On two occasions Peter James-Martin has on this cycle trip, given a SOA (Statement of Advice) with respect to the recommended restaurant for our evening meals. Let me state quite categorically that as a financial planner he has no equal, but when it comes to deciding food versus finances, he should stick with matters of mensuration rather than mastication. For the first and last nights in Amsterdam, he called it! Our opening meal at an Italian eatery that gave new meaning to “al dente”.
The final evenings choice an Indonesian restaurant. It’s a given, demurred Peter that as the Dutch established their eponymous East Indies Trading Company, he adamantly knew that the best country for Indonesian cooking had to be Holland. Well the Indonesia establishment chosen was within an earshot of the famous Concertgebouw. Looking through the window, Peter further advised that it appeared busy , possibly with pre concert patrons. Using all of his tremendous financial intellect, he further advised that this obvious observation led him to the recommend that we take up the option forthwith. We entered. It was certainly busy if one acknowledged that all 4 window seats were taken. The rest of the dark dismal diner was as empty as a nun’s wedding chest. A large cat appeared alive although asleep on a cushion on the window ledge. It appeared as safe and secure as any feline might in an asian eatery .
The maitre-de was, we assumed from Indonesia as he was a dusky shade of cinnamon, even allowing for the gloomy lighting. He was one of the most disinterested restaurateurs I have come across! The menu was basically any combination of beef, chicken, prawns or tofu with either rice or noodles! No surprises here. We mulled over these dauntung choices somewhat to the irritation of our host. Peter attempted to engage him by asking for a “wine list”. Rather than placate him it added to his irritated boredom as he repeated “wine list”? In a manner befitting of Basil Fawlty he indicated that the choices were so straightforward as to not actually need a list : red wine, white wine, beer or soft drink. Well consider it done we said and diplomatically requested the “red”. He wandered off, went several times in out of swinging doors to the kitchen for no apparent reason as on each occasion he appeared empty handed and we were yet to place our order. Although I did notice that each time he did so, the cat in the window gave a somewhat nervous startle.
Eventually he meandered back with the bottle and 2 glasses. He poured both Peter and I a glass. Pamela politely suggested that she also wanted a glass! His response was of stunned uncertainty. Looking like a cross between Basil Fawlty and the President of the Christian Women’s Temperance Association, he was at pains to confirm he had heard correctly. Once confirmed he again repeated the kitchen door ritual several times before returning with a glass, thus thankfulky both Pamela and pussy were placated.
By now we were ready to order and the reader will hopefully recall the options were rice (plain, yellow, sticky) or noodles with various combinations. Easy peasy! We settled on a rice dish and 2 noodle dishes! I kid you not – the host explained that noodles were “finished”! FINISHED! We were gobsmacked. Our options reduced by 50%. We should have got up and left but we were so stunned that all sense of reasoning left us! The waiter gave the distinct impression that running out of noodles in an Asian restaurant was quite common and indeed not any cause for alarm. It is all so straightforward he explained : 3 people and there are fortuitously 3 choices of rice. His reasoning was faultless. The whole incident has left me scarred for life so much so that I cannot recall what we eventually ordered!
Anyway I am now at a truely special village and hotel on day 3. Here is a taste of the walk on day 2. I shall add a blog about last night hotel and hosts!