Thursday, October 29, 2009

I ADverbarbie in Amsterdam

We just happened to stumble upon the huge I AMsterdam sign during our afternoon cruise.  Tons of pictures ensued, and we finally got to see the most modern area of the city.  It was such a relief to take a break from the constant historical vibe that we usually feel.  We will definitely be revisting Museumplein.

Adverbarbie gives the I AMsterdam city campaign an A+.  Its the best branding of a city we’ve ever seen.  Locals and tourists can both feel like they are a part of the city simultaneously, which is a brilliant way to keep both parties content.  The campaign is modern enough to stay relevant for a long time, without dwelling on the past.  It must have been a difficult task considering Amsterdam always wants emphasizes its rich history.

(FYI, we are working at the advertising agency that did this campaign. Baller!)

Happy Birthday Alicia!

Turning 24 in Amsterdam is pretty exciting.  Perfect weather, the bikes were in working condition (for now), and gigantic pink cupcakes.  Check out our new wheels in this new video clip.

Hmmmm a little different from the Sebring and the Mini Cooper 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Elephant’s on Parade.

Amsterdam has been invaded by life-size elephants!  From Sept-Oct, a over 100 hand painted elephants can be seen in the city streets. The benefits of the "Elephant Parade" are donated to the Elephant Family, the largest elephant charity in the world and was founded in 2002 by Mark Shand. He is a globetrotter, philanthropist, and writer and maker of the BBC documentary Queen of the Elephants. 

In true AdverBarbie fashion, we are trying track down all the lil’ fellers, and taking a photo with each.  Safari in Amsterdam woohoo!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm on a BOAT


Whats the biggest tourist attraction in Amsterdam that doesn’t involve sex and drugs? The canal tours of course!  These low riding-canal-cruising-wooden monsters, give you a 1 hour perimeter tour of the Dam, all for the cost of 8 euros.

Finally, some transportation where I can sit back relax, and enjoy the show!  I can’t tell you how nice it was to get from point A to B, without having to death grip my bike and pray I can sneak across Dam Square without getting squished by a tram errrrr :/

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pink Light District (PLD)

Times are tough.  The US dollar is losing its value at a catastrophic rate.  Exchange rates, ATM fees, 3% surcharges are forcing us to do something drastic.  Its time to take measures into our own hands!   Inspired by the oldest profession in the world, we’re settin’ up shop!  Its called the Pink Light District, and instead of selling ourselves, we’re selling our creativity.  So come on down, and we’ll make all your advertising fantasies come true.  For the right price that is...

(This picture is no way, shape, or form real. Once again, just had to get it out of our systems.  To have actually gotten into one of those RLD window booths, we would have gone directly to JAIL.  Hooray photoshop.)

Its Cloggy Outside

RAIN SUCKS.  Can’t ride the bikes, soaked all day, nothing to do.  What in the heck are these Dutch doing in this nasty weather? 

Eating.  Eating. And more Eating. Sweets, Fries, candies, pizza, you name it.  This city has an eternal case of the munchies.  To add insult to injury, the girls here are all stick thin, size two’s.  What is going on!  Is there something I’m missing. 

One particular deadly sweet is called the STROOPENWAFFLE.  It’s basically the most delicious fresh creamy caramel imaginable, sandwiched between two thin crispy vanilla waffle wafers with a touch of cinnamon.  The StroopWaffs (as we’ve been calling them) share approximately the same dimension of an oversized cup coaster.  They also come in mini size too, which I have been forcing Eesha to feed to me like the holy communion lol. (I know, I’m bad.) 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Dutch Black Market

We finally got our own bikes.  Albeit, the majority of surface area is a breathtaking shade of rust, they do the trick.  Adverbarbie was stoked to finally be free of those tragic walks home through the RLD.  Things were really looking up, until Meesh’s tire blew out on the maiden voyage.  Couldn’t even make it home without the gears grinding, and the entire rubber part of the tire slipping off the rim.  We’re talking sparking metal to cobblestone.  Of course this caused hysterical laughter from locals. Errrr :/

Anyways, here is Waterlooplein Market where we bought these beauties.  It is a Dutch shitshow of the most random things you could imagine.  AdverBarbie was in heaven.   From male fur babushkas, golden compasses, batteries, and spray paint; everything was there.  They even were selling old pick-pocketed wallets in a large bin for 3 Euros each.  These Dutch are just reselling everything physically possible.  It was WILD.  Enjoy the photos.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Fair came to town

Every fall a big carnival comes and takes over Dam Square.  Adverbarbie took the opportunity to experience Amsterdam from the sky.  We didn’t have too much fun :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Amsterdam needs more bikes!

