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Sunday, September 12, 2010
Writing uit Nederland...
Or, more specifically, a canal-side cafe in Leiden, about 50 KM south of Amsterdam. I've been here since Wednesday visiting my friend "M." What have we been up to? She convinced me to try raw herring, which is practically the national dish and, reportedly, a great hangover cure. It doesn't taste all that different than the sushi-equivalent but there's something about holding a long fish by the tail and biting into it that I couldn't quite stomach, especially in the middle of a crowded marketplace.
On Saturday evening, we went on a bike ride up to the town of Katwijk, which sits along the North Sea. The coastline here looks a lot like the beach at Manzanita. There's rolling dunes, gray skies and guys surfing in wet suits but, in the place of Nehakhanie Mountain, there's a shipping lane lined with cargo barges and a centuries-old church that looms over the town like a wise, old owl. I grabbed some schnitzel for dinner since, as far as I could tell, no one in this country knows what clam chowder is. M stuck with the fish and chips.
Yesterday, we went to a little shop in Amsterdam to have my first tattoo done. Part of my decision was, oddly enough, to find out what it feels like to get a tattoo. If you've never had the pleasure, imagine having someone cut into your skin with a thin needle as if they were slicing up a loaf of bread. The oddest part of the process is that, when the artist lifts the needle, the pain instantly stops. This will no doubt be my first, and last, tattoo. What did I get? Not telling but it's on my left leg just above the ankle.
During the first few weeks, at least, having a tattoo is like adopting a pet Mogwai. I'm not supposed to get it wet, expose it to sunset but, as far as I can tell, I could technically feed it after midnight.
I plan to continue blogging during my stay. There's a lot to cover...