Sunday, June 8, 2014

Karl's European Vacation: The Amsterdam Apartment

I arrived at the Centraal Station and it was midday-- the hustle and bustle of the Netherlands was in full force.  Or so I assumed-- I had never been here before so I have no idea what is normal.  There was some guy out front holding a cardboard sign and yelling about Jesus, 21,000 bicycles that all look like they are from 1965 padlocked to a bridge, and everything looks like a giant Ikea store.  I am hoping this is normal?  I had the sudden urge to buy a $10 table (called a Bokkenstocken) and a 50 cent ice cream cone.

I made my way to a deli where I met the lady I was renting the apartment from.  I needed to get keys.  It was all very James Bond, except instead of a tuxedo I was wearing jogging pants and a Raiders ballcap.  And I was eating a Big Turk candy bar.  Other than that, it was literally the exact same thing.  I explained that I was going to just walk to the apartment.  She raised her eyebrows-- who was this hunky Canadian who is going to show Europe how to walk!  Was I sure?  I nodded, confident and armed with my Google map app.  She offered to bring my suitcase right to the apartment, which was great.  I gladly took her up on the offer and began walking.  

I didn't realize the apartment is "in the suburbs".  It was a bit of a walk-- at one point, I might have crossed over into Belgium, I am not sure.  Time passed.  Young people rode by on bicycles.  Then old people went by.  They were the same people-- it was taking forever to get there.  I get that Terry Fox officially walked further, but it was still a hike, honest.  I finally arrived at the apartment, completely drenched in sweat.  My Canadian black joggers were doing a great job of keeping me warm in the now 32 degree mid-afternoon heat.  If only there was a way I could have known what the temperature would be, he blogged into his iPad that has access to the internet.  Oh well.  At least I could shower and change.  Oh that's right, there was no suitcase until later in the evening, when the landlady was bringing it home it home from the deli.  

What to do?  Well, after a nine hour flight, a mini-marathon dressed like a ninja and no clean clothes, it's best to just take a nap in your underwear.  That's what I say.   I got up 2 hours later and even stinkier than before.  Drenched in sweat, I figured a shower was in order.  I have one towel approximately the size of a Denny's placemat, and no shampoo or soap.  No problem.  I spied some apple scented dishsoap over by my microscopic bathroom sink.  Done deal.  I was clean, smelled like a Macintosh and no streaks on my wine glass if you know what I mean.  I don't speak Dutch so I am praying that it was actually dishsoap and not Dutch antique furniture wood stripper.

I heard a knock at the door-- or so I thought.  Had my luggage arrived?  Was my luck turning?

No luggage.  Maybe it was a woodpecker or something.  Then the cat got in.

What's that?  A cat you say?  What cat?  Well, how about the cat who lives in the apartment below?  He's friendly AND he likes to hide under my bed.  So the next 20 minutes was the Canadian wearing only his underwear, soaking wet, trying to grab the cat from under the bed.  Now if that isn't European, I don't know what is.  Film it and give me a BAFTA please.

The luggage showed up later in the evening and I am proud to report I am wearing clean underwear now (and I did not use the cat to dry off).