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X MAS  2018 - NEW YEAR  2019

xie and philip Green Xmas s

Suddenly all the leaves have disappeared from the trees in Holland, and that after a magnificent long Indian summer, at least for us in the Netherlands, with the highest temperatures ever.

A bad fall in my own living room about three days before my magnificent 75th birthday gypsy party… caused me to stay housebound most of this lovely summer with a broken left foot, stuck in a shocking pink cast. It took me three months to recover and in the meantime we had to cancel our yearly visit to the Edinburgh Fringe Theatre Festival.

 Early September Philip and I visited Portugal, where the weather was still nice and warm, but the ocean icy cold… brrrr.  We started off in the beautiful coastal town SESIMBRA for a week in a divine de luxe bed and breakfast Cali holidays luxury apartments.

The young owners were great hosts and spoilt us with a different gourmet breakfast every day on the  balcony overlooking the sea. The classy and tasteful interior was the best we ever had. During the day we usually took a romantic trip to the MECA beach,  where we found great restaurants with the most handsome and charming  Portuguese waiters, almost all called DIOGO. Most Potuguese people speak quite good English as well. The food was great and our daily trips into the country were interesting.

After a week we went to the historical town of SINTRA  in the mountains, luckily only for a few days as this picturesque place was jam-packed with  tourists. We were often stuck behind some tuk tuk slowly driving up up and around the mountain to spectacular castles, however overcrowded by curious visitors. My newly recovered foot was still occasionally hurting. I  was glad I had brought along my comfortable walking stick, as cobblestones and steep hills are not my favourite walking grounds.

 

As we did not plan a very long holiday I combined our trip to Portugal’s capital LISBON with a visit to... my sister’s 63 year old daughter Tiana. My sister Amondi lives in Knysna, South Africa and is in her mid eighties. I had not seen her for the last eight years, but her daughter I only remembered when she was a young woman. Now at 63 I was in for a surprise. Tiana did not look a day over 45 and her daughter of 24 I would  have given her no more than 18 years. 

Tiana and her wealthy South African husband Alan had recently moved  away from Capetown to permanently settle in Lisbon. Portugal apparently offered them a much better tax deal than getting financially ripped off by the South African government. It so happened Alan had just come back from a business trip and Tiana received us all in their divine house with open arms and a delicious healthy meal. Also the lovely young daughter,  who was about ready to marry a well-known young and sexy surfer in South Africa, had come over from South Africa to buy her bridal  gown and see her parents.

Then we went on to Lisbon itself where again Philip had booked a great hotel in the middle of town. These 4 days we spent in this pretty noisy and busy city enjoying the architecture, but  in the midst of hundreds  of honking taxi drivers, who had started a three day strike against UBER  DRIVERS, who were trying to take over business from the more expensive taxi drivers. Though this strike did get the sympathy of many... the real business was meanwhile taken over by the Ubers.

In order not to get stuck in this crazy traffic madness we luckily found  some fine restaurants right across the street from our hotel. One in particular became our favorite place to eat as much as we wanted: a Japanese restaurant , where you could order whatever you felt like on the menu for a steady price of  Euro 10 per person. Philip went wild over different sashimi fishy dishes and I got hooked onto sushi and sweet deserts. And the waiter was a most handsome dark man from Nepal , who was most polite and charming and even spoke some Dutch.

During our last night we found right across the street from the Fado Museum, which was helas closed, up a narrow street -- a charming tiny café restaurant, that served excellent food for no more than 16 people but had a great ambiance. This was primarily caused by the temperamental  staff of somewhat older talented real Portuguese fado musicians. Once the house gypsies got warmed up, some lively audience participation  squeezed in their own enthusiastic fado favorites, while the rest was enjoying a great and very inexpensive meal. This was definitely not a tourist trap!! What a fine farewell of a most pleasant short but very intense stay in Portugal!


