27 December, 2006

De Hortus and its environs.

After the museum I meandered my way down south, through Jodenbuurt and into the Plantage, to check out de Hortus, the Dutch botanical gardens. "Botanical gardens, in winter?" you ask? Yep, it was almost a big dissapointment, if it hadn't been for the bigger butterflies. Very big butterflies. Wings as big as my open hand, and right in your face, munchin' on an orange slice. Unfortunately, this is where my camera crapped out (see previous post), so again, frakk Sony.

After de Hortus, I walked around for a while. It is virtually impossible to get lost in Amsterdam. Since most of the center of the city is a series of concentric rings, sooner or later you end up on the river again. I walked back through Jodenbuurt, and ran into a street market full of old middle eastern ladies, which morphed into hippie/stoner/tourist market the more I walked in the direction of the Dam. So down and into the old side of Centruum I went, and found myself hanging out around the University of Amsterdam. Quiet, since I assume they're on break, but full of –wait for it– bookstores! I spent a good hour and a half perusing the shelves. A lot of american imports (as opposed to british editions, which is interesting), but some real gems, particularly in this one store which specializes in art-related books.

Eventually I walked by a little antiques shop which was blasting Hector Lavoe, so I had to go in. The owner was a lady from Arecibo, my dad's home town! Not only that, but she had a considerably large collection of old Fania and salsa in general LPs, and she was selling lead type, by the case and as loose sorts! Needless to say, I had to see if I could find a Garamond 'p', but I didn't find one. Spent a good long time chillin' with this lady. She married a Dutchman when younger and opened the antiques shop with him. Small world, no?

After that I realized I'd basically made a full circle, so I headed back to the hotel to pick up my stash and write these posts. Now I'm headed out to a coffeeshop, in search of a nice quiet corner in which to sip some brew, smoke some herb, and read some more System of the World. Life is good.

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