Thursday, December 08, 2022


When I still lived in Valkenswaard I would head into the upstairs living room on a day off (that being then no classes) with a hot beverage and a pipe to spend many hours smoking and reading (probably crappy science fiction or Georges Simenon). There might be a cat there already, and the heating system would be hissing in the background if it was in December, there as here one of the colder months of the year. A major difference, other than a near-absence of Sci-Fi, is that in the Netherlands much of the year counts among the colder months. Here it's a blazing furnace for nine months in the hinterland of California, and a fire zone for three of them. San Francisco is of course mostly temperate during much of that time, and a remarkably civilized place.

This morning I'm smoking a pipe I've had since my teens. And swilling coffee. There is no cat. The light from outside is just as gloomy because it's overcast and threatening to rain. Which means that instead of a stout walking stick for clobbering the peasants when I go out to do my errands I shall need an umbrella.

On the plus side while relatively defenseless out there, the non-smoking peasants will be safely indoors. Damn them.
It strikes me that what would have made Valkenswaard even nicer back then would have been a good place for dumplings and noodle dishes. Those were rather unknown there. But have become a major part of my life since returning to the States. They're as good a reason as any to eschew the rest of America, though widely available in San Francisco.

Key differences between Valkenswaard and San Francisco: no Dutch or Belgian junkfood. No Dutch bookstores. Starbucks all over the place. Good Chinese food. No vast expanses of peat bog, soggy forest, and heather south of the city (the Malpy nature reserve), but there are tidal flats, small white egrets or herons, and pelicans along the shores of the bay.

Sambal, decent coffee, and excellent pastries in both places.

[Shout out to the bakeries in V'waard. And thank you.]

No snow. Less rain.

For some reason I feel a need to go out and harass people.
That's probably the effect of the coffee.

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