Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Lovely Ladies of Amsterdam

As we wander through Amsterdam, I constantly finding myself whistling "Lovely Ladies" from Les Mis.  It started when we perishingly waded our way through the red light district on the way to the houseboat from Central Station.  To keep myself focused and to not pass out from the wafting smells of all kinds of herbal products around us, I began humming.  I haven't been able to stop.  The red-light district, especially at night, is bizarre...Jeff has more on that and the ladies of the night, who are the subject of the Les Mis song, in a separate post.  I.just.can't!

This post, however, is quite and exactly the opposite and is about the three lovely friends who made the time to take us to some of their favorite restaurants and bars, suggested excursions and sights to see, danced, drank wine with us on the deck of the houseboat, laughed and giggled with us until the wee hours of the morning.

First, there's Kati:  She is a Hungarian friend of mine who lives in Amsterdam and has been eagerly co-planning our evenings for this leg of the trip since I mentioned it to her a few months ago during her visit to LA.  She is also a lot of trouble.  In all the right ways:  She likes good food and wine and laughter (especially a LOT of the latter).  She apparently also likes putting flowers in her hair.

I was really excited to get to hang out with her, and she was really excited to meet the boys (sans Jonathan, who unfortunately had to head back to LA after Copenhagen because of work...blergh) and introduce them to the wonders of the Indonesian Rijsttafel.  Kati took us to Kantjil & de Tijger and this showed up as our meal:

Then there is the elusive and camera-shy Macarena.  Originally from Madrid, she now works in Amsterdam as a dentist.  Because she has to be at work at crazy early hours, we were only able to see the Lady Macarena once during this visit.  She and Kati came to the boat, but Macarena had to run to her dentist before dinner.  I mean, the woman is a trouper.  She and Kati took us to their favorite Tapas place, where Macarena quickly became friends with the chef and got us some much needed preferential treatment at the pinchas bar (after we got yelled at for breaking the rules without knowing what they were).  Essential on the list of the next Amsterdam visit will be more time with our new friend, the Gorgeous Spaniard.  [And hopefully we can keep her out late next time and there won't be a dental procedure involved before dinner.]

Last, but certainly not least, is someone who you might already be familiar with: my amazing cousin  Mayannah.  She was briefly featured in our last Eurovision blog in 2011, when Keith and I went to the festivities in Düsseldorf.  I've had the good fortune to hang out with her over the years, though admittedly it's never ever.  She hopped on a train after teaching a 17th Century poetry class at the uni where she is finishing her PhD and rushed to meet us at the restaurant.  We got her properly fed and wined, dropped her stuff off at the houseboat and after Kati and Macarena left, took to the town together.  And as you can see, Mayannah and Jeff took to each other immediately and all kinds of fun ensued for the two nights and days she was with us.

We are so very lucky to have these lovelies in our lives...(& allow me a moment of schmaltziness, because I'm an especially lucky guy to have so many friends who click with each other from the first moment they meet each other).

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