Sunday, October 23, 2005

A meeting in sleepy town Roosendaal

A few days ago I was down south in the Belgian border, in Roosendaal for a meeting.

As I was trying to find my way, I inadvertently reversed the map and well evidently I got lost. Ugh, how stupid one can be? Then when I found the street, I couldn’t find the freaking building. Right in front of me where a building or an office should have stood, was a construction site filled with mangled bushes. In my mind, “Shit, I hate being late to a meeting, this is just not done! No way, not in Holland!” I rushed to ask several people around the area and they had no idea of the company I was looking for.

Roosendaal is part of the North Brabant region bordering Zeeland on its left, another region in the Netherlands and Belgium on its south.
Time was running out, I decided to call the company but couldn’t reach it. So I SOS’d the Dutchman. As a matter of fact, I panicked that I forgot to dial 0 before calling the local number. That explains why I couldn’t reach the company, haha. But oh well, the Dutchman was quick to rescue the damsel in distress.

I was told that they, well the secretary that is, will call me. Additionally, a lady came running behind me, pointing to an old tall building across the street, 500 meters away. She said, “That’s the number 1 building in this street that you are looking for”. [The office address number was 1]

And there I was, staring and standing in front of the building, bewildered and could not believe what I saw. What on bloody earth…? It is a damn C-H-U-R-C-H!!!? The church is an office? So all the while, across the street, sweating my brains out in hyper adrenalin state because I hate being late, searching for a normal looking building with number 1 plastered in the front gate and only to have been lead to a church. Great.

The general manager that I had a meeting with apologized saying they were quite new in the area so no one really knew them and they haven’t put any signage outside the church yet. OK fine, but this is the first time I have seen a business office inside a church. Guffaw! Anyway, they were sharing the old church with another tenant, a Roman Catholic organization.

After our 2 hour meeting, we shook hands and he escorted me to the hallway. We were talking about the church on the way to the door when he asked if I would be interested to see the chapel itself. I said, yes why not? I took a peek and all I could utter was, wow…

Isn’t it amazing how things can evolve?

Empty streets… and empty café terraces… echt gezellig eh? [real nice eh?]

It was 3PM on my watch and I didn’t want to go back to Utrecht yet, so I went to their Centrum to explore.

Roosendaal is quite a let down really. It was almost characterless and the only thing that saved its reputation is the rows of old medieval buildings in the main square.

I didn’t see people sitting in the terras. Not much activity, practically nothing that will excite your spirits. Could it be the drab 10C weather? Moreover, I felt like I am walking into a sleepy town where everybody knows each other’s business. Everything was slow paced.

The Netherlands coat of arms, “Je Maintiendrai” which is French means, “I will remain” hangs on the doorway of one of the commercial buildings with colorful and stunning windows.

I will make another entry on why the Dutch adopted the French “Je Maintiendrai”.
Anyway, I took photo’s of some of the things that interests me. Check them all in my DUTCH PHOTO ALBUM [not labeled yet].

After my trip in Roosendaal, I realized how truly a full red bloodied city girl I am. But who knows, when I reach 40, I will change? Just like buildings that were once churches, now they are offices...

Visit Period: October 2005
Destination: Roosendaal (North Brabant), The Netherlands

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