FINAL CURTAIN CALL FOR THE VILLA CAPRICE IN SPAIN.
How time flies. I used to send 3 to 4 newsletters a year and now... helas just the New Years letter. It seems the older I get, the busier and yet happier my life is becoming. Philip and I managed to perk up the entire Bed and Breakfast business basically on our own. If you look for a great bohemian BB in Amsterdam just google Xaviera‘s Happy House or go to Tripadvisor to see the raving reviews of the last two years. This also meant that we could not leave this busy boat sailing along on its own without a captain… with the result that we have not had one single out-of-country-trip since our last visit to my villa Caprice in Marbella September 2013.
What a great month November 2014 was, for Holland the hottest autumn ever! One of the reasons to put up my house in Spain for sale was that we really barely have time to go over there for a visit. It has been quite a nerve wrecking period this summer as rumor had it that THIS year there would be a lot of people looking for a place in the sun to buy; so possible clients did indeed flock to my lovely villa Caprice to discuss if they wanted to buy it or not. I got dozens of questions from various people: ” Oh, the pool is not heated!”, “ Why can’t we see the mountain” or “Why can’t we see the sea? “ Or: “How come we cannot seem to build a second floor on top of this one...” but the worse complaint was: ”Oh that horrid noise from the highway, can’t you do something about that?” In fact, once you listened to the soft "zoof zoof" sound of the cars further down the hill zip by for a few moments, you wouldn’t even notice it any more.
The couple who finally bought the Villa Caprice (Wallonians... French speaking Belgians from Waterloo), had instantly fallen in love with the place without any complaints. What I will miss MOST when I will leave the impressive villa Caprice is the magnificent view of the gorgeous garden when you wake up in the morning and open your curtains to see these colorful flowers. A garden so well-kept and green all year around, not to forget the warm purple and pink colors of the Bougainville in front of the pool or the fantastic trees full of avocados, plums, apples, oranges and figs, mangos and bananas against the backdrop of the crystal clear pool . WhatI I will also miss a lot are dozens of great friends I had made over the last 40 years I have lived there.
Philip and I will be in Spain till December 22 to sort out our permanent departure from the place I have grown to love so much, but also a house with lots of sad memories. The great loving years with John Drummond, but also the emotional war with him when he moved in gypsy Paloma. Then there were the many crooked builders over the years who ripped me off royally and often took 3 times as long as a good builder would. The new owners: a pilot and his wife are now getting an architect in to help them restore certain little things like change the terra cotta tiles in the living room into a lighter color and refurbish bathrooms and kitchens. Meanwhile everything will remain the same. an idyllic Andalusian style villa.
WORLDWIDE CATASTROPHES: UKRAINE, AIRPLANE CRASH, IS BEHEADINGS
But let’s go back to the summer of 2014 with the horrid news of the KLM aircraft MH17 that got shot down in Ukraine with the hundreds of people who instantly died. Many a time I was watching this tragedy unfold in front at our TV and I must have cried out my eyes like I did with my ex Didi when the news reached us quite a few years ago, about the sudden death of Princess Di. The many memorial moments each time a flight landed with the corpses of yet another 40 something cadavers and the quiet sounds of the eerie trumpets gave us lots of goosebumps.
The discussions with POETIN now apparently invading Ukraine and the IS fighters taking over the Arab world. Then the continuous news about THE BEHEADING of one victim after the other, (victims are often good guys active in assisting the wounded) by IS, right in front of everybody’s eyes on TV. The desperate screams of very sad mothers pleading with the kidnappers to let their sons live... to no avail. It was a true horror scenario nobody could alter. And more recently the knifing and stabbing in the Synagogue of Jerusalem by a few Palestinians.
DEVASTATING NEWS OF CLOSE FRIENDS …
Earlier on in 2014 the private news reached me that one of my best and oldest girlfriends had contracted Leukemia, an incurable disease my ex Mexican lover Roberto had died of only 5 years earlier. I remember clearly visiting him with Philip 2 days before he died. His mind clear, but his body devastated. As he originally came from Transylvania to Mexico he would jokingly claim that since he was using his two daughter’s blood almost every week for blood transfusion he felt like a full-fledged Dracula. My Dutch girlfriend in Holland who is in her mid-seventies and used to look very much like Barbara Streisand, ( same hairstyle and nose) barely has survived the horrors of the second world war. Now after having lost 20 kilos and being very ill and often in a lot of pain, she said not too long ago in her own sarcastic way that NOW she finally started to look like a veritable Auschwitz victim! And how true she was. Yet she is a real fighter and survivor, who won't give up easily; though sometimes she barely manages to climb 4 steep staircases and even carries her shopping along to reach her lovely apartment in the center of town. When it is all too much for her, a dear mutual girlfriend K would help her make it to the top or Philip and/or K would take her on a weekly trip to a hospital, pretty far out of town and of course bring her back home again. Sometimes these sessions would take several hours. A. would go over there dead tired and in dire need of new blood and would come back much more energetic, but not for long, helas.
