You get up at daybreak. You've swept across 18 time zones in five days and it takes a moment. You're in Amsterdam. The morning light is reflecting off the canal outside your window. You hit the fancy coffee machine in the hotel lobby and enjoy your double espresso/no milk thanks ('cuz you can't find any). Your wife is sleeping in. She has presented on three continents in less than a week. Sleep 'til noon, my love. It's Saturday morning. I've got this.
A few quick questions and you find yourself on the #13 tram toward Westerkerk. None of your chip cards work for the fare. The driver lets you go, anyway. When is technology not confounding?
You get off by the queue of tourists at the Anne Frank House and keep walking until the streets are weekend quiet again. You are in the Jordaan (not Jordan, Yoordin!) district. You've heard it's hip. You follow the old lady with the Dachshund, canary yellow tote bag on her shoulder. You see the row of panel trucks before you hit Lindengracht. As many times as you have done this, you still feel your heart quicken, your pace pick up. You've found what you are looking for. You walk past the rows of bicycles and wade in.
Notwithstanding the fact that the guy hawking the sunflowers looks like he was cast by Van Gogh, you sense that you have walked into the original script for farm to table consumption. Everyone seems to know everyone. There is great passion about the mackerel, drama about the cheese.
My roots are non-agrarian. I think you can go back three generations and not find a potted herb! So why this fascination with food I find out of doors? There is something about the freshness of it all. The colors, the smells. The arrangement of the products, the bustle of the trade. I suppose it is like theatre, only with food as the stand-in. You'll find the same themes wherever you go and yet it feels new and exciting, every single time.
You're thinking about a second coffee, maybe a croissant. Your wife should be stirring. The restaurants are opening, people are up and about. You tuck your phone in your blue jeans pocket and start walking back to the hotel.