The Begotokomugubu


It began with a hairstyle.

As a rule, I don’t care for books that open that way – cryptically. But on this occasion I have no choice, because it’s exactly what happened.

August 1999. An overcast morning. I was standing in a cramped office in Amsterdam’s red light district, trying to persuade a Dutchman called Lars, whose company arranges brothel-tours, to take me on a tour of a brothel. A simple enough transaction on the face of it (“You run tours, I want to go on one of your tours, here’s a handful of meaningless colored paper that you Dutch people call money, let’s move.”), but for some reason Lars didn’t get it.

I can’t remember now exactly what his answer was, but the gist of it went something like this: No.

“Aw, come on, Lars! Please??”

Unfortunately, his English wasn’t too good, and my grasp of Dutch is non-existent – to my ears, everything they say sounds like “Heeeri, hooori, yerdi-oooori, ooori-ooori” – so instead I decided to try a fresh approach, adopting a technique that’s worked well in the past when dealing with foreigners. I call it Shouting and Pointing.

“HOOKERS!” - jabbing my finger at a poster over his desk. “ME - INTERVIEW - HOOKERS!”

In the picture, four buxom women in garters and low-cut bodices were draped over a leopard-print couch, leering out at us like a bunch of mildly-inebriated Rockettes; only…well, their bodices were a little too low-cut for Rockettes. And the one on the far left had a big nose and thyroid eyes, so I doubt she’d have passed the auditions. But they served my purpose.


“Heeeri,” Lars protested, shaking his head. “Erdi-nyora-yeeri, ooori-ooori.”
Which I can only assume is Dutch for ‘stop shouting’.

And I was just wondering what else I could do short of slapping him to get my message across when, at that moment, I was distracted by something red and shiny that shot by the window outside...

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Extract from Gullible's Travels: The Adventures of a Bad Taste Tourist, by Cash Peters. Published by Globe Pequot Press.





























© 2003 Cash Peters. All rights reserved.