Independent stumbling hail hits dutch lime
I hope that you are healthy, happy and prosperous. Here, the beginning of July has been marked by thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy hail. [The photo, taken during the day, shows how dark it had become.] Naturally this ‘unusual’ weather led to family discussion:
“It’s because of the €uro,” I explained. “Money rushing out of Greece and Spain has shifted the jet stream. Colliding air currents result in unsettled weather patterns..”
“Are you serious?” Nazy replied.
“Well, in fact, I’m just practicing. In order to meet my career objective of being CEO of a major Financial Services company, I need to disassemble just like Bank CEOs Bob Diamond and Jamie Dimon.”
“Are they related?”
“I want to be able to explain, with a straight face, how a $2B, eh, $4B, eh, $6B, oops $9B speculative trading loss (disguised as a hedge) is an inconsequential tempest in a teapot. I want to be able to feign ‘shock and disappointment‘ when I discover that my bank has been fiddling with LIBOR interest rates...”
“Nobody will know what you’re talking about Dan.”
“These guys favor the free market when it comes to cutting off unemployment benefits, but happily take welfare (bailouts) when their bonuses are at risk.”
“Can you ever pass up an opportunity to bash...”
On a far happier note, Nazy and I returned to The Hague last week. I had a presentation at the American Book Center where I spoke about my book: Stumbling Through the Tulips. In a major departure from tradition (and expectation), our flights were smooth and trouble free. We took an InterCity (fast) train from Schipol airport to The Hague. Central Station was surrounded by construction.
“See?” I said. “Nothing has changed in the 18 years we were away.”
Courtesy of the zillion HHonors points that I earned traveling on behalf of HP, we had booked the (new) Hilton in The Hague. It’s located on the Mauritskade within walking distance of our first house on Prinsevinkenpark. There was a debate about dinner. Nazy wanted fish and I:
“Prefer an Indonesian Rijsttafel,” I countered.
Following tradition established over nearly 40 years of marriage, we compromised by going to a seafood restaurant on Nordeinde.
Nazy and I really like The Hague; we had a wonderful homecoming. In fact, we felt completely at home. We visited old ‘haunts’ including Scheveningen and our house (Adele) on the Badhuisweg. We “tram9ed” to Centrum to visit favorite shops:
I liked the Akkermann fountain pen shop in the Passage. The owner remembered us. (He had repaired my leaky Waterman several times.) He had a hand-painted Russian fountain pen on display. And..
“It’s only €15,000,” he explained. I left the shop. Nazy continued reminiscing. She found me at the snearkers store. “Mitra would have liked these,” I thought, recalling the sparkles she wore in high school.
“The pen comes with a video.”
“Really? I’d consider it only if it came with a refund.”
Nazy strolled through Maison de Bonneterie noting with pride that the plaque they installed in her honor continues to be proudly displayed. (The fashion floor is called the “Nazy Martin Memorial Boutique”.) We strolled through the Lange Voorhout and window-shopped on Denneweg.
The American Book Center had prepared a great window display for my book. Several Shell colleagues turned out and a family of expats from Rotterdam also took part.
“Did anybody from HP come?” Nazy asked.
“Bert came. He brought the beamer - a beamer that he extracted, at considerable personal risk, from an HP conference room ceiling.”
“I like Bert. But he was the only one..”
“Like fine wine, my professional relationships get better with age.”
I enjoyed the talk and really enjoyed seeing my friends from so long ago. I also discovered, perhaps unbelievably to the Dutch colleagues who know me well, that I can still read Dutch with reasonable fluency.
“Still read?” Bert asked.
“Right! Dutch better than German.”
“Of course! Dutch is naturally better than German.” Bert, predictably responded. “But can you read Dutch? You are an American.”
“.. and Americans don’t ‘do’ languages.” I replied. “But I can read all the advertisements..”
“My son, who is five years old, can read those.”
“Come now, Bert. If you continue these rampant exaggerations, you’ll probably even claim that he speaks and understands Dutch.”
In a related matter: An independent review of Stumbling Through the Tulips has been completed and
“Is it really independent?” Nazy asked.
“Completely independent. I had nothing to do with the analysis or conclusions.”
“ ... I could control only one thing: whether to publish the review.”
Review of Stumbling Through the Tulips available HERE
Back in Zurich, Nazy was enjoying the..
“Beautiful smell of the Lime trees along the Bahnhofstrasse.”
“Lime trees?” I asked. “Lime trees?” I thought in a rare moment when thought matched vocalization.
“German’s call these trees ‘linden’.”
“So do Americans,” I replied. “Unter den Lime has no caché,” I thought.
“My German-English dictionary says Linden = Lime.”
“You have an English English dictionary. In American English, Linden = Linden,” I replied. “I wonder if Nazy’s ever heard the term ‘limey’?” I thought. “There is a city in NJ, right next to Carteret, called ‘Linden’. Our high school football team always lost to them.”
“The lime trees certainly smell good,” Nazy said - returning to the point.
Other Photos from The Hague are available here.