A last news item that also saddened me greatly was the announcement that a great talented film maker and yearlong friend of mine George Sluizer had died after having suffered several strokes in the last few years. He was one of the most prolific film makers and a most interesting conversationalist I ever met and going out with him several years ago was always a delight. His love hate relationship with Klaus Kinsky almost got George killed one day when they were filming Fitzgeraldo in the bushes. I will always remember fondly the precious moments we spent together.
INDONESIAN ADOPTION OF XAVIERA HOLLANDER
Ever since Frans Leidelmeijer has invited me to participate in an Indonesian themed afternoon about Indonesian DIVAS … I feel like I am adopted by an entire new group of Friends: INDONESIANS from all over Holland. Frans himself (an interesting mixture of Jewish as well as Indonesian blood ( the same mixture I have too), instantly took a liking towards me. Of course I had watched him often during the interesting TV show called "Between Kunst and Kitch" . As i t happens I know from my own father, who always looked more Indonesian than Jewish, that indeed there was quite a bit of Indonesian blood that went through the veins of our family apparently from his father’s side, while Grandma Esther was fully Jewish.
The talk was to be held at a cozy advertising bureau, managed by the two owners: elegant Chinese/Indonesian sisters in Amsterdam city center, and the subject had to do with Indonesian women who had in some way been involved with prostitution or politics, or worse even a mixture of being a courtesan as well as a spy.
Like Mata Hari from Friesland who always pretended to be the exotic Indonesian whore, but was in fact a full blooded blanda (white) spy, there had apparently been another most elegant real Indonesian girl called Toto Koopman : sophisticated, exotic, bright and bisexual. And also wicked in politics as well as sex. So I apparently fitted very well in this list of famous whores. There, during one of the few food and drink breaks... by the way no party is a success for Indonesians unless there is a lot of tasteful Indonesian food and some fine drinks going around. It is there that I also met with a charming woman called HETTY NAAIJKENS who has produced half a dozen films about the war and Indonesians before and after that period. We exchanged visiting cards and soon after I was invited to come and see her new film called BUITENKAMPERS which was all about how Indo’s (as they are called for short) who were not being put in official camps run by the Japs had to survive on the outside of these camps where there was absolutely No Food, No work and no pity. A fascinating film, to which I also invited my oldest and one of the brightest fans, the Indonesian 83 year old lady friend PHIEN RAKET, who has been a devotee of me and my theater plays for as long as I can remember producing these. She lives in The Hague and though her body is riddled with rheumatism, her mind is still brilliant. She too had been a Buitenkamper and suffered a lot and has lived in great poverty for many years.
There in The Hague where the premiere of this extraordinary film took place I suddenly stood eye to eye with an attractive Indonesian woman in her mid-fifties, accompanied by her sweet yet feisty mid 80s Indonesian mother who actually also had a role in this film as she too was a Buitenkamper for quite a few years and had learned to survive. Her husband was a blanda, and so the woman who shook my hands and who I instantly loved was called VERA DE VRIES…. To make matters even more bizarre…. her handsome young 24 year old son and pianist/composer who had created the sound track to this movie was called XAVIER BOOT…
After this event we all would see a lot more of each other, often at gatherings of Indonesian people, where usually her son would be performing on the piano. Vera and Vera (My own Dutch name on Facebook these days) were now soulmates and ever since, she has invited me and Philip to all sorts of great often Indonesian parties. One night we even had a tasty "Ricetafel" cooked by Vera at their house and what great harmony was there, with both her Indonesian mother and Dutch Dad in their late eighties. How I envied Vera to still have both parens alive after the horrors of th e war so many years ago. And so end October 2014 we all met up at a big Indonesian event in Dordrecht where some great o ld timers from the sixties Music and entertainment industry were performing, a.o. the famous ANNEKE GRONLOH well known from Brandend Zand and Soerabaja songs when she was a tiny, long haired brunette, cute as a button and young. Now in her mid seventies Anneke is a firy woman: full of spunk, silvery white very short hair, lots of makeup and clearly quite a few nips and tucks to her face and neck but she still has that great voice that can belt out any song with a lot of force... When her slender skin tight dress jumped up at a certain moment to above her knee I was shocked how thin her legs were, they were more like anorexic match sticks . However she still had the power of the old diva in her.
