Amsterdam, History and Mnemonics

The sidewalks are tripping zones created by bicycles waiting for their owners to return. This title image bicycle is a roaring twenties model. Not seen on the streets today, but was used in India by Ghandi. The historical link of this bicycle to all bicycles in Amsterdam and the connection to the Pablo Neureda essay, on democracy in India and the possible shalom between the Muslims and Hindus might make the connection, but far more formative, dear reader, I was born just outside this city. The restoration of life, the resurrection from the dead of war, and the passage of time has made Amsterdam more than a snapshot in a photo-album, it has made Amsterdam a place to remember, to call home. The inserts of political cartoons into structures are social commentary but also decorative.

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The drum beats of refugees have influenced the street art and the table settings. The multi-coloured drums and the splashes of graffiti have added colour to a gray and rain clouded city.

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Across the canal the failing and ailing houses are stored and restored as lived in museums and shuttered economic failings. The foundations water logged and the historical character untouchable.

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The storefronts and ordinary spaces are splashed with care and colour. The carefully placed sheer drapes and the flooring pots frame windows as important. Light and colour matter.

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The food is sweetened! There is a bakery for everything and everything has sugar. Chocolate, salad dressing and even tomatoes are sprinkled with a little sugar — just in-case!

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The American Hotel is dated with an art nouveau detail. Along the canals and at street intersections marks of history remind visitors and locals alike that this city has been here for a very long time.

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The night lights and life abound. The emerging threats from unstable individuals and groups has accelerated the introduction of additional lighting at night. Image capturing friendly. Each image a mnemonic device for a childhood recreated from myth rather than memory. Somewhere between the closed churches and the preserved images there is a bit of reformation light in the art and politics of this city. It was good to have been here. Now to head home!

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