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No hot water

Nijmegen, The Netherlands, January 2004 —

I had a momentary lapse into exasperation when the shower didn't work. There's no hot water.

Standing there waiting for it to warm up, and then finally washing myself just a bit with too-cold water, I cursed the Dutch. When I got back to our room, I told Kim about it. She's Dutch. She understands.

It's frustrating to me. The water's been too cold for several days. Probably, nobody's said anything. Well, I haven't either. But the point is, odds are that nobody has said anything. Dutch people don't.

I could imagine the huisbaas (building manager): "I'm not a plumber...." And you might have to suggest* that he hire one.


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*When the washing machine was broken—for a couple of weeks—I went and talked with the huisbaas about it. I asked him if he knew when it would be working. No, he said. I told him that it's important. Yes, he agreed, it's important. But, he said (holding out his hands, palms up,) I can't fix it.

I didn't suggest that he hire someone who could, but I got a sense that that would have been acceptable. I think Dutch people like to "work things out" by talking them over; no matter that the solution might be self-evident.

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