Amsterdam riding a bike

On arriving in Amsterdam

So I moved to Amsterdam a week ago, I’m already mobile and there’s a chill in the air. Aside from the peculiar Dutch language, Amsterdam beguiles with its horseshoe streets and baffling harmony between people, trams, cars and bikes. Even close to the centre where I live there’s a weird silence,  like when a cat gives birth; something is happening in this city right under my nose, and it’s up to me to find it.

In the streets,  flocks of confident, well-dressed Dutch people flow past on bicycles as graceful as gazelles, as I struggle with a chain that is heavier and more expensive than the bike I’m attempting to secure. They look upon me with those judging, fair eyes – eyes that quash the impulse to spit in their perfectly groomed hair. I wonder where they are going. Clearly to a modern, city apartment, filled with other handsome, smiling people eating fresh bread, smoking and drinking delicious wine. How gezellig. I make myself a reminder to penetrate their secret society and dismantle it from within.

Meanwhile, grim clouds chase the sun beyond the horizon. The world looks as if it has been bit on the arse by a black hole. I wake in the mornings questioning if my watch had stopped at eight the previous evening or if there has been a total eclipse of all light in the universe. People use the word midday but I’m sure they’d have no idea of what or when it is if no one had invented clocks.

The lowlands deserve a chance however and I’m looking forward to unearthing every morsel of it. Preferably with tablespoons of mayonnaise.

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Ramon James

Ramon is a creative writer and illustrator