Saturday, September 26, 2009

Amsterdam: It's all about the people

We met an Australian man last night who told us something along these lines, "Amsterdam isn't the most beautiful city in Europe, but it's one of the richest culturally." We sat outside at an Irish bar in the Heinekenplein, which is a huge square lined with restaurants and bars. Our waitresses were Scottish, and we talked to this Australian, James, for three hours, until lights blinked in the darkness. He and his Scottish wife were married in a castle, complete with kilts and bagpipes. He drank Guinness, we drank Belgian beer. People rode by on bicycles, one guy with a joint between his teeth. James told us about his experiences living around the world, about how the Dutch and the Germans still don't get along, about how socially accepting it is in Amsterdam. We had a great time with James, and I'm sure we'd be friends with he and his wife if we lived in the same city.
I think one of the greatest joys of visiting a city is to interact with the people who live there. We haven't really taken any pictures of Amsterdam yet, or done anything touristy. I love that there are fruit stands everywhere, that bikes are more popular than cars, that men sit outside at coffee shops holding their babies and drinking espresso. I love that the coffee is frothy and rich. There is no watery Denny's drip coffee here.

Today we've spent time in the outskirts of Amsterdam, hanging out with David's old friend from Texas, who lives in an area that's predominantely foreign, and Moroccan. We had delicious Middle Eastern food for lunch, now we're hanging out with the apartment he shares with his Polish girlfriend (who's not here right now), and two turtles.

So far, I've really been having a blast. The weather has been wonderful, and so has the people watching. There is a very high porportion of very good looking people here. It's like walking through an issue of Vogue magazine in Dutch. Last night we ducked our heads into a salsa club, then went somewhere a little calmer for a beer. We'll probably hang out with Nick and his girlfriend tonight, then on to Germany tomorrow. Oktoberfest, here we come!


Paula said...

That is a very different and nice take on a vacation - more relaxing - to focus on interacting with people and not just mad-dashing about to sightsee. The stereotypes I have in my mind about Amsterdam were opium dens and pothouses on every corner and a prostitute in every window, LOL. Sounds like a bit more than that (wink).

Travis said...

I love Amsterdam. The last time we were there it was pouring down rain and I still found it to be enchanting.

I hope you had a cone of french fries with peanut sauce!!!