Saturday, December 1, 2007

Senseo and Schiphol

It has been a brutal week: while I was on Thanksgiving vacation in the US, the Dutch were dealing with a bunch of problems at work here.  There was a lot to catch up with and to help with when I returned, and it feels like I never really got over the time change and travel lags.  So, I took the luxury of sleeping in until 10 this morning, waking to find that the spitting rain and darkness had given way to a windy, clear blue morning.

Falling Short of Expectations: My assistant had loaned me her Senseo coffeemaker to see if I liked it: I picked up some pads and read the instructions on the Philips site and got it running this morning.

Senseo 2              Senseo 1

I'm underwhelmed.  It is fast, and makes a personal cup that is foamy and hot in a minute.  But the taste is a bit bitter (perhaps a function of the Dark Roast coffee type that I chose), and it seems like the one pad / 1/2 cup ratio is wasteful.  I bought a bag of coffee pads at the Albert Hijn and probably ran through six this morning making three or four cups of coffee (1.87 euro for the bag).  The machine is big, I've had to rearrange the kitchen counters to accommodate it, and there are a lot of parts to wash after using it.  I may go back to my press coffee: with the boiling water tap at the sink, it doesn't seem like any more work.

Exceeding Expectations:  Coming through Schiphol airport, I'm again reminded how much I like that airport.  It is clean, modern, efficient, and well laid-out and marked.  I never feel like I have to walk as far as I do in Heathrow or Chicago, and passport checks and security age generally quick and friendly. The style is modern: the reflective silver and black motif, set off with indirect lighting and orange-yellow signage, is crisp and comfortable. Even the long-term parking is pretty convenient and the busses are frequent and direct.

Schiphol Airport Dec 1 01    Schiphol Airport Dec 1 07

Schiphol Airport Dec 1 17     Schiphol Airport Dec 1 04

With the arrival of Christmas, they put out brilliant white-light decorations, the resulting pointillist-art feel is really nice.

Schiphol Airport Dec 1 09    Schiphol Airport Dec 1 05

Granted, the shops are the typical airport shops, and prices are at typical gouge-the-expense-account levels, but as a travel gateway, it is one of the better venues.

(Note:  In writing this, I found that there is no direct antonym of "exceed"....subceed?  Funny that the language wouldn't have that.  It's like the Dutch don't distinguish "How Many?" from "How Much": both are "Hoeveel?".  Evolutionary blind spots, I guess...)

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