Notes from a pad in Oslo
20021116 Day 6/6 | Saturday 20021109 | The Finish Line
05:00 yet Amsterdam was not sound asleep. Does she ever? Melancholy always visits when I am about to leave a place even after just a few days of being there. With the exception of Hong Kong, no other city or town that I have been to had been supercilious enough not to diffuse their affection towards me. Although rainy days had been a blow, Amsterdam's proverbial warmth had shook hands with me and I will acknowledge it by coming back again, one fine day.
We took the same route home - across Holland, Germany and Denmark. A long smooth ride and perfectly timed, we reached Copenhagen an hour before the Pearl of Scandinavia left the harbour for Oslo. Being a Saturday, there were more people on board than there was when we boarded it 6 days before. The Pearl sailed on a stormy sea that night, evident only when I peeked outside – crashing waves and perceptible streaks of white foam in the dark. The sea's wrath sprayed high up, hitting my face like reverted drizzle.
All the passengers were at the discotheque or wherever they were when T & I went to the movies, for we had the whole cinema to ourselves that night, just the two of us and the Ya-ya sisters on the screen. T fell asleep during the show, on and off, so basically I was the only one watching. After the show we went down to join the other passengers to discover them, lo and behold, horseracing.
If you haven't seen one of those wooden horses on the racetrack, then let me explain. On a stage, there were 8 cutouts of poodle-sized horses, differently coloured and numbered 1-8. Corny names were given to spice them up – Black Beauty, Blue Moon, Yellow Mellow, etc. Like an actual horserace, bets were placed. The commentator then rolled his dice, including a specially coloured die, and the horses raced forward to the finish line according to what was rolled. It gave us a giggling goodtime watching the event; especially seeing some of the more fervent betters getting head over heels with enthusiasm, cheering and fisting the air in premature triumph.
Sipping Bloody Mary into my system, I watched Yellow Mellow cross the finish line twice in succession. The amusement wearing off, we went to the duty-free shop to buy stocks of Prince and Absolut. Back in our cabin over drinks and a game of cards, Amsterdam was fondly reflected upon. Impromptu though the trip was, it had been noteworthy. Thinking of Amsterdam, I fell asleep under the constant murmur of The Pearl as she took us, along the red line on the map, to the end of our humble journey.
Tusen hjertelig takk, T. Det var litt av en opplevelse. [ skrevet av ladislav pekar ]