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Monday, July 24, 2017

Amsterdam — Last Looks

Ethics Police
I’ve notice many minor changes on these Red Light streets—new rules to protect a group of more innocent and affluent tourists coming in. Window hookers used to knock on their glass doors to attract attention of potential clients passing by. This is prohibited now. Posters have appeared warning tourists of street vendors who, we are advised, might be pick pockets or sellers of bad, tainted or illegal drugs. I was approached by one trying to sell cocaine.
There is a large round bench by the Oude Kerk, a good place to sit and watch the never ending stream of tourists passing by.

I was smoking my pipe— just tobacco, as a couple guys near me were puffing on something more interesting. They were interrupted by the ethics police—not the real name for them.

Handhaving means, enforcement, which seems an ambiguous label. I could not find a better title for them though some of the locals had rather demeaning interpretations. The enforcers informed the smokers that inhaling pot in public was not allowed. One is expected to be discrete, they were informed. I’ve never noticed these guys in years before now and asked when they began to patrol.

“We’ve been around for years,” I was told. “But these are new uniforms. They make us more noticeable.”

I doubt these smokers would have been bothered last year, and certainly not two years ago. Drinking on the streets is also illegal, but goes on all the time.

Maintenance also goes on all the time, as you might expect with these centuries old buildings. I tried to get some shots of what it looks like underneath these structures, but it was difficult to do without getting in the way of work in progress. Behind these bricks I could only see sand, just sand.

 Last Look—A political view.

I was looking down at the canal from my window one afternoon. A man who I assumed to be the owner of Casa Rosso was in front of the place with what must have been a manager. The owner looked surprisingly like Donald Trump from this distance, same unruly mop of hair. He looked tired, or bored, slumped forward, leaning on an elephant.


As I was watching the Trump doppelganger rested his head on his forearms and seemed to nod off. A mailman arrived and handed a bunch of letters to the manager (guy in purple shirt). He took the letters inside and came back with a large envelope which he handed to the owner who opened it and took out several sheets of paper. He stared at them a bit, then shook his head, seemingly not able to understand what they were about. He gave them back to the manager who studied them, then handed them back with a pen for him to sign something. The virtual Trump signed, then went back to sleep. A slide show view of U.S. government—in my opinion.

It’s been an interesting trip, and perfect weather—as good as it gets.

Next stop - Stockholm, where I’ll meet my daughter and her family. First time in fifteen years.

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