Rocky re-entry

The convergence of vacation fatigue, hay fever season, recirculated air and some other random bug has plopped me on my bottom since I returned from the Netherlands.  I am sleeping around the clock, providing an intense annoyance for Steve. I am concerned for my impending surgery.  No surgery is allowed for patients with respiratory problems.  I am working hard to get better.  We spent our last day in the tulip conservatory at Keukenhof Gardens and I never gave a thought to the pollen immersion I was experiencing.  After all, the tour was called "Tulip Time" and since the ground had delayed the bulbs, we had to go indoors to get our fix.  Hindsight tells me that I kick-started my allergies, and allowed a sinus/ear/throat infection to plant itself.  It's a nuisance, but nothing more.

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That last day was typical of the cruise:  we left the ship and were bussed to the gardens, and in our absence the boat returned to Amsterdam.  After the gardens, we were bussed to merge with the boat for lunch, then set out to enjoy free time in Amsterdam.  We had done Anne Frank's hiding place, a river cruise, and the Van Gogh museum at debarkation, so we were compelled to hit the Red Light District before we left.  We are not the demographic this street is seeking, and so we decided to go during the day.  No pictures of the working girls are allowed.   I expect that it is because the fantasy of lovely prostitutes is in conflict with bored girls in neon swim suits talking on their cell phones as pimply boys gape.  It was an awkward little walk for a bunch of middle aged women.  I think we wanted to rescue them.  I did see a bar that paid homage to the American Mother Road.  P1030206.JPG

The coffee shops serve more than coffee, as you probably know.  It is illegal to advertise weed, but if a patron enters, there is a menu for consumers, with ratings based on strength.  Netherlanders favor hash, but they are generally reluctant to encourage Americans to use their strongest stuff.  Maybe they just want to keep it for themselves.  Since most of the clientele is on foot or bikes, the worst that happens is kids passing out in the street. People in Amsterdam pride themselves on their tolerance.  They step over stoners, and tell them to drink something sweet.  It's a cure I had never heard of.  I was pretty glad I resisted the siren call of coffee shops when I donated blood for my surgery.  The paperwork included questions about illegal drugs.  Even though what happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam, THC travels with the patron.  I would have some 'splainin to do....
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As you can see, shops near the red light district attempt to capitalize on the "free love"  feeling.  I didn't see too many customers, but there were plenty of photographers.  I managed to buy a bike bag made of Mexican oilcloth in the red light district, in anticipation of cycling with my new turbo-knee. Leave it to the Midwest Mom to find the wholesome in Hell. Of course, now I need to install a rear platform on my bike to accommodate it.  The devil is in the details-or in Amsterdam, some say.

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