Amsterdam: More food and fun

Some holiday snaps:

The houses along the canals are lovely, and I bet they cost a pile:

Most of the canals have no railings, and I wonder how many people fall, bicycle, or drive into the canals each year. It would be hard to get out as there are no ladders and the vertical distance from the water to the edge of the sidewalk is too high to reach. At this time of year you could get hypothermia if you fell in.

These are the smallest cars I’ve ever seen, even smaller than the ancient German three wheelers. I have no idea what they are. They hold two people and park anywhere, including on the sidewalk.

A store with masks of world leaders. I have to say that the mask of Obama would not be sold in the U.S. Trump’s hair is dead wrong, and is that Kim Jong-un?

The same store sold suits covered with frites and other Dutch foods. When would you wear this?

Marijuana is of course all over Amsterdam, though technically it’s illegal to sell it. Yet there are about 173 “coffee shops” in the city where you can buy coffee, munchies, and all kinds of weed, either loose or pre-rolled into joints (I’ll show photographs of those later). Curiously, you can’t smoke tobacco in those shops, even mixed with weed.  I constantly catch the smell of the burning herb while walking around town, and am guessing that “dope tourism” is a huge source of income here.

Here’s a store that sells seeds (they can be up to 110 euros for TEN SEEDS), as well as mushrooms and smoking apparatus:

A female marijuana plant (only females flower, and there’s a flower forming on the top): it’s an example and not for sale:

Dried mushrooms for sale. Note that the various attributes are highlighted, including whether you get visions, their intensity, and so on.

A visit to the Poezenboot (“Cat Boat”), the world’s only floating cat adoption center (as far as I know). Here it is, floating in the canal. In the summer they let the moggies onto the screened-in porch (see the photo at the link):

The cat boat is open most days from 1-3 pm, and there is a line of ailurophiles. We waited only about ten minutes.

If you can read Dutch, please translate this sign:

Also these:

This Persian, who resembles my friend Pi, is the greeter who receives pats as people enter. She lives on the catboat (about ten cats are permanent residents on the boat; they are the ones that cannot be adopted). This one was adopted but peed all over the place and was returned to the Cat Boat. Curiously, on the boat she uses the litter box.

The Persian:

Inside the cat boat. The cats up for adoption are in the cages, the residents roam free and have lots of toys and cat trees.

Two more residents:

I stopped in a real cheese store—not one for tourists—on the way to dinner. I limited myself to sampling old Gouda—so old it was crunchy. It was excellent: old Gouda is one of the world’s best cheeses:

We had a fancy 23-course rijsttafel at a renowned local Indonesian restaurant: the Tempo Doeloe. Rijsstafel (“rice table”) is a cultural appropriation of Indonesian food by the Dutch colonists; the dish is not part of true Indonesian cooking. But it’s famous, renowned in Amsterdam restaurants, and I had to try it.

There were three dishes of six items each plus five appetizers. These are the appetizers:

The three “courses” were in order of mild, medium, and spicy. This is the “mild” group.

The “medium spicy” group:

The “spicy” group.

There were also two kinds of rice: white and coconut rice with spices. Here’s a shot halfway through the meal. I have to say that we did the dish proud, finishing nearly every ramekin of food.

I have lots more photos, but no time to post them now. I finish with another cat seen through a window: a white-and-orange moggie beneath a lace curtain:

 

 

72 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I note:

    Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) mask
    Wallace (last name) of Wallace and Gromit mask

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Yeah I noticed Mr Bean as well!

    • Dominic
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      “Cracking cheese, Gromit!”

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        “Don’t forget the Edam!”

    • Paul Matthews
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      The masks don’t seem to be particularly good likenesses. I recognize Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) and Putin, and I think the one below Atkinson is Paul McCartney in his Beatle moptop days. My wife refuses to believe that two of the masks are Obama and Trump, though I think they are. Not sure about the others.

      My wife also suggests that Canadian icon (that may not be the most apt word) Don Cherry would wear the frites suit.

      • Posted April 1, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        “divisive public nuisance” is a way to describe Don Cherry.

  2. sgo
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    The warning sign says: Keep entrance clear. Please do not leave your bicycle/moped. Thank you for your cooperation. It seems that’s for Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, from the partly shown sign above.

    The other signs: Top sign (with 112 on it) is a general sign to call the emergency number 112 in case of fire, trouble (onraad), or emergency. There’s also a general police phone number. Then, that sign states: if there is damage to the boat, or some other calamity, call .

