Monday, July 19, 2010

Greetings from: AMSTERDAM

Comedown day.  If the Dutch had won the World Cup, Amsterdam would be overflowing.  The canals would be dyed orange, vuvuzuelas would blow clear and free, love and peace and harmony would flow through the cobbled streets, and bikes would actually let pedestrians have the right of way.  Alas. 

Matthew and I watched the final in the window of The Queen’s Head, a gay bar.  The crowd swelled and ebbed -- with each approach to the Spanish strike zone, the energy rose, and after each deflected goal, everyone deflated.  I’ve heard that the Dutch are the tallest people in Europe (“freakishly tall” was the description), and standing behind them in the street, I’d have to agree. 

Today, both the BBC and CNN replay the Spanish goal on an endless loop -- the football equivalent to looking at your ex-‘s pictures after a bad break-up.  Plastic signs declaring Bertje! and Oranje! lie in the streets.  Outside of the numerous coffeeshops, the smell of people smoking their sadness away wafts out. 

So, in the spirit of Amsterdam, I decide to try a space cake.  Inside Homegrown fantasy, the salesman -- a dread-locked Indonesian young man – measures out grams of the good stuff (and mediocre stuff, I assume) with clipped efficiency.  When I let him know that I’m a newbie, he’s good-humored about it.  “You may feel a little woozy,” he says.  At the next table, a British gent orders a big spliff.  I might have enjoyed the experience more if the space cake came with some slagroom (whipped cream) because it was dry and crumbly.  But, I suppose flavor and consistency aren’t the cakes’ selling points.

I’m pretty mellow by nature, so I can’t tell how much more mellow I was supposed to feel.  No wooziness, no paranoia, no thrill of the forbidden.  (Another contributing factor:  my table partner kept taking forkfuls of my cake.)  In any case, I simply feel asleep, dreaming of the same goal over and over again.

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