Friday, June 4, 2010

Settling into the neighborhood

DSC00277 The new office / residence is in the historic section of Maastricht, away from the familiar Wyck neighborhood that I’ve been living in.  I still walk across the bridge to find familiar stores and services, but am also starting to explore the surrounding area.

As noted, it’s flush with riverside bars and restaurants, all full in the summer.  When friends visit, it’s nice to be able to walk across the street and have a drink or snack.  Yesterday, I went looking through the nearby establishments for an acquaintance that I was supposed to meet, waving that I was just looking for mijn vriendin.  Flatteringly, all of the waitresses said they’d be my friend.

There are the drug boats out front in one direction, a brothel back in the other, head shops around one corner, bars around the other.  Ah, the Netherlands, but it doesn’t diminish the ambience at all.  ‘and the brothel advertises guaranteed multiple orgasms--  there must be an age limit?

DSC00309 I made the mandatory trip to Ikea yesterday to get some cabinets for the office, returning to find all of the streets blocked off.  Maastricht’s fraternal orders were having one of their periodic marches, brass bands and drums across the St. Servaasbrug.  So everything had to be carried across from the parking place.  ‘at least there was good rhythm to keep my feet moving.

DSC00322 Then it was midnight assembling everything.  I’ve always held that you’re not really a parent until you have to assemble a roomful of Ikea furniture for the kids.  Fortunately, the skills of deciphering Swede/English instructions and using the little toy tools hasn’t deserted me.

DSC00298 Friday is market day at the Markt Plaza, a couple of blocks away.  I used to use the green grocer in the Wyck, but this has far wider selection and better prices.  And there is the entertainment value of the vendors yelling hup-hup as they lob melons back and forth across the stalls.  It’s a bit like the salmon pitching at Pike Place market in Seattle, but without the smells.

‘speaking of ‘hup’, it’s football season again, and the oranje spirit is everywhere.  Foosball in the bank lobby, decorations on the stores, flags on the houses, lights in the squares.  I hope it lasts with a string of wins this year (I feel like a Cubs fan again…)

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