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Monday, 4 September 2006

Notes from Yesterday

I'm here.

Got into France yesterday and right away got tickets on the Thalis train to the Low Countries. Started calling hotels listed in Fodors. This guide book had the most listings for The Hague, but is not a book for budget travelers. The youth hostel was booked (other students who planned ahead, curse them!) so booked a normal hotel. Maybe a 2 star or so. Arrived in The Hague around 19:30, figured out how to buy tram ticks, found hotel, found food, slept.

Housing

Today, I found the phone number of the guy I stayed with when I visited and then also called a bunch of apartments listed on Craig's list. They were all very far from school and the nice one was more expensive than where I lived in Paris. Bah.

Sasha tried to figure out a temporary solution to my housing crisis. Hotels here are not cheap. Finally, he hit on an idea. His friend is out of town for two weeks, so we can stay there in his absence. The question was: do we break down the door to get in and just buy him new locks or do we try to track down the keys? It was decided that the second solution was best because of the number of locks on the door.

It's an anti-squat. In The Netherlands, it's legal to squat, but you have to do it a certain way. You need a lamp, a table, a chair and a bed and the best time to move them in is Sunday at noon. If you don't have all these things, you can be evicted or arrested for burglary, which would probably be inconvenient for me right now. There's a ten block area of town that's all slated for demolition, which means it's kind of easy to squat, at least until they knock the building down. anyway, once you have all your squatter stuff moved in, you let people know that you're squatting there which hopefully will prevent people form knocking the building down with you inside.

Some owners who have empty apartments would like to avoid having squatters. Squatters have the rights of tenants and get free utilities, but pay no rent. To prevent squatters, you use anti-squatters. These guys pay the landlord like 50€/ month and live like squatters except they can be kicked out when the landlord wants. It's almost as good as squatting.

So the anti-squat has electricity and water, but no gas, which means no heat and no hot water.

Furnishing

There's some sort of large rubbish pick up on Sunday night where people with permits can dump large piles of junk on the street. People without permits drive around looking for pre-existing piles to augment. People who want, say, a living room set drive around looking for one. We saw a nice sofa and matching love seat and a bunch of nice dining room chairs. If we start collecting enough stuff and get a chair, table, bed and lamp, maybe we could just squat near the anti-squatter.

School

Starts tomorrow (Monday). Labor day is May 1st here, so no holiday. I know (I think) where I'm supposed to be, but not what time. I am so damn tired. 9:00 am here is midnight in California. zzzzzz

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