Anne Frank Memories

 anne frank's houseSunday in Amsterdam

With Ralph McAllister on holiday

Listening to the Weste Kerke bells just as Anne Frank did all these years ago.anne frank's staqture

Now hundreds of tourists line up every hour to walk slowly and,often emotionally,through the building in Amsterdam where it all took place.

There are many many more visitors these days. But they seem to be catered for very well.

As the weather has spectacularly improved so the Dutch take to the canals and the streets to party and enjoy the long awaited sunshine.

The tourist joins in,boats of every description clog the waterways, but nobody is in a hurry. All is benign.

So it’s good to be back in one of my favourite cities,where I lived for long periods in the late seventies.

I sit writing, looking down on the Keizersgracht canal,which has facades protected right back to the 18th century. I walk everywhere,the tiny side streets a constant joy as another small cafe or bar is stumbled upon.

Tomorrow I shall see an old friend who now is the boss at Greenpeace.I expect her to be exhausted as she is still picking up the mess from the Russian actions of a few weeks ago.

We will dine in Utrecht, another favourite location of mine. Some of the theatre we did in the old days found much success in that university city.

Frenetic Hong Kong

Unlike Hong Kong earlier, where all was frenetic, business is paramount and winning against the other bloke is all important.

Seven million people going somewhere ,except on Sundays when hundreds of Filipino servants take over the walkways and bridges,lay down their pieces of cardboard and sit, talk and eat all day.

This is a tradition which started when the women were given one day off but were not allowed to stay in the place of their work, mostly in private homes.

Hence the scene. It is a cheery and not at all threatening feature of Hong Kong life.

However…

My friend teaches in Hong Kong at a private school.

Parents are desperate for their five year olds to be enrolled.

The ones who are “lucky” enough to be interviewed must pay for the privilege of a 20 minute session for their child with one of the teachers.

There is no guarantee that the child will be accepted.

The fee? An unbelievable $40,000 New Zealand !

Parents are known to wreck the interview room when given the bad news.

Ah memories.

Then,London, from which the next chapter in this brief travelogue will unfold.