Two Perspectives on Amsterdam

Checking-out (written by Eric Mundt)

My first day with my team in Amsterdam! What did we do? Went to the grocery store! Albert Heijn is the local place to stock up on kipfilet and varkenhaas. There are a few differences to US stores, the most notable being efficiency in the check-out aisles due to ‘no cash’ lanes. In these lanes, only card purchases may be transacted. In addition, bags are supplied at a cost, contrary to American supermarkets.

Amsterdam harbors a delicious mixture of worldly cuisines. However, restaurant prices can leave a bitter taste in the mouth if not interspersed with a healthy dose of home cooking. Throughout our engagement, we will be cooking meals together in an effort to minimize costs and will undoubtedly become very familiar with the local grocery store branch. This first trip was a wonderful opportunity for most of our team to begin that process.

Checking-In (written by Oxana Komarova)

My first day with my team in Amsterdam, and what did they do? They locked me in the apartment and left me alone here for an hour!!! Lesson learned – we have an efficient system in place to tackle the problem now… Thank you Professor AC for introducing the A3 to help identify the concern, cause, and counter-measure.

My other observation: it’s been just one year since I’ve been in Europe, and I’d already completely forgotten that they DO have spring here! It is so different from Columbus, where we move from winter to summer in a matter of days. I was not prepared for this weather; however, even though spring is a little bit chilly, the overall climate is very pleasant here in Amsterdam. The city looks old (because of the architecture) and young (because of the season) at the same time. I like it a lot…

Dank u wel for reading and see you again tomorrow!



Rolling blackout

On Monday morning 5/19, we woke up to no internet. The city was in the midst of a rolling blackout, which apparently happens quite frequently. Our hotel was powered by a back-up generator, so our lights and water were (for the most part) working, but the internet was out and the phones were also spotty. Ethiotel, the country’s only landline and cell phone provider, was also experiencing intermittent outages. Even so, we were luckier than most, since many people have no backup power supply.

We met with our Addis client, Dr. Hailu, at 11am to present a rough draft of our proposal. With water, coffee, tea and kollo, we shared our ideas and listened to his suggestions. Overall we are satisfied with the progress we’ve made and will make time to incorporate Hailu’s suggestions before we leave.

In the afternoon, some teammates stayed at the hotel to complete their section of the project, while the rest drove into the city center to do some shopping. We bought some roasted coffee at Tomoca and green coffee at the local supermarket chain Shoa. It was our first time inside a grocery store here and we were excited to see what people buy here on a daily basis. We were also excited to stock up on some essentials, like bottled water and Mars candy bars.

During the drive back, we hit rush hour traffic, which is unlike any other traffic I’ve ever experienced. Think LA-level gridlock, but with all cars spewing diesel exhaust, and streets without painted lanes, and huge potholes, and tons of people waiting in lines 2-3 people thick for the next bus or taxi van. Pedestrians are also quite bold and usually walk right in front of cars, while cars themselves drive quite closely to each other. It’s amazing we haven’t seen any accidents yet.

After dinner we did some more work and then got ready for bed. Somehow even in the midst of the blackout, the club across the street was still well-lit, with loud music blaring through the night.