After a very hectic week, followed by a fabulous weekend with no access to Internet, I am back. It feels like its been such a long time..
..may be because it is spring now. The winter is finally over and after a few days of hovering between both sides of 0 C, we are now firmly in spring, with temperatures around 10 – 15 C. Flowers have started to bloom. Trees have begun to show the first signs of leaves. Women are shedding their greys and whites, for colourful prints in green and orange. Convertibles have their tops down. Cafe seatings have extended to the sidewalks and they are almost full. The early birds among the tourists and the backpackers are out on the streets. There is a joy in every step and a smile on every face. As for me, the last piece of my furniture arrived last week, the paintings are on the walls, photo frames neatly line my table tops, and I finally feel settled. I can now feel the itch in my bones to discover this promising continent. Its a new beginning.
The Easter weekend came and went and it was a wonderful one. One of our friends was visiting Amsterdam, so we made a trip down to the Keukenhof gardens, a short bus ride from Leiden, a beautiful University town south of Amsterdam. The flowers in the garden have started blooming. Though the gardens mainly boast of tulips, they have an amazing range of flowers of all kinds, hues, shades and shapes. The fields were only partially in bloom, but the gardens more than make up for it and it was a wonderful treat. While I let my imagination fill up the some parts of the canvas of a pretty picture of patches of never ending tulip fields, it would be a truly wonderful sight in a couple of weeks time. If time allows, we will make a trip down there again, when the fields are in full bloom. If you are ever in Netherlands in April, the Keukenhof gardens is something you absolutely must not miss. And if you are in or around Europe during the coming month, factor in a visit to the Keukenhof in your trip and I bet you wont regret it.
The weekend also had its share of firsts – I smoked my first pot. We were at Dampkring, which is apparently the coffee shop where Brad Pitt and George Clooney shared a joint in Oceans Twelve. Needed a friend from US to let us in on that trivia! May be because I asked the guy at the counter repeatedly for something mild for a first-timer, the only effect I had from my skunk – a Dutch weed thats mainly hash – was that I was mildly happier.
I also had the most exhilarating ride of my life in an extreme machine. Its an adventure ride, shaped rather like a spider with five feet that can seat about twenty people in its tentacles. It hurls you around in circles while at the same time, going to great heights and turning you upside down and still managing to accelerate to incredible speeds. Ever since I tried out the Christopher Columbus in Appugarh when I was a kid, I am hooked onto adventure rides and have tried them out in all places I have been to, where I could afford them. Maybe I am getting older and my capacity to withstand great heights and accelerations is diminishing, but this was definitely the best ride I have ever had in my life. Srijith says he kept thinking about how gravity was pulling him down and the only thing that kept us up in the air was a piece of metal/plastic sort of ‘seat belt’. And I kept trying to remember whether there was an indemnity clause on the ticket stub. To each his own! But despite my rather busy mind, I screamed non stop at the top of my voice for the entire span of the ride and that was oh so fun!
And somewhere in the middle of all this fun and excitement, we suddenly lost one hour of our lives. The daylight savings had set in on Sunday and everyone turned their watches one full hour ahead. And we would have happily gone on with our lives, if it hadn’t been for Boston Public which showed on TV one hour ahead of what we thought was the scheduled time. I am glad I dint miss it – English television is still a rare treat I cherish dearly.
Heres to spring and new beginnings!