Wishing For Groundhog Day

03/04/2011 20:00 by Amsterdamize

I'm happy to report I didn't jinx anything, so let me run my Saturday by y'all. Instead of being gently woken up by the ritual humming sounds of our Buddhist neighbors at their temple on Zeedijk, the abundant sun did. Coffee, brekkie, opened my window and saw that all was quiet & quaint again [after a stag party infested night]. My bike crate had collected only an average amount of consumer waste & it took my neighbor across the canal only 10 minutes to scrub off the smell of wee at his doorstep. Rise & Shine Rise & Shine Two doors back, the good people of Cafe Excalibur were already stocking up for yet another busy day. Rise & Shine I had no plans, other than taking it slow and seeing where things would end up. As 'things' go, I received this tweet from my mate & co-author Álvaro, aka Sindändùne: twitter_sindandune A shower & 10 minutes later I was sitting on the stoop on the corner of Nieuwmarkt, as I had some time to kill while waiting for my drill sergeant...he's Spanish, after all :). AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss Then, right after I thought to myself 'Now I've seen it all', Álvaro arrives on his loyal (German) BASF bike. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss twitter_fonteyn We sat down on the terrace of Cafe Fonteyn, ordered our respective beers & caught up on things. While the world passed by. AMS Bliss Or the world, in the form of a bachelorette party, presents itself to you in full glory...Again: "Now I've seen it all." AMS Bliss AMS Bliss In between, I briefly skipped over to the square to get acquainted with Danielle, who was working for the city, creating awareness regarding littering cigarette butts riding around on the ash-tray bike. I've posted about this bicycle-powered (a cargo bike frame by Workcycles) campaign before, but never got to photograph it myself, until now. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss Alvaro asked me to join his bbq in Westerpark. Who was I to decline. So on we went, but not before declaring his appreciation for Mr Freight. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss I quickly returned home, finding (homeless) Gerrit roaming my street. AMS Bliss As always he didn't mind posing a bit. "As long as those pictures don't end up in the newspapers, I'm fine with it." he said. I gave him €2 to have a beer at Cafe The Old Sailor on the corner and wished him a fine day. AMS Bliss Popped into the supermarket for my contribution to the bbq & and I proceeded towards Westerpark. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss Encountering an old but still perfectly working contraption along the way. AMS Bliss Entering Westerpark, scoping the grounds. Suffice to say, people get there by bike. It's one of only two sane modes of transportation. A hint: neither of them is the car. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss How else are you going to make the kids happy and bring your own trampoline to the park? Right, by bakfiets. In this case, you just rent one. AMS Bliss Meanwhile, the protagonist arrives, having parked his steed at the edge of the park. AMS Bliss The bakfiets owner from earlier sets up shop next to our spot. AMS Bliss Turns out he's quite efficient...and eccentric :). AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss Álvaro's girlfriend arrives. No further commentary needed. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss Our neighbor has turned his bbq bakfiets around for better utility. Looks good. Meanwhile, we utilize our own. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss Good people, too much food, plenty of beer...all ingredients contributing to a splendid day in the sun. Facilitated by the bicycle. If not for that darn bicycle, we'd be nowhere. Well, or very stressed out. "Can I take your Fr8 for a spin, mate?" - "Sure, buddy." AMS Bliss "Can you take me to my bike, mate?" - "Of course, buddy." AMS Bliss Hold your man's bike, while he secures the bbq.. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss Last bit of sun disappearing... AMS Bliss "Wanna go for a few more beers?" - "Sure!" AMS Bliss We steered to Cafe 't Smalle. Perfect. AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss AMS Bliss One of those days you wish not to come to an end. Alas, we seized it, with ease & there will plenty more to come. Lastly & fittingly, I want to share something that one of my cycling Twitter friends sent me early that Saturday evening, I quote Austin, a Brown University visiting student:
I’m a nomad. Having not stayed in anyone city for more than four months over the past four years, I find it difficult to name just one place that I could call home. I enjoy this lifestyle; traveling often is not only a way to learn about various cultures around the world, but it also allows me to learn many new things about myself at each of my new homes. As I switch from city to city, I am the only constant. This process helps me see what values and habits of mine remain intact regardless of my environment. Amsterdam has recently reached the “home” status with me. Now and forever, I will be able to call this city home. Upon returning from a few days in Spain, I felt this realization more concretely than ever before. The once-overwhelming bike traffic is now the only way I can imagine a city functioning.
I know how you feel, Austin.

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