Amsterdam Departure

      The taxi delivered David to the Belgrade airport and after checking his one bag he boarded the plane and was in Amsterdam after sleeping the whole trip.


David could only exchange Croatian money into a small amount of Euros at the airport. No one accepted, Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian or any other currencies from the Balkans. He took the train into Amsterdam but choose South Station instead of Rai which was close to Jeannette’s.  South Station was big and he had never been there.  He noted on the map that a bus that comes to South Station also goes to Jeannette’s so he decided to find the stop and wait for the bus. This complex is immense and David got lost, went around in a circle and was back at the station asking directions.  It is upstairs the women pointed.  The road goes over the station along with the train and the trams.  David climbed up some stairs and found the bus waiting for him.  I stopped by the local Coffee shop on my way back and picked up some hash.
         I arrived and  unpacked in his familiar room then joined his dear friends for Surinamese take away at their dining room table.  We reminisced a bit before retiring.

That evening Peter and David got some Take out from the local Surinamese Restaurant and they ate at home. Chatted and retired around Midnight.
 David left late in the morning to buy some wine for their outing this afternoon.  The wine store couldn’t cash the only 100 Euro bill he had left .  He charged it then decided to get some change at a local bank then also pick up some hash for the rest of his stay.   He found an ING Bank but was totally dumbfounded.  There were no tellers and the banks doors were open onto the street.  Computers with large wide screen were suspended from the ceiling.  There was a large waiting area/lounge in the center with two counters on each side with a  “Take a Number” computer that greeted you at the entrance.  I hit the screen and three choices came up.  It was in Dutch but I’m sure none of them said “Cash a 100 Euro” I hit one and took a seat until my number came up.  Meanwhile there were four ATM machines and people were coming in and using them to make deposits, withdrawals, and pay bills.  I approached the counter and presented my dilemma.  The gentleman asked if I had an account and I explain no and why.  He said normally that only do this for customers but he would make an exception.  He took my 100 Bill and inserted it into a machine.  Then asked what denominations I wanted my change in.  He then entered that info on his computer and a few seconds later the machine opened up and out popped my money.  There was no sign that even indicated it was a bank except ING.

Country Retreat

Small Kitchen and Living area

Peter working in Garden with Cigar and Hat

Shrimp Coctails

The following day david went for a walk by the Amstel River but forgot his camera.  He picked up some wine to share with the late afternoon BBQ at Peter and Jeannette’s new summer place on the water just outside the city.  It was small and rustic but Peter already had a beautiful garden and Jeannette was happy to cook and fuss with the new home.  It had one bedroom with another room that was like a kitchen and living area with eating on the terrace in between.  We had Tuna and Lamb Chops with potato salad and  Salmon salad, Shrimp cocktails, and fresh strawberries for dessert. We returned to Amsterdam, tired and content.

I slept late spent most of the day inside.  I stopped over to the Surinamese Restaurant to have coffee and use their internet connection.  Then I did the same at the Daphne Renault Cafe by the river. It was a quiet day.  Jeannette had a Turkish couple over for marriage counseling.  Peter went fishing and David took a walk.
 Jeannette will perform the civil ceremony for the Turkish couple’s wedding in September.  She has married quite a few people and enjoys it. She has married women couples, male couples, her neighbors of 20 years, different races, Hindu, Muslims, mixed marriages, everything.  It is her hobby in retirement. Peter and her visit her brother and he comes to the Netherlands also.  A few years ago he married again.  Now in his late 60’s with his wife around her early 40’s they conceived a baby boy whom is now 3 years old.  The among the wedding guest was Vaclav Havel the first President of the Czech Republic and leader of the Velvet Revolution also an avid Chess Player.  As a member of the World Chess Masters, Jeannette’s brother also invited his good friend Gary Kasparov and entertained the guests with a blindfolded Chess Match.  Champagne was thee drink served to all and for a honeymoon they enjoyed a week or so in the Maldives. Lou Reed may be the entertainment at theirs son’s birthday party this year.

 David found a box of candy in his bed when he retired.

Spanish Seafood Stew

Museumplein-Van Gogh

Vondel Park

Beatrix Park

Sunshine was forecast for the next three days.  David planned a walk to Vondel Park then return to Martin Luther King Park for the Parada Festival.  He walked and walked.  It was a beautiful day and just before reaching Vondel Park he stopped at Museumplein and had lunch at Small Talk to get replenished. The park was filling up.  He walked around a bit then decided to head back for the second half of the day at the Parada.  He took a “short cut” through Beatrix Park and got lost.  When he came out he was at the Rai Station not far from Peter and Jeannette’s but it was almost 4 pm which didn’t leave the time needed for the Parada.  He took a tram to Rembrantsplein for some coffee, cake and hash at Smokey’s Coffee Shop. After it was a Pint of Guinness at Mulligan’s and a visit with Miriam the owner.  It was quiet so he returned to the neighborhood and had a glass of wine at Diva’s before showing up in time for delicious leftovers from a Spanish Seafood Stew the night before.

Today David is back at the Surinamese Restaurant to use the internet again.  He can’t use Peter’s cable network.  This time he tried a spicy but nice BBQ Chicken sandwich for lunch.  He goes to Parada this afternoon and tonight we all go to the Windmill Restaurant favorite of Peter and Jeannette’s. Well David made the Parada but just before entering he realized he left his memory card for the camera in the computer so rather than pay to enter with no camera he decided to go Sunday…the last day.  He returned and that evening Peter drove everyone to the Windmill Restaurant.  A very upscale “Fusion” restaurant with very eclectic food. We had Champagne and Wine with a wonderful meal.

Dinner at the Windmill

Sunday Jeannette prepared a Brunch of Imported Meats and Cheeses with a Mushroom and Tomato Omelet . Champagne and fresh Bread accompanied the meal.  David left after for the Parada and finally got in to take a few pictures and walk around.  He didn’t stay as all the shows are in Dutch. Would have been fun to share with someone.

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