Here is our entire MAS class working on a flash mob bike protest.   Check out the video above.

Amsterdam does indeed, need more bikes.  They only have 700,000 so far, and I would really appreciate it if the city could push it to 1 million by the time I leave.  So for all you people who are walking and driving, you have missed the memo. 

A few quickie Amsterdam bike facts: 80,000 are stolen per year.  A whopping 25,000 end up in the canals.   What does this mean?  It means that all bikes here are UGLY as shit.  errrrrr :/ Sorry girls, but that cute turquoise beach cruiser is outta the question!

Spray it, Don’t Say it.

Amsterdam has a rich graffiti art scene going on.  You can find street art in almost every corner.  Some of it is stunning, some of it is awful.  Groups of these graffiti artists or as they call them selves “bombers” go out at night and “put shit.”   Amsterdam graffiti crews like USA (United Street Artists, TMP, 3rd Eye or LF (The Lame Face) have been putting shit in an organized fashion for over 15 years..

The interesting thing about Amsterdam graffiti is that if you get caught, your punishment is based on how much space/ how big your vandalism is.  Punishments range from a fine of 150 EUROS to 3 days in jail + fines.  Gossip Alert: The Amsterdam city mayor, Job Cohen, may have been a popular bomber in his youth, costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in clean up fees!

Adverbarbie’s advice to the bombers:  Instead of paying fees and getting your hard work erased, just spray that canvas and have an art exhibition. You never know, maybe the city will commission you to do legit graffiti, and even PAY you.  Done.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

“Accio Firebolt”


Normal brooms are not happening.  The Amsterdam city cleaners are using the same brooms since the city was first settled in the 1200’s.  Witch brooms, like those that recently starred in Harry Potter movies, are used every morning to sweep the streets.  The only reason I can think of for them using those old school brooms is that they must work a heck of a lot better.  

Now that I think of it, many scenes from Harry Potter have an uncanny resemblance to Amsterdam.  Especially Diagon Alley.  I deduce that J.K. Rowling had a big blowout weekend in Amsterdam, and came up with the whole Harry Potter scheme from trolling the streets while tripping. 

Dutch Fast Food.

They’ve done it again.  The Dutch have one-upped us at our own game.  They have successfully made fast food even faster.  Its called FEBO, and it s revolutionary.  The food there is so fast, that its actually sitting out all day in miniature microwaves which function like vending machines. 

Instead of ordering food  from a Bon Qui Qui like we do in America, (, you just slip in a token, and BAM its done. 

Here’s a little video I found on some dude buying a snack at

Vllaamse Frites

If you thought the fries were good in the US of A, you thought wrong.  Here in the Netherlands, they are 100x better.  The potatoes are freshly peeled, the oil they are fried in is natural with no preservatives, and each batch is always freshly prepared.  Moreover, the Dutch are dipping them into a wonderful mayonnaise sauce that puts our American mayo to shame. 

The vllaamse frites are sold everywhere!  Little french fry stands are on practically every corner, and you eat them out of this ridiculously cute cone.  And of course, each comes with a miniature fork for eating, because the Dutch would never eat anything without a utensil. 

What I don’t get, is how these people are eating these fries + mayo combo, and staying ridiculously thin?  In the US of A, we never dip our Mickey D’s fries into Hellmans, for fear of OD-ing on cholesterol. 

Organic french fries everyday for lunch? Yes please! 

Observation Deck.

These next few entries are some observations that we have made on our walks around Amsterdam. Being American, we find them absolutely fascinating.  Adverbarbie just really needs to share these few things with our friends from back home, otherwise she may self implode.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

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The Diagnosis

I never thought it was possible, but we have concluded that we have a bad bout of Culture Shock.

After a most interesting introductory week to Amsterdam, we have learned a few things NOT to do, at all costs while in the Dam.  I share these, not as a criticism, but as a lesson we have learned, and hope others will too.

Talk about US of A:
  They don’t want to hear it.  They despise hearing about it.  Dutch don’t think America is awesome, and they never will.  They sorta like Obama, and that’s it.

Talk about Wal-Mart:
 Huge mistake, its like talking about changing old people’s diapers.  You just don’t do it.

Speak 5 decibels above a whisper while walking in the streets: 
Tattoo the American flag to your forehead and start shooting your pistols, because that accent is DEATH.

