Yardley, Monday 27 August 2001
It's amazing where one can end up.

I spent the last week writing java code in quiet Yardley No phone, no appointments, no obligations. It is like living on an uninhabited island. It's great to work in such peace and tranquillity.

This is not my first visit to the States. Yet it's still strange for me to see such an introverted society. To an American there is but one country. Whatever happens in other places is unknown. The newspapers are even worse. All they offer is local news.

If you want to stay in touch with world events, you should post a few personal bookmarks (most of them in Dutch) or listen to the BBC World Service. It's like living on an isolated island, with the clock set 30 years back. It explains why Americans do not know how to behave when going abroad..

Yardley is on the east coast of the United States, an hour's drive south of New York (not in rush hour) ( This area is the most densely populated part of the country. In my eyes it still looks like a quiet outback. Houses are far apart, with big gardens.

There are no sidewalks. Public transport is minimal. Americans do everything by car. The entire society is tailored for car usage. There are parking lots everywhere, drive throughs, tyre centres, petrol stations, etc.

Millions of individuals pass one another, but will never meet. It's exactly this that makes America such a strange society. The cars are mobile private islands, the American people as an archipelago.

The Baltimore Waterfront offers me some solid ground. It is weird to see the Americans outside their cars here. The promenade is a busy place ( There is a long queue in front of the Science museum. Wonderful how tourists huddle together - keep walking past the main tourist drag for just 5 more minutes and you'll find perfect solitude.

A bit beyond the end of the promenade it is downright quiet. There is no queue in front of the American Visionary Art Museum ( The larger part of the exhibition is not for me. But hidden on the top floor there is an exhibition of the works of Stanislav Szukalski. He surprises me. His bronze sculptures are beautiful, creative, surprising and mysterious, a small island of world class.

Till next week,