What a better example of the Western European nanny state is there than the government employee in Centraal Station in Amsterdam who is being paid by the taxpayer each of the three times she knocks you in the head with her flashlight for sleeping.
"Last warning," she says, the second-to-last time she catches you using your napsack as a pillow. "Next time, I’m throwing you out."
And she isn’t kidding.
The tourism office is altogether too noisy to catch some secret z’s, and two separate McDonaldses in the city center soon grow wise to your plan of buying the one euro small coffee and allowing your head to simply go limp while holding it. At least the employees there have the decency to look guilty when they kick you out.
You buy a tram pass, remembering the contentedly slumbering hobos on the F train back home in New York City. Because the lines are so much shorter, you can’t expect to sleep much longer than twenty or thirty minutes.
Until. of course, the overly friendly Nederlander passengers on the train endlessly shake you awake each time you find yourself on the cusp of sweet sweet sleep. Natives have you pegged from the start — tired eyes, big-ass backpack, map to hostel clutched in hand. You’re a tourist, and they are as a whole very worried that you will miss your stop and become lost in their city.
You get off at Dam Square and you figure, it’s a warm day, I’ll find a spot in the sunshine and do it housecat-style. You come to hours later, once the sun has shifted to now cover your body in shade. A park cop meanders by and tips his hat to you.
You pull the blanket you stole from the plane out of your napsack, nod to the cop, and drift back to sleep. At long last.