Dangerous. Three people told me that when I asked them about Marseille. The city and I were introduced yesterday and I find her very interesting, very colorful, full of layers and history and culture and contrasts and I promise to come back even if I haven’t left yet.
Friday night proof of true integration into the Dutch culture: sitting under a retractable awning at a neighborhood restaurant terrace while gulping 8% La Chouffe, listening to the wind blowing, seeing the rain falling, and taking huge bites of cheese lumpias dipped into jelly-like sweet-sour sauce. The red haze was from a wall-mounted patio heater so I had a toasty neck. Proost!
I saw this couple being directed by a photographer. But I got in first with just one click. In that few seconds, I could smell the freshness of love and remembered my own beginnings. I caught up with hubby and grabbed his hand. How far we have come, I thought. The freshness is gone and in its place is a bond so deep and wide, it fills a world. Good luck, young lovers, may you also have a huge open space to celebrate your connection.
This is Peter and I saw him in the city center making huge bubbles that transformed the square into a magical place. People slowed down and for a few seconds, their faces showed a childlike wonder as they looked at the bubbles lazily floating in the air before bursting. Just as quickly, the wonder disappeared from their faces and they went on their way, maybe thinking that there was a friend to meet, a shop to enter, a meal to cook, work to be done, a train to catch…all those myriad thoughts that constantly besiege our brains.
I watched Peter for several minutes until I couldn’t stand being an observer anymore. I went to him and told him, politely of course, that I wanted to take over. It was not easy, this bubble-making magic. The plastic rods were heavier than I expected. You needed to work with the wind and the hand movements needed some practice. But I was successful in making a few huge ones. Before I left, I got Peter’s recipe for the bubble solution. His magic ingredient made me laugh.
One of these days in the neighborhood playground, you’ll see me there making bubbles.
Despite living in Amsterdam for more than a decade, I still find it special when bridges go up to let the boats through. If you’re in a rush and you have to wait before you can go on your way, this can cause you some stress. But if you know the beat of this city by heart, then you will find this as just one of the things that makes this place so extraordinary.