Monday, Dec. 13, 2021: Amsterdam

All we know is that John’s passport is somewhere in Amsterdam. He had to show it at breakfast along with the QR code on his COVID Cert app. so maybe he left it on the table. But no one has found it yet.

He probably had it when we started on our walking tour this morning, in his jacket pocket along with his mask and phone. We walked for two hours past canals and houses, taking pictures and learning some of Amsterdam’s history. John and I joined the cruise group—about ten of us, I think. Christo stayed at the hotel and worked for a while and then saw the city from a different angle with a local guide she found on Reddit.

Canal houses in the Monday morning chill

The houses and houseboats along the canals were somber and still in the early morning light. I took pictures to show the impact of the pandemic, just as I do at home. Here and there are signs to wear masks indoors, but not as many as at home. People already know to wear masks indoors just because it’s required.

Mask reminder—designed for tourists

Back at the hotel around eleven, John noticed his passport folder was missing. It contained his passport and his vaccination card. We reported it to the hotel desk staff and they checked with the breakfast servers. We reported the loss to the cruise manager and brainstormed our options. He won’t need the passport until we fly home, we decided. We’ll have a few days in Switzerland at the end, so we can take the train from Basel to Bern and go to the American Embassy to get a temporary passport.

In the meantime, we can communicate with the embassy from the ship to get our ducks in a row —reporting the loss, getting new photos, sending them a photo of the missing passport, etc.

We have photos of the vaccine card too, of course, but what restaurants really want to see is the Swiss app with the QR code plus ID, and that we have. We each had to upload copies of our vax cards and our passport to get the code in the first place. Similarly, we had to upload the same documents on the ship registration on line. Everyone has all the validated information they need for now and it’s available at the touch of a finger.

Our neighborhood police station, an unexpected part of the tour

Next move for a lost or stolen passport, as I learned the hard way in Paris, is to fill out a police report. The embassy will want a copy. Maybe, we thought, someone found it and turned it in. But no such luck. We found the police station to be a clean and friendly place and they gave us the form to fill out and bring back

By this time we were ready for lunch at a sidewalk cafe, where we had a hot thick pea soup with sausages in it, served with crisp bacon and brown bread. For dessert we shared a thin Dutch pancake with coarsely ground sugar and lemon.

Later, after returning the form to the police station, we walked through the streets, savoring our last night in Amsterdam. Light shining in the windows of the canal houses gave them a warm and welcoming glow.

A winter evening on the canal

Today’s Notable Headlines

No news on vacation

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis.

2 thoughts on “Year 2, Week 40: All For One

  1. My head is spinning as your account clarifies the revolution in our documentation that a decade has solidified. And yet, the value of a purloined paper US passport may still be significant…. But why do Dutch establishments want to see “the Swiss app”? (Oooo. That might be a good title for a spy novel…) Thanks John, for suffering on behalf of the education of us boomers…
    May nothing else cause a moment of anxiety this week..

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