I am sitting on a bench by the shore of The Hague with barely a jacket on looking at a relatively small sun setting. A flock of seagulls has gathered around begging for food and the waves at the shore are becoming fiercer. I did not know seagulls liked French fries so much that they would even fight over one. Strange how all creatures are good at adapting. Darwin has proved after all that those who do not adapt tend to face extinction; sounds about right.
So here I am, on a bench, in a different country, again. On my bike ride from what I call “home” in this city to the beach, I asked for directions. The two Dutch men I kindly stopped on the road smiled and asked me “which beach, because we have too many beaches here!” I smiled and replied “any!” even though I was condescendingly laughing inside thinking that I come from a country that has many more beaches yet no one would ask you “which one” if you posed that question. After about a 3 mile bike ride I finally made it. The last 10 days of what I like to call the “new era” of my life – the title makes me feel better than to think of it as a transitional period; sort of reminds me of transitional societies and that never brings good images to mind – have been relatively rough. Now everything seems to have somewhat fallen into place with some exceptions still missing. Yet coming here this evening brings a peace of mind I always tend to seek. I don’t know if it is the water that makes it feel more like home, the openness of the setting that gives you a sense of infinity or merely the fact that I like catching pretty mental snapshots.
I wish I had taken my camera along with my laptop today. The scenery, albeit in Europe reminds you a lot of the US East Coast. Long sand shore, darker waters, waves splashing; not the view you get in the Mediterranean. This one seagull seems to be a pro in catching those fries in the air. I have counted seven in a row thus far. It seems to know well the game of “quick catch” and domination to the rest of the flock by taking the central spot and chasing down any of the rest trying to claim it. But I was talking about the scenery. Before I moved here I found out on the internet – what a marvelous creation – that you can surf on the beaches here. I can now attest to this fact. I couldn’t be happier that I can finally gear up and ride some waves on European soil. I had started to miss that a lot. I should probably head down the beach and wander a bit, then get my bike and ride it back home. This city has actually started to grow in me.
Kijkduin, September 19 2009