Sunday 5 December 2004

Couscous from a Bicycle

The flying bike
Anyone who has visited Amsterdam is aware that bicycles could almost out-number the inhabitants. Everyone has a bicycle, though not everyone rides their bicycles and some are so ramshackle they would be rejected as scrap inIndia, but there is a mentality of if it moves it can ride.
Everyone once in a while I go out on Saturday night, which I did last night, I came across 3 utterly abusive Moroccans who probably were as inebriated as drowned fish and I said go your way and I go mine.
Apparently, they must have heard something different, by the time I knew what was happening, one had picked up a bicycle and thrown at me with effortless abandon.
Damage; my bike, my lights, my bell, the gear assembly and a few other things.
As it transpired, that was not enough, on a street which was quite well lit and ironically called "Mirror Street" and a bit crowded with onlookers, 2 of them that I could see, probably all three, then rounded on me, kicked and punched and left me for dead. Thankfully, the though of death never crossed my mind, I did get up at which time they all ran away - Cowards!
Help, just after you need it
The onlookers then came over apologising for not intervening. But hey! We are in the Netherlands; everyone minds their own business regardless of the fact that they could stop an injustice from happening. Maybe we can call that, the freedom not to be involved and the freedom to be a voyeur.
After the fracas, four young guys came over, helped pick up my things strewn all around the road, bicycle locks, bag, hat and lest I forget my glasses, split down the middle and unusable.
They formed a dispatch around me and helped me get to the hospital for emergency treatment.
At the hospital you could see that the sight of blood did not make any difference to the urgency of receiving treatment, I finally was attended to after an hour, then treated by gluing together the cut on my eye brow an hour after and finally had an X-ray of my jaw which was intact, even more thankfully, then some super-strong pain-killers to kill the pain.
Across the road, I walked into the Police Station to file a report of the mugging, well because it did not happen in that police district, they could not help, rather I had to file it somewhere else, closer to the site of the crime.
Walked away
You can draw your conclusions, but I suppose I have had my dose of the societal malaise that allows disaffected drunken or fundamentalist and un-integrated foreigners to turn this town into a crime hotspot. One consolation and gratitude in all of this, I got up and walked away just 16 days to my birthday. Thank God!

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