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Published: December 12th 2006
I met Keegan at noon at the Flying Pig again. It looks like a really great hostel - friendly staff and there is free computers with internet for people to use. There's also a lounging area with pillows (no shoes allowed) where lots of people would hang out, drink some coffee, smoke, read, or listen to music.
We took the metro (subway) to Waterlooplein, where they have a great market that sells mostly clothing, smoke accessories, purses, tapestries, and jewelry. In every market there's always a lot of the same types of things: Sherpa clothing, itchy but beautiful looking wool hats, irresistable purses with those little shiney mirrors stitched on the outside, and so on.
The market also has a flea market section where people spread out their junk on the ground (sometimes on flimsy, slanted tables) - you can always find a few beheaded plastic dolls from the 70s, old strap on roller skates, lots and lots of brass items, and of course, that fake crystal vase you always needed and wanted.
I did see two things that I'm keeping in my mind and I plan on returning to Waterlooplein to check them out before I leave Amsterdam for the last time: one black pashmina shawl (I have lots of colorful scarves but sometimes you just need a black one) and this handmade leather purse. I didn't dare check the price on the purse but I didn't buy it because of Paris. Who knows what's in Paris?
Keegan was looking for green earrings to match a necklace he bought for his girlfriend. I tried to help him find something, but no luck. It was funny, he said, "I try to notice the differences in earrings, but they all look the same to me. What can I say, I'm a guy."
After Waterlooplein, we walked up and down the main canals, browsing through a few unique shops as we went. Fortunately the weather was a lot friendlier and it only showered a few times but avoided the lengthy downpour like the previous day. We got a bit lost but delightfully ended up finding another market I had never been to. This one was mostly food - and socks. Side note: I've never seen so many sock vendors in my life! Every market has at least 5 sock vendors all selling the same basic 3- or 4-bundled white or black socks. End side note.
A nice lady handed both of us a generous piece of pear. It was so delicious that Keegan ended up buying one - I held out until we passed a dried fruit stand where I couldn't resist getting 200 grams (don't worry, I didn't know how much that was either) of assorted dried fruits including coconut shavings, mangos, papaya, pineapple, tomatoes, and some green fruit (not kiwi...so maybe it was dyed green?).
After consulting our microscopic map of Amsterdam, we finally located the pin-sized place we were at on the map. 25 minutes later we were back at Keegan's hostel and I said goodbye. It's not for long since I'll definitely hang out with him when I return to Seattle. The closer it gets to coming back to the Emerald City, the more excited I get. Although Europe is amazing and I almost don't want to leave, it will be so refreshing to return to a familiar life, familiar people, places, food, and of course, speaking English to native speakers. I also think I'm most excited to sleep on my futon bed. =) Keegan said he's also excited to return but he'll miss the mid-day siestas the most. I'll miss the sit-down coffee places (I have yet to see a paper to go cup for coffee) and the freedom and opportunity to travel without needing a car.
That evening I ate dinner with the fam: baked salmon, saffron rice, tahini, and broccoli with breadcrumbs. Then it was off to Agatha's apartment for a bit of chatting before I got my bag, caught the metro and jumped aboard the train back to Enschede
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