For most people, the question “Ou-est le coffeeshop?” (pronounce:“Oo-ay luh coffeeshop”, translation:“Where’s the coffeeshop?”) will sound as an innocent question -once you figured out the French. It is not. A Dutch coffeeshop is not Starbucks. Sure, they will serve coffee. Or tea. Or milkshakes. Or beer (only in Amsterdam). But their core-business is selling soft-drugs (hash and marihuana) semi-legally (bit complicated, but the Dutch drugs policy is explained here).
Anyway, every weekend and holidays my town is flooded by young French persons, as it is the first major Dutch city you encounter after crossing the border when traveling via Paris. I live in the center of town, so I will be asked the above question several times per day -well, when I am outside, that is, it’s not that they’ll ring my doorbell and… Anyway, I stray off the subject. Focus, Solly, focus! I really don’t mind answering the question. To be honest, I like to help people and I have become fluent in giving directions in French to the nearest coffeeshop – a droit et apres deux cent metres, a gauche.
I just think it’s so sad for all the French who visit our town for it’s non-narcotic tourist attractions. We have a beautiful church, a castle or two, a forest… But as soon as they approach some-one in the street to ask for directions to that church, or castle and begin their sentence with: “Ou-est…” people will automatically give them directions to the coffeeshop. I have done that too.
Therefore, on behalf of my fellow citizens: Sorry.
We don’t want to be stereotyped, so we should not do the same to “our” tourists!
update @ 11:00 AM I just noticed I am discussing actually several subjects I graduated in at secondary school… Time to declare “Solly’s Secondary School Graduation Subjects-week”!
Any suggestions for tomorrows subject?