March 9, 2016
Sam-less I had breakfast in town, then took a taxi to the Royal Zoo. It is compact and lovely. The best thing about it is that the wild herons have found refugee there, flying from the canals to their nests, casting great dinosaur shadows. The know how far a human hand reaches and stand stock-still; just out of reach, looking like closed jackknives. A skit could be made from the Dutch names for the animals, as though Dutch Adam were making them up drunk. Happy fathers toted happy children about. The animals looked as peaceful and at-home as the Netherlanders themselves do. At one point, red lemurs scamper about and can be touched, and can touch you, though they usually disdain to do so. The weather turned bad, so I made for the gate to look for a taxi. No taxi. I began to walk, and never found a taxi until I had walked from the zoo to the ornate dance theater beside the American Hotel, where I intended to buy a ticket. It was too far, too cold, and the show I wanted to see was sold out. Instead of the Netherlands Royal Ballet, I saw Red, a reminiscence of the Maoist ballet The Red Brigade of Women, which none of us had seen. Four women told and danced a story which was interesting enough, for a while, but random. Why us? we of the audience wanted to say. Then girls behind me were chattering; the girls beside me were checking their phones, and I didn’t bother to reprimand, for there was really nothing else to do. Home mightily ill, with violent diarrhea which seems, nevertheless, to have cleared away the malaise that has been with me all week, which I wasn’t sure I had until it was cleared away. Bright-eyed at morning, ready to make the most of my last day here.