24th – 25th February 2017
Anger shot through his sharp nose, simmering at the peak of his high forehead. “This is almost criminal!” the Norwegian solicitor sputtered in the uneasy silence of the terminal. My hot-headed acquaintance and I had missed our connecting flights at Schiphol Airport due to the runway being impacted by storms.
Feeling no need to restrain himself from cursing the Dutch, the grown man paced the outskirts of the KLM Crown Lounge, which although closed, had blue-uniformed staff sprawled on the couches. Their strict refusal in attending to customers after working hours, only validated what I had heard about the Netherlands boasting a remarkable work-life balance.
Resigning to our fates, we allowed the escalator to take us down to a sparsely populated level and parted ways. I walked towards the prominent two-storeyed Johnnie Walker house modelled after a museum.
Why was its luxury bar closed, especially in a city that prides itself in a fascinating nightlife scene?
As my hunger pangs intensified, I questioned my unwillingness to catch a direct train from the airport to the city for some bitterballen. Plagued with having to sort out my connecting flight with the service staff at 5.30 am, I knew the beef croquettes had to wait. At eleven in the morning, I forced a smile at the service staff after a long wait as she handed me my boarding pass.
My flight was in ten hours.
As if to make fun of my ill-luck in missing work, I was appalled to see a rat scurry past me into a recycling bin.
Unequipped with winter wear and dog-tired, I sacrificed my visit to the city, dragging my feet into the nearest airport hotel. To my dismay, the sterile rooms of ‘Yotel’ were modelled after capsule hotels, leaving me yearning for the lively company of rodents outdoors.
I struggled to identify with Simon Woodroffe’s philosophy in constructing a cabin-like space for passengers who were in the transition of entering the confined spaces of a plane yet again.
When I fled from my incubator after a nap for some ‘fresh air’ before another long flight, my gaze settled upon hand-painted delftware, stroopwafels and tulips sold in stalks (which were a far cry from the tulip fields), sold in the bustling stores. All I had ever received from anyone who had visited the Netherlands, was within an arm’s reach.
Unable to resist the cries of capitalism, I purchased a box of Honingwafels and quickly bit into one. Its sweet honey filling made my yearning stronger- I was hungry to one day be able to actually, sink my teeth into the Netherlands.
Featured Image: http://www.amsterdamlayovers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/1499608.jpg