a dead city called zoetermeer


OK, maybe not literally dead, but it really was rather secluded.

And what the hell was I doing in Zoetermeer on Saturday afternoon? Moreover, on my own?

There was this “Pasar Malam Budaya” (or in English: Cultural Night Market) in Zoetermeer this weekend. I was so curious so I think I just have a little visit. The town didn’t really look far away actually.. It was somewhere in the middle of Leiden, Den Haag, and Rotterdam.

I hadn’t even decided whether I wanted to go or not in a few minutes before I finally decided to go.

It was really an unplanned journey.

Long story short, I finally took the 32 bus to Zoetermeer Centrum West.

Passing large moors and sheep farms, I finally reached Zoetermeer after about 45 minutes. There, I was supposed to wait for the bus number 73 to Fokkerstraat and then walked for 10 minutes.

So the bus turned out to be 10 or 15 minutes late. And I had already waited for 20 minutes there, so I waited for the bus for a total of 35 minutes or something. It really was frustrating to be out of nowhere on my own. Especially when there was no one around. Literally.

I got off the bus at Fokkerstraat then, and following a map, I went straight.. But it turned out that it was actually the other way around. The walk gave me a chance to observe the city thou. It was really more like a dead city. There were even cobwebs on the traffic lights and lamp posts!

This is a particular (seemed-to-be) small town like I was always afraid of.. The one that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said in one of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Anyway, after walking for about half an hour or 40 minutes, I finally found the PWA/Silverdome where the Pasar Malam was held. Yet I fear about how to get back to Leiden since it was out of nowhere. I mean, it even took me ages from the bus stop to the venue!

But, nevermind that for a moment. I entered the venue and there were loads of stands selling Indonesian stuff – from food to crafts to batik to even vcd/cd of Indonesian music.

The food however, was bloody expensive. Well, it was not really expensive if you compared it with other Indonesian restaurants, but if you convert the price to rupiah, it was like ten times more expensive.

For example: an Indonesian snack like pisang goreng, lemper, or pastel were one euro each. The size were rather bigger than those we found in Indonesia, but still.. we could buy those for like 10 cents each! And I really mean 10 cents. Even if we buy such snack at a bakery like Kartika Sari or Mirasa. So I lost my appetite to try the food.

Then I met this Indonesian-Dutch couple (mbak Yanti & Harm) who opened a Yogyakarta stand, selling lots of Batik stuff and other crafts. It was really cool to see all those stuff, and it wasn’t really expensive so I bought some stuff (OK now I overuse the word ‘stuff’ in this paragraph).

I left the place at 9, and the sun had just set on the west sky. It started to get dark, and I walked all the way to the nearest bus stop about 15 minutes or so. Then I had to wait for the bus for the next 20 or 25 minutes. I kept praying that I would be just fine, and would return home safely. I waited again for 20 minutes at Centrum West, and just when I got on the bus 206, I didn’t think I could feel happier.

Although on the way back to the heart of Leiden, passing the green green grass (again), my paranoid mind wondered if the bus got broken in the middle of nowhere nervous

I finally reached the Leiden CS and as soon as I grabbed my bike, I rode as fast as I could to my apartment. Enough for the day, I thought, and I promised myself not to go to small towns on my own again.

But anyway, I sent some of the photos to my office and two of them were put on the website (yippee!!). So it was not so useless travel after all.


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