It is the last day.
This time in Amsterdam has been like no other
Today I wonder if I really still do love this city like I once did
It rains all morning
So we pack and get it over with
I also clean the apartment, not perfectly, just enough that it appears well cared for (of course it was, but). A trip or 2 ago in conversation I had said that someone coming in for such a chunk of time must make it easier on them. He said on one level yes, but on another, you are actually living there ( there is that word again) and using the apartment/houseboat much more than a weekender. I have remembered this statement and want them to see less wear and tear than a weekender. Besides they offer us such a great deal, that it makes it possible for us to stay that length of time - definitely want to remain in their good graces.
We decide we should get laundry done so as to return with suitcases filled with clean clothes as opposed to dirty ones
The rain stops and off to 137 a final time with the pooch. Who by the way, is doing quite fine. He seems to have healed, but we have not allowed him to play with his sex toys. He is funny, because he has not gone after anything else to try and hump. He whines and begs us for his toys, but that's it. We will see how things go back in the city. Hopefully we will not need to castrate him and things will go back to normal.
Now I know that sounds ridiculous and even somewhat narcissistic- so I offer it up as a very personal observation and nothing more. For the past handful of trips, I have spent months imagining what we will do while in Amsterdam, looking up events, creating a personal calendar of all the stuff of interest and most importantly I visualize the weather. (Okay, okay I already feel the stones and rotten tomatoes being thrown in this direction!). But it's true, I visualize riding our bikes on these clear sunny summer like days, I can see it perfectly in my minds eye.
This year was not like that. Not like that at all.
For the prior three months I have been tightly bound up in a cycle of craziness and major health issue with my 86 year old mom. I will spare you the details.
But, I have not felt light hearted or like a very fun person to be around. Though, I guess on that front I am doing okay. Never thought we would get away.
So you see, I have had a monkey on my back this time around. Even though I have attempted to keep it as a background noise while here, I have no doubt it has added it's color to the experience and somewhat thwarted a more carefree, spontaneous nature.
Anyway all that is to say that, life got in the way of my visualization routine and the weather has been the worst ever. Coincidence? Most obviously! But still there is that tiny little magical thinking voice.......
We are still in Amsterdam. I hate last days. We say maybe if we could stay a couple more weeks, we would be satisfied. Then I hear mobilechuckje in my head... He and his partner had three months last year...when it was time to leave, they still felt like they could use more time. We were hoping that perhaps the volcano in Iceland would shoot it's wad so that we could be delayed. : > Guess, that's not gonna happen. Oh well. Just pack. The packing ritual goes something like this: pack two items and then retreat to the porch and smoke a bowl to recover. Repeat until finished. The covered porch is great , rain on the canal is soothing and I can always snuggle up in a blanket. It's funny how quickly the tourist boats become a non entity, just another background noise - not something you must respond to.
I have loved doing my hour a day of web work sitting out on the porch most days gazing at the westerkerk tower or the leaning buildings across the street..the ducks, swans and those black birds with white beaks along with seagulls and herons. The swans are nasty mean birds. We have stopped feeding the swans, because they hiss at the dog. I have no doubt if left alone the swan would attack the dog. We are protective parents of a dog, so the swans have been banished. No food for you big bird! I am sure the swans will be happy to see us gone. The only time I was driven inside were with those electric storms and days when the wind and rain combined to make the roof a mere decoration.
It's time for a break.. We are still in Amsterdam. Let's bounce over some bricks
On our bikes. There's that thought... 'This is your last bike ride', Oh ffs just shut up!
The weather report said 100% rain today, but after the morning rain it seems to stop. Still dingy cloudy grey.
Oh, but those clouds! Are Amsterdam clouds really that different than other locales?
The play between light and dark always seems so dramatic. The way they billow and clump. I will pay closer attention, but I do not think New York or even Pennsylvania clouds have those qualities. I think there is something special about Amsterdam clouds. There has to be since the city has been a magnet for artists...especially those who were intrigued with the play of light and dark. ( oops, talking to myself again)
We ride thru the dam. Damn, I realize I haven't even been up thru the dam and in this area at all! What the fuck have I been doing? We enjoy our ride and stop off at basjoes to sit outside and stare. OMG those chimes on the church tower. Sounded like the guy was doing a concert. It went on for at least 15 minutes! Is that normal?
We leave the bikes and walk over to the area around bluebird to window shop. A favorite jewelry shop is no longer there.
Then over to the nieumarkt. The big mosaic benches have been repositioned again, now they are facing each other with additional wooden wheels to sit on.
We walk back to retrieve the bikes looking into every window, with no discretion.
It is time to return the bikes. No whining, but it is a shame we were unable to bike more or do any bike trips due to the rain.
Bikes gone. We immediately miss them. To console ourselves we walk over the bridge to paradox. We end up sitting with 2 young Dutch boys! This is an absolute first! One is 18 the other 19. Born and bred in Amsterdam. Here is our chance to ask some questions - we ask about growing up here. They say it gives them a strange vision of the rest of the world, having stoned and drunk people on the streets, smelling pot, prostitution, the party atmosphere. Other countries seemed particularly strange to their youthful eyes. But in the same breath, they say they were brought up to avoid pot and to look down their noses upon it and the people who use it. Then one day they smoked a joint and then started visiting coffeeshops and their minds changed. They said the saw and understood 'the program' that they were supposed to get married buy a house they can not afford , get a job, work and die. Neither wanted that kind of life, they both wanted to create their own way. They say pot opened their minds. One did want to go to school for a law degree, the other was an artist - he painted, wrote poetry, dreamed, took photographs.... They were really sweet and engaging and would have talked for hours more if we did not have to just keep moving. I think it was the first time I have spent any time with Dutch kids.
Ahh, the innocence, naÃ¯vetÃ© and enthusiasm of youth. Those boys filled my heart.
Back to the boat, do a bit more packing and then leave to meet Winnie for a final goodbye at Barney's. The mate and I eat and smoke, but Winnie never showed, waylaid by an unscheduled nap. We finish and saunter over to see Tak one last time. He really does have his twinkle back in his eye! We sit, chat, smoke and bid adieu.
Over to spirit for one last bit of pinball. We both murdered the wizard of oz machine on our last game. It felt great! Sweet revenge
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adventures of the visitors to Amsterdam.
adventures of the visitors to Amsterdam.
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