By reputation, Amsterdam is a smoldering crucible of sin, scandal, and iniquity, casually decked with a garland of nested canals. In fact, Amsterdam is a friendly, popular, and diverse city which gives every indication of being a terrific place to live, despite wandering packs of tourists in search of sin, scandal, and iniquity.
There’s no link on “friendly” above because I find only gay-friendly, bike-friendly, drug-friendly, child-friendly and family-friendly as destinations, along with dozens of friendly hotels which aren’t specific in their friendliness but are united in wanting your crisp new Euros. Happily, the Dutch are nice even if you are not gay, on a bike, under the influence of drugs, carrying a child, with your family, or staying in their hotel. Though mostly they tend to stay out of a guy’s way, especially when he’s wearing a t-shirt that was so obviously American that it invaded several small innocent nations before I even put it on.
Our Man on the Keizersgracht put us up for the week while his family was away. The ostensible mission was to clear out the mustydusty and mysterious beer he’d stocked up in the cellar, but despite an afternoon or two on the warm dappled dock lazily working through a few damaged bottles from decommissioned breweries, we hardly made a dent. The Good Stuff eluded, by and large. One of the strangest excursions was into the small depths of a bottle of De Koninck that we think was around 20 years old: like the uncertain bottle of 1994 Achouffe from last December, it had aged into liquid neutrality. Deeper than water and without any particular taste — all tawny promise, without matter — it drank like time passing.
In other news, a mosquito has bitten me good on the back of my left leg.