Sometimes, when I realize it has been awhile since I spent quality time with my love, I ride around town and take random pictures of her. Amsterdam doesn’t change all that much over time, canals, 15th century houses, bicycles, boats… repeat. Randomly insert ugly and occasionally interestingly designed buildings. But for me, 3 years into it, she never gets old. I could take that same picture of the keizersgracht, with its bridges lit up at night, over and over. And that’s exactly what I was doing after drinks and mexican with RocknRoll Amy, the bicycle repairess, and friends…. riding home.. stopping every few meters to “make photos“.
And as usual, something happened. I noticed in the darkening sky that the night had not completely fallen, but I was indeed witnessing and smelling a huge fire. It was the nightclubby area known as Rembrantplein, and the nosey journalist in me decided to ride over the bridge and get a closer look. And sure enough, this is Amsterdam, there were tons of bikes stopped and onlookers were taking part in the international tradition known as rubbernecking. For those who don’t know the term, it’s when you just HAVE TO stare at an accident and wait as if something it going to happen which you need to see.
And indeed things happened. I was enjoying the lady next to me who decided I would know everything about that building and why it was on fire. I played along, trying not to say too much to give away my accent. Told her it was the ABN building and the fire seemed concentrated on the ground floor. She trusted in me as a local, I could feel it! Then came the other middle aged male experts in business suits, yapping about what the firefighters will have to do. Just in front of the police baricade, an angry local wants to get by to get into his house or his favorite nightclub I guess. As he’s getting angrier, one of the horsey cops charges his horse into the poor guy. I was paralyzed… wanted to say “HEY WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?” but then I pictured the horse charging into me, and I didn’t want to smell like horse, or be trampled, so I just shut up and watched with frustration.
Me and local dutch woman hung out a bit more, she with her camera phone, I with my digi, we snapped shots as if we both had photoblogs in need of material. Hmm.. maybe we both did? Anywho, just as the orange flames began bursting towards the emergency crews a cop told us in both Dutch and English, in case we’re tourists, that the air quality was unsafe and that we stayed there at our own risk. I love this city… you could die standing there, but its your choice sir…. oh and I like your podcast 😉
Anyway that was that. Life in the big small capital city. Time to do some podcasting from my local jazzclub.
Oh and if you want to learn more about Dutch life in english, listen to the latest Yeasty Sloerie Source. It’s an education and a half.
Today’s Sounds: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Tyranny of Distance (don’t I know it!)
tags:amsterdam, storytellingurban, bicycle