There are days when everyone seems to be planning to go to the coast of The Hague. Like last June, during the weekend before Whitsun. The annual sailing match that was held at the coast, in combination with fantastic weather forecasts, provided me with a tsunami of reservation requests.
Telephone: “You speak English?”
“Yes I do.”
“You have room?”
Silence. “No room?!”
“We are at the door.”
I look outside and to my astonishment I see a young, Asian-looking couple standing in front of the door. When I open the door, they bow and look at me with expectant, small eyes. I hear myself say – a little too quickly- that I will see if I can help them.
Shortly after that: Telephone! “Haben sie noch ein Zimmer für dieses wochenende?” “Leider nicht.” On Bedandbreakfast.eu I quickly look for other B&B’s in The Hague. Desperate, I start to call colleagues. Meanwhile, the phone keeps ringing. “Elsbeth speaking, if we book now, do we get a last-minute discount?” “Ina, it’s Arthur, I’ve got a double booking, do you have any rooms left? “ In short, I explain my own unfortunate situation to him, after which he glooms that we are both “in serious trouble”.
At that moment, my two friends walk in with their little dog Tino. “You haven’t forgotten that you were supposed to watch him this weekend have you?” I am not proud of what I do next, but I’m close to despair. I explain my situation to my friends and they reluctantly agree to accommodate the Japanese couple in their apartment.
On Monday, the couple arrives at my door again. “Room was nice. We take picture!” I pose, tired. Meanwhile I think to myself that after seeing that photo, the home front in Japan will come to the conclusion that Europeans have really small eyes as well.