Tuesday, September 24, 2013

SEPTEMBER 24, 2013

Nearly a week after her actual Natal Day, Marti was showing no signs of stopping. The Birthday Festival Celebration rocked on, this time with a 7:45 a.m. rendezvous with Alyce and John at the Thalys booth at Gare du Nord. We were headed on a daylong cultural exchange mission to Amsterdam. We bought patisseries for brekkie, retired to the VIP Lounge to await our train. Hit the complimentary newsstand and 50-centime coffee machine, then the four of us were off.

Upon arrival we visited with our longtime bud Steve Haze, shown here in a file photo at last year’s Cannabis Cup. Steve gave Marti a beautiful Delft beer stein for her b-day. We hung out with him over coffees and the first smoke of the day at an outdoor cafĂ© table by his building. This is what passes for Steve’s back yard. I love it.

Next we went to Birthday Lunch at Barney’s Uptown, where a person may enjoy a cocktail, a smoke and a decent cheeseburger under the watchful eyes of a trio of garden Buddhas.

We were joined by our dear friends Caroline and JimmyMack, a multi-celebratory babyhead couple, whose past year has featured travel for their 40th wedding anniversary, a surprise 60th birthday party for James and the incessant photodocumentation of their three grandchildren. It was a convivial gathering.

After lunch we popped into the Hemp Works boutique for a little shopping.

We also picked up Dutch cheeses at the excellent traiteur Caulils.

Marti requested this pic. She has a business colleague named Joselito. Who knew he had been declared Best Ham In The World?

The four of us parted company with Caroline and JimmyMack (Steve had bailed before Barney’s; he’s a busy boy). Then Alyce, John, Marti and I took a cab to the Hermitage Amsterdam.

Paul Gauguin, Sacred Spring: Sweet Dreams (Nave Nave Moe), 1894. A feature in the exhibition Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis: A Russian Taste For French Art. Ivan Morozov and Sergei Shchukin were prominent wealthy Russian collectors of the French moderns. Works from their collections and other sources from the mothership, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, constituted this compelling new exhibition.

Post-art museum coffee, etc. at an outdoor table at The Greenhouse Coffeeshop on the Waterlooplein.

Snacks, drinks and a last puff downstairs at the Batavia, near the railroad station.

The Cafe Batavia is another rare venue where drinking, dining and smoking are allowed. Great place to wind up a day in the ‘Dam.

John found a poster depicting one of his doppelgangers. He used to dive for oil companies not far from here on the North Sea.

The ride home to Paris. Powered by potato chips.

Smart tourists make good use of their time.

A long day for Ms. Marti. The extended Birthday Festival is not for the fainthearted.

One more week of partying in Paris . . . then it’s on to Greece! #ThePartyNeverEnds

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