Monday, August 01, 2005

The city of Utrecht is like a lot of people I have met. It’s beautiful but dull. Granted I preferred it to the gaudy filth that is hung about the streets of Amsterdam. There are just so many shops selling t-shirts depicting join t smoking smiley faces, women selling their asses from display cases, and stoned frat boys a city can handle before it cheapens the atmosphere. Utrecht has an odd regimentation of their week as well. Thursday is party day. Everyone goes out to restaurants, bars and clubs. When I asked what the occasion was, I was told, “Because it’s Thursday”. Monday is a day of rest. They take it easy Sunday too, but even more so on Monday. I don’t know if it is because the demands of Thursday require Monday for recuperation but don’t expect to get anything done in Utrecht on Monday. I had to eat toothpaste and drink canal water for nourishment, as I did not know everything would be closed that day. The Dutch people are a tall race. It’s a little known fact that I just made up that the Dutch government sponsors a program for the x-raying of young children to determine their growth potential in order to export any stature impaired children to other European countries more tolerant of the untall. The popular “Big and Tall” shops of America1 are unheard of in Holland. They do have “Short and Stumpy” shops in the major cities. The written language is driven by the need to used an excess of consonants left over from the war. I was misinformed that it was a phonetic language. This would be impossible as only a wookie would be able to pronounce what looks like English written by a faulty typewriter. The spoken language does have a Star Wars feel about it. I made no progress in learning any of the grunts or clicks necessary to pronounce any word. Although I did hear the funniest sentence in any language ever, “Vinkle est Ploondered” which means the shop was looted.

The most surreal event happened to me at the head of the immigration queue. I turned to look behind me to see several hundred people following the zigzags of the maze made with ropes. Something wasn’t right. I had the feeling that my vision could not be relied on. I was the same feeling when you walk into a dark house after being in the bright sunlight all day or when I used to watch our old colour television and someone had fiddled with the saturation knob. That was it. The colour was not right. It didn’t help that as the people followed the queue snaking back and forth across the room created this odd effect of each line of people moved in the opposite direction like a human vaudeville oceanscape. Then I figured out the problem. Every single individual were violently sunburned to a shade I have only seen in red clay hills and seafood. A menacing shade on a single individual but to see a writhing mass of several hundred overcooked Scots is a sight the mind has difficulty in processing. I could not help laughing once I realized it was not the trick of the eyes but the witnessing of a yearly national event. The return migration of Scots from their summer holidays where they spend weeks mistaking sun stroke for the strength of the local brew. It’s true a healthy tan looks nice but a gentle olive complexion is one thing and melanoma is quite another. Plus after the huge chunks of flesh that will inevitable peel away will be the usual shade of pale found in the natives.

Well, that is all for today. I hope your vinkles remain unploondered.

1) Now called Wal-Mart.
2) I taught my spellchecker wookie.

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