Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dog Sitter

The Photograph

The Story

One cool late afternoon, Matt & I headed into town, to our customary tourist stop off, Leidseplein- a favorite because of the bazillions of places to choose from for date night fun. We settled on a slim graffiti marked lane leading to a petite 15th century church at the entrance of the historic Begijnhof, or Beguine Court. Once home to the Begijntjes (a Catholic nun-like sisterhood, sans vows) and still occupied by single, quiet-living women, these ancient homes, include the oldest wooden house still standing in Amsterdam, Het Houten Huis, built circa 1420. Crouched around a small green, the inviting courtyard lies just out of reach, closing out non-residents with a diminutive fence with a sign requesting your respect of their wish to be left in peace (that means you, tourists).

On the walk from tourist-land to the protected court, we passed a few cafes, and needing some warmth, walked into what became on of our true favorites, Tomaz. They introduced me to a favorite Dutch novelty, Mustard Soup, served with Tomaz's personal touch, smoked salmon strips on top. We were encouraged to play a board game as we sipped our Mc Chouffe's, or discuss the literature stacked table side as we waited for our meals. Across from the cafe's few outdoor tables, sat the dog sitter, clearly at home in his cafe borrowed chair, steaming cup in hand. His mutt, almost as big as he is small, sniffs and pulls toward each passer by as the old gent struggles not to spill or be spilled out of his seat despite Mutt forcible scooting his chair an inch or two towards each new passing face.

I wish the lighting had been enough to show his grin. Cheap entertainment, watching tourists...