Last night I was surprised by The Hague. Not just discovering that what I thought was just the dull home to international criminal courts is actually a thriving beach town, but also by a DJ at The Fat Mermaid who interspersed black-power tracks with Kim Wilde and the Beastie Boys.
Arriving dog-tired in Holland from Korea via China, and too late to join the official dinner which I was supposed to attend, my only aspiration for what remained of the evening was to find somewhere quiet to enojy reading The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiesen (more of which another time).
Instead, attracted by dancing lights and the Pied-Piper sound of live music, I ended up supping a fruity pale ale by the sea, attended by friendly waitresses and stirred by a soundtrack that managed the perfect mix of the sing-a-long familiar and music in need of Shazamming. The mango fro-yo was pretty gorgeous as well, with just the right amount of drizzled honey (ie a lot).
Just as cheap French wine never tastes as good back home as when you drank it on a summer evening by the Dordogne, so I suspect The Fat Mermaid won't be quite as wonderful if I ever go back. But for providing just one night's perfect wind-down, it's going in the markontour book of international bars of distinction!