19 May 2011
Amsterdam to Den Haag, Nederland
There’s such a unique thing coming my way that I’m already forgetting about Amsterdam and I’m not even on my way out yet. What’s happening is I’m meeting an all time favourite band and going to their concert.
Now I’m on the train and within ten minutes Amsterdam’s canals fade away and Holland’s countryside – the same as ever – takes its place. There’s something unemotional about Holland’s yellow trains with pink-green seats that help me forget about if Amsterdam was wasted time or not. Or, maybe it’s because I’m in 1st class and I only payed for the cheapest ticket, and being a 1st class passenger naturally means that you don’t have a care in the world.
It’s a bit spooky here in Den Haag for me; walking through Indonesian monuments, past Dutch-Indonesian restaurants, owned and frequented by Dutch-Indonesians who walk the streets beside me. Here lies ancestry that I thought I would never really have direct contact with, let alone be immersed in. I meet with more relatives again and do the usual, obligatory story telling of the past week or so. It’s not a bad or boring thing to do, it’s just funny how you find yourself refining the same recent stories.
The one big thing on our minds now is this convert that’s on tomorrow. Speculation, of course, but it’s all great fun. Like the tension build-up before the opening of a candy shop.
Before that shop opens, I’ve got to get to the place where I’m sleeping. By one bike, but for two people. It seems normal for one of my cousins, so I accept his offer without any queries of how to sit on the back of a bike with a big backpack on. My cousin’s sense of balance and manoeuvrability one the bike is admirable as I’m chauffeured around. It all feels very authentic Dutch with the wind, sore legs and gazing at the city’s only option to build up; interrupted rudely by the unforgiving bump of the gutter. And another – until I make it to another greatly hospitable family.
P.S. I can’t remember when or why I took these photos so I’m just putting them here. Holland has a somewhat famous beach, you know! Beach bars span the beach with all the tacky names you can think of: Blue Lagoon, Malibu, Hang 10 etc.