So, have hit a bit of a lull over here on my own blog. Seems much of what I am experiencing right now is internal and not as easy to share as the observations on new places people and things that I have experienced until now.
I am happily temporarily stationary in Amsterdam. I may not have been moving cities but I have been exploring this one at length and worked my way through a long list of cool and interesting things to do and see. And yes, as observers have noted, this has involved more breweries and beer!
When I came to Amsterdam for the second time in 2003, I was struck by the idea that I could actually live here. This thought has come back full force on this visit because, well, literally, I could live here. I mean, I don’t really live anywhere else right now do I?
It is an intoxicating thought. Amsterdam is a relatively small city and it really WORKS! Public transport, cycle lanes, easy access to the rest of Europe and indeed the world, a TV, film and music industry… it’s all here. OK, Afrikaans is not as much help in understand in Dutch as one might think, but you can read all the signs and make your way around more easily than if you didn’t ken die taal.
The people are also pretty laid back, friendly and open. The background sense of menace that you internalise as a Johannesburger is completely absent. The weather at the moment is a lot like Cape Town winter… and it goes on for much longer but then, well, there is more to do and see here that is not weather dependent.
On Sunday I went across the River IJ to Amsterdam Nord and had lunch and explored a whole new, growing part of the city. It reminded me forcibly of the various rejuvenation projects of downtown Johannesburg. This served a reminder that, while we tend to picture Europe as all established, safe and structured, there is still growth and change as social and economic forces still change the temperature in areas, cities and ideas.
It’s a weird feeling, when you have no home, to think of a foreign city were you don’t speak the language as a potential home… especially when you know that in a few days time you leave and will be elsewhere for the next 4 months!
Anyway, back to the city… there are still things to be seen and done.