Saturday, October 4, 2008

Gidy in Am*dam

It is like a huge clock with a mechanism made of canals and trams and hobbit like bridges. I am thrilled to be back - in part because the city itself is the best of contemporary civilization - successfully multicultural, low crime, great mass transit, decriminalization of victimless crimes (like soft drugs, gambling and prostitution) and quite clean. And in part because some of my favorite people in the world live here.

Honza tells a story of his neighborhood association picnic, where some city representative asked what they would like changed and how they were willing to help. They said they would like to have a front garden on their flat, like some of their neighbors had. Within two weeks the municipal work crew with some local volunteers came and pulled the concrete out from in front of their house and delivered planting soil. Honza and Hanka said they would plant and support a garden and they have. Where else does this happen?

Honza also talked about the European Football (soccor) championships. When ever the Dutch team played, the city brought out these large display screens and set them up in some public squares. No big surprise here, the sport is very popular. But what is a surprise is that the city also brings these huge screens out when ever the Moroccan or Turkish national teams are playing, because these groups are a significant part of the local culture.

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