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On the Wednesday

An afternoon in Utrecht, the Netherlands

I lived in the Netherlands between May and December of 2000, and between August 2003 and January 2005.

In late October 2007, I went from Ireland to visit an American friend in Utrecht.


After I walked with Deb to the train station, I went back to the old city center.

But I couldn't find anything to eat. Nothing appealed to me.

I had left the train station thinking that I was going to go out in Dutch — leaving the English language behind for the evening. I had declined to buy an International Herald Tribune, while I was there at the station.

I couldn't find anything that I wanted to eat. I did see a place that looked good, a cafe (which, in Holland, is a pub,) and I remembered it.

I decided to go back to the train station, get the newspaper, and eat at Burger King.

At Burger King, I was in queue* and when I got to the counter it seemed to me that the queue had gone mysteriously defunct. Somebody behind me shifted over to the next queue, and I started to wonder.

I had to ask of the girl at the next cash-register whether or not there was still somebody on this one. She said that yeah, he's busy. Her demeanor was a little bit hostile, but I understood because that kind of question in English automatically sounds conflictive. I said that I was just asking. I smiled at her, and she smiled.

Soon the fellow on this register came back; he'd been busy. Working hard, in fact. I asked him for the Whopper voordeelmenu, met Coke, normal size, with ketchup and a bit of salt. He charged me for the ketchup, and gave me mayonnaise. That's what's normal, so it was an honest mistake.


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* *"in line," as we say in America...
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