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A Steamy Interlude In Amsterdam
Walt C. Snedeker

There are some who say that the Fabled PC is somewhat modest and shy. These people simply do not know what they are talking about. Referring to PC's modesty quotient in normal human terms by saying she is "shy" is about as much an understatement as saying that snowbirds occasionally drive in less than exemplary manner.
So it was an amazing event when she agreed to go into the establishment abutting our hotel in Amsterdam, Holland, last week.
SAUNA, the neatly-lettered sign touted to passersby (us).
"Hey! Let's go in and do the sauna-thing," I hyped enthusiastically, "we can steam out a dozen Heinekens or so."
"Well..." PC was eyeing the group of photos behind the glass window box which depicted a seated comely young lass leaning casually against a wooden backdrop of cedar boards. The seated comely young lass didn't happen to have any clothes on, but she also just happened to be in a rather modest position that made it so that it didn't really matter.
"It's wonderful," I added truthfully, for I had done the sauna scene while traveling in China a few years back, and had come out feeling absolutely grand.

"You go into the sauna first. That's the boardy-looking place in this picture," I pointed to the casual maiden's lair, "and pour some water on the rocks. That makes it really crazy in there." I was warming to the description, aided by the fact that Amsterdam was an absolutely Arctic 48o, and we were both shivering.
"Then, after about 15 minutes, when you look like a lobster, you come out and jump in cold water." I had to hasten to the next step, because PC's big blue eyes looked at me as if I had just announced my arrival from Mars, and I could see that Step 2 had very nearly upset the sauna-sales applecart.
"Then you go in the steam room. Note that they don't have a picture of that, 'cause you can't see three feet in a steam room. After a half hour in there, you go to the warm tubby," I pointed to the maiden in the tubby, "and relax."
"Will we be alone?"
"I think so."
"I'm not sure I really want to do this..."
"Aw, c'mon! Hey: we're in Amsterdam!"
So in we went.
I should have sold tickets for the Titanic. (*sigh*)


We walked down a hallway to a bar. Really. A liquor bar. The young blond guy behind the bar took our 29 guilders (about $19) and handed us two dinky little towels, and went back to drawing a beer for a guy sitting at the bar wearing a dinky little towel. Uh, oh.
"What do we do now?" PC's voice was tiny.
I turned around like I knew what I was doing, and pointed to a row of lockers in plain sight of the bar (15 feet away).
"We go over there and put our clothes in the lockers, and then we..." a quick glance showed the door to the sauna (on the other side of the bar) "...go over there."
"But, but, but..." PC sounded like a small outboard as we went to the lockers.
She opened a locker door, and tried to hide behind the six inch piece of metal. And me.
Then she looked at the dinky little towel.
"I need a bigger towel." This, in a voice that brooked no questions on anyone's part.
I went and got a bigger towel. One for each of us, I might as well add.
With me augmenting the door as a screen, the Fabled PC slipped out of her laundry and into the bigger towel. I nonchalantly skinned down and wrapped my towel around my magnificent torso, ignoring the troupe of parochial-school children going through on a tour with the nuns.
Onward past the bar, past the six or so easy-chair ensconced guys lounging around in dinky towels.
PC's worried eyes made her look like a copper-topped tarsier. She was distinctly nervous, if a crushing grip on the last three fingers of my left hand was any indication.
There were hooks outside the sauna to hang up our towels.
Glancing at the bar (and loungers) to ensure that nobody was looking thisaway, PC took a deep breath, and with the look that Marie Antoinette must have worn, yanked the towel off hurriedly, and lunged for the sauna door.
O, Titanic. You were a comparatively lucky ship.
When my very darling swung the sauna door wide, clad in Nature's Garb, she beheld a sauna occupied by several strange men dressed similarly to herself.
She shrieked once. She shrieked twice. The third shriek was a kind of doppler as she disappeared in hasty towel-wrapping speed back toward the lockers.
When I reached the lockers, my modest bride was pink enough that she looked like she had at least 45 minutes in the sauna.
"You do the sauna thing, darling," she panted, dressing fiercely, "I'll wait for you in the hotel room."
So I did. After all, somebody had to uphold the honor of American tourism courage. (And besides -- I'd invested the 29 guilders.)
The nice part was that by the time I got back to the sauna, there were two young ladies just entering, so the afternoon was not a total loss...
When I finally got done, and went back to the bar to get my locker key, the blond giant looked at me and schnickered (that's "snickered" in Dutch):
"In Amerika, dey do not haf zaunaz mit mix-ed couples, no?"
"This they do not haf." I answered.


One last small trial occurred: as I was too-casually getting dressed in the locker room amongst the ladies, I had to surreptitiously pocket the Fabled PC's knickers. In her haste, she had somehow forgotten to put them on.
The Dutch are very polite. But I swear I heard guttural feminine giggles as I nonchalantly ambled out.

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