Next Transit Stop

You take the six fifteen transit flight from Bristol Airport to Amsterdam International. Arrive
at eight a.m. You look another look at the boarding pass. Next flight out is Singapore, eight
p.m. You look again. Now what you say. You step out into the arrival hall and plan your next
event. You have twelve hours to go. Head out to Amsterdam Central. See the sights. Walk
the canals. Sip an espresso by the river. You go to buy a train ticket but it’s all Dutch. The
bookish guy behind you explains where and what to press for the metro. You thank him. He
doesn’t respond. You head down to the train platform. Read the signboards. It’s all Dutch.
You approach a guy with a surfboard. You ask him if this platform was heading to the city. He shakes his head. You ask him to point you to the right direction. He shrugs and shakes his
head. You ask a young lady with blue hair. She was running for another platform. Tells you to ask the attendant or whoever. You look around. No attendant. An older lady sees you are in
trouble. Tells you that the train to the city over at platform three. Tells you to hurry to catch
the next one. You cross over the bridge to platform three. The guy with the surfboard was
already getting into the train. You squeeze into the carriage. Realise it is packed. You look at
the electronic sign. It’s all Dutch. You take a selfie out of boredom. The blonde girl standing
behind you makes a v sign. You turn and smile. The boyfriend with the leather pants glare at
you . Says something. You don’t understand. It’s all Dutch . Smile and quickly move three
paces away. Can’t get far. Crowded. You exit Amsterdam central. Enter the city. You see
trams and canals and boats. You know you are in Amsterdam. You see Chinese tourists
taking selfies and gesturing loudly. You see American tourists gesturing at Chinese tourists.
You see the Brits, Dutch, French and the Spanish at coffee houses gesturing at everyone else.
You enter into one. Look at the menu. It’s all Dutch. You asked the waitress to recommend
something. It was nice and floaty. Apple flavour. Walk out along the canal. Turn right. The
famous ladies streets. Try not to look at the lovelies. No chance. You see middle aged men
walking with their wives. Trying not to look. No chance. The sons get curious. Interesting. You head to a bench near Anne Frank. Sits down. Wonder how long before your flight. Try not to get too bogged down with history. You head to see the turnips. Realise the place is just a museum. Sits down again and survey the quietness. You enter into your second coffee house. Switch to a stronger flavour. Now its kicking. You stand and try to walk it off. No chance. You smell of Apple and cinnamon. Move off the sidewalk. The bike guy with floppy hair and trench coat screams. Realise he is screaming at you. Never step into the bike lane. Never. You walk into the crowd near the shop that sells the famous fries. A pretty blonde smiles at you. You don’t know how to react. You reach for your wallet. It’s not there. The cashier gets pissed. Holding a pack of dripping French fries. You explain. No chance. You get pissed. Your wallet got nicked. You turn to find the blonde. She is gone. You check for your passport. It’s there. At least you get to go home. You decide to sit near the river to clear your head. A boat floats by with a party of young people. They look so happy. Another boat floats by. A dog and his shirtless owner proudly sail past. You look across the bank. A young couple was sipping red wine by the edge. To your left you hear a splash. Then another splash. You turn to see a group of burly men dressed up as clowns jumping into the water. You try to laugh but the head is getting lighter. You close your eyes. You hear engines and motors humming along. You feel the cool wind in your hair. The bells are ringing. You hear people chatting. Someone say something to you. Your eyes are closed. You don’t understand a word. It’s all Dutch… What time was the transit anyway?


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