Where are the mountains?
I arrived in Amsterdam on the 22 April. I got off the plane and walked through the airport. This is strange; there is electricity, but I don't hear generators. I went outside, I saw people with crazy hairstyles all blown in one direction. I think felt the wind and made the connection. I could see far into the distance, so far I think I saw Belgium. But where are the mountains? This place must be incredible for cycling.
I hopped into a short taxi trip to Amsterdam. It was amazing; we had the whole taxi to ourselves. We didn't have to carry cash or share the taxi with 30 other people. Nor did we have to count coins to send to the driver in front. We arrived outside our hotel in Amsterdam. I could see bare-breasted women, just like the tribes in the Savana, I thought. I could also smell dagga, just like Cape Flats.
Nobody could afford cars. Poor citizens, one day they'll afford SUVs, but until then, they'll just have to stick to their two-wheeled human-powered contraptions. They're good at moving in sync with each other, like a school of fish all keeping their distance but staying in a tight group. There were open trenches between the streets (so big there were boats in some of them). I assumed large pipes were being laid and the roads would be closed up soon. The streets were all cobbled and too narrow for many cars, and the houses were all crooked and leaning over, like these double-storey shacks in Khayelitsha.
While exploring the city, I discovered people eating what I can only assume is Dutch sushi. Instead of salmon, it was herring, and instead of a roll of white rice, it was white bread. I thought this would make a good load-shedding meal back home since no electricity was needed to heat it. I soon learned how to use the metro to get around. I thought this was cool; we don't have many good examples of this at home. The people speak a funny Afrikaans dialect that I can't get used to. If I speak slowly to them and make expressive facial actions, they seem to get it. I wasn't quite aware the locals communicated so strangely (I think they need help ).
I went shopping, and there were no humans at the tills. That's crazy. I heard the Netherlands has great social welfare policies, so this must be the best one. I left with armfuls of free food.
So, to sum it up, the Netherlands has been a freeing experience and an eye-opener. It has been a fun and positive experience, and I'm glad to have made it here
- Jason Benci, Windows Systems Engineer