Saturday, November 26, 2005


it is the dawn of 2003 and you are sitting in a dingy coffee house in Amsterdam smoking a joint. This is what all the wide eyed tourists do, and since you have already gawked your way across the red light district, staring at half naked women through palm print stained windows (fascinating) and seen the obligatory sex show (boring) you might as well do this too. You breathe it in, only to cough it out again. Everyone laughs at you.

Earlier that morning you braved the dreary Dutch rain to visit the Van Gogh Museum. You trailed your way through the gallery marveling at the expressive brush strokes and imagining yourself deep inside one of these masterpieces. Then you walked the lopsided town, with its offbeat architectural charm. Slightly off-centre housing, tall, skinny buildings frame dirty, narrow canals. You marvel that no cyclists have gone in head first in your time here. You love this town. It reminds you of home in so many ways - and this on your last few days abroad you are looking for reminders of home - a hazy memory on a disappearing horizon. You like the bitter chill in the wind, whipping against your face, and you are enjoying the safe, happy feeling that you feel in Melbourne. Even the canal waters remind you of your beloved Yarra river - though not as wide or imposing.

Lunch is decidedly American. Chips and Hot Dogs, but you eat them with mayonnaise. Two years later, you are still eating your chips with a mixture of sauce and mayo. A reminder of the time you spent wondering exactly what you were going to do next. The world, at your leisure.