01.12.2016 - 02.12.2016
All day yesterday and until about noon today I attended a COIL conference. COIL stands for Collaborative Online International Learning, and the idea is that a classroom in one country works on a project with a classroom in another country. This is something I am very interested in doing, and the conference was excellent. I met a lot of great people from all over the world and hopefully will be able to use the contacts made to create a project for one of my classes. The conference was at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. We were in a very interesting and unique building.
After the conference, I set out on three planned business visits. I want to try to make contacts so that when I bring students here in 2018 we can tour one or more of these businesses. My first stop was Royal Dutch Shell. The receptionist told me that in order to get a tour you have to know someone there, which I don't. She gave me a general information email that I am pretty sure will result in nothing. So I was disappointed in my first stop, although as you will see later it might work out in the end.
My second stop was a logistics company called Damco. When I got there, you couldn't just walk in but had to buzz them from the street. Not speaking Dutch, and unsure how communication would go in English over a speaker, I decided not to even try. I figure I can look something up on the Internet for that one too.
By this time I was hungry for lunch so I stopped at a doner place. These are cheap fast food type places with either chicken or beef sandwiches primarily. They are cheap, fast and yummy. The meat hangs on vertical spits, and they use something that looks like an clothes iron to shave off the meat. I had one of these sandwiches for the first time in Vienna this summer and loved it, so I interested in trying it again here. One thing that was funny was that the person who took my order called me "lady" instead of something like "ma'am" when asking me questions about what I wanted. So it was, "do you want ketchup or mayonnaise with your French fries, lady?" It just sounded so funny.
My final business stop, and one that was successful was AT&T, which has its European headquarters in The Hague. I was able to meet with the Director of Managed Services and Outsourcing and he was very willing to set something up for when I come with students. It sounds like they do this with a school in The Hague so he had an idea what I wanted. So I just have to email him a few months before we visit and he will set something up. He asked what else I would be doing with students, and after telling him I mentioned what happened at Shell. He said he knew some people there so he would contact them and email me a name if someone at Shell would agree to that. So I am much more hopeful that I was when I left Shell.
All in all, my hope was to get at least one of them to be willing to work with us and that is what I got. If I can get a second, I would be thrilled with that.
Having had what I deemed to be a successful day, I decided to go shopping! There is a pretty large pedestrian shopping area in The Hague, so I walked around there for a while. I am going back sometime this weekend during the evening to see the streets all lit up with Christmas lights, because it looks like it will be really cool to see. One thing that was exciting is that, because people are are generally fairly tall and therefore I guess have bigger feet, I was actually able to find stores that carry my size 12! I bought a pair of boots from Ecco so am very happy about that.
It was time for a snack! There are lots of little walk up counters in the shopping area with all kinds of treats. I decided to get some churros, which were warm and yummy.
I then went back to the hotel for a while, and took the opportunity to ask at the front desk about whether they have rooms with twin beds and if they have a group discounted rate. The location of this hotel is ideal. It is right next to the central train station, all the trams stop here, and so much is within walking distance. If it works out price-wise, this would be a great place to stay. Sunday is the day I plan to visit some other hotels so I can get a sense of what other options we have.
For dinner, I intended to go to an Indonesian restaurant, but they didn't have any tables available and the wait would have been almost 2 hours so I decided to find something else. I am going to be in that area tomorrow so I might try again for lunch. I settled on a place called Burger Bar and enjoyed a very good cheeseburger. On the way home I stopped at one of the bakery carts/trucks that you see all over the city. The picture below is one example, but not the one I went to tonight. I got a chocolate covered waffle, which was the perfect thing to end the day.
Tomorrow I am touring the Dutch Parliament and the International Court of Justice. These are both places I intend to bring students so I am checking them out. They are places I would visit anyway even if I was here on vacation. I am really interested in seeing both of these, so that will be fun.