05 June 2012

Eating french fries on a bench, Amsterdam-style

About a week ago, my cousin and her family stopped by on their way to friends in Germany. I thus had the opportunity to get to know them better - and enjoyed getting to show them around. We managed to cover all the major dutch highlights: windmills, canals, the flower market, pancakes, stroopwaffels, trains, lots of walking, an orange soccerball, croquetten and french fries. And the french fries were eaten in classic Amsterdam style.

We bought the fries at a famous little stand around the corner from both the flower market and Begijnhof (I take more people here, so you might recognize it!). We walked to the benches by the flower market so that we would hopefully not spill/dip all the fries and mayonaisse over everything. It being a beautiful warm day, we had to share the bench not only with the usual tourists but also some of the locals. And the locals of the day were about four middle-aged homeless guys. I'm not sure if the tourists were intimitated by the open beer cans or the two kittens in the coat of the one homeless guy, but the only places still open were beside these guys. So we sat down next to them and enjoyed some random conversation, and the kittens were a delightful and obvious distraction for my cousin's little one.

Before I moved to Amsterdam, I would have felt horribly uncomfortable sitting in the midst of a group of homeless guys (my cousin, having lived in Toronto, was obviously more used to this kind of thing). Now, however, I have a higher appreciation for homeless folk than I do for tourists! And sitting beside them seemed like the most normal thing in the world - the homeless, after all, are my neighbours and the ones I would feel comfortable greeting on the street, and they are at least as much a part of Amsterdam as I am.

No comments: