Tuesday, January 8, 2008


We had an appointment at the tax office yesterday to get our sofinumber. My appointment was for 8.30am, Dani's for 8.50am. Except they start working at 9am, which is an interesting way of making appointments. They wouldn't give us a sofinumber unless we had our residency permit - which we thought was the case - even though the lady at the Town Hall said we could. They recently changed the rules regarding working holiday visas but unfortunately for us no one seems to have been briefed on how it now works. So one department says one thing, another says something else. Anyway, our landlord gets back next week, and all we need is a photocopy of her ID for the residency permit, and then we can get our sofinumbers the same day. We have been applying for jobs in the meantime.

We just learnt something: credit cards are not widely used here. We went to Albert Heijn to buy some groceries, and they don't take Visa. You know Visa, the card that's accepted everywhere around the world? Except here. Luckily I had cash. But who uses cash anymore?

Yesterday after the tax office we spent a few hours walking around Amsterdam, enjoying the mild weather and checking out the sales (I didn't buy anything at Zara but I feel happy knowing it's there; Dani got some great bargains). We had some delicious soup then I wanted to buy some bits and pieces for dinner. It sounds silly, and please indulge my love of ingredients for a minute, but liquid stock is very hard to find. I hate stock cubes so it was becoming a bit of a mission. I finally found some but it's expensive, so we may have to make it a 'wet weekend' project and make our own. Popped into a 'nature winkel' (organic shop - why would you not want to live in a place where a shop is a winkel?). Bought a big jar of Green and Black's organic hot chocolate powder, mmm. It's 60% chocolate, so dark and luscious. Essential.

Everyone knows I am obsessed with Kate Moss but equally with Doherty, so when we saw Babyshambles are playing in Amsterdam next week, we knew we had to get tickets. Except they are 165E, and sold out. Knowing that he will be lurking around the city is good enough - imagine that, a Doherty sighting!

In another music news, Jane Birkin will be here next month (squeal!) and I tried to get tickets but hey, Visa isn't accepted so I'll be snapping them up with cash. So exciting!

Remember that bit in Sex and the City when Charlotte is converting to Judaism and is out shopping with the girls, and says a spontaneous 'oy' for the first time? "Oy...hey, you guys, that was my first oy!" Well, it has been a bit like that with me. I get very excited when I spontaneously say things like "hallo" and "oops"! and "sorry!" - except I sing-song the 'allo' to sound Swedish, and while 'oops' and 'sorry' sound like nothing new, here they are used ad infinitum and sound like adorable doorbells. And hearing people say 'oops' and 'sorry' is a lot of fun.


AlphaChick said...

No Visa ... and to think I have stopped going back to shops which didn't take Amex :-)

Cookie said...

VISA isn't normal for us dutchies to use for regular shopping, like groceries. It is excepted though at most major department and clothing stores. Most of our non cash payments are with our bankpas and pin code.

Julia said...

Thanks Cookie!

Cookie said...

you're welcome! It's really interesting to read your experiences with our country. It makes me look at my own country through a foreigners eye. Very refreshing!