Saturday, May 16, 2009

days 6 & 7

OK, I'm starting to think it will be impossible to leave Amsterdam, even if we are going to Paris after this. There's no way we will have done it all before we leave, and the melancholy of time slippage, and resulting over-caffeination, is getting to me. Our consolation? Maybe we'll like Paris even more. In the meantime, Tracy is finishing up her work for the day and then we are taking a cab to the Riktsmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum.

While waiting to meet up, I ran a load of laundry down to a laundromat where a man took the bag and gave me a claim ticket. Then I took quite a good nap and woke up to a rain storm...had leftover roasted chicken with chorizo, olives, and red bell peppers on a slice of polenta bread, maybe one of the best sandwiches ever. Down to a cafe to read Elmore Leonard for half and hour, then back to meet up. At 2:00 I picked up the laundry, and it was perfectly folded and stacked vertically in the bag. To me this is the equivalent of a ten-hand scalp massage--what a luxury. On the way home I stopped at a vintage shop full of action figures, JFK campaign tumblers, lunchboxes and the like. Truly a Dave Snider/Kurt Van Vlack sort of store. I found an "alley kid" painting that is pretty cool, two kids dressed as street toughs with moustaches and daggers.

***

We are now at L'Hotel Gay-Lessac (he was a famous doctor and chemist--or is chimiste a pharmacist?) on Rue De Gay Lessac. We took a walk after checking in and found a busy Italian place, the most well-lit and warm before we got to a busy bar district with booming techno echoing from somewhere. The food was great--an entree of roasted eggplant and peppers, dark and melty...and penne gorgonzola. My first successful use of french was in confusion about a man's dessert--our neighbor at the next table remarked that it was trop--too much. It really looked like Big Daddy Hot Sausage chunks to me so I asked "c'est un type de viande???!!!" He understood me at least and said "non, non, c'est dessert!" Gellato of some kind in smooth tubular sections. I think I've watched too much Anthony Bourdain, when dessert starts looking like weird meat products. Anyway, it was a wonderful meal, and I heard a little boy say "je voudrais donner le pourboir," and when he had given the waiter the tip, the waiter punched him lightly in the arm. There was also a lady there reading Krishnamurti who texted alot.

The hotel is small and charming, with a winding staircase and an elevator the size of a broom closet. The proprietor is a kind and helpful man who watches his tv and looks very comfortable. I was more anxious about Paris but a great meal and apparent appreciation for my attempts at French have made it, so far, sweet. Tomorrow we will navigate to a meeting with the man who rented us our apartment for the week, and then on to the place, which is ACROSS THE STREET from Le Jardins Luxembourg.

Also, a big shout-out to Madame McCarty for kicking our asses in French class all those years.
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