Americans take for granted the youth of our Country. It's just not something that confronts us everyday.
In Amsterdam there are buildings sporting the year of their build with pride ...and often in gold leaf...1613..
There are many stories to be told! What a kind and trusting citizenry. Their rich heritage. The sad history and yet their perciverence.
I could recount what I've learned about the Dutch resistance, Anne Franks and many others hiding techniques or how one young couple saved hundreds of Jewish orphans ...
I could tell you about tulip bulbs and the Stock Market, canals as a transportation infrastructure or where to get the best Dutch waffles...but you know Wikipedia has already written all about these topics...it would be redundant.
I want to tell you of the sweet kindnesses we've experienced.
I want to tell you of the man who picked us up in his black Mercedes and Armani suit at the Airport when we were "dead dog tired"... How he shared his knowledge about the buildings history, Kings Day and where to get the best Dutch waffle. He was kind.
I need you to know Rich the reception desk guy who appears to be in transition. He clearly knows it so when I catch my tired self staring he smiles a "rocky horror smile" and says "Pretty great isn't it?" There is something unfair about a guy becoming a girl at my age and wearing it better? I mean. Gravity? Menapause? All things "Rikki" gets to bypass...damn...
And for the record...really nice guy...girl...I mean...killer smile.
Oh and then there's George. George is Latin. He's dark and lovely in his Ibis apron as he moves about the breakfast room. Do not ask George about more tea cups or how to use the toaster. Trust me! If you think that he is there to be helpful he will (in broken English or French) tell you how it is not his job to be helpful! He is merely there to wipe tables. George is cranky. It's how he moves about the country. On some level it must be working for him...but I know I'm going out on a limb...but I'm thinking hospitality and George are not a fit.
Many of you know my friend Moira lives here. She's embraced this country, it's people and the language. She's a bicycle riding, second and third floor walk up ex-patriot! I've never seen her happier!
I think all this pedaling about reduces the stress of the population on a global level! Endorphins are abundantly being encouraged and sometimes legally suppressed in Amsterdam.
Today I saw an orchestra pedal by with instruments attached to their backs...6-7 musicians! I thought to them, they are merely riding to work...
To me...seeing a cello, french horn, violin, trumpet and more instrument cases slung over the backs of humans smaller than their instruments was awesome...
We put so much in our way. Not these musicians...just jump on the bike, strap on the instrument, tie up the tux leg closest to the chain...and it's just another night at the symphony!
What gets in your way?
Oh...and we had some fun at Moira's favorite Chinese restaurant..
Tomorrow I may tell you of the "fails" on this trip...but tonight...the wins are way ahead of the fails...
I want to live here...