So, I was going to post my first pictures. Unfortunately the cable I need is in The Big Black Bag. Alas, you will have to wait to see them.
I made it to Schipol, safe and sound. We landed before sunrise this morning. And then we taxied. And taxied. And I think we may have actually landed in northern France, or perhaps some of Schipols runways are down that way.
Breezed through passport check and hopped the train for Central Station, which looks nothing like train stations in the US but rather more like a fairy tale castle. Nice to be someplace where they don't bat an eye at you going to Damascus.
It is cold here, low 30s, yet most of today was more than partly sunny. But did I mention it was cold.
I was rather exhausted from the day before and just gave up on any plan of attack. I did take the one-hour boat tour through the canals and harbor, and promptly fell asleep. I must say that with as little as I saw today of this city I love it. Bicycle parking stacked four floors high in front of Central Station, clogged with bikes. Don't suspect you'll ever see that in the U.S. If any city could, this place might be able to even get me on a bike. Drivers gladly acknowledging that those stripes on the road at intersections are more than decoration. Talk about shock and awe.
And do these people know how to live. By the time I got downtown at 9am nothing, NOTHING, was open yet. I managed to find a little cafe/sandwich shop near Anne Frank's house. There were only about four little red top tables in the place and EVERY time somebody popped in they would wish us all a good morning and we would wish it right back. Just a nice tone to set for the day.
So, it's just about 4pm. We board for Damascus at 6:45. They have the most splendid invention here - shower rooms! For one low price you can reclaim your humanity. The young woman at the hotel desk looked at me quite oddly as I thanked her profusely for letting me pay to get a shower.
I am interested to see if my flight is full tonight and who I'll be sharing a plane with. I'll most likely be incommunicado for a few days while I sleep and start getting things sorted. Be patient!