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Record My Mind: Banal Records of a Pedestrian Life

Suffering and evil overwhelm me and I stew in my own juice. 

Thursday, December 30, 2004

12/30/2004 09:50:00 pm - Tales of A Recovering Amnesiac


I spent most of today alone. It was wonderful. I needed a break from the group and some personal space and time.

I went to the Albert Cuyp market today. Things there are much cheaper than in the touristy area I was staying in. I was tempted to buy a winter jacket for 10 euros. But it didn't make sense to add weight to my luggage and have it take up space when I don't use it anymore in Singapore.


I have to write this down so I don't have to relearn the same lesson I learnt four years ago: buy stuff from the markets e.g. markets at Waterlooplein and Albert Cuyp Straat.

After lingering for hours at the Albert Cuyp market and buying some Ibrahim Ferrer, Curtis Mayfield and Omara Portuendo cds (it was the same shop I bought a Nina Simone cd four years ago, I recognise the bag), I walked back to the tram stop and suddenly realised that I was looking at a familiar street scene along the Westinde centrum, a scene I had totally forgotten. So, this time round, I took pictures of the street scene and am blogging it so that I won't forget again. I'll post the pictures when I return to Singapore.

I suddenly remembered a route that leads back to where I used to stay. So, to test the reliability of my memory, I followed the route that suddenly surfaced in my mind. I passed by the Amstel Hotel and took some pictures (to be posted later). I reached the metro station at Weesperstraat and took pictures of a building and a convenience store that I used to see so much but had forgotten. I was strangely happy to see and recall the sight of the convenience store. Part of the happiness was in knowing that it's still around.

I continued along Sarphatistraat and turned right into Roeterstraat. I took a pictures of Cafe De Roeter, a cafe that I visited several times four years ago, I especially remembered one time there with a Romanian girl and another Macedonian girl plus some others. I tried taking a picture of the Kriterion Cafe, a film cafe but the pictures didn't turn out well.


I returned to my original route along Sarphatistraat to look for Valckenieerstraat (where I used to leave) but got thrown off when I saw Pancrasstraat at where I thought I would see Valckenieerstraat. I walked further down, concluded that my memory was faulty and turned back towards Roeterstraat. I will go to Valckenieerstraat through Plantage Muidergracht; I can't miss Valckenieerstraat by that route.

I passed by one of the University of Amsterdam buildings and a convenience store that my housemate used to frequent to pack away dinner. I had the same feeling of happiness when I recalled those memories.

I walked along Plantage Muidergracht and observed myself being pleasantly aroused at reliving the same sights I saw four years ago. I crossed the bridge I crossed many times four years ago and took a picture of the same thing at the exact same spot four years ago. I finally reached the place where I used to stay. I walked out from Valckenieerstraat and saw Pancrasstraat. I was confused and asked two Dutch ladies whether Pancrasstraat used to be Valckenieerstraat. They told me that Valckenierstraat was perpendicular to Pancrasstraat. My memory was reliable after all.


I think I was thrown off in exactly the same way four years ago at the exact same spot while reading the map and trying to find Valckenieerstraat. Talk about the inability to learn from history. My memory was not so reliable after all.




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