The Little Fan That Could

On a hot, hot, end-of-summer’s day we hopped on the train for Amsterdam.  When I say hopped, of course, it’s a mere metaphor for “dragged our hot and tired selves and two enormous suitcases aboard” the TGV, but hopped sounds more sprightly, more vacation-like.  And we are indeed now on vacation, although I’m sure that my mother-in-law is going to read this and say “on vacation from WHAT?” since our normal life is already more or less a perpetual vacation in itself.

The TGV was hot, Paris was hot, the train to Amsterdam was hot, and Amsterdam itself was, you guessed it, also hot. Thank heavens that Marie, in presenting me with a pretty Chinese fan, reminded me that “on ne sort jamais sans son éventail.”  Never leave the house without your fan!  And thus it was that I fanned my way across three countries to a place where neither of us can understand a single word that’s spoken around us.

Stopping over in Paris, we searched for lunch near the Gare du Nord.  If you can recommend a good restaurant within suitcase-dragging distance of the Gare, please do.  If you’re in the vicinity and happen to see a little place claiming to be Japanese, as we did, perhaps you’ll notice that the staff is all speaking Chinese, not that we can understand Chinese, but we know Japanese when we hear it.  Even if we’d been wearing earmuffs, though, we’d have noticed that the tempura was, to put it charitably, not at all lacy.  While it’s true that even I could open a restaurant and call it Japanese, I just don’t know why people do that.  Oh well, we’re still batting about 1000 for eating badly in Paris.  It’s almost getting to be funny.

Aboard the Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam Shel went off to the bar car in an attempt to save me from melting into a puddle and returned with this consolation prize, reporting that it was actually cheaper than bottled water.  Ok!  That’s undoubtedly because we were in Belgium at the moment

where they really understand beer, although our sojourn was brief.  Being a very small country, we soon left Belgium behind and found ourselves at last in Holland.  The platforms offered us interesting sights

like this guy with his cool antennae coiffure

and this friendly face.  I knew right away that we weren’t in Kansas anymore when I saw this sign in The Hague

which appears to be advertising adventure sports including dog-mushing.  If I hadn’t seen the samoyed on the platform I’d never have imagined dog-mushing in Amsterdam, but now, I’m wondering.  Of course, first it would have to cool off.  A lot.

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3 Comments on “The Little Fan That Could”

  1. Dick Says:

    The next time you want a decent meal near the Gare du Nord, I have heard good things about Chez Clément (22, rue de Dunkerque, 75010 Paris).

  2. Eric Says:

    I dunno if Belgium could beat the micro-brews in Oregon! Enjoy the summer weather; a camping trip this Labor day weekend was cut short due to cold (and wet) weather on the south side of Mt. Hood.

  3. Arne Says:

    Belgium womps ass over Oregon’s excellent micro-breweries. It’s really that good.

    Abra, if you’re still in Holland, so “hi” to Klary for me (even though she and I have never actually “met”)

    A.


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