Tuesday, March 27

The ICC and more pics

Today I went with a group from the law school to the International Criminal Court in Den Haag. The ICC is the world's only permanent international criminal court, and is separate from the UN, established via its own charter called the Rome Statute. They have yet to have a prosecution, although they are working on three important cases: Uganda, Darfur, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The court only has jurisdiction beginning in 2002, so I think it will take several years before they have a real presence and impact, but everything has to have a beginning point. Only one person is even in custody! We met with a woman who works in Judges chambers and another who works for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP, everything has initials around here!!)

It was quite exciting to see even though there are no cases going on. The courtrooms are much like the ones at the ICTY except that there are no windows at all which will not make the cases any easier I imagine. It is already likely to take years to complete each case. The building is an old parking garage and is meant to only be temporary for the ICC, but they'll be there at least until 2012.

Anyway, now that the law news is out of the way, here are some more pictures!! (Sorry, the writing is not too inspired today! I had only about 4 hours of sleep last night and then took a luxurious nap on the sofa in the sun this afternoon, with a breeze gently blowing through the apartment. Thus, thrilling text is not exactly at my fingertips at present!)

My mom, always with the sweet tooth, found this candy shop in Utrecht. These two ladies were so nice and there is a museum upstairs with antique grocery items:
I took mom to the Kasteel de Haar and she took this nice picture!
For Dan: (Sorry dude, it's empty. I enjoyed it though! For those of you who don't know, this is Budweiser Beer, real Budweiser, the original from Czech, not that ripoff we are oh-too-familiar with back home, this stuff is actually good!)
The fam in Delft: Carrie always on the lookout:
The rest are all from the Keukenhof (pronounced: coke-in-hof)
Cool Kangaroo Chair!
Always happy around flowers!
We climbed this windmill!My most favorite patch:

Monday, March 26

some more swimming and more photos...

I just swam 3000 meters in under an hour, a personal best! Especially considering it is pool swimming, no wet suit, no pushing off from the side, very little kicking, and certain, ahem, traffic in the water. One woman got right in my imaginary lane and did the backstroke until we collided. So certain was I of my right-of-way I actually asked her to "please watch out." Then, in my final thousand, a guy teaching about a dozen little kids to swim decided he would teach them using the shallow end-- the whole thing. So they went back and forth, and I went up and down until finally it became so congested that I stood up, took off my goggles and asked "where should I go?" He said, "wherever you like!" Aahh, therein lies the problem in this Bilthoven pool! One lady even went diagonally for a while, corner to corner, I kid you not.

As I was about to collide with one little boy, I stopped and he stopped, and the look of terror in his little goggled eyes was enough to make even non-kid-friendly-me chuckle about the ridiculous scenario.

Here are some more recent pictures from Abigail's Dutch Adventures:

For Erik:
For Lolly:
Tall Tulips:
Short Tulips:
A direct quote: "Hey Mom take my picture while I pretend to be dead!"
Pushing up tulips? (Or hyacinths, as the case may be):
Soooo graceful (better stick to water sports!):
And one little girl who says "You had best not leave me at home again while you go gallivanting off to tulip gardens!"

Mom in Holland

Once again, too much time has past since the last blog. But we have been on lots of adventures in the interim and have hundreds of photos to choose from! My mom came to visit last week, Sunday through Friday, and we did so much traveling and sight-seeing!! These next few posts will be a bit disjointed, as I have so many pictures and not enough time, but here are some initial highlights:

We went to Delft, home of famous, and slightly-too-common china, here is a nice old building in the main square:

We also went to Den Haag and saw the Peace Palace. This beautiful building is home to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and, had they not been in session we could have toured the interior: (I will go back in a few weeks)
We went to the Keukenhof, one of the most famous gardens in the world. Luckily, they opened on March 22nd for the season, the day before Mom was to leave. Beware, I have about a million pictures of tulips and may inundate the blog with these!! I will dedicate more to the Keukenhof later:

We also just hung out and had our pictures taken: Me and Joe letting our tongues hang out!
At the forest. Here in Holland, country-side is country-side, very little sprawl:
There was an old woman...!
Nap time