Tuesday, July 13, 2004

A Bookish sort of Day

This morning My Beloved opted for a taxi ride to the Amsterdam Harley Davidson store and I opted to stay behind and muse on bookstores and where to find them. And find them I did - 5 within easy walking distance of the hotel. I found 3 gems for my collection 2 by Noel Streatfeild & Lois Lenski and a Sue Barton novel. How they got here is beyond me but I will give them a happy new home in America.

Also went to Lush, which I'd heard raves about from my Canadian buddies on the Maud Hart Lovelace list - and it was indeed lush. I bought some of the fabled bath bombs and can't wait to try them.

The sun surprised us by coming out, so after lunch we went on the obligatory Canal Boat Ride, which was most interesting and much more detailed than I thought it would be. Even took us out into the Harbor. This city is rightly named "The Venice of the North".

Spoils from the Cigar Store! Posted by Hello

My Beloved was done in by the walking - she mis-judged where the cigar shop was and we had do some back tracking so she napped while I hoofed it to the Anne Frank Huis. It was high on my list of "must sees" and was worth the wait in line. The book and the various films can't convey what it must have been like - seeing actual rooms was eye opening. So tiny and so hot and stuffy. Everything was very sparse & stark , it's not at all "touristed" up. People were quiet and respectful - there weren't as a many Americans as I thought there would be. Most of the visitors were Dutch. Of course there was one school group of teenagers - I think they were English or German who looked bored. There must be some teenage rule that says one must never show enthusiasm or emotion. I bought a new copy of the Diary in honor of the visit.
That evening we went to the "Rosse Buurt" -the Red Light District. Like pot, sex is legal in Amsterdam.   However, I found the area very depressing.  It was seedy and down at the heels with a very surreal atmosphere.   Most of the women appeared to be only going through the motions to attract customers and had no more animation than one of the robot figures at Disneyworld.

Comic relief was provided by yet another Japanese tour leader, who came shuffling into one of the sex shops with his group in tow.  The reeked of whiskey and looked oddly naked without their cameras (photography is forbidden).   They got positively big eyed at the sight of all the toys and we quickly exited stage right.

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