Monday, 27 November 2000
It's too busy in town. The old streets in the city centre were not designed to cope with the current human mobs. Of all places, two ladies are chatting away, right in the centre of a crossing. The ever so chaotic streams of people narrow and squeeze through the remaining space. The chatting chicks don't seem to realise how much irritation they cause. It's fun with all the people in town. At a crossing you meet a friend that you haven't spoken to in at least a couple of hours. You halt to ask how she is doing. How nice to bump into an acquaintance in town. Soon, you are engaged in a lively conversation. Too bad for al those rushing grumpy gentlemen. What are they grumbling about? Don't they see we're having a nice chat here? We're not blocking anything, are we? Everybody can still bypass us easily.
You are on route to a destination in unknown territory. No worries, you know the way quite well. You trust yourself, know at least the right direction, and when things get more difficult you'll have a look on the route description (routenet.nl).

The map is next to you, for emergencies. Near your destination you'll use a city map to find the right neighbourhood, and will make an extra round or two till you find the right address.

You're always late. You don't know how to find your way, but by train you'll get at least to the right station. For the rest you just rely on total strangers to who you'll certainly ask for directions. A friendly lady tells you 'go left'. And off you go, walk and walk, blisters on your feet. You're running hot. Afterwards it turns out that it should have been 'go right'. You arrive three quarters late for your appointment.

You think to yourself That won't happen to me twice. So, on the next occasion you'll take the car. You rise early, and leave your street at 06:30, so you'll be in time easily. Arriving at 10:30 should be no problem. But, you've underestimated the daily traffic jams (teletekst.nos.nl/...) in the west of the Netherlands. You inform your interlocutor about your late arrival.

You minimise your luggage. Whether the journey lasts a week or two months, you'll bring cloths for 5 days only. Cloths can be washed everywhere, in the entire world. So, a small bag suffices.

All things that you might need you're sure to leave at home. And the same for everything that will be available locally.

You like to minimise your risk. Nobody can predict the weather there, can they? So, pack a bikini as well as your winter coat. Furthermore you limit yourself to the bare-neccessities, such as fresh cloths for every day of your journey. Of course you're sure to bring some official looking outfits. You never know what it is good for, and once there one should be able to choose.

And how about toothbrushes and toothpaste? Better play safe, and bring plenty from home. Toilet paper, slippers, sun oil, foto film, some towels, liquid soap, shampoo, make-up bag, föhn and beauty case are surely part of the bare-necessities.

Till next week!
With special thanks to Ingrid van der Ent-Nieuwenkamp for her inspiring words.