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Shanghai Noir

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: publication date 01.04.2017

Last night, I biked home from my critique group with one of our members. He's originally from Edmonton, Canada, where the car culture reigns supreme just as it does in my hometown of LA. Only kids or card-carrying hippies ride bicycles in places like that. But here in the Netherlands, everyone bikes: guys with tattoos, women in stilettos, young and old, rich and poor. There are dedicated bike paths all over the country. Drivers know to give cyclists the right of way. It's times like these when you realize how great it is to live in the Netherlands.

It's normal here to separate the trash into recyclables. There are separate bins for glass, paper and plastic. Since I started composting all my vegetable, fruit, coffee grinds and tea leaves, we have almost no trash. What little there is, I bring to the end of my block where there's an underground bin waiting. Those bins have cut down significantly on litter but we have a neighbor who goes out armed with gardening gloves and one of those reacher grabber tools to clean up our street.

My friend Sonia is taking lessons to become a beekeeper. She doesn't live in the countryside but in the heart of The Hague. Two little boys, Jort and Jonathan, participated in a national campaign last weekend to distribute bee-friendly flower seeds for free. They are Pollinators, an online community to support biodiversity projects. Jort and Jonathan are planning to create a bee garden inside the Vondelpark.

I picked up my seeds from J&J and planted them the next day in my garden. It's a wildflower mix of blue tansy, buckwheat, white mustard, coriander, two kinds of clover, marigold, caraway, radish, cornflower, cumin, dill, mallow, fennel and borage. The Pollinators provide a handy instruction card on how to sow but here's one in English in case you're interested. If all goes well, I'll have a mini bee garden of my very own between the roses.

But that might take a while so in the meantime I send you my latest blog post: Sweet Dream. This has nothing to do with flowers or bees but rather another passion of mine. To travel the world and the seven seas. A different kind of pollination.
 

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