And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in Holland. So today started with a FABU brekkie at the hotel (yep - ALSO included - and I took them for ALL they were worth) before walking the 3 minutes (that's right - THREE MINUTES) along the Heren Gracht canal to the Bank of America office. Honestly, when mom booked this place, we had NO IDEA I was even going to join her, and so this commute was a VERY welcome surprise.
I met the office staff (VERY nice folks), and Sharon (office manager) gave me a nice tour of the floor. I am happy to report that THIS PLACE HAS BEER IN THE FRIDGE. And no, I didn't have one - yet. Talk to me EOD on Tuesday.
I got out and about for lunch, settling on a Subway sandwich. It was mighty tasty, but there was a CLASSIC "This is not your American Subway" moment when, at the end of putting in all my veggies, I said, "Can I get a little Mayo?" That's like asking Tony Stewart, "Hey, can you go a little faster?"
Sure enough - the guy squeezes the bottle and FIVE GALLONS OF MAYO COME OUT. It was almost too overpowering to eat, but I fought through... :-)
Another thing about this office - the ring for all the phones IS THE EXACT SAME TUNE AS SPORTSCENTER (Duh-nuh-nuh, duh-nuh-nuh) - AMAZING. I keep waiting for Swami or Kenny Maine to walk in at some point like it's one of those "This is SportsCenter" commercials.
I got out of the office just before 6 and rolled over to meet mum at the hotel. We then walked to Rembrandtplatz, where I had a pair of Heineken's (nope - still haven't tried Amstel - just can't do it - it would be cheating on Heineken, with whom I'm having a love affair at the moment) before rolling to dinner at this GREAT Argentine Steakhouse named Gaucho's (yep - same chain where I knocked that glass of red wine ALL OVER me in London - I'm actually gonna wear that shirt to work tomorrow, for the record). It's funny - Argentine steakhouses and restuarants are EVERYWHERE in the Dam), and we've already eaten at 2 (both so guuuuuuuuuuuuud).
Another thing I simply must comment on - you could live and work here and NEVER speak a WORD of Dutch and get on fine. I continue to be shocked by the fact that EVERYONE speaks 4 languages and moves in and out of each without a second thought. This is one of those spots were I don't feel bad speaking English - it's just FABULOUS.
So, after dinner, mom tells me, "I think I should see the Red Light District." I somehow manage to keep hold of my glass, but I am clearly shaken. And despite my protests, 2 minutes later we're walking toward the district, my head still shaking.
En route, we pass a coffee shop, where I explain to mum what goes on in there. She is shocked, saying that she just never thought about it. Let's face it - you gotta love the generation gap.
When we get into the RLD, I notice that mom is looking up at the tops of the buildings. It's only then when I say, "Okay, down this alley - you ready?" The look on her face was PRICELESS.
Mom: "Is it safe to go down that alley?"
Sam: "Not that it really matters, but yes. This is what you have to see."
Mom: "There are men everywhere."
Sam: "Mom, it's the Red Light District. What did you really expect?"
And so begins the walk down through the alleys, where the women are wearing nearly nothing, all the while smoking, pounding the glass at passersby, and motioning for everyone to join them in a room bathed only in red light. We made 1.5 alleys and were done (insert a WHEW here).
On the walk back, there was THE BEST EXCHANGE of the entire year between me and mum.
Mom: "That was wild. I'm so glad I saw that. I just would never have thought there were red lights."
Sam: "Well, it is the Red Light District."
Mom: "You know, so much of this city is just not what I pictured."
Sam: "When I think of Amsterdam, I think of weed, bachelor parties, and prostitution."
Mom: "When I think of Amsterdam, I think of windmills, tulips, and wooden shoes."
(Insert both of us cackling right here) Again - different times...different eras.
We then stopped at a bar so I could get 2 more Heine's before heading back to the hotel, where I took down 2 more glasses of Bailey's and a beer. We then headed back to the room, where I actually watched "Cold Case" until midnight (had to see the ending!) before sacking out.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and (somewhere near the Cliffs of Moher) Jenny