Saturday, June 21, 2008

Today's challenge: Money - lots of money!

No, I'm not broke though I sometimes feel that way when I paid $20 today for about a cup of pasta and a half cup of seafood salad at the airport. The exchange rate is just awful - but that's not really the issue today.

Today's challenge: How to secure an apartment when your bank's wire transfer service is only open Monday - Friday EST. I'm meeting with our new landlords on Monday to sign the lease. That means I need 3 months rent money up front (2 months deposit for the furnished apartment and the first month's rent). In other words, several thousand dollars! I don't have a Dutch bank account so the money needs to be wired from the US. I just hope the wire transfer doesn't take too long. I'd like to move in as early as Thursday.

Other "strange" things that I've been told are standard in Dutch lease agreements: Landlords can take 60 days to return your deposit, and the tenant is responsible for any repair under $200 - without limit to frequency. Luckily this apartment has been renovated, but I wish repairs were included. When the tenants in our house in Virginia called to tell me the microwave broke - the repair bill was $400! I just think that for the amount of money we're paying - things like this should be covered. Oh well.

Today Holly and I took the train and the tram to a co-worker's house for a walk in the park. It really is dog friendly here. The ticket agent playfully tried to hand Holly her "hond" ticket and then on the platform a nice man from South Korea enjoyed petting her and telling her "it's ok Holly" when she was startled by the air brakes on the train. She was still nervous on the train and tram but it wasn't as bad as last time. She just might become a city dog yet! There were ponds in this park and I decided to let her take a swim since she's been cooped up in the hotel. She had fun getting muddy and ran around "smiling." One thing to watch out for in parks here though? Dog poo. It's everywhere and nobody picks up. Ick. Regardless, if you want to see a happy dog running in the park in Amsterdam, enjoy the video below.

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