Amsterdam is like Paris in that there is no way to get lost. No matter what direction you go, its safe, beautiful, and interesting. I took a tram across town for a haircut (Mom and Dad may grin to know that I am now sporting a modified mohawk - usually chuckles were the reaction I would get from them to the various haircuts I'd come home with when I was in high school.) From there I just wandered my way back through town, never knowing exactly where I was. Amsterdam lends itself more to observations about life here than to a list of sights. There is a charming picturesque "street" with a view of a canal bridge every ten feet; as photos, they start to all look the same. I observed several (and sampled one) automat-type fast food stores. Something about them amazes me. Walls of window boxes where you stick in your money and pull out a chicken stick, or nuggets, or hamburger, or what have you. Perfectly good and fresh with someone behind the boxes constantly restocking them. I don't know why this doesn't fly in the States, but I'm sure it wouldn't. Maybe a freshness/quality control issue that would be hard to convince people of, but it seems to be perfectly acceptable here based on the people buying from it. (Didn't Andy Warhol try to get Automats to catch on in New York in the 60's?) I was amused by a display of mostly American packaged goods in a deli window - as if displaying the beautiful bounty of goods (like Swiss Miss, Lucky Charms, Pam, and Stove Top!). I've notice the popularity of 'Sex and the City' being shown in bars in Europe. It makes me miss the show, but also makes me realize my own Taco Tuesday group at the beach is almost like my own version of that gang, which makes for a fun analogy. And of course, pets are welcome everywhere here. Cats wander in restaurants. Dogs hang out in bars and ride the trams with their owners. It just makes sense. Life in Amsterdam is relaxed and seems to be about taking it all in. It forces you to be pensive and creates perspective. Life is good.