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Global Quest For Local LETS
Copyright � James Taris


18. Nico 2

Nico Schoen, my LETS host in Amsterdam, Holland.

My instructions for meeting my LETS host, Nico, at the Amsterdam Centraal railway station were quite clear �

> Tomorrow I hope to see your train arriving and to meet you at the platform. If anything might happen and no one seems to be waiting for you, please go the restaurant at the first platform. (it is the Grand Caf�/Brasserie with an old fashioned and rather authentic interior; not the Burger King or anything like that).

So when I didn't see him waiting for me, I went off in search of platform one. But it didn't exist! The platform numbers started at no. 2. Fortunately I found the Grand Caf�/Brasserie on platform 2 and so I took a quick look inside. When no-one seemed interested in me, I took my luggage back outside and just waited by the entrance.

Then I thought, maybe he can't recognize me because of my recently grown beard? So I stuck my head inside the door again. There, right in front of me, was a young man sitting on his own. Could this be Nico? He glanced at me, then looked away. I'd better find out, I thought. So I went up to him and asked, "Are you Nico?"

"Yes," he replied.

"I'm James. You're waiting for me."

He sort of swallowed, looked a bit nervous and said, "No, I'm not."

"You're Nico?" I repeated. And just so there couldn't be any confusion I added, "I'm James Taris."

"Yes my name is Nico. And I know this seems to be an extraordinary coincidence. But I don't know you," he insisted.

Well, I was getting a little nervous by that time. Then I remembered what Nico had written in another email �

> On Friday evening and the whole Saturday I will be elsewhere. I hope to welcome you at the Centraal station on Friday and I will bring you to my apartment, show you the house, give you the keys, etc. We will have dinner then, together, if you like. I will have to leave at 18.30 hours to work as a volunteer on a country estate with a group of friends.

Maybe this was just a screening exercise. Maybe he wasn't happy seeing this strange grey bearded guy at the station and had decided I could not be trusted to stay alone at his house after all.

I looked at my watch again. Nico was aware that I was arriving at 3.00pm, and it was already 3.10pm. With all these doubts going 'round in my mind, I once again ventured outside the caf�. I would wait until 3.30 � 4.00pm max! Then if there was no other Nico I would get back on the train bound for my next stop. Norway!

I turned back and just caught sight of Nico leaving the restaurant. Damn, I thought. Looks like he's not going to change his mind.

Every minute after that was like waiting a lifetime. But lo and behold, 5 lifetimes later, I noticed a smiling face walking towards me. And before I could say anything, the most beautiful words in the world came from those lips.

"James Taris?", he said curiously.

"Nico!" I responded. Then instantly I realized what had just taken place minutes before. I'd successfully embarrassed a guy who must've thought I was trying to pick him up!

This article is taken from the ebook,
Global Quest for Local LETS

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