Martijn and I could have met at any of Amsterdam's fine attractions. The "I Am Amsterdam" sign is a sure bet, and the Vincent Van Gough museum might be even better; just follow the herds of tourists. However, this situation is not normal. I have no business with monuments, but arrangements with old pals. A Burger King near the city centre is most appropriate. It is a monument to our memories.
I spy Martijn coolly leaning against the Burger King, long hair slicked back in a very particularly Dutch fashion.
"Hallo!" he says as we embrace. "Did you travel well?"
I tell him of course, and that it has progressively better as I remembered exactly how to get to to the fast food joint. Sure, Amsterdam, nor Holland, are known for their land masses, but he still thinks it's impressive. He tells me that his friend, also named Martijn, whom I met during the last visit, will join us as we explore the subtle pleasures that Holland has to offer.
No. I didn't get high on a legal marijuana cigarette. Not my style. No. I didn't have a happy ending with a legal whore. Not my STD. Yes. I did have an espresso in a sky bar which overlooked all of Amsterdam. Yes. I did visit a local Dutch supermarche chain, and also had the pleasure of tasting some typical fast food at FEBO.
"Wouldn't it be funny if you had this type of Dutch place in the USA?" asks Martijn.
"Ha, I imagine, but I'm certain Americans have their full on fast food restaurants," I say, as we pass several McDonald's and another Burger King. "It seems like you guys might have had enough as well."
It is always particular to discuss, and perhaps even explain, one's country and culture. Almost everyone here speaks English and other languages are never too far behind. Martijn says they must learn another language because Dutch is spoken almost no where else, but it's not long before the other Martijn cuts him off.
"Well it is not only that. It is also for business of course. It can also be for the many tourist that come here."
"Yes, yes. OK, but it is mainly because it is spoke everywhere in de werld."
This was one of many occasions during my specialized tour where Martijn and Martijn went head to head. Every so often they would stop one another to make a correction, which to me didn't seem so necessary. Neither Martijn nor Martijn, were totally wrong. They just were never right enough.
It was the sweet convenience of a 12 hour layover that allowed me the chance to see Amsterdam again, but again, it ends all too soon. Martijn and Martijn have things to do. It was quite accommodating for them to take me around for the afternoon, but their responsibilities call them back to a normal day. We return to Burger King. A landmark of memories.
"So, what did you think of Amsterdam during the daytime?"
"A day with the Dutch?" I respond. "Not bad at all.....It's like a never left."