Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What's the Best way to Celebrate Black History Month?

With All Things Dutch!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Celebrate Black History Month With Heineken
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Dutch Sensitivity

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Looking for a Good Drink in Amsterdam

When I first arrived to Amsterdam I didn’t have a place to stay. The University of Amsterdam had messed up my housing. They kept sending my housing information to Alaska and the housing papers would say that I needed to have them back to Amsterdam by a certain date. However, the papers kept arriving after the deadline to have them back by. They gave me three chances and than declared that I couldn’t follow rules so I didn’t get housing. I was coming to Amsterdam with or without housing. So, thanks to University of Amsterdam’s disorganization I came without housing. For the first month in Amsterdam I had to move from hostel to hostel and I also did some couchsurfing. Most people on Couchsurfing didn’t want to put me up because I wasn’t just passing through Amsterdam but staying. However, my first host with Couchsurfing was Wiebe and when I was staying with him he showed me my favorite bar in Amsterdam: De Zotte.
Actually De Zotte isn’t so much a Bar as what the Dutch call a Bruin CafĂ© and Americans call a Hole in the Wall. It is quite small and dark, or in Dutch terms Gezellig.
I always enjoy the vibe of De Zotte and the options I have to drink. De Zotte is a Proeflokaal (Trying Location) for Belgian Beers. Over two hundred options. I have tried the variety of Dutch Beers, but to be honest there isn’t that big of a collection, and it is especially nothing compared with their Southern Neighbors style, variety, and approach to beer. So, one of my favorite things about living in the Netherlands is how easy it is to get Belgian Beers. At De Zotte there are over 200 choices. I have been attempting to work my way through the list. I normally only go when I have company and I haven’t had any guests lately so I have had no good opprotunities to keep working on my check list. The beers range Very Weak to exceedingly strong, from Blondes to Ambers, to Bruins.
De Zotte is a couple blocks from Leidsplein (the Tourist/over priced center of the city). However, these two blocks provide a nice cushion from the tourists and the prices of that area. I think if you are looking for a fun night of trying different beers than De Zotte is the place to go in Amsterdam.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Come along with me on a journey to FEBO:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Icy situation

I would like to take a minute and not recommend something in Amsterdam: the Ice Bar. The Ice Bar is located just outside of Rembrandtplein on the Amstel River. It was the most worthless 20 Euros I spent since moving to Amsterdam, and believe me I have wasted a lot of money.
What happens is you schedule a time to go to this “hip” and “trendy” and (pun completely intended) “cool” bar. You are told you will get a half hour in the actual ICE bar part. You decide to do it because you will get awesome photos with your friends of all the good times you are having in Amsterdam. And in this facebook era of “Tag it” hasn’t it all just become about photo ops?
When you get there they will force you to wear a silver Heineken jacket for cross promotion. If you are fat this will be an uncomfortable experience because the jacket will not be big enough. you will become Chris Farley in Tommy boy "Fat Man in a little Coat..."
Once you get inside they will inform you that you can’t take pictures but you can purchase pictures that they take of you for 19 euros for one or 35 euros for two. You will be pissed off at this information and want to leave but too late, they already have your money. You stand in a tiny ice freezer (which if you went to a slaughterhouse I’m sure you could get the same ambiance) with a big screen at the end. They will show a weird “4D” movie about a penguin and you will be given two drinks. They will be in a glasses made of ice, but this is trickery because this glass will make it so you have less of a drink than you would otherwise.
Some Euro-trash techno is played and than you leave. That is it. That is where 20 Euros of my money went. You might think that I went recently and this is a new thing that I'm thinking about, and thinking how horrible it was. However, it isn't a new pain. This is old pain. This happened months ago. However, the sting has come back lately with the icy unsalted sidewalks and streets of Amsterdam. As I slip on some black ice that I couldn’t see coming I flashback to the Ice Bar and how I never saw it coming.

I don't want to be one sided on this so I am presenting here the website to Amsterdam's Ice bar:

Take a look and you'll imagine it's awesomeness too, just like me and my friends did. Like the a kid signing up for the army, you can imagine the glory all you want- but you need to listen to the solider who has been there when they tell you about the horrors.

Okay I think I just got a little dramatic at the end... but I really hated the Ice Bar. And my Mama always taught me to never use the word hate.