Last day of summer makes you reflect on the past summer. Of course during Covid times it was harder to go out on the street, but there were a lot of enjoyable days walking the streets of Amsterdam and seeing people enjoy summer, a man eating an ice cream, a woman squinting her eyes while enjoying the rays of sun on her face, a couple having that much needed talk outside while staring over the water.
Last year just before my big operation I got married and we took a boat from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans with our family and friends. On our one year anniversary we revisited the place, just the two of us by car. Due to Covid-19 there were far less tourists this time at Zaanse Schans to enjoy the view and visit the windmills. We took a round trip on a boat every other spot was taped off, personnel working at Zaanse Schans are wearing masks to protect them selves and others from the Covid 19 virus.
Various portraits of people passing me by on the streets of Amsterdam. A young man staring into the distance at Nieuwmarkt, a man on a bicycle smiling at his friend near Bijlmer Arena, an elderly woman in the Jordaan crossing the street with her rollator and oxygen tank, two tourists leaving a coffeeshop at Nieuwmarkt.
Amsterdam CS during rush hour. Like in life, people pass you by, some faces pop out and some faces blur in the background. More so when you suddenly get life threatening Ill and you don’t know how long you have left. Some people surface and stand right beside you, help you pull trough and give light to your day. Some people fade and blur in the background.
Some people take a deep breath and decide to ignore you while you are standing a couple of feet away taking street photos. Never be that person.
This last week of October we had a few nice days. Before it seemed to rain all the time, but suddenly the sun came trough and we had three beautiful albeit cold days. On Tuesday Ineke whom I know since we were eight years old came all the way from Enkhuizen to pick me up in Amsterdam and together we drove to Velzen-Noord. There is a small beach and in the background you can see windmills and smoke from Tata Steels factory in Ijmuiden. We walked along the pier towards the lighthouse and back both taking pictures, afterwards we had lunch outside sitting in the sun.
Even de boel de boel laten
When we were 16 years old Ineke and I would sometimes go and drink beer after school and mumble “even de boel de boel laten” with each new glass of beer, which means something like sidestepping from your daily routine and let everything pass for a while. Of course at that age we still had little worries, but I remember those relaxing afternoons.
While we were having lunch after our walk that day in October it reminded me of that time. Sitting in the sun, relaxing and talking it all felt familiar and I felt at ease , it was a perfect day.
In my neighborhood is a shop where it says “Viswinkel” on the window. Meaning “Fish shop”. You can buy lighters, cutlery, bags, tajines everything you could think of but fish, it so seems, in this shop.
Most of the days the shop is closed but on some days when the sun is out the shopkeeper opens up the doors puts his goods outside on the sidewalk.
Then the shopkeeper puts out two chairs on the sidewalk and he sits with his wife outside in the sun drinking tea and doing crossword puzzles together. He is from Moroccan descent she is Dutch.
Today he is alone without his wife. Maybe he didn’t feel like putting out the chairs when she is not there, he is sitting on a street post catching the last rays of sunlight in the beginning of autumn.