Monday, 9 October 2000
It's a Tuesday evening, and my stumach starts rumbling, even louder than my fingers on the keyboard. It's obviously high time for food. It's a struggle to disattach my team mates from their monitors.

The teamlead announces: "just ten more minutes". Yeah, well, I know his minutes Françaises by now. They are more elastic than the Jam Karet (rubber time) from Indonesia.

I've got to go and fill my stomach, no time to wait until all restaurants have closed. After all, the grey Dutch masses are used to get their potatoes as early as five o'clock. In this flat square country you've got to eat out early in the evening, or you'll find yourself at a closed door.

Only one restaurant is close by, Sapphire (sapphire.nl), a Chinese delicatesse restaurant. Well, choosing one out of one is not to difficult. With some hungry team mates I walk to the white tower, at the back of The Hague's central station. The view from the 25th floor is superb. The sky is clear. I can almost see my own laundry, all the way in Gouda.

  • The starter arrives. Some small bytes, plunging rapidly into the acids of my stomach.
  • Next are three bytes of chicken. "This is the main course" I hear the girl say. She adds a scoop of fine noodles and that's it. Is this another kind of Dim Sum or is this really the "Main Course"? Is she joking? I surely hope so, but fear anxiously that her humour does not match mine.
  • The hot towels arrive. This party is over even before it started.
  • A scoop of ice cream and an espresso are all I can get, but after that it's over and out.
Help! There are so many good Chinese restaurants in The Hague (chinees.com/...). Grr, why o why, do me and my rumbling stomach have to end up here, out of all places?

Back out the doubts strike me. My stomach is still rumbling. Now it's too late to go to another restaurant. So go for a Burger King at Central Station? No, I don't want to lower my standards that far now. Back in the office I fool my stomach with some pea soup, a packet of green powder with some hot water. Sigh, what a poverty.

The next day, Wednesday, we've got a team outing at the Sakura in Scheveningen (goudengids.nl/...Sakura), close tot the Kurhaus. Oba, a team member with a healthy appetite, refuses to join. He has seen enough small Asian bytes, and won't take any more risk. Those Japanese restaurants (denhaag.com/.../restaurants/japan...) look to much like Chinese to him. He plays safe, and heads for a Whopper towards the BK.

Hmm, his pessimism is not justified. Dinner in the Sakure is real fun. The cook performs a great show at our table. The food tastes great, and so do the bottles of sake. No more Burger King and soup machine this night. At the end of the evening everybody leaves the restaurant with a feeling of satisfaction.

The French head for the Crazy Piano (avondjeuit.com/...), but I've got enough alcohol in my blood already. I go take a nap, off for an early night and hours of sleep, just as if I'm a real normal Dutch.

Till next week!

Recommended movie for a puzzling night: The Virgin Suicides (virginsuicides.com), with very appraising reviews (.../reviews/...).