Here in Amsterdam it's a pleasantly cool 18 degrees, and it's raining very lightly. Not so much that it's a bother - it's actually kind of pleasant because it's washed the dog turds into the gutters - but just enough so that most tourists are walking around wearing absurd translucent disposable plastic anoraks. Me, I'm obviously doing something wrong because I'm dressed exactly as I had for the Californian summer - and it works for me. If you walk quickly enough, it's just cool enough hear to negate any sweat you break. The only problem is that the streets are so congested that short people and umbrellas keep running into me - you'd think that someone of my size (1,83 m, 115 kg) would be Really Obvious when he's walking down the street, but noooo, no one can actually see me!
I've also decided that Amsterdam in the winter is actually much more pleasant. It gets cold here, sure, but not so cold as to cause any sort of problems (eg mustache icicles). The best thing of all is that there are so few people here in winter. Last Christmas, Dan and I went to the van Gogh museum on Christmas Day itself, and had the museum almost entirely to ourselves; now, in the middle of summer holidays, there were lines extending almost all the way to the Rijksmuseum, which isn't even next door to the vG. I was in awe. Frankly, I enjoyed having a painting all to myself; I don't think I'll be going back this week!
I'm also pleased to note that the friendly neighborhood "leatherman's hairdresser" (sounds kinda strange, doesn't it?) is still open and is still friendly as ever. My new haircut is very Bear-like, and I look like the friendly, somewhat befuddled bruin as ever. Even better, I managed most of the transaction in Dutch; the diminutive Asian hairdresser (in full motorcycle leathers - I had wondered how they managed to wear that in summertime, but the answer is now obvious to me - it's not warm enough to matter) noticed me reading De Volkskrant in the shop and decided he'd test my language capabilities. Fun! I still can't speak Dutch terrifically well, but obviously well enough to emerge with a fashionable yet tasteful coif.
As regards everything else, I'm pleased to note that I slept fairly well last night - the only interruption was when one of the many revellers outside woke me up with an extended shout of joy. I suppose I should have been annoyed by this, but my mood has improved and it only struck me as kind of sweet, actually. Before I got back to sleep, I'm pretty sure I heard a headboard-slamming sex incident somewhere downstairs, but I can't be sure of that. OK, I lied. It couldn't have been anything but.
In the meantime, everything's going well. Tomorrow, I'll probably go for the NS 'Zomertoer' special offer of three days' travel through the Nederlands for the equivalent of $35. I think I'll finally get to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and hopefully to the Kroller-Muller museum as well.