    The sign with the cat pictures: we need your help to keep our kitty feet dry. Help us so we can keep helping as many cats as we can. I’m not sure what that refers to.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      The “a.u.b.” stands for – correct my speelung – “ast uw blift”, which is approximately “thank you a lot”.
      My former Boss, who spent some years living and working on the Netherlands would pronounce it “hamster lifts” while knowing exactly what he was doing. When having a bad day with Cloggies (think of a certain Royal Malacologist company), he’d come away from the phone muttering about “Swamp Germans”. Actually, I think he liked working there – I certainly did. Nice people, Cloggies, in general.

      The sign with the cat pictures: we need your help to keep our kitty feet dry. Help us so we can keep helping as many cats as we can. I’m not sure what that refers to.

      something like “please donate or adopt kitties from us, so we can pay to repair the boat and it doesn’t sink” – well, that’s how I read it.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        In high school I had a boyfriend who would, to annoy his Croatian family, pronounce laku noć (good night) as “cock-er-roach”.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          I thought he was a goof for it – mostly because it was funny the first time but then he found it hysterically funny every time after.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          Murky buckets for that. (Merci beaucoup, if that one hasn’t made it from Franglais to Qubmerican.)

      • Paulus Beemster
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        ‘Alstublieft’ translates easily and literary in ‘If you please”. Thank you (Bedankt).

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          That’s what I figured it had to mean (after hearing it innumerable times over the intercom at Schiphol)!

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          “Hamster lifts!”

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I did not see that.

  3. Claudia Baker
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The Persian who “peed all over the place” and was then returned to the cat boat was obviously not happy in her new home and wanted to go back. What better way than to pee everywhere? Smart kitty.

    I spent a fair bit of time in those coffee shops on my numerous visits to Amsterdam. It’s not the thrill it once was, now that pot is legal in Canada, but at the time, it was quite magical.

    Oh, how I love those cheese shops!

  4. Divalent
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    “I wonder how many people fall, bicycle, or drive into the canals each year. ”

    A lot, apparently:

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like people get drunk and throw them in too.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      At least one did it more than once on purpose. The artist Bas Jan Ader (a modern day Fliegende Hollander who was lost at sea) made a series of very brief films of him riding a bicycle straight into a canal. That’s it. This is one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLiuiJMZyJ8.

      I was casually acquainted with him way back when he was a student in Los Angeles, California. That sort of ‘art’ baffles me (I think it was supposed to be conceptual, but I didn’t get the concept)but he’s considered a(Dutch) master by some.

    • Alexander
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      I remember that after a bank robbery in Amsterdam the robbers escaped with a speed boat through the canals, leaving the police with their cars stymed.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I’d jettison that suit-frites tout de suite.

  6. Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Those mini-cars are the hipster way to get around these days and in the Netherlands it is considered very “Amsterdam”.

    • Alexander
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      During the 1990s (I lived in Amsterdam again) a smart entrepreneur bought up all the Fiat Cinquecentos (Topolinos) he could find. They are these small cars with 500 cc engines you see in old Italian movies. He fixed and maintained them, and there were about 1000 of them running around Amsterdam at that time. You still see these cars on the roads in Southern Italy, so you might see some of them in Amsterdam.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    The all black colour is wrong, but that 2-seater microcar seems to be a Birò LEV [light electric vehicle] which first arrived in the Netherlands around 2017. The ones I’ve seen though are not that funereal black – they’re green mostly I recall…

    i hope I have the correct ID

    It’s manufactured by Estrima in Milan, Italy where one can drive it from age 14+ & I think it’s classed as a moped in many Euro countries. In Holland you can park it on the pavement if you are disabled. Birò is the smallest four-wheel electric vehicle on the market: 1.03 metres (41 in) wide & 1.74 metres (69 in) long. Available options are kit doors, radio pre-installation and an external trunk trolley. It is of tubular steel construction.

    I am guessing it doesn’t have heating & obviously no A/C – a great little urban runabout!

    More info WIKI & THE HOLLAND TIMES

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Pic:

      800px-Estrima_Birò

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        I wonder what sort of bangs and flashes one makes when it goes in the canal.
        And I’m sure that chucking-out time from a “cafe” has answered the question.

        The ones I’ve seen though are not that funereal black – they’re green mostly I recall…

        A nod to the Ford Model-T, perhaps? “Any colour you want as long as it’s black.”

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          A google image search indicates they come in a range of colours for the tubular steel – I think it started as “any colour you want as long as it’s green” for the Holland launch. The kit doors are presumably available in many colours.

