Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Year of Living - Part 4

Continued from Part 3 - a page taken from my travel journal during the Big Trip:

AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND 3:13 p.m., 11/5/94

I managed to get pretty wasted in that First Class seat - love those hot towels! The Frenchman and I cleaned our faces with them - so bourgeois.

I lost track of Robin but Carol and I exchanged addresses, hugs and wishes of good luck. Her parents live in Washington so maybe one day we'll meet again.

After being reunited with my luggage, a fellow 56er named Nancy was kind enough to let me use her hotel room in Amsterdam to take a well-needed shower. Absolute heaven.

After saying my goodbyes to Nancy, Bill and Dave, I strapped on The Monster Pack and attempted to explore the city carrying some 40-50 lbs. on my back. Right! I ran in to my friends from Idaho again and they convinced me to put it in a locker at the train station. Much better.

I've decided that I love this city - again. The Dutch are so precise and posess great style. Watching them on their bicycles always amazes me - it's like a part of their bodies. They sing outloud, eat, hold conversations and run through the shopping list all from their bike seat. Small children sit on the handlebars with their parents riding and no one seems concerned about these babies falling off.

In a fancy mall housed in a building out of Red Square, several stores reveal that the American West is the fashion look. There is even a Marlboro clothing store. I think about the Dutch imitating the American look and I cringe with a strange reluctant pride.

We should be imitating them but bikes would never catch on in L.A. - we worship the automobile for its speed and independence. Shame.

Um, there are trees in the Amersterdam airport ... with real birds in them. Birds just flying around inside the terminal, very weird. No one seems the slightest bit concerned about it. Still, I wonder what it is doing for the birds self esteem, watching all those big planes take off. Also, doesn't anyone get pooped on? I must sleep here tonight and will try not to think about it. I just hoped the chirping awakens me in time for my flight tomorrow morning.

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