Britsoc: The British Society of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Serving the British Expat community since 1920.

Kings (of Rock and Roll) Day

koningsdag_poster

Kings (of Rock and Roll) Day

by Mike Hayes
On Koningsdag I’ll be performing the music of the Koning of Rock’n’Roll,
yes the Pelvis. At the same time, I hope to collect some euros for the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) who did their best to help my daughter.

En Pluche

Nick’s Nosh #2 | April 2016

Nick

By Nick Nugent

 

En Pluche ***

Ruysdaelstraat 50, 1071 XE Amsterdam

Website: www.enpluche.nl

Tel: +3120-4714695
Email: info@enpluche.nl

 

portfolio-detail-enpluchewandI had one of my best friends over on Saturday, and we ate dinner at En Pluche. Just like Daalder, which I have also reviewed this month, the decor is Art Deco. The effect is exactly like the waiting room in a 1920s movie theatre. At first, the red velvet chairs looked uncomfortable, but after sitting on them for a while they turned out to be very comfy indeed.  The red theme is broken up by the fancy Art Deco lighting and black and white photos. Because we were dressed quite smartly, they put us very near the door. The more scruffy clientele got whipped to the back quite quickly.  A very Oud Zuid couple occupied the other seat opposite the door. They appeared to be on a date. I hope you know where I’m going with this?  It’s one of the places to be seen!

I have to admit I was worried this was going to be another Momo type place. That is,  all mouth and no trousers in the food department.  I have to say that that this view was misconceived as you will read.

The concept is you can pick from a three-course meat or fish menu, or the four course Chef Koen’s choice —which is a bit of a mixture.  We both went for Koen’s choice.

The starter was a ceviche of Corvina with puffed quinoa for crunch, very thinly sliced kumquat, raw radish and corn freshly stripped from the cob and an exquisite lime dressing. We chose to pair wines with this, and the sommelier’s choice was Pinot Grigio. I overruled with a Pouilly Fume, which matched perfectly.

The second course was pork belly with prawn.  You may be thinking that this is odd, but this is a classic inEn-Pluche-1 things like Chinese cooking, so I was quite prepared.  I asked what the wine pairing would be with this.  We were offered a Barbera d’Alba from Italy, which I felt was too much.  At this point, the waiter gave in and called the sommelier over.  A very nice chap called Kaj.  My personal choice to go with this was the Chablis, but he insisted that a red would be better and we compromised on a Dornfelder from Germany.  He left us half a glass of Chablis, so we could compare, which was nice. The dish was served with a bisque, which had a creamy quality and strong flavor. My friend and I agreed that the Chablis did a better job, although the Dornfelder was a great glass of wine, which we enjoyed once we wolfed it down.

EnPluche_FCThe main was lamb done two ways with hummus, pea puree and a curd with a delicate sauce and sautéed pulses.  The lamb fillet was served as two beautifully cooked slithers with a nice pink strip down the middle and a rillette under the curd.  This was flavoursome dish, which took a while to eat due to the richness. The hummus was creamy smooth but lacked a bit of a punchy flavour. The pea puree was very green, but a bit coarse on an otherwise delicate plate.  A nice dish, but the previous two were better.  A Bordeaux was suggested at the match for this, and it was so good we asked Kaj to leave the bottle.

The ingredients of the  “Blood Orange” dessert did not match the name.  There was a white chocolate parfait disc at the bottom, which had a whole load of stuff spiked into it including a sesame crisp, a couple of strips of meringue and had some segments of blood orange on top, with some cocoa soil for good measure. Regular readers know I am not one for desserts.  This is the best dessert I’ve had in Amsterdam for years. Right up there with the Bord’eau chocolate bomb!!

