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(Coffee) Shop Talk

Welcome to the shop where I talk about things that go well with coffee, which is almost everything.

I will now proceed to disappoint some and hearten others by saying that I did not do anything illegal or semi-legal in Amsterdam. My excuse is that I was kind of delirious from not sleeping on my overnight flight and I was also operating a bike in heavy traffic most of the time. I didn’t even have a Heineken.

Instead, I rented a bike, rode around, got a little lost, and made my way down to the Museumplein, which is a great park surrounded by three famous museums including the Van Gogh. I had every intention of visiting the Van Gogh museum, but by the time I got there I was short on cash and long on tired so I took a nap on the lawn instead. Afterwards I went to the museum gift shop and bought four post cards of famous paintings and a tiny souvenire ashtray.

Amsterdam itself is a work of art many times over. If you’re only there for a day, it’s not a bad use of your time to just cruise around the canals and people-watch. I found a cool bazaar, lots of houseboats, and some tiny residential cul-du-sacs that were definitely worth turning around in.

Biking was scary at first, partly because I haven’t done so in over a year and partly because of the traffic. There are well-marked bike lanes on most of the roads, but there are also lots of other bikers, people riking motorcycles in the bike lanes, and cars nudging into the bike lane to pass each other. Stopping and starting again at red lights took some getting used to as well. I got the hang of everything after twenty minutes or so, and I was riding a bright red bike with the rental company’s logo displayed prominently on the front, so hopefully everyone I cut in front of saw I was a tourist and forgave me.

On my way back to the train station I had a fun Diversity moment. I stopped at an Italian restaurant where there was a Romanian waitress. Later, the Hispanic owners showed up. Good times.

I had a couple of snaffus with delayed trains and hard-to-find luggage lockers (I left one of my carry ons at the airport), but I did get on my flight to Cairo and promptly fell asleep.

Next: Traveling Pants: Southern Hospitality in North Africa


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