Washandje Redux

I like having guests, i love having foreign guests, and i most especially love foreign guests who haven’t been here before. Fresh and impressionable. And under ideal conditions, they see or hear things for which i can supply a translation. Harm Jan and Mark meet all these criteria except for virtually never needing a translation, so i’m having a blast.

Actually, the blast started on their first morning when, after they’d showered, i jumped in the bathroom for my shower and discovered that their towel bars had sprouted washandjes.

I had written about Rina bringing her washandje last year, and this is clearly the final piece of evidence required to prove that the Dutch consider it so unspeakably barbarous to bathe without one that they carry their own wherever they go.

And damn me. I have at least three of them in my towel cabinet, all given me by Dutch friends in an attempt to civilize me, but somehow i forgot when i was putting their towels out that my visitors were Dutch and that i had the opportunity to blow them away by providing an unexpected amenity.

No, wait. I wouldn’t have put washandjes out even if i’d thought about them because i was trying to make the visit as strange as possible for them. So i thought it was a nice touch to make their bed up using a top sheet in the American style rather than having the comforter directly on top of the bottom sheet in the European style. And to make sure they didn’t cheat and just crawl in on top of the top sheet, i stuck a really hairy blanket in there beneath the comforter. The bed linen Nazi, that’s me.

I had great fun with them and ran them around the city to as many farmers’ markets and grocery stores as they could bear, having to remind myself that all tourists are not as obsessively focused on local foods as i am. To give ’em a break, i took them to the Marin headlands. Here they are with the Point Bonita lighthouse just barely visible above Mark’s head in the background:

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