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The adventures of the Mel

Spoons and decisions

NETHERLANDS | Friday, 26 September 2008 | Views [620] | Comments [1]

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I have tentatively come to a decision about what to do with my remaining two months after I leave the UK. I have decided…..oh, but what’s a good story without a cliffhanger?

I am currently in Maastricht, right down the very bottom of the Netherlands. Apparently you can walk to Belgium and it takes about half an hour by bus to get to Germany. Haven’t explored the town yet but it is supposed to be “a stunner”. The last night in Rotterdam was a lot of fun. I had spent the day doing not a lot except doing Sudoku, looking at my next set of work with glazed eyes, patting Lexie and talking to a few people on Skype. It was fairly miserable outside and I needed a relaxing day. Whilst talking to the Snuffy Pig on Skype later that evening, a jovial English chap (who had never heard the expression Pom) invited me to join he and a couple of others in a game of cards. Turns out he’s an awfully sociable type, travelling by himself and luring people in with the promise of card games. Mind you, he was reading Matt Ridley’s Nature via Nurture which immediately put him on my good side! Got speaking to Pommy Dave and another guy called Ben from the States (I know, I’m meeting too many people from the States that I like. Not helping my prejudiced stereotype here – though an offshoot here….Dave told me that his stereotype of Australians was beer drinking, kangaroo loving, and incredibly racist (particularly to Asians). I was horrified. Certainly racism exists throughout the country but I was so, so sad to learn that at least some of the world feels that this is a characteristic of all the country’s inhabitants. I just hope that he can meet enough people during his travels to smash this stereotype and perhaps only visits cities if he ever comes to Oz!)

Next thing we knew the staff had invited us over to their party table – they had been having dinner and drinks to celebrate (insert random cause here) and now that they had had their fill, they were sharing the rest with us! This worked well for me because I hadn’t had dinner yet! Woohoo!! We sat down with the staff and ate and committed all the social faux pas’ of discussing politics, religion, abortion, underage-sex and the impact of all upon the community. I will have you know that I didn’t begin ANY topic but I happily contributed once it was underway – it was a bloody terrific conversation!

After debating Dave finally got us all to sit down and play his terrific Pommy card game….Spoons. Ben and I cheered and got ready as Dave instructed the Dutch. I can still hear “Don’t pick up your cards….don’t pick up your cards” and “Go” like it was yesterday.

As always, the game got more and more wild as we went along, but I’m pleased to report that I won two games, much to the chagrin of a guy I’m just gonna call Dutchy because I can’t remember his name – I essentially stole the spoon from underneath his fingers in the first game to win. It was great.

A few beers and a horribly strong Dutch liqueur later and everybody was feeling rather happy. Ben and I had only had one drink besides the shot so we watched the others with amusement, although this did not prevent us from getting up and dancing with the rest when Dave declared, “Do you know what’s missing from tonight? Dancing.” So dance we did.

I was really reluctant to leave, I very much felt at home in this hostel – as I said before, the staff were incredibly friendly and PERSONAL which you very rarely get anywhere you stay, even in most B&Bs. I would really like to go back….and so I might. I have decided to stay on rather than go to India, though not for the reasons you might think. The bombings don’t really worry me anymore, it’s actually the loneliness. I am going to be by myself for two months, and although I did this at the start of the trip, it’s going to be very different at the end of the trip. I figured I’d be more likely to meet people in Italy and if I get miserable I can always fly back up to Edinburgh and see Cam and Sarah. This way I can learn Italian and if I get bored, I have a plethora of countries to choose from to visit.

So there you go. But don’t forget that I am a woman and hence my decisions are subject to change at any given moment. I am going to go off to explore Maastricht and enjoy the fleeting glimpses of the sun we’re getting today.





How much longer are you in the Netherlands for? I friended a cousin there on FB - someone for you to hook up with?

I like the sound of your plans. You should be pretty proficient in Italian by the time you get home!

  Sally Sep 26, 2008 6:38 PM

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