FAQ

It seems pretty cramped in there!

No; in fact the inner seating passenger space is the BIGGEST of all rickshaws in Amsterdam! It's not hard to compare the spaces with other rickshaws, just take a look!

Passengers by nationality, best tippers and famous passengers

What are the most frequent nationality groupings passenger-wise?

Dutch, Brits, U.S. Americans, Brazilians, Swiss, Israelis, Russians, Italians, Norse and French; also Arabs (namely, natives from the Arabian Peninsula) but not as frequent as the aforementioned. 

Generally the British, Dutch, Italian and U.S. passengers are the most pleasant and best tippers and value this special, alternative service in a rickshaw totally unique in its design and passenger experience in all of Holland or The Netherlands and maybe even in all of Europe or the entire world (since I also offer healing Dutch orange colour therapy and tune into the passenger's vibe; once I had a wealthy exiled Persian who tipped me 100 euros for a 15 euro ride because I sympathized with his liberal political leanings!)

Occasionally I might get a famous passenger but I never ask for their autographs nor to take photographs of them, neither mention or allude to their celebrity statuses in case I might be viewed as an annoying sycophant. Having said that, I guess my most famous passenger was the actor in a film called Shampoo (1975.)

I have had passengers from all continents over the course of seven years. Yes, I have noticed certain nationalities can be problems, I won't name them but there is definitely a "worst" list and one must be alert. One must avoid the negative people who can really spoil one's healthy vibe and rhythmic flow, they are definitely out there! 

The Worst Passengers of All Time (3 Swiss women) and the strange case of Liechtenstein after the recent anti-EU Swiss vote

Who were the worst passengers of all time?

Three young Swiss women who, arriving at the destination, asked "could this ride be free because we are Swiss?" (yes, they were serious, and yes, I made them pay.) I do believe this does say something about the Swiss superiority complex and why they are so hell-bent on hanging on to their isolationism which will one day also be their undoing!

Namely, recently in a referendum the Swiss voted to scrap their bilateral agreements with the European Union which gave access to Swiss citizens to work and reside freely in EU states and the other way around. This was insane because over 60% of Swiss trade is with the EU, and for some frontier cities such as Basel or Geneva this percentage is even higher. And it took years to seal these bilateral agreements. So now what should happen is that Switzerland should be put on a similar level as North Korea. Build a 10-meter cement wall around all of Switzerland, letting nobody out and nobody in, maybe then the Swiss get the message they are also in the global village?

Theoretically, this EU scrapping Swiss vote must also quash Switzerland's Schengen zone membership (how weird is it that Switzerland is a non-EM member but a Schengen zone member); this creates a sharply conflicted paradox with Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is a small sovereign state sandwiched in between Switzerland and Austria. Austria is an EU member, Switzerland not. But Liechtenstein is, alongside Norway and Iceland, a EEA (European Economic Area) member, giving Liechtensteiners free access to work and reside in the EU and vice-versa. Up until now Liechtenstein's customs border with Austria is a Swiss customs house (weird, because in fact it is Liechtenstein not Switzerland). But theoretically after this Swiss vote, how can the EEA and Schengen member Liechtenstein still continue to use a Swiss customs house???

Liechtenstein is in the Top 3 per capita richest countries on planet earth, so why don't they just pump up their Liechtenstein-ness, really project the Liechtenstein brand globally, increase the number of "Made in Liechtenstein" products worldwide (did you know the best false teeth are made in Liechtenstein, and also the famous fastening and construction machinery Hilti is originally from Liechtenstein and still headquartered in the Liechtenstein town of Schaan today?) In about 5 years from now in 2019, Liechtenstein will celebrate 300 years. Basically a rich Viennese dude by the name of Liechtenstein bought a piece of land and made it into a country and called himself a Prince and the country a Principality, i.e. absolute monarchy ruled by Princes. He passed power down the line to his male descendents so basically the Liechtensteinian royal family are Austrians; the last Prince of Liechtentstein (the Liechtenstein royal family is even richer than the Queen of England apparently, with estimated wealth exceeding 50 billion euros) even held his own citizenry emotionally/psychologically ransom in a recent referendum by threatening to leave Liechtenstein and permanently reside in Vienna if his citizens did not vote on his side to give him more absolute power than he already had (Uber-Alpha male tactics); in fact Liechtenstein is Europe's most totalitarian state, not Belarus!

