It’s been a rough several days. About mid Friday my left leg gave out. I’ve been having trouble with shin splints for awhile, but usually only when I’d been dancing hard for a couple nights. Even then, it was only while I was dancing; general walking around was fine.
I don’t know what I did, but as I was a-walking about on Friday my left shin started hurting and I ended up spending the weekend barely able to walk, much less explore or party. By the time I’d made it two or so blocks I’d have to stop or come back because the pain was so bad. Sore to the touch, hurt when I moved my foot, etc. Add to that the ear, which is still sick, and I spent the weekend moody and irritable.
It sucks being in a really interesting place and being basically confined to the hostel by health issues. But by now the leg is starting to ease up, and I’m even hoping the ear will ease off soon. In the meantime….
Until I lamed myself, I’d been continuing to wander all over the town. I’ve largely abandonded the idea of asking the Dutch for directions. Doing so seems to, at best, lead to a false sense of security. There are several reasons for this: First, the streets in the downtown area are completely serpentine, and the Dutch have adapted to this by coming up with a commonly accepted standard as to what is meant by go straight, turn left, or turn right that is absolutely impenetrable to outsiders. The exact angle which will be judged as straight, left or right is determined by some rather complex geometry and a rotating code based on what part of town you are in and whether or not they want to send you to Belgium.
The second reason seems to be a Dutch problem with scale. In four different attempts to get to three different locations I found myself mystified by what the Dutch mean by one minute. You see, they will tell you that something is N minutes walk from ‘here.’ This is because, understandably, there is no such thing as a ‘block’ in Amsterdam to use as an fixed reference. The problem, it seems, is that every Dutch person walks at a different pace, or using a different number of legs, or bases the distance on Stoned=YES?/NO?. In one case I was told that something was “about 10 minutes walk away”, which would have been true only if I had decided to drag myself along with my lips. In another case my target destination was “3 minutes walking from here”, and in reality would have required a fast sprint followed by an explosion to get me there in 3 minutes.
If you are told, in reference to your destination, that you “Can’t miss it,” you are doomed. Give up now. It was bombed in the war and then moved underground, where it is accessible only by hidden passage guarded by leopards.
All your base are belong to us.
Yes, even here.
The Police ride motor scooters. It’s awfully cute. I haven’t had a chance to mention that to any of them yet, but I’m sure I will.
I was thinking that despite my traumatic experience with motor scooters I may buy one if I were ever to live here. It’s eminently practical for getting around, whereas, in this environment, riding my motorcycle would be like using a 747 to take the kids to school. The problem of course is finding a motor scooter that would be able to cart my 250lbs butt around (since no matter how good of shape I end up in, I doubt I’ll drop below 245. Thog just big) without exploding into flames. It brings to mind more images of Russian circus bears with funny hats on…. omBahBahooumBahBah….
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