04.17.13 — 15.56 — Wednesday — Best Western Arthotel, Eindhoven
It was a foggy, wet kind of morning when the plane landed at Schiphol, and as towns whizzed by on the train, it was a measure to see it had rained here, hadn’t rained there. It’s about an hour and a half by rail from Amsterdam to Eindhoven — and did I sleep on the plane no of course I did not sleep on the plane — so I got out of the airport as quickly as possible. 35007 (Phase V was perfect for the weather and made me realize again how much one less tired than I could argue they set the stage for the explorations of bands like My Sleeping Karma) and the new split between The Machine and Sungrazer were my accompaniment, as well of course as my luggage Big Blue, which according to the scale back in Newark weighs over 60 pounds this year. It doesn’t even have any CDs in it yet! They put a tag on the handle that says, “Heavy.” Fat people can’t go anywhere these days.
There was some debate on my part whether to bring them, but in the end, I think lugging the DVDs of Arrested Development along for this trip was the right idea. When I told The Patient Mrs. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have them with me on account of thinking that when you’re traveling you should sort of put yourself out of your comfort zone — as if I fucking am ever comfortable anywhere, ever, ever — she more or less said to drop the hackneyed bullshit, grow up, and put them between the t-shirts and my socks so they didn’t get bounced around. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea. She was right, in any case. As I slammed into bed to crash out for a few hours, it was a much appreciated comfort of home.
And anyway, I brought my fucking pillow and the place I’m staying calls itself an “Arthotel,” so I’m hardly roughing it. I have no idea what “Arthotel” means, but it’s easily the nicest Best Western I’ve ever set foot in. Even at reception, Mike, whose last name according to the tag was Trainee, checked me in from behind a giant transluscent plastic flower. There were three of them set up instead of a registration counter. It being the Netherlands, I went to the orange one. So far what I can surmise about the “Arthotel” aspect of the thing is that the signs with the room numbers in the atrium-type hallway are whacky and don’t match and the walls have different paints and wallpapers on them. Apparently in Eindhoven, the artists also enjoy 10-ft. ceilings. Also the toilet is in a little room separate from the shower and the sink, which means you have to pee in one spot and then go over to the next room to wash your hands. That’s performance art.
Eindhoven is beautiful though, which is more or less why I’m here. I got off the train and stumbled, dragging Big Blue — whose wheels made loud clacky sounds on the brick walkways as I went as if in a gallop announcing to anyone awake that, yes, there was an American in town — and had some trouble finding this place. Thinking it was a Holiday Inn didn’t help, and neither did not knowing what street it’s on. I turned on my cell phone, which I’ll be keeping off as much as possible to avoid incurring roaming data charges, and looked in my email for the note from The Patient Mrs. with the confirmation. Of course she booked the room. She booked this whole thing. I’d be lost without her.
For evidence, I’ll give you the picture of greasy, post-flight, no-sleep me, clomping around early morning Eindhoven trying to find a hotel when I’ve got the name wrong and no address. I went a couple blocks in the direction of the Markt, where I stayed last year, and then looped around after checking the address and eventually found it on my way back to the train station to look at the map. Surprisingly, “Holiday Inn” wasn’t on the map when I looked on the way in. No word on Best Western.
In a couple minutes I’ll jump in the shower (while I’m giving pleasant images), and then find coffee and get on a train to Tilburg to do a bit of record shopping at a place called Sounds that I’ve wanted to visit for a few years now but never had time. In case I need to fire up this post and look later, it’s down Stationstraat (which is by the station) after it merges with Nieulandstraat. I love the Dutch language, the sounds of it, and wish I was not entirely ignorant of it as I am. There’s a lot I feel that way about, but I’m away and lucky enough to be here in this gorgeous place, and if feeling like you’ve just said all the most embarrassing things you ever said in your life all at the same time every time you open your mouth is the price to pay (aside from the actual price), I’ll chalk it up to being an American abroad.
It felt good to sleep, and I’m confident that if I got back in bed, I could do it for much, much longer, but it’s time to get up and get out of this room. So that’s what I’m going to do.