Friday, August 26, 2005

Seasons in the Sun

Amsterdam seems like it would be a perfectly lovely city to stumble through, dead-eyed with jet-lag until your flip-flops carve bruises into the top of your feet, if it weren't for all the hippies. And hippy paraphernalia. I can only imagine that this is infinitely irritating to more genteel Amsterdamers.

I realized as I sleep-walked back to Centraal Station, that I haven't been in Western Europe proper in High Backpacker season since I was one of those little rascals myself. I knew by the end of that summer that that was it for me. I had had a great time, but I'm sure you're all familiar with the more irritating aspects of the backpacker species, and in Paris I had encountered a gaggle of Americans who banded together in mammoth groups and only left the hostel bar for another bar, and never met any non-Americans, but right as rain would return to their home towns and pontificate on French culture and what was wrong with their crappy food and what-have-you.

So looking at these backpackers, I had a bit of that sour taste in my mouth from that awful Paris hostel chain gang; there was a little disdain for the conformist non-conformity of it all. But at the same time, the tiniest touch of nostalgia. The being young and discovering a continent as if nobody had ever been there before you. Because no matter what great capacity for wonder I still retain, it's clear that never again will everything be as new as all that.


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