Everyone in Holland is blonde. Tall. They have pale skin and slightly flushed cheeks from peddling their bicycles too hard. They speak perfect English. And they are unfailingly polite. That can’t possibly be true, but it really seems that way. In the same way that everyone in Paris seemed to be impossibly thin despite the fact that their food was great. It’s as if they just spent a lot of time looking at their great food and not eating it. Everyone in Holland or Paris is not one way. I know that. And yet still it feels that way.
A baffling sign is posted in English in the bathroom of our hotel in Amsterdam. “Please do not take a shower outside the bathtub.” The thought of somehow taking a shower outside of the bathtub had never entered my mind until I was warned not to do so. Now I’m considering why I would want to flood the bathroom floor by spraying myself with water outside the tub. It taxes my imagination. Who would want to do that? Maybe if I were super drunk. If they were just trying to cover all their bases, why stop at that one? “Management appreciates you not hanging naked women by their calves outside the hotel window.” “Thanks for not having sex with llamas on the fold-out couch.”
Along with its fabled Red Light District which features prostitutes who rent out a boudoir window to display their wares, Amsterdam has plenty of upscale museums. The Sex Museum. The Brothel Museum. The Torture Museum. It’s possible the Museum of Sexual Torture is still under construction. There are also coffee houses where smoking marijuana is perfectly legal. Because we were traveling with my son, we went to Nemo, a children’s science museum, where he blew gigantic bubbles and put his hands on an energy orb that radiated lightning bolts to his touch. And we went to the Anne Frank Museum, which was good to visit, but perhaps not as titillating as other places we might have gone.