In Amsterdam there are boats in canals. Sometimes they slide beneath ornate bridges, emerge from narrow tunnels, create lines in the water. Mostly they sit tethered to the side of the canal, beneath skinny tall painted faces and trees and sky and the smell of waffles. Little old ladies emerge to water lovely flowers, except they are not little or old, in the sense we might think. They are old like Maude, happy in their skin, chuckling softly, gripping a mug of something warm, chatting with a friend, and, let’s face it, they can hop on a bike and whip your ass in a mad dash across town down alleys, pumping hard over bridges, accelerating into the distances. Despite unfounded rumors of sneaky e-bike use, I found no elderly on the bike paths of Holland. Young and old zoomed past me like fish to my snorkel, smooth, easy, no longer thinking of pedalling. Mount, dismount, lock, unlock, ring if you have to.
In Amsterdam there is a boat filled with cats. You may stop in for a visit when you son misses his little black Wednesday. Some cats on the kitty boat have wanted posters posted on beams with warnings not to pet. Others sit waiting in a basket, gazing out at the canal while you stroke their soft little heads and backs. Outside it is a madness of bikes and cars and pedestrians. Here, only blinking eyes and soft tails, padding feet and curled sleep.
In Amsterdam there are boats in canals, red, blue, white, gray, yellow.