely as I apologized and tried to explain that the bike light had just stopped working and since all the bike shops close at 6pm, I hadn't been able to fix it. They smiled and said "Well, I just gave that man a ticket so it wouldn't really be fair to him if I let you go." and gave me a 20€ ticket and made me walk my bike to the restaurant.

Sigh...they have to be the nicest traffic cops I've ever met but I wonder when my "Foolish Foreigners Tax" will end?

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