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I'm not sure if I mentioned this already, but there is a weird art gallery type of thing on the ground floor of my apartment building here in Amsterdam. For the first few weeks, i assumed that they only opened for a couple of hours a day, whenever the artists/proprietors felt like sitting around the table and talking. Eventually, I realized that they were open during the day, but I just happened to be at work during those times. But this is not what I meant to tell you. It's that now their current show is works best viewed under black light (instead of odd creations that react to passersby, or gnarly space scenes). This somehow complements the oddness of the space perfectly.

And have I said anything about how every single Albert Hein smells of freshly baked bread? I have yet to enter a store -- from the giant one near Dam Square to the tiniest one in a train station that doesn't have an oven constantly cooking something that smells delicious. While it's not quite the chocolate smell of mornings on certain Chicago bridges [since shut down by the EPA, apparently], the ubiquity of this experience tilts the balance of sheer magical wonder in its favor.

I still have things to write about regarding my last touristy week here, but now it's time to pack up my apartment to fly back to Seattle in the morning. Thanks to the lagged daylight savings time, I arrive a half hour after I leave.

I think I love living here more that I have any right to, some of which is probably based on the impermanence of it and the urge to go do things on a whim for the sake of making something of being here. Still, I do admit that the novelty of solitary sightseeing could wear off. But last night, I had dinner at this restaurant (brasserie harkema) that was just about perfect. On the outside it was an old looking almost run down building, but inside it was ultra modern and lovely. Waiters wore white t-shirts; servers wore black. At another small table across from me, there was a stylish woman there by herself. Also reading, and with a Time Out tourbook at her side. Over the course of my meal, I finished Never Let Me Go and stepped outside to catch a tram home. More than a little part of me is sad to be leaving.

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