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TechEd Amsterdam: If you want to come and say hello, here's my schedule - and a cautionary note regarding Jay Walking here in Amsterdam

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If you'd like to meet with me to discuss any issues arising from my blog posts, anything SQL, or just to say hello, I will be at the Ask the Experts Info desk, here at TechEd at 11:30 - 2pm. Tuesday.  And I'll also be at the Ask the Experts stand at 2-5pm Thursday.  Hope to see you there.

If you're from the UK and are new to Amsterdam then I must urge you to take care when Jay Walking - which, as a British person, I'm sure like me, you believe this to be a God given right which you can exercise anywhere in the world.  Beware, Amsterdam is a Jay Walkers nightmare.  Here you have to run a six lane gauntlet! 

Firstly, you have the cyclist lane; Amsterdam cyclists are hard core and with a dedicated cycle lane they haven't evolved the diffident and almost appologetic approach to lfe our own cyclists have back at home.  These guys are dangerous!  They bomb along with almost as much momentum as a motorised scooter and with a similar 'can't stop' attitude.  The danger here is the fact that, unlike motor cycles, they do not announce their approach with the audible signal of a petrol motor.  These guys can take you out when you least expect them - like a snipper from the roof top.

Secondly, you have the car/van/taxi lane.  The trick here is to remember to look left - not right; if you can't master this trick then just look both ways even if you feel this not cool for a professional Jay Walker.  A popular trick, with the successful UK Jay Walker, is just to run as soon as a gap in the traffic reveals the pavement on the othersde of the traffic.  Do not run in Amsterdam!  You've still got four more lanes to navigate and the chances are the gap you saw is going to get filled, before you reach the otherside.  Not least, two of these lanes are taken up by a whole new beast - the tram.  Trams are, to all intense an purpose, small trains and they don't stop like cars and cycles.  If you have reached running pace by the first tram lane, you might not be able to stop quickly enough when you realise you had underestimated the speed at which these things can bear down on you from either direction.  Because trams are very frightening and because you might have chosen to Jay Walk at a complicated junction - you could find yourself panic running.  This starts by merely trying to dodge fast moving trams, but culminates when, having made it passed the metal monsters with their shreeking wheels of death - you find another line of cars, which the frantic tram dodging has let you forget!  And of course they're coming at you from the wrong way! If you do manage to get taken out by the cyclists in the last lane of mahem - you might consider yourself lucky.

Amsterdam has lots to disrupt the normal function of your central nervous system and consequently can seriously affect your ability to make the often fine judgements carried out by the hardned Jay Walker.  My advice is to look both ways on each of the six lanes and walk - its not cool, but its safe.  And I don't want to loose any of my readership.

 

Comments
  • this "Jay Walker" guy sounds suicidal! and your descriptions of his antics sound almost as hilarious as watching someon try to cycle through the "Magic Roundabout" in Swindon!!!

  • Mat has posted a great article explaining about the dangers of walking around in Amsterdam. We're just...

  • Mat has posted a great article explaining about the dangers of walking around in Amsterdam. We're just...

  • Helaas, helaas, TechED 2005 is weer afgelopen.
    Nu kan ik hier een mooi verhaal schrijven over alle nuttige...

  • I think you are mistaken. In Amsterdam the cars don't come from the wrong side. There are only a few countries in the world where cars come from the wrong side. Yours is one of them! :) But good to see you enjoy our capital city :)

  • Only learnt what Jay Walkers were the other day! I think we should have more cycling in this country (UK). Amsterdam have quite a few 'plants' legalised, try and stay of those until after TechEd, it could be rather embarassing if you're the lecturer and you have one to do.

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