corders in the hague

It's like having the Corders round for dinner - except the kids don't smash stuff and Mike doesn't drink all your booze. And when you're bored you can get rid of us with a mouse click rather than having to start tidying up the house.

My Photo
Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sky at night

I just got back from covering the Holland-England football match in Amsterdam (1-1, a reasonably fair result as neither side really deserved to win). As I also had to cover a war crimes hearing at the International Criminal Court today, I was forced to head from The Hague to Amsterdam during the rush hour, which basically means enduring a 70-kilometer traffic jam. As my motorcycle now has a shiney new Dutch number plate and my Australian motorbike license has not yet expired (which it will do very soon, forcing me to take three tests here, one theory and two practical), I decided to take the Sportster for a spin.

This involves a Clark Kent-like transformation at the storage unit where I keep it. I ride in on my bicycle and out on the Harley. If I'm honest, it's more Hong Kong Phooey than Superman as I have to push the motorbike out backwards, engine off and do a six point turn to get it into a lift before I can ride it out of the building.)
One great thing (possibly the only great thing in this land of long winters, low temperatures and perenially wet roads) about riding here is that you're actually allowed to cut through lines of cars sitting fuming in traffic jams. Drivers even move over for you! It's a distinct improvement on Australia where you weren't allowed to lane split and drivers seemed intent on sideswiping you as you passed.
Riding back I finally got a look at the Dutch night sky, which is an impressive thing. Having no hills, the sky really feels like a dome and tonight was cloudless so you could even see a scattering of stars. The only drawback is that the country is so damned full of stuff - houses, offices, petrol stations and huge illuminated greenhouses full of tomatoes that have been genetically modified so they don't taste like tomatoes - that the light pollution largely blots out any darkness. But there were a couple of stretches on the way home where there were only fields and few cars and it actually felt like riding through a winter night in the Outback.
It was cold. Very cold.
As I've been writing this post, the feeling is only gradually returning to my legs, hands and other extremities that were numbed by the wind and low temperatures (it was about 10 degrees, but felt much colder than that at 100 kmh). As I got off the bike, I probably could have undergone - without any anesthetic - the minor surgical procedure I keep putting off.


Post a Comment

<< Home