Then on stage showed up one of the two famous Blue Diamonds singers, also in his mid-seventies.RIEM... who now calls himself Opa Riem. He too was still in good shape and referred repeatedly to how great a time he and his brother Ruud had in the sixties. Too bad his brother died far too young... but all of these artists after having sung for about 10 minutes were showing signs of wear and tear, but it did not matter. The mostly middle aged Indonesians in the audience LOVED every song of these performers. Xavier Boot accompanied the well-known cabaret performer /singer WIETEKE VAN DORD, still witty and bigger than I remember her. Last but not least there was the fast and funny young Indo friend of Xavier: RICKY RISOLLES , a true ball of fire, who can dance and sing and write funny texts about being an Indonesian. I will certainly invite Ricky to my next birthday party.
Time flew by. I now know the difference about feeling at home with Indonesians… or with Jews. When Indonesian people know there is just some Indonesian blood going through someone’s veins he or she is instantly accepted and adopted as AN INDISCHE MEISJE OR JONGEN... (girl or boy) even if you are almost totally white. Now with Jews there are tougher rules and regulations. Since my Dad was a Jew and my Mom a shickse... (French and German blood mixture) I was considered not much more than a so called FATHER JEW since I was not born under the heart of a Jewish mother. As… in their religion one can never be sure to tell who the real father was!
VICTOR LAURENTIUS FABULOUS NEW ART GALLERY IN NEW BABYLON CENTRE, THE HAGUE
Victor and I go back to the days he was working for the Red Cross organization and his job was a.o. to make sure the Dutch victims from WW II who had suffered under the Japanese in the imprison camps in Indonesia, would get their reward of a so called monthly War fund payment f or the rest of their lives. He looked after me and my cousin Ankie, both first generation victims.
Victor is a historian and a very handsome, but rather withdrawn man. He is now forty and still single. After several years he left the Red Cross a nd started working as a writer. He wrote the fascinating biography of the famous Dutch secret agent Peter Tazelaar . In the meantime he worked a few years as a head porter of a classy five star beach hotel where royalty and a lot of politicians would reside. Here he slowly got over his shyness and became more people-friendly and extrovert. Now anno 2014 Victor finally made his lifelong dream come true to open his own magnificent and spacious art gallery in this new shopping mall called New Babylon which after 6 p.m. looks more like a morgue as everything closes down including restaurants and even the public toilet! Victor has also participated in theater and film projects to do with WW II, for example about former Vogue-cover girl and spy Toto Koopman.
In Victors family, who all seem to be extremely distant and cool towards each other (his dad he has not seen for many years), all owned or managed art galleries. When I attended the opening of this gallery I was so impressed that I asked him to let me use it for one or two nights in November as a stage for a great new theatre play I had discovered when last we were in Edinburgh two years ago. IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING by Bill Bowers, one of America’s up and coming well known mimes.
STAGE SETTING BY HERMAN DE BOCK AND VICTOR
Last summer i had referred Bill Bowers with his terrific one man show IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING www.xavierahollander.com/booker to the stately local city theater in The Hague. His performance was a smashing hit and total sell out for 3 nights. Though I had officially decided to stop producing plays, the Dutch director of this group, Elske, a personal friend of mine (like theatre producers can be most loyal in helping each other with cross pollination) convinced me to take him back, since he was asked to come once more to the Hague, not to do his show but to give some workshops about how to become a mime for the International School in The Hague. Bill had a few extra days free on his schedule, so I decided to put on his autobiographical fascinating show. I did not want to do it in Amsterdam with such a short notice… and suddenly it dawned on me that Victor could use some extra publicity for his new gallery as he had mentioned it was going to be a multipurpose location. Ah well Victor was all FOR promoting his gallery with anything exciting; be this beauty products from Syria, a theater play or a poet reciting his own poetry as well as paintings of course. Not to forget he also sold from this gallery some fine top rate designers Gispen chairs and interesting handmade wooden furniture. The paintings usually had to do with some incident from the political history of Holland or its colonies. As his favorite subject is history, this time he had a great exposition of paintings related to the Moluccan train robbery/killing.
So with that impressive backdrop and the artful work of the light and sound man and great friend of mine Herman de Bock, who had assisted me before, a few years ago with staging a few plays.. the two of them turned the gallery into a veritable professional theater: with dark purple curtains on one side, and the paintings on the other, 50 rented chairs and loads of free snacks and drinks, great soundtrack and super light installation. Bill Bowers was happily surprised and proud to have an overfull crowd of 73 people riveted to their chairs. Those in the back could not really see or hear it all, as they had just shown up unexpectedly. These people did not mind standing up for a while until Victor quickly ran to the nearest restaurant around the corner to borrow another dozen of their chairs.
IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING - one man mime/acting show by Bill Bowers from N.Y.
