Out and About in Holland

On the plane to Holland, I sat next to a 20-something Canadian guy who works in Canada’s oilfields. It’s a pretty intense job, working 16 hour days for two weeks with one week off after that. He was headed to Amsterdam on his off week to take a break from it all.

Since I have family in Holland, he asked what there was to do there. “Museums?” I asked. “Tulips? Exploring the countryside? Dutch villages? Sitting in a cafe along the Amstel river watching people?” No, no, no, and no. When he started asking about coffee shops, I realized he had a different idea in mind: helping consume all the soft drugs and alcohol that was to be had in Amsterdam.

As we landed and gathered our bags, jackets and shoes from the plane, I told him I hoped he’d have a good time. He nodded, red bloodshot eyes from the exhaustion of an overnight flight. Only later did my sister-in-law tell me they’ve finally made smoking marijuana illegal again in Holland! I hope my seat buddy enjoyed his visit… I wondered what he ended up doing.

While Holland is known for its liberalism, it still has remnants of extreme conservatism that I find so contradictory to Dutch society as a whole. Nationally, they still celebrate several Christian holidays that America, supposedly founded on Christian principles, has long forgotten. We were there during “Ascension Day,” the day Christ returned to heaven after he rose again. And just like an American holiday, everyone had the day off and celebrated with a barbecue.

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Meet my father-in-law and brother-in-law, along with the famous McGyver husband man.

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And there’s my not-to-be-forgotten awesome sister-in-law. She picked up a bunch of meats from the deli which we grilled and consumed with relish.

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The cousins played. And ate a little, too.

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The little guy checked out the bunny…

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And the koi.

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But mostly there was a lot of this:
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More later of the photos I took from our photo tour around the country.

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