Den Haag Day 4

I have a few other things to write about aside from the Mladić trial.

First of all, last night I ventured to another part of the city: the beach! I’ll put photos up sometime in the future when the weather’s nicer and I’ve really had a chance to look around, but it’s a great area with a very grand building right on the water and a pretty impressive pier. The rest of it looks a lot like Virginia Beach – the water is the same grayish-blue color (although it’s MUCH rougher because it’s so windy here). This little venture was my first time taking the bus, which was actually much easier than my Sunday tram experience. (Going there, the driver didn’t even make me pay!)

After the trail ended this afternoon, another intern and I went out to attempt to open Dutch bank accounts. We went to the bank recommended by the ICTY and learned that a) you need an appointment to open an account and b) “US persons” have to go to the main branch of the bank in the city center to do this. We still do not know why it’s so much harder for Americans, but at least my tram ride this evening took me right past the bank headquarters, so now I know how to get there.

Today after work we had an intern wine & cheese out on the terrace of the ICTY. Some veteran interns came and mingled with a few of us newbies, and we had a lovely time out there (with relatively little wind) enjoying wine and [arguably fancier] cheese. Everyone I’ve met in the Tribunal so far has been really great, so I think this is shaping up to be an excellent summer socially.

Last but not least, I got a bike today! This is truly a city of bikes. They have their own lane (and most of the time, it’s really a LANE – it’s like a second sidewalk, not just a painted line on the street) and often their own stoplights. No one wears helmets, presumably because there are so many bikers that drivers are just that much more careful – plus it’s 100% flat here, so there’s just not as much danger of losing control and running into something. (Don’t worry Mom – I will obviously still be very cautious while riding around.) Public transportation is actually pretty expensive (right now without a transport card I’m pay 2.50/trip, which is ridiculous), so it’s much more economical (and more healthy!) to bike to the other areas of the city. I am very proud of myself because I had to take a different tram line to the city center to meet up with the woman from whom I bought my bike (an ICTY employee) and didn’t get lost, and THEN, even more impressive, I managed to get back home without getting lost – and I even went a different way on purpose! It’s always nice to feel like you have a better sense of where you are in the city, so I’m starting to feel a bit more confident now.

We’re all starting to think about our weekend plans. I’m going to spend part of Saturday sorting out the rest of my arrival to-do list: figure out the bank account, get a cell phone, etc. I think maybe on Sunday I’ll go to Amsterdam, just to wander around and get a general sense of what’s there. Happy to take suggestions from you, readers!

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