One of the reasons I love to travel is the people you met. We hopped a train yesterday afternoon to Zaanse Schans to see some old-fashioned windmills; one of the many things that comes to mind when you think of “Dutch.” I will get to the windmills in a later post but had to commit this one experience to “paper” before too long.
Heading back to Amsterdam Centraal, I boarded the car behind Rachel and Aliena. Rachel stepped around a guy to take a seat next to the window while Aliena took the seat across, facing Rachel and her seat mate. As I sat down next to Aliena, I noticed a three cornered hat on the guy’s lap and short, pantaloon-type pants complete with long, white socks and shoes with gold buckles. I slowly looked up, and sure enough he was wearing a lacy, ruffled shirt and revolutionary-style jacket. He was wearing mirrored sunglasses and looking at his phone. I couldn’t help but wonder why he was dressed up in such fancy garb. Was he going to work or a fancy party?
Soon enough, he tired of his phone and engaged us in conversation. Where we’re we going, what were we doing, had we heard of Queen’s Day? Rachel filled him in and he revealed he was going to a Queen’s Day party on a boat so he decided a pirate costume would be fun and get him noticed. Then the conversation turned to jobs. He seemed quite fascinated with Rachel’s profession and her travel/commute time. Then Aliena told him how far she drives to work and he just shook his head. He refused to live more than 10 minutes from his job so he moves when needed to ensure a short commute.
Wow! A kindred spirit! Someone else who doesn’t have the patience for a commute, whether it be by car or train (a far better option if one has to commute). He said he found it to be a waste of time, as do I. It’s nice to travel and meet someone who sees things the way you do, even though he comes from a small country and doesn’t take more than a couple of hours to drive from end to end. We Americans rely way too much on cars to get us from point A to B. I wish our infrastructure and public transportation supported a better lifestyle of leaving your car at home.
My only regret was not getting a picture of the pirate who doesn’t commute, but I doubt I will forget a guy who boldly wore ruffles on a train bound for Amsterdam.