I talked to my friend Mistral on the phone on Friday. She reads this blog (poor thing!). She politely asked me whether all those bizarre events I recount in my 'Lessons in SOL' post actually happened. So, as I suspected, most of what I write here sounds either exaggerated or surreally fictionalised. But it is all true.
Now, most of my compatridos posted in the Outpost — or anywhere else, for that matter — are into the obnoxious habit of only finding faults with the place and the people, while aggressively and insultingly criticising them in public. One of them, an extreme case, approached me during a street party last May and lashed out in an abominably self-righteous way (in a discourse overtly fascist, sexist, homophobic and anti-semitic at the same time: a unique achievement, surely). I wish to point out I am not like them.
I do appreciate the Outposters' (conditional) trust: today Jod made photocopies in a copy shop without paying, obviously this can be done next time and it is no big deal since the wallet was left home; I appreciate the Outposters' hospitality: during my first three months here I was not allowed to pay once for dinner and I was taken out for that purpose at least three times a week; I marvel at a society where cars are left with the keys on the engine and wallets, mobiles and briefcases lying around inside them. A crucial thing is that the place is improving, painfully slowly, but improving. Contrast that with the great Kingdom of the Netherlands, where people first flirted with the late Fortuyn and now burn down mosques and schools in the name of free speech. Perhaps there are other, more and more wonderful things about the Outpost I cannot appreciate or I have not found out about yet. Surely, there must be quite a few of them — it's just that I am after things in life other than a quiet and safe haven, ideologically uniform and politically suburban, to raise kids in.
So, don't take me for just another of these ungrateful compatrido bastards. Before I continue recounting my internal life, I want to show you this picture by Jiro-san, for you to see how pleasant this place can be, especially in the areas not planted with mega-hotels.