          If it goes in the drink I’m guessing it’s probably not worth reconditioning the motors etc.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Fresh water? I’d give reconditioning a shot. Drain them, spray hose with methylated spirits, stand, spray with water. Repeat, then air dry and re-apply power with the fuses out.
            Been there, done that, opened he shipping container and found it swimming in seawater – you got enough good parts out to cannibalise one working system from the original faulty one and the smashed replacement. Good enough to continue working until the third replacement was shipped, got through customs (Brexit, a-bloody-gain) then shipped to the site.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      “If you’re easy” a great little promotional video:

      These things are very quiet & I don’t think those tiny headlights are sufficient to warn others of your presence after dusk or in fog/rain. Lovely otherwise.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        At 45 kph that would be hard to classify in Canada – whether it’s an e-bike or not. I think e-bikes have a governor on them that limits their speed to 35 kph. Of course, people defeat that or cobble together their own with a gas engine (good grief, enjoy trying to stop with little bike brakes).

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          I would want to see the underside – protections from road salt, road gravel & ice. Being Italian I’m guessing it’s not considered.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

            Probably would give you more than a bike would….I have my Brompton ready to travel the 1km from my parking lot but I’ve been too wussy to use it with it being only around -2C in the mornings lately……soon.

  8. Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    You didn’t really give a review of the food. Was it up to expectations? Should we put the place on our own lists of restaurants to visit?

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      It was good and highly reputed, but I didn’t feel like I’d had a big thrill, as I would after a slap-up French meal. Dutch food can be good, as this was, but I am no expert (I’ve had more than I show here). But I doubt it’s ever going to come up to the Big Three cuisines I love: Indian, Szechuan, and French. (I don’t know Italian food at all so I haven’t ranked it.)

      • darrelle
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        I’d have guessed that given all of your years in Chicago you’d have been an Italian expert!

        Does deep dish pizza count?

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. We used to have a wonderful Indonesian restaurant nearby but it is long gone. I do miss it. I plan to give it a try when I am in Holland or Indonesia, with the former probably more likely. Italian and Thai are members of the world’s great cuisines, including those you list of course. Hard to beat good French food though.

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          I spent a month in Italy in the very late 90s. I have to admit, sadly, I was underwhelmed.

          We went to many kinds of restaurants, including reputable ones, country inns, etc. Even the groceries disappointed me compared to France.

          I was VERY surprised.

          The best “out” meal I had there was a dish of small fish, fried all in one piece (each fish), lightly breaded, at a little local restaurant in Fuimicino, kind of near the water.

          We were in: Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, and the suburbs of Rome (not Rome proper — next trip!).

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        But, Jerry, how spicy was it? 🙂

  9. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Yet there are about 173 “coffee shops” in the city

    You counted? That’s a feat of concentration!

  10. Alexander
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    There is a delightful series of British television movies with Amsterdam as the location, called “Van der Valk”, a police inspector in Amsterdam. The early episodes, the best ones, are made in 1972 and on, and they reflect life and the people in Amsterdam quite well. I lived in Amsterdam the same period, and I remember fondly the city and people as depicted in the episodes.

    You can view the complete episodes on Youtube at no cost. Start with the first ones!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_der_Valk

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I had the theme for that as an earworm last week. I’m now trying to remember it’s name (which is really unusual for me – to remember the name of any instrumental piece).

      The memorable signature tune, Eye Level, composed by Jack Trombey (a pseudonym of Dutch composer Jan Stoeckart) and played by the Simon Park Orchestra,

      Which was lurking in the depths of the brain cell.

      reached number one in the UK singles charts in 1973.

      Which was not in the brain cell, but might explain it having stuck in the memory.

      • Alexander
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        In the youtube versions, the theme music has been suppressed, perhaps because for royalty reasons, but this is not the case for all the youtube episodes.

  11. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    A female marijuana plant (only females flower, and there’s a flower forming on the top): it’s an example and not for sale:

    If you zoom in on the tag, it is “Tutankamun Pyramid [something]”, which probably took a few tokes to … stimulate the creative juices.
    The breeding of modern high-strength strains was, apparently, an utter tour de force of conventional plant breeding combined with immense willpower as the breeders had only one way to determine the potency of a cross : to smoke it. And then to restrain themselves from smoking ALL of it. Kudos, dudes!

    • Jim Danielson
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Is the male marijuana plant pollen sac not considered a flower?

