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Eindhoven: Day 1

August 1st, 2008 · No Comments · Travel

After spending about 24 hours in Eindhoven, I’m ready to render a totally premature verdict.

Eindhoven is the Des Moines of the Netherlands: big enough to be a real city, with some interesting museums and music venues, but not big enough to have much worthwhile happening on a Wednesday night. I spent several hours (even got a small blister) wandering around looking for a busy club or bar. I was told that summer is especially dead because so many people are away on holiday.

I eventually wound up at a sparsely populated bar on the Stratumseind (a street which had a fair number of people, but divided between about 40 different bars). I met two Dutch architecture students, Antoine and Alex, who were playing chess. Alex beat Antoine twice, before I offered to play Antoine. He checkmated me in about a half-dozen moves in the first game. I acquitted myself much better in a rematch and the game was close. At the end, he swapped a rook for a bishop in a trade I was not expecting, and which left me without a piece to stop him from getting a pawn promoted. I lost the game.

During our second game (which went on for some time), an aggressive, apparently drunk, shirtless man repeatedly challenged me to play him for a 100 euro wager. I declined, and he sat next to me giving me terrible advice, (“You should take his rook. Take it now, I guarantee you will win.”). Unless he was hustling me, he was drunk enough that I could’ve beaten him, but there was no guarantee he would pay up, or not start a fight.

I also met an Egyptian businessman who kept asking me the prices of commercial real estate in the United States (as though I would know), “A shop like this, how much to buy in New York or Florida?”

We also had the following exchange:
“You know woman writer in America?”
“Yeah, sure, there are lots of American women writers. Living or dead?”
“She lives in Texas.”
“Um, what kind of writing does she do?”
“I give her my number, but she never call me. Do you know her?”
“No, I’m pretty sure I don’t.”
“Good, she was too old for you anyway.”


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