Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Shameful Confession

I have a confession to make:

I go to McDonald’s almost every day. Here I am in Maastricht, a beautiful, medieval Dutch city with plenty of quaint cafes with outdoor seating on scenic plazas beside gorgeous old churches and where do I buy my daily coffee? That’s right, McDonald’s. Why do I commit this travesty, patronizing this bastion of crappy Americanized fast food?

Because it’s a good deal, that’s why. For 1.60 euros I get a (admittedly small, but strong) cup of coffee, with a speculoos cookie thrown in for free, as mentioned in another post, and I can sit there forever if I want and take advantage of something European McDonald’s have that American ones should get on pronto: free Wi-Fi (that’s “wee-fee” in Dutch). I have two options on my side of the river, one on the Vrijthoff square and one on the Markt; both have outdoor seating with a great view for people-watching. Here's part of the great view from the Vrijthoff Mickey D's:

Those are statues. I have no idea what they are. I don't think anyone else does either, cause every time I'm in that square I see people standing there scratching their heads. Maybe something for Easter? Those are Easter colors, right?

The point being, I can soak in the same atmosphere as that offered by the surrounding cafes that line the squares, without paying at least 2 euros for an even smaller cup of coffee, and no Wi-Fi. Also, if you want to sit inside, the McDonald’s restaurants overseas aren’t like the American ones with grimy floors, sticky seats and screaming kids everywhere (at least, that has been my predominate experience at Amerian McDonald’s); they’re actually pretty nice inside, and always spotlessly clean (except for the one right next to King's Cross/St. Pancras Station in London, which is filthy, but that one's an exception).

I have yet to sample any of the food offered at the Dutch McDonald’s, but it seems like pretty standard Mickey D’s fare. Except they have stroopwafel McFlurrys. I may have to get one of those at some point... Also, there's this:

Salsa sauce! The Belgians are redundant (this was from the window of a McDonald's in Brussels). And on that note, I leave you for today.

P.S. Happy Passover! No Seder this year obviously (I'm not religious, anyway), but when the parents come visit in a couple weeks we might do a belated Passover-style meal, if I can find matzoh here, that is. If I do I will write it up here.

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