14I know what you are thinking: “Why has he only given three stars? With all that great food and décor it must surely be worth more.”  In my rating, I have a four-star level. This is semi-flexible, but you have to do most things well.  La Rive and Daalder sit in that group.  En Pluche did many things very well, but there are faults.  At some points we were left for quite a few minutes without any attention. Particularly at the start and the end, which is a very unfortunate Dutch Tradition.  Kaj was a great sparring partner for the wine, so big thumbs up for him.  Apart from dessert, I would call this a good feed and not more.  I also think the clientele has something to do with how the place operates.  I believe that the mix of the Oud Zuid crowd, with one or two tourists, means they can get away with a few things.  The final nail in their four-star coffin came on the way back from the men’s room. I spotted the cheese platter and asked the nearest staff where they get it from.  “A cow!” was the answer.  I think Koen the chef corrected him quickly with L’amuse the cheese shop near the Olympic stadium.

This place is right, but I would want a seat more in the mix of it in the back. Try it. It’s good. Superb in parts. I for one will return.


daalder_BAR4722

Nick’s Nosh | April 2016

Nick

By Nick Nugent

Daalder ****

Lindengracht 90
1015KK Amsterdam

Website: www.daalderamsterdam.nl

Tel: 020 624 8864
Email: info@daalderamsterdam.nl

 

terrasje_1

David from Anglo Info had put me on to this one. I had also heard about it in the pub while watching the rugby. So with two recommendations I had to try it out.  Sunday is the new Saturday for me as my girlfriend works on Saturday evenings, so the choice of restaurants is a bit more limited.  Luckily Daalder is open.

The concept is simple. There is no menu. You just choose the number of courses you want and they will create a surprise menu for you.  This for me requires a bit of negotiation at the start.  In this sort of place, unless it is a special occasion, I would usually go for 3-4 courses.  However, I always worry I might miss out on something, as I like to have meat and a fish dish as part of the meal.  This involves asking what the fish is likely to be, how many courses I need to take to get it, and whether there are some major dislikes.  I think in total it may have taken 10-15 to get the ordering done, which is not unusual for me.  As my booking was last minute, they only had a place for us at the bar. It was beautifully set out with a proper place setting, so I did not care too much.  The other benefit of the higher vantage point is you can see them delivering the food and preparing the drinks.   The preparation of the coffee at the end was a sight.  It involved five pieces of Tupperware, with little sweet things that were removed from their storage one at a time and replaced after each little sweet thing reached the platter to go with the coffee.  Lots of effort, but I get too far ahead of myself.

On sitting, we took a Cava to start. Which was closely followed by an amuse of Kroepoek of pecorino with mustard that was delightfully melt-in-the-mouth tasty.

In the end, we ordered four courses and asked if they could pair with wines.  I had been looking at the wine menu before the visit. It’s small but has some excellent choices.  I had my eye on a Vouvray, which I was hoping would be paired with the fish course.

There was another amuse of tomato sorbet topped with pesto, parmesan foam and tomato powder.  My notes say – boom, boom, boom.  This was concerning the flavours they achieved with this dish, which were massive.

The starter was steak tartar Arabian style, which was very spicy. It was too big, but with exquisite flavour. Even though I’m a spice lover, my palette was almost destroyed by the chilli in this dish.  Nevertheless, it’s great to get some flavour in Amsterdam!  The steak tartar was paired with a Faubel Riesling.  I think the sommelier, who was not there, was aiming for the classic slightly sweet Riesling to go with spicy foods.  For me, this did not work with the dish, which needed more savoury notes to balance and this just was not present in the wine.

The fish course was sea bass fillet with raspberry coulis, radish, aioli and pomme purée.  I was surprised with the great combination of raspberry with salty fish cooked to perfection. The mash was somewhat cold. I did not record the wine choice for this but again it did not have the acidity to match the raspberry and aioli.

The fish was followed by a gnocchi with reblochon cheese, onion compote and hazelnut.  A sort of deconstructed tartiflette if you will. It was very flavoursome. The onion compote with a white Rioja unfortunately also did not work for me

At this point, I think I realised the sommelier seems to have a problem with more robust wine choices.  Maybe their palette is too sensitive and they refuse to match the acid content with the dish preferring a smoother wine. Unfortunately, this white Rioja tasted like water with the last dish and the others missed the spot as well.  So I am choosing to ignore the wine choices somewhat from this review.  The staff were getting a little upset as well, with me criticising all the choices so far, so they decided to give me a couple of options with the main.

