Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Southern Yankee's European Vacation Part 3

Read this post and this post to catch up!

And if you're interested in some of my present day musings, read a recent post posted on Deep South Moms.

Saturday, May 1st, 1999

All of us sleep past eleven. Our clothes are clean and folded at the top of the stairs this morning. Anita is having brunch at 1:00 p.m., so we shower and head downstairs. Her oldest son, Schewart, is home for the weekend, visiting from Amsterdam. Outside, the table is set and we load up on bread (Fresh! Soft inside, crispy outside), butter, jam, cheese so rich and delicious it reminds me of cream, meat salads and chocolate sprinkles. We all have tea to drink.

During lunch, another son, Dirk, arrives. We are a lively bunch, joking between bites while Anita bustles around, refusing help. When our meal is through, everyone lingers at the table enjoying the perfect weather. Later, Schewart and Dirk drive the three of us girls to Antwerpen, a city in Belgium along the water. We take pictures in fornt of an ornate church, at the Great Market, by the water and in front of a castle. We have drinks at two cafes; one on the sidewalk and then one inside because we are cold.

When the five of us get back to Terneuzen, S. teaches the two boys (Louie has gone home) to play Rummy. WE drink beer and play cards and annoy Dirk with our girlishness. Anita and Johann return. We hide the beer bottles and caps because we feel guilty. Dirk and Schewart take us to a bar called The Snuggly. Everyone's eyes are on us - it is disconcerting and uncomfortable. Schewart says its because we are wearing a lot of makeup (edit to add that each of us only had on a bit of blush and some light lipstick) which is considered a little slutty in Terneuzen, but since we are dressed conservatively, it's okay. He says we look like movie stars compared to the other women in Holland. They have been brought up watching American t.v.

After we leave The Snuggly, we head to another local bar where everyone is much more friendly and social. Someone buys us light green shots that taste like coconut milk. Everyone in the bar is watching us as we dance to Elvis music. Everyone in Holland seems to have an obsession with Elvis. Every street corner has a place to buy Elvis postcards. Odd.

Schewart and Dirk tell us we'll stay out until 4:00 a.m. but I don't know how I will make it past 2:00. But by the time it reaches 4:00, I am not at all close to being tired or ready to leave. Finally, around 6:00 a.m., it is time to go. S. is talking to some men and they don't want her to leave (story of my life!). But then it gets more serious and I begin to panic. She tries to pull away and they won't let her go. Schewart and Dirk begin to get concerned and say "it is important for us to get home immediately".

Finally, we get possession of S. and rush home with the men close behind. We eventually lose them. Daylight is quickly approaching and some houses have their lights on to start the day. V. and I collapse into bed reeking of cigarettes and beer. V. eats a granola bar in bed as the sun comes up. (Gives new meaning to the idea of "breakfast in bed", doesn't it?)

1 comment:

Monica said...

I love reading this! I feel like the first time, I was away and so were you, we just talked briefly and said, yep, great trip. Now, I feel I'm getting every detail. Ten years later.