Most people are aware of Amsterdam as a great city to have fun and observe life and people. Behind the obvious sights there lies a whole host of strange things and people, and some cute things as well. Amsterdam has the ability to both shock and enlighten. Walking down a city centre street I am not sure what shocked me the most, that a haircut coild cost 45 euros or that someone had written a book titled ” The Philosophy of Beards”. True that maybe a bottle of nice mexican beer came free too.
In Vondelspark a strange gentleman with a horse’s head was playing what I imagine was some sort of tambourine. I use the term playing lightly. He was making a kind of repetitive banging noise which only seemed to stop when we was given money, so I consider this a good cause to donate a euro too. Plus no scowling when I took his photograph.
There are many shops including a number that sell whole cheeses in sizes that must make an interesting hand luggage size. Shops where they close and put up nice signs such as ” we are sorry we are closing and will not be in your palate for a few days” instead of handwritten closed signs. Pizza restaurants where they say ” no cash” rather different from the UK sunday curry buffets where its cash only. I wonder why. Beer that is actually cold with glasses kept in the freezer. Coffee that not only tastes good but looks good and can be drunk by a canal watching boats and people go by. A shop where you can make your own Magnum, at a price though around 4 euros. Maybe the best omelette I have ever tasted. From an Irish Pub actually next to the Paradiso.
The volume of food continues to amaze me. For example a lunch order of what I understood to be strips of chicken with salad arrived, and it was actually very nice eaten with great company, but it was covered with about half a pound of crumbled blue cheese. So salad yes, healthy option, to impress my dining companion, became a calorific disaster zone from which I may need medications to elevate my HDL. But it does not stop there, oh no. Pots of strange sauces, the one that was earmarked for me looked like a sort of cocktail sauce. Around a litre……I exaggerate , but not by much. And just when I thought this meal size was looking vaguely normal otherwise…..4 bread rolls in a basket. So a salad turns into something you would go to Weightwatchers for a month to try and recuperate from. This lunch meal I did survive. Then around 4 hours later the executive lounge here ( sounds grand but equals free food and drink in UK and only free food here) serves what they term ” Hors D’oeuvres”. Now here I want to show you how the various dictionaries define ” Hors D’oeuvres”. This is your selection:
1. A small savory dish, typically one served as an appetizer at the beginning of a meal.
2.A small bit of appetizing food, as spicy meat, fish, cheese, or a preparation of chopped or creamed foods, often served on crackers or small pieces of toast, for eating at cocktail parties or other gatherings where drinks are served with no other food.
3.An appetizer, as a relish or more elaborate preparation, served before or as the first course of a meal.
So you get the drift. Something small and tasty. OK. Here in JW Marriott the take a different approach, a generous one. Firstly a hugely enthusiastic lady was exhorting me at 5.20 pm to prepare to eat. Not usual in New Malden. The selection was, and I was informed the expectation of the norm was to have everything. Here goes- sliders ( these are mini-burgers maybe 2 is a normal burger, a USA thing but creeping into UK), mini beef wellingtons, spicy humous, various crackers and chips, salads, cheeses, bread and a few litres of dips and sauces. So it is fair to say this concoction does not represent a ” small bit of appetising food”. For me this is good, no need to have an expensive dinner. For others, maybe most here, this really is a prelude to the feast called dinner. So I really do not think that folks here ever stop eating. I think maybe I need to come and live here but would be regarded as “odd” for not consuming 5000 calories a day. So another nice Day. I certainly have one.