The main was a braised veal cheek with truffle risotto and shaved raw mushroom.  It was a very rich dish. The veal could be eaten with a spoon and the risotto was classically prepared.  We chose a Cote du Rhone, which was the best match of the night with this dish.

For dessert, we had cardamon mouse, goats cheese ice cream, citrus fruit pieces, coulis and nuts.  It follows the fashion for slightly more savoury desserts, which I don’t mind at all. I rejected the Sauternes due to the potential flavour clash and ended up with a great Moscatel.

Whether you are seated at the bar or sat at a proper table, the restaurant is a beautiful place to be with its art deco styling and bird murals.  There was a nice atmosphere in there, and for a proper Dutch restaurant the service was really good—even when they have a complete fusspot like yours truly.  As I mentioned above, I’m going to let it go about the wine choices as that can be very personal. For me, this is the best meal that I’ve had in Amsterdam for a long time.  Despite the issues, they deserve four stars.  I think this is the first fours stars I have given in about six months.

 

BAR Daalder

 

 

 


Chairman-Nickespeare

Britsoc Chairman’s Corner April 2016

The news from our Belgian neighbours was terrible and my wishes go out to them on behalf of the society.

Last month we held a very successful G&T and whisky evening in Timothy Oulton, which was attended by around 30 guests.  We are in discussions about doing another one in May, perhaps with something more female friendly.

Our friends at the Greenwoods Tea Room on the Keizersgracht hosted our Britsoc Curry Night and many thanks to them for the great spread they put on.  We also had a pub night in association with Meetin at Molly’s were we had around 20 people.

As the clocks change, and we head into Spring, the weather finally seems to be improving and thoughts turn to the outdoors and what we can do there.  Geoff will soon be announcing the dates for the sailing to resume. And those less hardy golfers come out of the woodwork to remove the cobwebs from their swings.  Details will be available on our events calendar website.

There will be another edition of the Curry Club on the 14th April at a venue yet to be announced.

2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of  William Shakespeare.

Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration, but hurry as there are only a few tickets left.

Shakespeare Night Tickets
2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration. Only a few tickets left.

With Kings Day in April our programme will be a little less full this month with social events, but I aim to remedy that in May and June.

Cheers

Nick Nugent

Britsoc Chairman


GreenwoodsWidePoster2016

Britsoc Shakespeare Night Feast 2016

2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare.

Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration. Hurry. Only a few tickets left.

Shakespeare Night Tickets
2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration. Only a few tickets left.

Shakespeare 400 plus more with the British Society

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, our broad imaginations will once again produce a hotchpotch of Shakespearean and other English delights. There will be poetry, comedy monologues, stories, songs, quotes, puns, jokes – something for everyone.

You too can enjoy the spectacle, and even try your hand at giving your own unique interpretation of some of those English classics.

Be English for the evening and come along and join us in our unique annual “Shakestravaganza”.

And, of course, “once more into the feast”, enjoying four courses of Greenwoods’ justly renowned English cuisine.

The meal will cost 35.00 Euros for members, 37.00  Euros for non-members.

There will be separate tabs for drinks, and, of course, all the fun is free.

Please let Paul Huxley know by email if you wish to join us and if you would like read to something.

Organiser
Phone me on 0650641461. Or Email me here

Details

Where: Greenwoods Tea Room, Keizersgracht 465 Amsterdam , 1017 DK Netherlands
Date: April 23
Time: 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm
Cost: €35 – €37
Shakespeare Night Tickets
2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration. Only a few tickets left.

National News and Pictures
Date: 16/02/2012
PH: Johnathan Adam Davies
Pictured: Ronald 'Ronnie' Corbett
Caption: Investitures at Buckingham Palace. Mr Ronald Corbett receives the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) for services to Entertainment and to Charity at Buckingham Palace.  Westminster, London.

