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Amsterdam, Saturday 8-12-95 1100 local (Z+2)

By now I was supposed to be over the North Atlantic winging my way towards JFK. However, the airplane we were to pickup is running 6.5 hours late coming in from Bombay. I'm afraid that's not unusual given the efficiency of getting things done in India. Hopefully we'll still reach New York about 1700 local. I hope so, otherwise it's going to start interfering with adequate rest before turning around and heading for Paris tomorrow. Once we're in Paris, we've got 2 days to relax - one of the few layovers Tower has that allows you to see anything.

I would rather have had the 2 days in Amsterdam. Of the European cities I have been in, this is the friendliest, and it's totally non-threatening, thanks in large measure to The Netherlands' enlightened drug policies. You can walk anywhere, anytime of day (or night) without fear. It's also a convenient city for an English speaker. Most Dutch speak excellent English. Unfortunately it's also expensive (but not anywhere near as bad as Paris) for an American due to the weak dollar.

Amsterdam is in a very festive mood this weekend. The "tall ships" are in the harbor and, being the seafaring town it has been for generations, Amsterdam is giving them a proper welcome. Twice during the night, once about midnight and then again at 0230 I was awakened by the sound of parades, complete with brass bands, in the street below me. These people do know how to party, and the weather is perfect. Yesterday it was sunny and warm, even hot if you were in the sun walking. Today is shaping up the same. I went out on the balcony off my room in my bare skin to observe both of the small, night-time parades, and was quite comfortable - most unusual for a city this far north and on the North Sea, but then I had spoken to a Dutchman earlier about the excellent weather, and he said it's been great all summer.

The warm weather has brought a treat for any girl-watchers about. Dutch girls are not best described as inhibited, and the good weather has produced some interesting sights. One girl appeared to be dressed in a white slip, at least that's what it looked like. The slip was, obviously, all she had on - it was slightly transparent. Also, I don't think I have ever seen so many well tanned, flat, female stomachs on downtown city streets. Bare midriffs are definitely the style here among the young.

I've been sampling typical Dutch cuisine - McDonald's, Kentucky Fried, hot dogs. These things can no longer be thought of as American. They are now truly international (as well as being the cheapest food available).

I'm back on my line now, and I hope I stay on it. The captain is fine to fly with; the engineer is as well and I knew him at Evergreen. It's a relaxed and efficient crew.

Okay, time to head for New York. Everybody take care...Terry

terry.liittschwager@gmail.com

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