Monday, January 5, 2009

€8,50 in Amsterdam

What can eight and a half Euro buy you in Amsterdam? Nevermind what it might get you in the red light district; at the Bloemenmarkt (flower market), in December, it will buy you 50 fresh tulips:

The bloemenmarkt sits on a series of boats in the Singel canal, and despite being an unabashed tourist trap, it boasts an amazing array of fresh flowers and ready-to-plant bulbs. It's open zeven dagen per week, even in the middle of winter. Here is a typical scene from one of the vendors' boats:

By the way, eight and a half Euro, or acht Euro vijftig, is written €8,50 (not €8.50). When writing numbers, these clever Europeans swap the comma and the dot compared to Americans. Convenient, eh? Luckily, it's rarely ambiguous, as you probably wouldn't mistake €8,50 and €8.500,00. Though eighty-five hundred Euro would buy you a whole lot of tulips. Veel tulpen!

When you then bring home 50 tulips to your smiling wife, stuff them into the largest vase you own, then wait a day for them to relax and open their little faces, you get something like this:

Not bad for December flowers, bought outdoors in the cold, carried halfway across town, and then home under a seat on the train, eh? And yes, they were purple to begin with, not red like the ones in the top photo!

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