Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Amsterdam Airport

Amsterdam Airport

On August 31, 2013, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , , With Comments Off on Amsterdam Airport

Hello. So much to tell you before I get on the plane.

First of all, yesterday the young woman from Vermont who was my fellow traveler on the train told me about Air B&B when I asked her where she was staying. Apparently, people open up their homes, with couches, cots or the floor. So that was where she was staying. Fascinating.

On my way from the Tourist Center to the hotel, a man streaked by- completely painted hot pink, with black shorts and a black bra drawn on his chest, plus makeup on his face. Unexpected, to say the least.

This morning at breakfast, I met Kathleen Walsh, who is an artist/psychologist now located in Virginia. She is traveling to Lusaka to see her husband. Get this. There is such a shortage of diplomats, her husband, who retired from the diplomatic service, is now taking assignments. They have lived all over the place.

Although she no longer practices psychology, she is still very interested- particularly in the focus on wellness and optimism instead of the traditional focus on dysfunction. She is planning to sit in on some lectures on the topic in Lusaka.

Breakfast was lovely, with lots of fruit, including apricots, my favorite! Yogurt, fruit, nuts, lovely pastries with chocolate filling. Very nice. I took two apricots with me. We’ll see how well they fare in my purse.

She told me about a country called Burkina Faso, which is near Mali and the Sahara Desert. The women weave cloth from cotton and then dye it with indigo. The actual patterns tell stories! Kathleen was particularly taken with one cloth and was told that if a woman wore it past a neighbor’s house, it would mean that I’m sorry we had a disagreement and I’m ready to move on. Isn’t life fascinating?

I took photos of buildings, bicycles, the canal, as I walked to the train station, which was a straight shot from my hotel. 5 minutes, max.

On the train, I met three British women who were a stitch. When I asked about baby George, they said “WHO?” They are still not over Diana and feel she was the only interesting royal.

In no particular order:

  1. They love their royalty, who do a lot of diplomatic work that no one sees. They also love the pomp and circumstance.
  2. Fergie and Prince Andrew are dating again, after living in separate quarters in the same house all this time.
  3. They are very understanding about Charles and Camilla, saying that they have been in love all their lives, but the very traditional advisors around the Queen refused to allow Charles to marry someone with a past.
  4. They felt very badly about Diana, that she was chosen because she was a virgin, and used very badly.
  5. They think that something intentional happened in that Paris tunnel that resulted in her death.
  6. They also said that ginger-haired Harry doesn’t look like his father at all, but instead favors a military aide who taught Diana riding- and whose family she visited in Wales…

The train is very clean and comfortable, by the way. So are the stations. So the ride was very pleasant. I’m so proud of myself for taking the train, getting on the correct train, getting where I needed to go on time. Yeah for me! And no one asked for the ticket this time, either. I wonder if everyone is on the honor system or what.

Because Kathleen told me that she had been advised KLM would only allow 20 lbs. for carry on, I worried about mine. I remembered being scolded by a young KLM attendant full of his own power when I was last in Amsterdam going to Nigeria. When I told him, because of my surgery, I could not lift my carry on onto the conveyor belt, he lectured that if I couldn’t lift it, it wasn’t carry on- holding up the entire line. I was furious!

So, with that fresh in my memory, I stopped to see about buying another bag I could use for my meds and laptop and assorted laptop items. The very kind woman in the store had this little gizmo with a hook that she could hang my bag from to weigh it. She said it was just a pound over, so I thought I could, if necessary, put something into my handbag.

As it was, absolutely no one weighed anything or cared at all. Isn’t that always the way?

I raced through the huge airport terminal to get to Gate D47 for boarding two hours early, which I had been advised was necessary. Nope, no one there for a good hour and a half… I found a rest room and splashed cold water on my face for a while.

There I met a young woman from I can’t remember where in the States, who was returning after spending time in Uganda working with children. I didn’t think to ask if it was a college trip or a church trip.

Are you getting the idea that I should stop listening to whomever is advising me???

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