Narrator – Amsterdam: the inverted world 2

The first winter in Holland, life was a party. Everything was different than in my native country. The days were grey, bleak and cold, but the houses were hot inside with artificial light until well into the evening. There was food in abundance, but usually the hospitality did not allow sharing a meal. In the beginning I thought that people were embarrassed for their inability to prepare a tasty meal. Much later I found out that faith, thrift and money played an important role.

Via a detour I was often invited to the meal; as a guest I offered to prepare the meal. In Rome I had learned to cook. In this way we enjoyed an un-Dutch tasty meal in an un-Dutch manner. Also my lovers appreciated my cooking.


My first winter in Amsterdam I saw real gnomes with long hair and dishevelled clothes. They wished to be free of any tradition and to discover themselves in a new world; this is all history. I still love the pop music from that time. They wished to discover themselves in a known world; I discovered myself in an inverted world; this is all history now.

The first spring in Amsterdam my exotic love wafted through the city: I met the most beautiful lovers. All were different and all were the same. With one lover we drove by car through Holland. We saw the multi-coloured striped tulip fields in the endless plains. My loves were equally direct, intense, colourful, all-encompassing and temporary as this floral splendour. I was a strange novelty from another world and therefore attractive strange within the community where men love men.


One of my lovers came from America. He had fled to Sweden to evade his mandatory contribution to the war in Vietnam as American conscript. That spring and summer he lived illegally at friends in Amsterdam because in this inverted city the new world would begin with everlasting peace. For him, I was the complementary dark yin that with his light-coloured yang would shape a way for harmony and peace. This dream lasted a marvellous half year until he had to flee to Sweden again. Later, when I could travel freely in Europe, I visited him in Stockholm several times. He let me share in the wealth of his family. Through him I learned driving a car and after his flight I owned a large American car named “Thunder Bird” for one summer. Free floating I glided as a whispering Thunder Bird through Holland. In the autumn I sold the car to get through the second winter.


At the end of the summer – Arjan my friend and lover from Kenya – came for half a year back in Holland. Via Arjan and his parents I received a permanent residence permit and later I obtained Dutch citizenship. Also in this case an inverted reasoning was followed in Holland; the army of Kenya was looking for me for my temporary membership of a political militia. At my return in Kenya my life would be in danger. By this reasoning I was turned from a perpetrator of crimes into a victim. I told Arjan that now I lived with the ghosts of killed villagers at the hands of the militia; because of this I was indirectly a victim by my own share of this crime. Arjan convinced me that if I got a Dutch passport by a white lie, I could travel freely in the world – excluding Kenya. Also in this case Amsterdam was an inverted world with an abundance; the embarrassment followed after a feast that lasted for 10 years .

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