Joke of the Month | April 2016

Alison

By Alison Smith

As tribute to the late Ronnie Corbett CBE, here’s one of his jokes.

“A man from Dagenham has named his son TGF 308F. He said he may not be rich but when he eventually leaves his son his Ford Mondeo, at least he’ll have his own personalised number plate.”

 

And one from Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

cmu322Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decide to go on a camping trip. After dinner and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decide to go on a camping trip. After dinner and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep.

Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.

“Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.”

“What does that tell you?” asked Sherlock

Watson pondered for a minute.

“Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.”
“Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.”
“Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.”
“Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant.”
“Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.”
“What does it tell you, Holmes?”

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke:

“Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!”


Beer-Tree-Logo

The Beer Hunter April 2016

Beer Tree (of Life)

By Andy Symmonds

Love-Beer-webJust as the selection of beers that we can now buy is rapidly changing, so is the way that we can purchase this lovely stuff. Amsterdam has long had some excellent bars and cafés where you could sample a selection of (mainly Belgian) beers, but there are now significantly more establishments with more of a beer focus. The variety of beers now available in turn allows the selection of beers to be increasingly diversified, with offerings from many nations. This is not to disrespect Belgian beer, but it is great to see so many new beers on the market.

Draught beer is not always so easy to buy to take home, but Amsterdam now has new venues where you can do exactly that. The Beer Tree on Eerste van der Helstraat in the Pijp is one of these venues. It has now been open for a year, selling draught and chilled bottled beers to thirsty or curious customers. The Beer Tree sells four different draught beers in Growlers, which are described as ‘a pitcher, pail or other container used for carrying and transporting beer.’ This is a one-litre sealable bottle but you can also bring your own container as long as the size is clear and it can be sealed. The draught beers available usually include an IPA, something seasonal and a variety of other options so you may need to visit regularly if you have FOMO (fear of missing out).

Shop0webIn addition to the draught selection, there are another 200 beers (or so) in the fridges down the right-hand side. The refrigerators contain beers representing the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, USA and 21 countries from the rest of the world. The goal was to be able to provide beer that is immediately ready for consumption if required, and myths aside very few people have a taste for warm beer.

Bottle-beer-webBeing so close to the Albert Cuyp Markt the Beer Tree staff see a broad cross section of locals, expats and tourists alike. The positive reaction from all has been encouraging and the view is that beer is increasing in popularity. People are now more willing to experiment with new styles of beer and more and more women are discovering the joys of a good beer that doesn’t taste of fruit. It is interesting to note that Brew Dog will be opening a new beer-themed bar / restaurant almost opposite in the next few weeks and the Pijp is increasingly well served with places to enjoy a glass or two.

The Beer Tree Sister Store
The Beer Tree has a sister store at Jan Pieter Heijestraat 148, Amsterdam

SpinachPaneer

Spinach and Paneer Curry | Cooking Coach | April 2016

Karen

By Karen Vivers

Spinach and Paneer Curry

Ever since my south Indian travels I’ve been working on getting to grips with some of my favourite food from the trip.  This curry with spinach and paneer (Indian fresh cheese) is really fresh and light and, it uses a very (in my opinion) exotic spice –  asafoetida.  This spice has a sort of earthy onion type aroma and flavour and in its raw form is a root like ginger or turmeric.  In the South of India they use it in a lot of vegetarian curries.  I had heard of it, but I had absolutely no idea how to use it.  That’s the great thing about travelling to the places where your favourite food originates, you get to taste how it should taste and that makes it so much easier to understand how to use it.

Preparation Time:  25 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4 people

Ingredients for 4 Servings

500gr / 1.1 lb. of paneer cut into cubes (you can also use tofu)
For the Curry
2 x tbsp of sunflower oil
2 x red onions, quartered
2 x large tomatoes, quartered
4 x large garlic cloves
2 x tsp of cumin
1 x tsp of turmeric
3 x tsp of coriander
3 x tsp of cardamom
1 x tsp of fenugreek
¼ tsp of Asafoetida (optional)
¼ tsp of salt

For the Spinach
500gr / 1.1 lb. of fresh spinach, cleaned and the most woody stems removed.
2 x green chili’s
2 x large cloves of garlic
75gr  / 2.5 oz. piece of peeled ginger

Method

Place the spinach leaves in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes.  Remove them and plunge them into a bowl of iced water.  This keeps the vibrant green colour.Put all the curry ingredients (except for the oil) into a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Set aside.

