Fing... ers.... are... rusty... can... 't... re... re... re... mem... bah... how... to... ytpe...
Since the last post I have: planned my forthcoming holiday up Kilimanjaro, had high tea with the Queen B's grandkids and completed my memoirs. Or more likely, I have been too lazy to write anything.
After Mama Afrika's final visit, Mills and I were inspired to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo, briefly performing in Rotterdam. I wasn't sure what to expect. I know and love the vocals of the group, but how would they translate it to a European audience, who only know of the performers due to a collaboration with Paul Simon? The answer was surprisingly obvious - charisma and showboating. After an energetic first half, they patiently taught the audience a lullaby; a short couplet repeated syllable by syllable. We were then challenged to out-sing Ladysmith Black Mambazo. A matinee panto crowd couldn't have been more enthusiastic. I thought it was a great way to capture attention... and market their new CD (on sale at the door as you leave, don't be shy now folks!).
The real highlight of the show, however, involved members of the audience trying to master Zulu warrior dancing. Proving yet again that white men can't dance. I almost fell out of my seat laughing.
Otherwise, we've been having a fun time sorting out flat/relocation issues/coupled with visa issues. Long story made short: we were informed that if Mills is unemployed, my visa becomes invalid. This came from a fairly reliable source, but investigation has turned up three other similarly reliable sources who suggest this is not the case. We're not sure who to believe or how to proceed... rather stressful seeing as Mills will be unemployed in two weeks time. So 2009 could either see me happily setting up house in a new flat in Den Haag, or frantically packing my bags before expulsion from Cloggieland.
On the flat hunt, we may have found suitable accommodation and are currently in negotiation with the landlords and their makelaars (real estate sharks) regarding monthly rent. In this country, if successful in finding accommodation through a makelaar, you are charged the standard one month rent up front (fair enough), borg (deposit of one month rent) and an 'admin' fee (commission) of one month rent. So if you're paying 800-euros (about standard for 60-square metres in The Hague), you have an initial outlay of 2400 before you get the key.
In the case of this particular flat, it has a great bathroom (WITH BATH - very rare in this town), but a slight issue in that the washing machine and tumble dryer for the entire apartment block sit in an indentation into 'our' flat's entrance... with a thin plastercast wall doing nothing to stop noise from the machines. Not ideal if you have an uber-hygienic insomniac as a neighbour (a very real threat, judging by my luck with previous flats).
So, we'll see if we can get the rent to reflect his inconvenience. We're still looking at other places and have until the middle of December to vacate our current home. The next few weeks should be fun.
Bruski - just for your boredom levels, I shall endeavour to post more regularly.