      • XCellKen
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Male marijuana plants are WORTHLESS to growers. You either pay extra for all female seeds, or you “sex” the plants (Kill all the male plants) early on.

        • Jim Danielson
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I am aware the male plants have almost no THC, but are the male pollen sacs not considered flowers?

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        @Jim. Both male & female plants [strictly biologically speaking] have flowers. Taken from the Wiki on cannabis [the plant]:

        [It’s] predominantly dioecious, having imperfect flowers, with staminate “male” and pistillate “female” flowers occurring on separate plants. […] Male flowers are normally borne on loose panicles, and female flowers are borne on racemes.

        Many monoecious varieties have also been described, in which individual plants bear both male and female flowers [although monoecious plants are often referred to as “hermaphrodites”, true hermaphrodites – which are less common in cannabis – bear staminate and pistillate structures together on individual flowers, whereas monoecious plants bear male and female flowers at different locations on the same plant.]

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        The botanists will have a painfully detailed answer, but “flowers” have one of a range of stereotypical structures of modified leaves, ovaries, stamens and a small plethora of other tissues which aren’t leaves (any more), aren’t phloem or xylem (one is the structural tissue of the stem, the other the fluid-conducting tissue, IIRC). Dad and the Biology teacher tried to hammer the details into my head, but after not needing them for nearly 40 years, they’ve faded.
        Oh, it’s coming back to me, from micropalaeontology! The first land plants didn’t have distinct breeding structures – just water-born or air-born pollen (resistant fossils!) which would land on naked ova, then (something) and a new seedling. Then, some plants started to develop seeds around the seedling. Then more complex structures around that leading to angiosperms – “flowering plants” – about 250 million years after the plants came onto the land.
        I’ll say you’ve opened a can of worms, because I can’t think of a botanical equivalent.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          You’ve opened a pod of seeds.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            Planted a Convolvulus.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 28, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

              🤣

  12. Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    One delight of Amsterdam is to go for a walk as dawn breaks and to listen to the cyclists’ hush of rush-hour. The centre is noticeably quiet as there are orders of magnitude more cyclists than car-drivers.

    I found a 1900s Amsterdam postcard which showed far more horses and carriages than cycles crossing a bridge, and it struck me how much quieter the place must be now compared to then. Indeed, I recently read that Londoners really noticed how much quieter the city was when cars started replacing horses and carriages. In Amsterdam, you can still get an impression of that difference.

  13. Alexander
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I found the bell sounds of the streetcars a most interesting sound, hearing it in the Van der Valk episodes brings me back to these times. I don’t know, I haven’t been in Amsterdam for a while, do the streetcars still ring with this peculiar bell sound?

  14. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I took the liberty to translate the other signs too:
    – Toegang vrijhouden: keep entry free
    – Geen (brom)fietsen plaatsen a.u.b.: please do not place bicycles (motorcycles) (A ‘bromfiets’ is a motorcycle with a smallish engine).
    – Dank voor uw medewerking: thanks for your cooperation.
    – Bij brand, onraad of NOOD: in case of fire, peril or EMERGENCY.
    – Alleen bij materiële schade aan boot of andere calamiteiten bel a.s.b. Scheepstimmerbedrijf: only in case* of material damage to boat or other disasters please call the Ship carpenter workshop.
    * [I guess they mean: in case of only material damage, but they formulated it that way]
    – We hebben uw steun nodig om de poezenvoetjes droog te houden: we need your support to keep the cats’ little feet dry.
    – Help ons om zoveel mogelijk katten te blijven helpen: Help us to keep helping as many cats as possible.

  15. Debbie Coplan
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I love seeing the cat boat.
    We had a cat that peed all over the place, including the toaster. Maybe he wanted to live there.
    We kept him anyway, but what a mess.

  16. Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    That looks like a precursor to the Smart car. Don’t you have Smart cars in the USA? They are great for urban living and parking and consume very little gas! The Smart car has changed many times since it was first commercialized by Nicholas Hayek in Switherland. A few years ago, the brand was bought by Mercedes and the Smart car has changed even more.

    Here is a relatively early model of the Smart car parked next to a Hummer:

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      The Birò LEV does indeed look like a precursor to the Smart car, but actually development of the Smart began long before the Birò LEV – e.g. the Car2Go car sharing service in San Diego & Amsterdam launched around 2009 whereas the Birò hit Amsterdam’s streets only around 2017.

