Monday, August 2, 2010

Portraits of people from Barbarian countries *

Wheelchair - Amsterdam definition

Car seat in the rear.... Only in Amsterdam!

When I went to Amsterdam in 2000 I wrote this article. Last week I was there, and found that not a lot has changed! Enjoy....
"A few years back, a friend of mine was taking up Spanish courses. At one point, I was skimming throughher illustrated beginners’ book and I fell upon how the word “skirt” - falda - translates differently into different Spanish speaking countries. After several enumerations, the last sentence read “In Argentina una falda e una falda”.
Few things in life are this obvious.
Some of the less obvious things can be found in Amsterdam and include:
Any two men walking together are labeled as gays, but it does not matter because almost all the rest are gays anyway.
Construction workers take thirty minutes breaks between two ten minutes working intervals.
A transvestite can be easily mistaken for a beautiful, rather tall, woman.
A girl with yellow hair, and a tattoo on the neck, with a beehive hairdo and sixties blue glassed eyeglasses, sporting a very short black dress and skyscraper high platform shoes can dine with a man wearing earrings, with a map on the forearm, dressed in his cleanest flannel sleeveless shirt, in a chic Chinese restaurant and decline to take the rest of the food as take away because it is vulgar to do it.
Two adjacent coffee shops can have two different terraces, one is for heterosexuals the other for gays. If you are not stoned you may notice this.
The trams are extremely expensive but boat rides are for free.
A whole family can fit into one bike.
Moving apartments is a national sport.
Most of the furniture in apartments actually comes from other people’s apartments who were practicing the national sport during the weekend.
It takes thirty minutes to dismantle an electrical stove and replace it with a gas one, and another twenty minutes to transport it to the nearest dump.
It takes three minutes for the same stove to be assembled in somebody else’s apartment.
The three minutes in question were the time that took the “dismantling” party to get back to the apartment and get rid of the barbecue set which of course went to another lucky winner.
A beautiful bird cage complete with an empty nest and watering plastic buckets was retrieved from trash, though not the same one where the stove was placed.
In the flea market, an empty metallic cigar box costs as much as brand new used couch. Metallic cigar boxes cannot be found in the trash, brand new second hand couches can.
If you help somebody move, you are most likely to receive brand new leftover items which cannot fit in the new apartment. An executive black leather case in my case.
On Monday, work starts at 1:00 P.M. because everyone deserves a rest from the weekend, where everybody was resting anyway.
Everyone loves the queen, or is too stoned to give a damn she exists.
You have more choice in hash than in carbonated orange juice.
And that’s just a representative sample of the less obvious things. If in Argentina una falda e una falda, in Amsterdam una falda is a convenient item to wear for the gay parade, daaaaaaaaaaaarlinnnnnnnnnnnnng."
* Name inspired from a series of paintings commissioned by a Dutch king sometime in the 17th or 18th century and which depicted daily lives in Dutch colonized countries.
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