  1. Put all the curry ingredients (except for the oil) into a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Set aside.
  2. Drain the spinach and put  it in the food processor with the chili’s, garlic and ginger and blitz until smooth.
  3. Heat the oil in a non stick pan and cook the curry sauce for about 3 minutes.  Add the spinach mix and stir through, cooking on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes.Add the paneer, stir through and check for salt before serving.
  4. Add the paneer, stir through and check for salt before serving.

Tips and Variations

This can be served as a main dish or without the paneer it makes a great side dish to a curry menu.Why not give cheese making a go?  Indian paneer is an ideal place to start.

Here is the link to my recipe on the website:

Website

Karen Vivers, originally from Scotland, has lived here in Amsterdam since 1997, and has set up the Cooking Coach to help inspire people to get back into the kitchen.  The basis of the cooking lessons are easy, tasty, healthy recipes.  Each course starts with a free introduction session, to make sure that you only cook what you like to eat.

As well as cooking lessons, Karen offers Culinary Tasting Tours in Amsterdam, is a passionate food blogger, writer, author of “Love Food, Live Healthy”  and works freelance as a Business Consultant, specialising in small and medium food businesses, helping them get started, grow and deal with commercial challenges.

51AVmhu0f6L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Love Food, Live Healthy is ideal for those of us who really enjoy our food, but want to eat consciously without compromising on flavour. Packed with over 100 recipes, this book has lots of practical cooking and healthy eating tips. Designed for cooks of all skill levels, whether you love cooking or just love eating! 

The Cooking Coach 

Love Food, Live Healthy

www.thecookingcoach.eu

Mobile : 06 1424 0009

Email:     karen@thecookingcoach.eu


shutterstock_91978259-Web

Postcard from Bangkok

The intergalactic guide to lost love

By Adam Kohut, writer and journalist.

 

Icrash-landed in Bangkok, meteoric, achieving escape velocity from a failed exploratory mission in China and smashing into alien soil with atomic emotional force, emerging from gnarled wreckage, pulsing with the dull ache of loneliness and crippled by a broken heart and seething with anger and hurt and fear, the girl I’d loved having disembarked for the safety of home, and I myself leaving behind a job I’d grown to loathe and a nation’s citizenry with which I was glaringly incompatible.

Bangkok — its skylines, its noise, its summer heat —was oppressive, immense, foreboding, inviting, futuristic and anachronistic, grim and grungy and dusty and sordid and sleek — a place so exotic as to be science-fictional in its cultural convergence — of languages, of foods, of nationalities — at once bleakly modern and mired in mystic past. And here I was: sole survivor of what had initially been a two-man spacecraft, my only tools for navigation being lurid, pop-cultural fantasies and an international optimism that was now a dimly blinking bulb on a cracked control panel.

Then, on the horizon, a figure: rendered nanoscale by distance, obscured by gauzy aurora, materializing upon approach into fantastical reality. This was hope. This was safety. This was danger. This was salvation. This was damnation. This was Tessa.

And here we were, abroad and frantic and horny and, I suppose, a little homesick. And suddenly here was love, fusion love, with the strawberry-blonde girl from Holland, the girl with the perfectly shaped nose and the laid-back comportment of a cumulous cloud, allowing her to drift with thoughtless ease throughout the prickled quills of my porcupinal demeanor. Oh, was it love! And it was rescue, Western rescue from self-imposed Eastern exile. So onto one another we tethered, abandoning reserve and ideas of self-preservation, and we set off on a traversal of ourselves, each other, and the otherworldly cityscape into which we were enfolded.

