Holland is as one would expect, with windmills, canals, friendly local police officers and anti-globalisation protestors all on plain view in the sleepy streets of Leiden and the not-so-sleepy streets of Amsterdam. Dutch intonation is very like English, which is still a surprise despite the close relationship between the two languages.
The Netherlands is a very strange place. There are severe restrictions on the use of money. Some places take Maestro but not Visa cards. Some places don't take cards at all. Some machines opt only to take cash, or only to take notes, or only to take exact change (even if you want to overpay). But the most annoying are of course the restaurants which don't take cards. The combination of these sorts of impediments wastes minutes of time on such quotidian operations as buying train tickets and cybercafe access.
I have been posing as a plain-clothes protestor. That is, I'm dressed much more smartly than anyone else on the demo, to the point where the police let me through their cordons along with the public, and the demonstrators think I'm a plain-clothes policeman or their emergency lawyer or something. Ho hum.
Spent yesterday evening either catching up on sleep or knowingly assisting in the management of an unlicensed bar. Lots of interesting discussions with George Danezis over the past few days. I'm going to have to go down to May Day to make my own mind up about the policing practices.