Our man [formally] of Amsterdam


Sunday afternoon in Westerpark
September 20, 2009, 16:44
Filed under: Amsterdam

You can take dogs into cafes here and today at De Bakkerswinkel two huge St Bernards, both the colour of a threateningly overcast sky, lounged beside their owner’s booth with a bowl of water not far from their slobbering jowls. Patrons could not get past without stepping over the two huge hounds, but step they did without batting an eyelid.

A little while later one of the dogs slowly rose and heaved its massive bulk upright, its head easily resting on the table, and sought a pat  from its owner who nonchalantly obliged without lifting his head from the newspaper. This gesture seemed to satisfy the hound and after a cursory glance around it returned to its prostrate state.

So, with my second double espresso and Weekend Guardian devoured, along with some fruit bread and conserves, I headed into Westerpark proper. It’s like the restored Powerhouse Musuem and the Eveleigh St Railways workshop combined into a sprawling design, arts and cultural precinct where commercial clients rent office space alongside community groups, cinemas, cafes, bars,  performance venues, day-care centres, sports clubs, and all set in the midst of a giant park complete with lakes and running tracks and sculpture gardens and cycle paths.

Westerpark under an ominous sky

Westerpark under an ominous sky

Ducks and swans swim, teams play football, couples canoodle, a man sells ice cream from a van, boys of Indian descent enjoy cricket on the wide grassed expanse, frisbees pierce the air, bikes roll by, joggers jog, septic scents waft, middle-aged men share a joint, goal scorers cheer, babies wail, even a crow absconds loudly with scraps from a bin, and you think that you could be anywhere, like Hyde or Centennial or Central Park, that there is a universal languor infusing Sundays with a level of heightened idleness that seemingly transcends cultures and climates, as if there’s some pre-ordained decree from whatever ‘authority’ that the seventh day be spent, not in dogged pursuit of wanton work gains but in the reclining, feasting, recuperative pleasures of sun-drenched or snow-bound or book-engrossed or gallery gazing or newspaper-bathed insouciance.

I wonder what Eskimos do on Sundays? Chill out, like the rest of humanity, I guess?

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hey GD,

Sunday in sydney was very warm yesterday, with some rain in the afternoon, i only know this because of google weather, as i was in front of my imac studying… boooring.. i would rather had been in a park with my pooch…

I hope you are enjoying your time, I am enjoying your blog..

See you back here soon (ish)

mc

Comment by mary-claire

Hi MC,
The park will always be there, but the chance to study well will not.
And thanks for the input.
Take care and yes, see you soonish.
GD

Comment by Grant Doyle




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