August 4, 2007
On my summer vacation, I went to Amsterdam, a city in the Netherlands. The site where Amsterdam is used to be underwater, but Dutch people like to live in difficult places, so they dammed a river and pushed the seawater out so they could live in Amsterdam. Which ended up under the water again basically every time it rained for the next six hundred years. Early Amsterdam people didn’t believe in weather forecasts, apparently.
The Dutch are a tall people, with mostly blond hair and high, pert butts. I’m told this is because of their Nordic heritage, where ‘Nordic’ apparently means ‘people who use NordicTracks a lot’. Dutch people eat raw herring a lot, which explains why they also drink a lot of beer, to wash the godawful things down. They also eat a lot of chocolate and pancakes, sometimes at the same time. Which explains why they need to use the NordicTracks so much.
“If Dutch people spent all their time in Amsterdam drinking, smoking pot and renting prostitutes, they’d all be dead by now. Or possibly Belgian.”
Dutch people also eat a lot of cheese, because they have so many cows. But they only milk the cows for the cheese; they don’t eat them very often. This is because the cows are used as early flood warnings. If a Dutch farmer looks out the window and sees his cows floating by, he knows that a flood might be on the way. It’s not exactly ‘StormTracker’, but it’s a start.
Most people in the Netherlands don’t live in downtown Amsterdam. If Dutch people spent all their time in Amsterdam drinking, smoking pot and renting prostitutes, they’d all be dead by now. Or possibly Belgian. Instead, Amsterdam is mostly for Americans who only want to eat McDonald’s, British tourists with loud stroppy children, and Europeans. Most of the Europeans don’t speak much English, which the Dutch speak very well, or much Dutch, which the Dutch speak even better. For this reason, all of the waiters and bellhops and hookers in Amsterdam can say, ‘Can I help you?‘, ‘Here’s your change‘, and ‘We don’t serve your kind here‘ in seventeen dialects, international sign language, Morse code, and with semaphore flags.
In Amsterdam, I took a tour of the Red Light District. That’s where the prostitutes stand in windows like mannequins, only with less clothes and more suggestive humping. The tour guide told us not to take pictures of the girls in the windows, because ‘they don’t like it, and after all, this is not a zoo‘. Having been to zoos before, I’d say he was right. At zoos, the animals are completely naked, and you don’t have to pay thirty euros to see the beavers. They still liked it when we fed them peanuts, though.
Everybody in Amsterdam rides bicycles, because they’re easier to fish out of a canal than a Peugeot. We walked, because it’s easier to do after six Amstels, three Duvels, a Westmalle, and a bessenjenever, which tastes like cranberry juice but can apparently also fuel an F1 racer. Not ‘easy‘, mind you. ‘Easi-er‘.
During my week in Amsterdam, I tried lots of different beers, ate things that I couldn’t pronounce, stuffed my gob full of chocolates and cheese, and didn’t do anything amoral or illegal, so far as you’re ever going to find out about. On the way home, the cabbie played a CD with remake medleys of old songs that I like to think he called: ‘Everything I Used to Try and Get Laid in 1987‘. At one point, ‘Lady in Red’ morphed into ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’, and I nearly flung myself onto the Mass Turnpike to escape.
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