Say no to a drink:
  If they’re-a- offerin, you’re-a-drinkin’  It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, you are just plane rude if you turn down alcohol from someone.

Fill up a shopping cart at the grocery store: 
 Nobody is stocking up for the next zombie apocalypse, they are just buying their meals for the next 2-3 days and thats it.

Ask why there aren’t certain amenities that you are used to in the States:
  They don’t have ‘em because they don’t need ‘em.  American’s are lazy and need machines to do all their household chores, and by asking why you don’t have an oven makes you 100x more American than you ever thought. Errr :/

  Not everything is “Totally Super Duper Awesome!!” In Europe there’s no need to add in extra words to describe something.   Just tell it like it is and stop sugar coating it! God on a Wheel!

And, this is just week 1.  I’m sure there will be more to come.

Dear Amsterdam- We are very sorry, and we will try to tone it down a tad!

We are Siamese if you please....

Cats are everywhere in Amsterdam. We overheard someone go (British stoner accent please)  “Look over there at the pretty white doggie” I looked over, hoping to see a Pomeranian, and realized it was just another well fed cat.  The cats around here are HUGE, and Adverbarbie quickly found out why.  

Amsterdam has a rodent problem.  The mice are running rampant.  We aren’t even allowed to eat indoors at Pindakaas because of this awful problem.  Being the curious creatives, we investigated this issue.  Sure enough, there are countless blogs written about encounters of the rodent kind.

The one sure way to tell if you have a mice problem is the standard grease hole.  The “SGH” if you will.   Those little jerks are chewing themselves some massive archways up in hurr.  That mouse hole that you know and love from childhood movies is no joke.  They make them just like that in real life.  Except they forgot to draw in a gross black smudge surrounding it.   Here is a picture of a SGH that we found at work.  NEVER in my LIFE have I had to worry about SGH’s.  now I am obsessed with spotting them wherever I go.  Errr : /


(since you get arrested in the RLD if you are taking pictures, we bring you the RLD for birds!)

So where are we living in this crazy town?  About two American football fields away from the Red Light District.  I really don’t have a problem with this area.  Its quiet charming actually, think a hybrid version of Vegas and the Epcot World Showcase.  Think window shopping in Boston, except the mannequins are alive, and they are selling themselves.   Pretty neat huh?  Supposedly 50 EUROs will get you 20 minutes of pure sin.  Errrrr : /

However, with these live mannequins, comes the prospective buyers, and this my friend is where the problem lies.  Its all fun and games until you are a girl trying to walk home at night, and the “customers” are traipsing along in herds.   They are in such a different world that they forget that WE are not for sale.

Needless to say, Adverbarbie is now going to have to engage the Cinderella rule: get home before midnight, because otherwise the magic of Amsterdam is wearing off. The bad guys are out to play, and we will not be leaving the same way we arrived.

After a particularly rough walk home, we dipped into our neighborhood bar, and asked some18 year olds (who were obviously enjoying a spliff), how you say “piss off” in Dutch.   They promptly told us...

“Rrrrot OP” (no idea how it’s spelled, its just how you say it :D )

Amsterdam 101

So its been one week since we arrived, and do we have some stories for you.  Meesh got here bright and early 6 days before starting at Bureau Pindakaas.  Eesh 3 days before.  Needless to say, we are suffering from major jet lag.  My body is determined to go back to American time.  Bedtime was a whopping 7:00AM for 3 days straight.  Can someone say Vampire?  We are going to be spending our days and nights in Bureau Pindakaas, the advertising agency responsible for the “I AMsterdam” campaign, and has a reputation for quality agency to agency collaboration in the Amsterdam creative scene.  Pindakaas is owned by Peggy Stein, a no-nonsense woman (Yay!) who knows her shit.  One of the most memorable quotes of her welcome speech had to be “I was in NYC 1 month ago, and let me tell you Manhattan is a third world country.”  This was the first, and many things about Amsterdam that will be putting Adverbarbie into major culture shock.  We say, “bring it.”

Welcome to Amsterdam

Hi. Welcome to the Adverbarbie World Tour 2009-2010

We are starting our globetrotting trendsetting expedition now, and we are taking no prisoners.  This is not the normal verbal vomit of the advertising student; but rather, a day to day shit-show explanation of what is actually happening and how we are handling it.  From the good to the ugly, get ready for totally outrageous entertainment of our next 365 days abroad.
We will be referring to ourselves (Alicia & Michelle) as Meesh and Eesh 50% of the time, and the other half, well, you’ll see.  Chao.
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