 

Back to Holland again, rested and well fed, our bed and breakfast (www.xavierahollander.com) was booming as usual round the autumn time. I meanwhile booked dozens of  tickets for the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, the I.D.F.A. and spent two weeks daily in some of my favourite movie houses watching some incredible new documentaries.

In October we were invited for a few days in Antwerp to discuss the possibility of the Belgian TV station Canvas making a special documentary about my life for their TV show about ‘ageing famous women’, of whom I would be the only Dutch person and the other four  would be Belgian divas. Philip and I were invited to a great meal by the creative director Jan van Dijck in a fun big restaurant and along came also two of our own lovely friends Pe and Kika. We all know each other for years and had recently met in the summer in Gent. Again cobblestones once almost got in the way of my easy walking, but once more my stick and Philips strong arm prevented me from tumbling over. 

Some people dear and near to me, died recently, - like my mother’s lifelong girlfriend Rozetta, - who, at 93 was riddled with rheumatic pains,  had herself chosen the moment to step out of life. I have known her for over 40 years and her death really shook me up enormously. Her famous last words she uttered on the phone the day of her euthanasia when I asked her if she had any regrets in life were... ''NO, I HAVE ABSOLUTE NO REGRETS -  I LIVED A HAPPY LIFE AND YOUR MOTHER WAS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!!''

Another death that affected me very much was the news that the 55 year old sister of Romke, my ex lover had also died of some horrible disease they had with difficulty found out what it was called..

Ah,  well life goes on. Occasional cosy luncheons for me and some  friends, prepared by Philip and some visits to theatre or concerts keep us  happy and entertained. We have no plans until the spring to start travelling around the world again.

The last talented musician we saw and heard at the Windkapel - Church in Bilthoven... was XAVIER BOOT who gave a great concert last week  with half a dozen talented artists o.a. ASTRID CERISE... no youngster any more but very elegant and with a sweet voice, singing half a dozen Indonesian songs as both Xavier as well as Astrid have Indonesian blood in their veins and decided to use that as one of the themes of that evening. Xavier's darling mother called like me, Vera de Vries and father,  were most helpful promoting their sons concert. Xavier surprised us all with a terrific piece of music by Franz Schubert: rondo in A majeur followed by a few Lieder from Alfey Hilarion and Wolfgang A. Mozart sung by the impressive Ronald Willemse, a super opera singer I had heard before at one of my own house parties.

 

 


The most important event for me - I almost forgot to mention to you -  was a very emotional lecture or better still conversation with Peter Zonneveld, connoisseur of Indonesian history and literary journalist about LOVE AND SEX IN INDONESIA. This event was a full day happening that started at 1 p.m. and ended with an interview with me round 5 p.m. It took place  in Bronbeek  where  yearly the  dead  from world war II in Indonesia are being memorized.

 

 

Various writers or researchers came up with some fascinating chapters  from books they had either written themselves or found  out about that pre and post war period in Indonesia . In my case it covered my fathers extra marital affairs while in Indonesia and just married to my mother. Philip even managed to film most of this conversation between Peter and me. And while I mentioned in the beginning of our talk that as a child I never could cry, due to war memories in Java, until I had undergone rebirthing at age of 14, here I sat on that stage in front of an audience of 300 mostly war survivors and burst into spontaneous crying... Ah well next week my uncle JACK WAISVISZ will be celebrating his 100th anniversary and he is a great friend of Peter Zonneveld... more war stories will no doubt be discussed and also what a great hero he was... More about that maybe in my next spring newsletter.

 

 

And here is a nice X-mas gift for under the tree, check out this website of one of my dear American photographer friends SANTILLO  

 

So,  now it is time to wish all our friends, fans and family from all over the world a Happy New Year, 2019 without too many catastrophes like fires,  floods or accidents and in good health.

With love,  

Xaviera Hollander and Philip de Haan

XiePhilip with balls s

Stadionweg 17, Amsterdam, Noord Holland - 1077RV, The Netherlands