      The big distinction between the two vehicles is the Birò LEV is purposefully designed to meet the requirements of a true ‘microcar’, in that in most Euro nations a driving licence is not required to operate it, whereas the Smart is like any car.

      Nicolas Hayek had intended his “Swatchmobile” to be a hybrid – he was disappointed that the production 1998 Daimler Benz car was a boring old conventional petrol engine.

      The Smart hasn’t done well in the USA – it’s been more successful in Canada. USA has a long history of ‘microcars’, but none has really gripped the public imagination. I suppose this is due to culture, history, regulations & dirt cheap gasoline. Out in the boondocks [most of the USA by area] & some urban centres it would get laughed off the road unfortunately – car mysticism is deeply buried in the American psyche!

      WIKI ON MICROCARS

      &

      WIKI ON SMART

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Hayek’s Smart (Swatch) car was created in 1994.

        Excerpt:

        “The developments started before 1993 originally as Swatch car of Nicolas Hayek in co-operation with Volkswagen. The idea was to design a modern microcar with an electric or hybrid drive. VW, however, could not decide on whether to produce the car or not, which led to disputes with Hayek. Hayek then turned to Mercedes.

        The company MCC (Micro Compact Car AG) was founded in 1994 by Hayek in Biel as a joint subsidiary of Daimler-Benz and SMH SA (Société Suisse de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie). When MCC abandoned the original concept and the planned electric or hybrid drive, both Hayek and senior development team members left the project. “Today’s gasoline-powered Smart is a product from Daimler-Benz and has not much in common with the plans of the former Swatch team.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_Fortwo

        I remember them from about that time, they were a new sensation on the streets of Geneva where I live. 🙂

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:50 am | Permalink

          I don’t know why you’re telling me all this Vierotchka – I included a link to “Smart” where all that is to be found – everything you pasted is in the “Smart” link! I put up the first production date which was 1998 with Daimler-Benz, there was no car in 1993 or 1994 when the concept was born & outlined, but nothing built pre-DB. I even mentioned that Nicolas Hayek had intended his “Swatchmobile” to be a hybrid.

  17. Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Food looks fantastic. Was gonna go to Amsterdam last winter but forwent it. You should’ve tried the mushies. I just know you’re experienced 😉

  18. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    In case someone wonders why these canal houses are so narrow: they were taxed according to the width of the facade (one could have guessed). Some of them are quite deep, and some have a second house behind (see the ‘back house’ or secret annex, where Anne Frank and her family hid).
    Some are really ridiculously narrow.


    http://imgurl.info/explore/narrowest-house-amsterdam/

  19. dvandivere
    Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    The Poezenboot has a few permanent residents. A few cats had been adopted a few times but kept running away to go back to the boat. A lot of the kitties at the boat are pretty grumpy and not to be touched.

    Rijsttafel (“rice table”) was a dish that (I think) was invented by the Dutch colonists in Indonesia. The idea was that a different servant would bring out each of the multiple dishes, and you’d have special tables for them. It was essentially a form of conspicuous consumption.

    About 18 people a year drown in the canals. A significant number are men with their trousers around their ankles and alcohol in their system – they fall in while peeing. There is a fair bit of suicide as well.

    The standard joke is that the canals are a meter of water, a meter of bicycles, and a meter of mud.

    Those little two-seater cars are more like mopeds with roofs. Unlike Smart cars, you’ll never see them on main roads.

    • sabre422
      Posted March 28, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      If there were rails or any sort of barrier in place in an attempt to keep people falling in to the canals, I would suspect that the number of drownings each year would increase significantly. Once you put a structure like that up people will always be attracted to the idea of sitting on such things, and the number of falls would increase. Baltimore’s inner harbor is a perfect example. Rails were purposely eliminated as falls and drownings were always multiplied where there were structures put up for safety. People climbed on them and perched there to eat lunch and young folks always fooled around on them. When the barriers were eliminated the falls into the harbor and drownings incidents were dramatically reduced.

  20. Alexander
    Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Do you still see the cinquecentos?

  21. Chris
    Posted March 28, 2019 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Be sure to visit the Rembrandt exhibition at the Rijksmuseum.
    Really worth seeing!

    • Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      And his house. There’s a Dutch guy there who explains R’s techniques in engraving, delivered with perfect obscure C17th English vocabulary. Mightily impressive and fascinating. And you get to see R’s studio.

      The older I get, the nearer I get to tears when I am in the presence of dead genius.

  22. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 31, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Here to report : just made coconut rice from a recipe out there – wicked good! Never heard of it before!


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