Cold, drizzly and overcast, I tumbled out of bed into the street this morning. Just across the canal was a great little cafe serving full English breakfasts, pancakes, omelettes and coffee. I ducked into the crooked, warm and narrow Bredero's Cafe for a piping hot cheese and mushroom omelette, a couple of cups of kaffe latte and some tosti, our first pronounceable Dutch word and not too difficult to figure out it's meaning. The Dutch language has always been a little challenging so tosti might be the extent of my vocabulary and I plan to use it as greeting, gratitude and gotta go.
Warmed up and fortified with coffee and eggs, I walked the alleyways, streets and canals of this very open city. All the coffee shops and bars sell pot and hash at varying prices and potencies, loose or pre-rolled with tobacco or straight up, the smell of it's warmly familiar smoke pouring out of every other store front into the street. Loads of sex shops and of course the red light district where the girls are on display looking terribly bored but trying hard to be erotic standing behind glass in street front cubicles . Husband and wife tourists clinging to each other, gone down to the district for a little glance, something they can tell their friends about when they go home. Young guys waving at the whores as one would greet a fellow worker in the street and the whores waving back. Nothing too lurid or clandestine, it's all out in the open and has a good natured smirk about it. Fine with me. I went into a tattoo shop and admired some of Tattoo Peter's art, the walls full of design samples and newspaper articles about Pete, the whiz of his electric needle in the background. Hundreds of cafes and restaurants, Indonesian, middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese, pizza, donuts and all the rest. The whole thing is a sensational penny arcade of humanity. Maybe tomorrow I'll try to take in some culture but today I really enjoyed the jamboree.
A second show tonight at the Music Hall, much like last night's though a few set changes to keep things interesting. Tomorrow's the first of two shows in Rotterdam at the old stand-by Ahoy.