'Have you tried working?'

A friend from New York was in town and told me to meet her at the Hampton Inn, 'near Rembrandt Square'. I jumped on my bike, figuring I'd find it easily, but on my way there I began to doubt. I passed the Waldorf Astoria. Very New York, but not the Hampton Inn.
Since when does downtown Amsterdam have a 'Hampton Inn', I wondered. Hampton Inn sounds New Jersey to me, airporty, Econolodge-y. If I had a working smartphone I could have looked it up. Nobody on or near Rembrandt Square would know anything – except perhaps, it dawned to me, a receptionist at a hotel – so I parked in front of one, and when I walked in, my friend walked out. Quelle coïncidence! It turned out to be the Hampshire Hotel.
We hadn't seen each other in nine years. I had had two kids in the meantime. She had lived in Mexico and then moved back to Philadelphia, the city she grew up in.
'You look great,' I said.
'I gained 30 pounds,' she quipped.
We walked along the river, sat down on a bench and started discussing our lives. Almost immediately a man approached us, a man of my age, a disheveled looking man, with bad teeth and varicose veins on his calves. He wanted to shake our hands. 'Do you speak Dutch?'
We said no. That didn't prevent him from begging. Begging is a universal language. There are no linguistic restrictions for begging, even a dog knows how to do it. I didn't feel like giving him change, but my friend from New York was already going through her handbag.
'Have you tried working?' I asked the beggar. It came out awkward, but I meant it.
The beggar shook his head indignantly and walked away.
'Did you just say: have you tried working?' my friend from New York asked.
I nodded.
We laughed.