January 14, 2017

Marken, The Netherlands. August, 1972

How many times do you suppose this woman has posed with tourists? Dressed in a traditional manner that has endured for centuries, she was, I remember, "a character." Robert and I had taken a bus-and-boat day trip from Amsterdam, the last stop on our summer-long vacation. Short on cash and eager to return home, he and I had different approaches to these last days of travel. I took free tours (diamond processors, Rijksmuseum, etc.) and went to see What's Up, Doc? (imagine Barbra Streisand with Dutch subtitles.) He took to his bed at the Hotel Seven Bridges -- selected for us by the local tourist booking service; only later we did we learn it catered to a gay clientele. I went looking for this photo not long ago when, at my last job, the possibility arose of relocating to Amsterdam to train our European-based writers in various corporate mysteries and ways. There was a lot of talk, the project was slow to materialize and then was subsequently dropped after a management shift, but I had fun imagining living there and thinking about how I’d travel all around Europe from this base. I even started to learn a little Dutch. Very little. The useless "I don't speak English" and the wholly practical "Enjoy your meal." This affable woman looks as if she might be comfortable saying both.

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