On Sunday morning, after a restless night of trying to sleep and deal with the broken toilet seat, they tried to check out of the hotel. Manny’s demands and Selma’s supplications had no effect. Even though the two-day minimum charge had not been posted on line and in spite of a whole lot of fussing, it became obvious that they would have to stay and pay for the second day in the same room.
To assuage hurt feelings, mental, physical and emotional frustration, they walked to the Museumplein again. The visit to the museum was calming and it was rewarding to be able to spend time sitting in front of the Nightwatch.
“ I read somewhere that Rembrandt never got paid for this painting,” Manny paused; “because he made all of those people of equal size and in those days the more important and rich you were determined how much of the picture you were entitled to occupy.”
“ I guess some things never change.” Selma observed.
After looking at various other large pieces by a plethora of Dutch artists as well as some the other works, they walked across town towards the Stadhuis on the Amstel.
” I want to check with the city authorities about the letter. Maybe they can shine some light on it for us.” Manny hoped he would be able to find out if he had been hoodwinked or not.
Selma, being the ever so cautious scholar replied, ” That’s a good place to start for sure, but let’s check out the flea market stalls of the Waterlooplein before we go into City Hall.”
Checking the city map they approached the Stallstraat, and were abruptly stopped as they tried to cross the Amstel. They were confronted by a phalanx of Amsterdam Police serving as a barrier between two crowds of shouting people.
“There’s no entry here. The Stadhuis is in lockdown”.
“What’s going on?”
“ We are supervising and refereeing a peaceful demonstration by a couple of opposing political points of view.”, was the terse reply.
“Weg met Zwarte Piet!” – – – “Weg met Zwarte Piet!” loudly echoed up the river from the group on one side of the Stadhuis for Gemeeente Amsterdam and it was answered by an equally loud chant, “Zwarte Piet blijft!” – – – Zwarte Piet blijft!” from the other side.