Years passed, calendric pages distorted by the love-time continuum, bending and warping, fading and sharpening and blending. Slowly, together, we began to construct a ship, using scrap from the past and elemental material mined from the present. And sooner than later we’d created something pilotable, habitable, seemingly capable of interstellar travel. And there it sat, fuelled and ready for liftoff.

And we looked at each other and we knew it was time.

Four years in Asia, we say, in tones hushed and reverential, our eyebrows arched into parabolas— all four in Bangkok, for Tessa. Nearly half a decade. It is a length of time that both impresses and frightens — ourselves, our friends, our families. There are moments when these years feel like an almost interminable period for a Westerner to exist weighted down by the heightened gravitational force of Asia’s group culture, which restricts individualist senses of independence, of volatility. Tessa and I watch those who have chosen to cement themselves into places of permanence here, and we are baffled and, at times, angry, shocked that these men and women — our friends, some of them — seem to have so willingly surrendered what we so greedily covet.

Tessa and I, we know we have benefitted from our time in Asia, and we have compiled our reports, filed away comprehensive knowledge and experience into our mental databases for later use. But yes, we tell one another, gazing up into the glittering reaches of the universe, imagining possibilities as-yet uncharted. Yes. It is time to go home.

But trouble: Where is home, we ask ourselves, when the ship’s copilots hail from separate quadrants of the spiral-armed galaxy? A tricky matter, albeit one with a simple answer, because there is no home; there is instead a choice. And, for now, we’ve chosen The Netherlands, where Tessa will be free of the oppressive financial shackles of university tuition and student loans, enabling her to earn a master’s degree in education — thereby dipping into the frizzed lunacy that is a career in teaching high school art. I, ideally, will find roll the dice on the off-chance finding employment that is both sustainable and fulfilling.

But The Netherlands is Tessa’s home planet; it is not mine.

“Aren’t you sad about this?” she asks me one night, less fretful than curious, as we lay in bed, in the dark. “Sad that we’ll never really be able to go home, that it will be one or the other, for the rest of our lives? That scares me a little.” She pauses. Then she rolls over and is instantly asleep, just like that, as always, an android powering down, leaving me to stare wide-eyed into the midnight black, as flashback thoughts of one-sided loneliness, of that broken heart, which two years ago was so sharp, so vicious, so dangerous, zip through my mind at blurred hyper-drive speed. These are fears of abandonment, fears of reliving the past, of becoming trapped inside a tubular lemniscate of perpetual grief.

These thoughts are disheartening, I mentally bargain. But their flipsides also make for an interesting life, don’t they? Don’t they necessitate trips between the US and to Europe on a somewhat regular basis? Don’t they demand a life of risk, yes, but also adventure? Don’t they ensure the mundane will never ooze into the crevices of our daily lives?

I am confident.
I am brave.

I am stupid.

As I realize Tessa is right, one of us will be an immigrant — an alien — always, for the rest of our lives.

For Tessa, Amsterdam, our port of destination, will mean old friends, family, a familiar culture, a native language. She will have airlocks in which she can seek refuge from the vacuum of space. But her homecoming will be my arrival. And on this I focus, turning the idea of her glorious return into something saddening, simmering in a broth of low-heat envy. Will this imbalance, I wonder, damage our relationship, an asteroid collision from which we will never recover, dealing mortal damage to something seemingly innocuous but vital, some steam valve or pump or satellite dish, that will cripple what we have so carefully yet thoughtlessly engineered, thus leading to its eventual yet inevitable — and soundless — implosion?

“What have I done?” I ask her, shaking her awake, an opaque nebula the color of murky urine sweeping over and enveloping my very existence, clouding rationality. My eyes gleam with equine haunt. “I’ve doomed us! Everything will be ruined! It will be years before I see my family. I won’t have a job; I just know I won’t find one. I’ll have to work in a cafeteria. I’ll have to wear a hairnet and rubber gloves. How could I do this? What have I done? What have we done? What will we do?”

I bristle with pessimism, come alive with prophetic visions of dystopian futures where I huddle, cold and alone, yearning for the lean-on-me days of Bangkok, a city I now view through the pastel lens of the past, everything soft and subdued and warm. If only, I’ll think. If only.

