Just a quick post to say that Lisa and I have returned safely from Amsterdam. Wow. What an fascinating and unique city! Canals, bicycles EVERYWHERE, trams aplenty, hash-serving coffeehouses (none of which I investigated, I must admit) and tons of interesting architecture. Lisa and I took a little excursion with the linguistic group to a fishing village about 25 miles north of Amsterdam. When Lisa saw that she could be in the lush, bike-path strewn rural areas of the Netherlands after only a 15-minute train ride from central Amsterdam, I could already see the wheels in her head spinning -- "Okay, how soon can we move here?"
There are certainly worse places to end up.
I'll post more on the trip later, but I will leave with this thought: Dutch looks like a kid's made-up language. On the public phones that take credit cards, the monitor says "Steek Kaart in." On the way to the fishing village was a sign to a town called "Krabbensplaat." There were many other examples that made me and Lisa both crack up. But if I end up having to learn Dutch, too, so be it.