And this was what the solo performance was all about: IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING is an autobiographical solo play that takes the audience on a scenic tour of Bowers life and career, from growing up to the whirlwind of working on Broadway. In addition to the journey of becoming an artist, IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING chronicles the experience of surviving the Aids crisis in New York City and the silence that existed within his experience of caring for and losing his partner to Aids. A passionate student and educator, Bowers studied with the legendary Marcel Marceau. Bowers has been hailed by the New York Times as “the most talented American Mime of this generation. xavierahollander.com/booker
MAJOR CHANGE IN ME AND MY BODY….
This last summer one of my favorite Bed and Breakfast guests from Germany, who came to stay with us for 3 days was really the one who inspired me to change my lifestyle.
Though my own husband Philip had tried time after time to tame me down to eat healthier food and leave out the sweets, it was Helmut, a middle aged very attractive bearded VEGAN who sparked the idea for me to really DO something about this horrid junky behavior of mine. The two of them convinced me one night during a long conversation with sane and sound advice to really stop pigging out or BINGEING. No... I did not become a vegan nor a vegetarian, but surely I became more aware of all the health hazards I would soon face if I did not change my lifestyle rapidly (the blood tests when I weighed 122 kilos showed that I had contracted Diabetes I already that could only be cured if I would shed a lot of weight). Helmut brought me from Germany a huge basket with lots of healthy things like dried fruits, small jars with delicious sugarfree marmalades, some healthy non salted nuts, or sandwich spreads, soya milk (which I cannot stand and never will).Helmut by the way lives according to the laws of anthroposophy.
Helmut travels the world extensively and works for a major worldfamous organization that is trying to stop brutal poachers from shooting elephants and rhino’s or slaughtering wales and dolphins. He also showed me some horrific films to witness how horses, cows and pigs but also chickens would come to a ghastly end of their lives. I must admit I did start to eat a lot more veggies and fruit instead of dead animal parts after he had left and we remained in regular contact.
It is at that time, shortly after I had gained another 2 kilos after my great birthday party - when I, (the ultimate food junkie, then weighing all of 122 kilos and waddling around like a pregnant woman) – after I finished any piece of cake, candy or chocolate that I found lying around, decided to listen to the advice of a great lady friend of mine, who had been like me, also a real bad food junkie. She wrote down two words on a small piece of paper: New Fysic. It seems even our queen Maxima goes there regularly and manages hence to keep her divine svelte body, so all her super expensive dresses, paid for by the poor Dutch tax payers, always look great on her.
Below a very special Chinese interpretation of a Christmas tree
My lady friend showed up at my party with her sweet husband, a bit shorter than she -, but now she looked different -, not as big as I remember her.. As she has that amazonesk big boned tall body, I never really noticed how overweight she was. This time however in June she was for the first time wearing a canary yellow tightfitting T shirt with short sleeves and what used to be BIG arms were now slender elegant appendages. She wore great tight fitting summer pants, something I had never seen her wear before. Most of all her face always most expressive, was now more chiseled and her big dark fiery eyes shone sensually over a pair of pretty protruding cheekbones. In short it is then I that the dime dropped and between her loss of 26 kilos in half a year and Helmut and Philips insisting for me to stop eating junk food, this really was the start to change my lifestyle for good.
The rest is history . I went on a strict new lifestyle as I won’t call it a diet… because diets usually leave me hungry and this fills me up completely while shedding weight. I followed the advice of New Fysic and lost about a kilo a week. And within 4 months I went down to 105 kilo and..In the meantime I made a few more tubby girlfriends members of the same club.
Basically what it boils down to is; cut out all carbo hydrates . No, bananas, avocado, grapes, cherries, beets, carrots fat Dutch cheese, corned beef, pate, fat sausages, CHOCOLATES OR COOKIES, licorice, potatoes, pastas or rice but.... always replace these last 3 things by what we call in Dutch VOLKOREN PASTA. (Whole grain) Rice, bulgur, dietetic wraps and… most of all 3 x a day wholegrain crackers like Wasa or Melba toast with cottage cheese, chicken or turkey or sugarfree marmalade. DO eat lots of fruit and veggies and do not forget the whole grain rice, pasta or wraps as your body needs that to burn up the fat. Result is that my Turkish seamster is constantly shortening old pants and making the rubber bands around my waiste tighter as of course loosing weight means clothes size of XXXL are now down to XL already.
So… on this healthy note I have to leave you unless you have fallen asleep already. I am working hard on editing my new book Wall Talk of : “if only the walls could talk ” The way it goes now it will be at least a 2 book omnibus if not three.. will keep you informed. Promise.
Greetings and stay healthy. We lost too many dear friends already, in this past year. Cancer still being the greatest and fastest killer.
HAPPY 2015 Xaviera and Philip