Tessa, she groans. She opens her bleary eyes and she rolls them. “Oh God, you idiot. It’s not going to be going home for me either. Not quite. It’s all going to be different. My home isn’t the same as when I left it. Most of friends have moved, and I won’t have a job either. At least not at first. It’s starting over for me, too.”

We are quiet then — I am quiet, then — and soon she is asleep, again.

This is becoming a pattern, her insistence on being correct, her ability to telescopically peer at both sides of a situation, yet still, somehow, absurdly cling to optimism, for me an ungraspable thing of slippery surfaces. It is mounting evidence, all of it, that I need her, and, I tell myself as I listen to her soft, deep, sleep-weighted breaths, it is also proof that she will leave me, because I am clearly insane.

But for now, I am tranquilized, anxiety eclipsed by the calming shadow of her surety.

Yes, The Netherlands is Tessa’s home, but she will return after prolonged absence to find that things have changed, grown and shrunk. They will be old, but they will be new again, results of her evolution into adulthood and of time, all that time, spent away from home. And we, too, the both of us, are people transformed by one another and by our travels, the coronas of faraway suns and electromagnetic rays emitted from sources extraterrestrial.

And there lies both the beauty and the tarnished despair in our relationship: Although tethered to one another, we are astronauts adrift, Tessa and I, borne through cosmic territory, faced with destinies dictated by passports of differing color, forcing us, at times, to individually relinquish control.

For the time being, my ship will be stripped for parts, and we will take with us only the essentials, the superfluous relegated to metallic storage containers where it will await my return. I will take the copilot’s chair, at attention and ready, an active part of our relationship, but largely unneeded for the act of flight itself. Until the situation reverses, and we make the potential move the United States, when and where our roles will change.

Or perhaps we will travel elsewhere — South America, Australia, Japan— and we will jointly man the controls. We will train ourselves, harden, adapt to deftly plot our course through the flux of the unknown, forever strangers in strange lands, in elliptical orbit around one another, never certain, but certainly never lost.

Bangkok pic — Tessa Dekker

Photo by Tessa Dekker

Adam Kohut portfolio
Adam has just stepped off the boat from Bangkok with his girlfriend. His writing and journalism portfolio is available here.

 


Postcard

Postcard from the isle of Sal, Cape Verde

by Dee Bodle

Fabulous beaches are what initially put Cape Verde on the map for us as a holiday destination. After visiting Boa Vista (another island) last year we were not disappointed. This year, we decided to visit the island of Sal.

We found that Sal has a coastline of Caribbean-white bays and golden dunes. It has trade winds, which means that water sports like wind and kite surfing are readily available and great to watch. There is a flag system in place if you want to swim in the ocean – red means stay well away, yellow says take care, and green means you’re okay. There wasn’t a green flag all the time we were there, but we did have some fantastic waves that we could encounter, as swimming was prohibited.

We went to Sal in late February, and the temperature averaged 26 degrees. In Boa Vista in September last year, the temperature reached over 30 degrees. The breeze from the Sahara, however, keeps things comfortable in the hotter months, and rainfall is a real rarity.

PalmsBoth of the islands are principally beach resorts with long stretches of white sand and an abundance of water sports. All our needs were catered for as our resorts on both islands were all-inclusive. Boa Vista and Sal are islands for beach lovers and relaxation — you can visit most of most of the island’s sights and attractions in half a day.  Santa Maria is the main tourist area on Sal. At night, there is a lively atmosphere with a good choice of bars and restaurants.

Shop-webSal is the most developed of all the Cape Verde Islands regarding tourism, yet it has a very barren landscape. A large percentage of visitors come to Sal for water sports, which is hardly surprising as Sal’s long sandy beaches and turquoise water make it a beautiful playground for water sports enthusiasts.

Cape Verde does not have and abundance of stuff to see and do, but if you just want the perfect place to relax in the sun, where you can enjoy long walks along the coastline, you will not be disappointed.