Wednesday, October 15, 2008

London to Amsterdam

Quick update: After two WONDERFUL weeks in England (despite some weather bad enough to rip a button off a raincoat!), I am in Holland. Break out the wooden shoes and windmills!

England was great: the people are very nice and helpful and always say, "sorry" on the underground (subway system) even if they hardly touch you. I'm sure Miss Manners would approve!

Tea is a very civilized and wonderful event, and although most Americans have a hard time relating, if your weather was like it is in England, high tea would seem like a FINE idea indeed--to have a piping hot beverage on a cold, dreary day! And the unfortunately named "Clotted Cream" is great.

Next time you're at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, go to the Queen Adeline tea room and get tea and scones. Put the clotted cream on first, THEN put the jam on. HEAVEN!

I think I shall never tire of England... I was there 11 years ago and loved it, and I loved it once again, the civility, the history, the architecture, the people. And the accent!

Another highlight was of course being able to visit my friend Lyz (yes, the queen! [but not of England]). My mother and I stayed with her on and off for twoish weeks. Her ability to tolerate Fellness is unmatched, even by the Fells! :)

Two days ago I took a plane from London's Luton airport (remember to factor in the COST of getting to Luton in your travel plans: it cost me about $17 to get to the airport--it may have been cheaper to fly on a slightly more expensive flight out of Heathrow, which is connected to the London Underground System) to Amsterdam.

After one hour in the air, we were landing again... Essentially the same flight time and distance from Phoenix to Los Angeles, and suddenly I was in a completely different COUNTRY. Europe is so small and cute! Heh heh...

I am staying at my friend Rolf's here in Amsterdam. We met in Arequipa, Peru, then traveled to Puno, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco and Machu Pichu together. He's a very nice guy. While I left Cuzco to go to Lima, Rolf stayed on in Cuzco to do volunteer work.

As I awaited the tram, I smelled marijuana smoke and thought, "Oh my!" and then the realization hit me: you're in Holland, silly! And a big smile came across my face... No big deal here! I read that in Holland, the attitude on prostitution and drugs is this: people live here. Prostitution and drugs are things that people do, whether legal or illegal (world's oldest profession, y'all!)... So instead of stigmatizing and pushing it underground, make it legal, regulate it, make it safe, and it is not such a problem. Logical but revolutionary.

Rolf met me at the tram stop and walked me back to his place. His girlfriend and two other friends were over and we had a fabulous dinner of salad, green beans, linguini with cream sauce, and broiled tuna! Yum! Later that night the other guests departed, Rolf handed me the key and said, "see you in 2 days!" WHOA!

So far I have walked around downtown, watched automatic bridges over the canals lift and descend while gigantic barges pass, eaten "Drop" (licorice), and cruised through the Red Light District, careful not to linger too long... If you are slow, the prostitutes will open their doors and come out. I prefer them behind glass.

The city is very pretty, with 5-story-high narrow buildings sandwiched together and teetering against one another at odd angles, perched above the inky canals.

The city has a nice calm, tolerant atmosphere, and I am enjoying this as one of my final stops on my big circle.

That's all for now! I hope this entry finds you healthy, happy, and full of life!

And to many of you... I WILL SEE YOU SOON! YAHOO!!!!!

-Scooter

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