5:30 AM Back in our room. Jerry is asleep again. I am still awake, not wanting to miss anything, although I can’t feel or see it. I see only a lightening sky, still threatening rain as it was all three days of our stay in Amsterdam, except when it was actually raining. When I get out of bed and stand on tiptoe I see the tops of passing trees.
I should go back to sleep so I can be surprised by the little town with windmills when we get up. Instead, I haul over the stool and climb on it, reeling up the shade. I seem to be standing in the river as it ripples past. There is a wide window sill, big enough for my journal, so if I’m still up here when it gets light I will be able to write as I watch. And room for my phone, so I can see the time and take pictures. (That is as smart as our smart phones get in the three weeks to come, tell time and take pictures.)
“Water,” I say. “Green banks, grass and trees. Houses. Boats.” He is asleep again.
Gray sky. Gray water. All of Holland seems to be flat and gray. I am not bored with it, though. At least not yet.
Is that a duck flying over? Its wings are working so fast.
Watersport paradise NL. That’s what the sign says but it seems to be a factory: low warehouses, silos, pallets.
Gray-green rows of spiky rushes. Behind them gray-green rows of spiky trees. But among, between them, to prevent monotony, other trees, fuller, more bushy, less uniform.
Moonen Shipyards. The O’s are interlocked, a Venn diagram. A barge, the Scarabee, is motoring past. I know our own boat looks like a barge, too. Here comes its wake. The change in our motion is almost imperceptible. Something about stabilizers, no doubt.
Come on, wake up, Jerry. I’m getting hungry. There are three breakfasts. I’ve forgotten what they are called. Early, healthy, full, maybe. [Later: cafe, continental and buffet.] I think they all start about now. We should be able to get a “cuppa” cream tea.
Are those more cows, lying down on the grassy shore? Not on the sand this time. Busy making cheese for the world, even just lying there.
Someone else is up, next door. Hangers being slid across a closet rod, zippers buzzing open garment bags.
Uneven flights of birds forming mathematical symbols: “more than,” “less than.”
DEN HARTOG: Five tanks–oil tanks?–on shore, with sheep, black, white, grazing at their bases. Strange mixture of bucolic/riparian and industrial.
Homes. Flat, modern, practical. Probably for people who work with the tanks, doing whatever DEN HARTOG does.
Cars along the shore, an occasional truck. All going faster than we are. Maybe they’re rushing ahead to crank up the quaint windmills for the tourists’ cameras.
The heavy man we met when we crept downstairs had told us we will go through 68 locks between Amsterdam and Budapest. “Between Budapest and Bucharest there are–” he looked beyond us, calculating mentally– “one.” He laughed at himself.
ALASKA. STARBROEK. Very long black barge headed in the other direction, toward the tanks. No cargo, no place for passengers. Just hoses and cables and things. And two cars. For the crew to use when they get where they’re going.
A regular noise in the room on the other side of us. Either someone is hauling in hawsers hand over hand–or snoring.
White birds. Long necks. Probably egrets but I’m watching for storks. I guess if I want a stork I should be watching for chimneys.
A little marina–of fishing boats, I imagine. Some look like tugs.
Jerry is up, whether for good or not, I don’t know. But I seized the opportunity to go get us two cups of cafe au lait from a machine by the lounge and two of the last remaining pastries from a tray. Other people are up, too.
[I don’t know it yet but not going back to bed will throw off my circadian rhythm as surely as jet lag did after flying into Amsterdam three days before. I won’t catch up for days and will require daily naps.]