What were the best rides ever? Wealthy Iranians, Jolly Danes, Horny Italian women, A Jewish Nazi occupation survivor and the ex-President of Georgia

In no particular order of preference, here are the Top 5:

 1. The easiest ride ever cash- and time-wise was a distance of 300 meters with a couple of wealthy Iranians. 100 euros. They had long left Iran because of its current criminal regime, and I mentioned what a pity it was that a few rotten apples ruin Persia which in ancient times was a scientific leader with lots of beautiful culture and they agreed. Why so much money? I don't know but I sure as shit know I desperately needed the cash which quickly vanished into the endless abyss of paying bills or ordering new expensive rickshaw parts for periodic quality maintenance.

2. Once I had a couple of jolly Danes (engineers from the Danish island of Zealand) who paid me 140 euros for a 1,5 hour ride in the middle of the night in freezing rain on a Monday. They could not stop laughing. It was way past midnight, I was exhausted and the city was totally dead, even most of the bars were shut or in the process of closing. I kept saying "you just want me to drive around aimlessly?" and then each time they tried to reply they broke out laughing, speaking in their thick hurdy gurdy Danish accents "yes just keep going on and on and on" barely able to complete their sentences as they laughed their heads off. 

3. On another occasion, an Italian mother with her 19-year old daughter; the mother pleaded me to deflower her daughter in their hotel and I would be paid. Alas circumstances would have it that I was already in a relationship in that period and my conscience felt too conflicted to pass that bridge despite the burning desire. A man's will is sometimes tested beyond its brink to remote, perverse outer limits. Yet the 19-year old girl was eager, highly intelligent and beautiful and she found it very unfair that Amsterdam's Red Light District did not provide heterosexual male sex workers to service female heterosexual clients. I can sympathize with this complaint and I wish more women would be as forthcoming as this bright young woman was. To try and correct this discrepancy, I applied twice to Holland's only Gigolo agency, and was refused twice, waiting a year in between each application. They refused to explain the reason of their refusal even though I took the trouble to go all the way to their office which was in the middle of nowhere and took forever to reach by public transport. 

If only most women were as pro-active as this fine Italian woman; alas instead many of my female passengers popularly perceived as "beautiful" tend to be capricious, short-sighted brainless baboons who have the nasty trait of thinking themselves superior to me, and not seeing me as a decent man but merely as an insignificant thing to bring them from A to B so they can resume hunting for sugar daddies or fancy male celebrities. I would never be able to squeeze my thinking into their ultra-narrow distorted headspace. 

4. Or how about the centenarian Jewish woman who had successfully hidden during the Nazi occupation of Holland. If I sense passengers are even remotely conversational, I engage them in discussion and they never fail to enjoy it. 

5. Or how about the ex-Georgian President Saakashvil and his Dutch wife Sandra Roelofs. At first Saakashvili the former lawyer seemed awfully suspicious, almost hostile (an unappealing personality trait many lawyers often unconsciously project) and skeptical about getting into a strange bright red/orange rickshaw and wanted to pay me 5 euros less. But his funky Dutch wife shoved him in. By ride's end, Saakashvili's tone had overturned for the better and I got my full price plus a tip and he said "it was worth it".

During the ride I tried to convince him that the three Caucasian states (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) should get into bed together and be like the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), Baltic (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) or Nordic (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark) states; as all three Caucasian states they should join NATO and the EU. Then both he and his wife complained about Armenia. I quickly responded: "OK so Georgia hates Armenia, look beyond that and now let's make some nice politics and re-boot the whole region." I elaborated and again gave the example of the Baltics which have also sharply differed on opinions between themselves (the Baltic country Estonia has far more in common with Nordic state Finland than with the other two Baltic states, Latvia and Lithuania); they looked beyond those petty internal differences, saw the wider panorama and played the political game in their favour and consequently succeeded in quickly joining NATO and the EU. There was a silence and to my surprise they seemed to agree with me. Then Roelofs urged me to visit Georgia and that it was the best of the three Caucasian countries, with Georgia having the best ski resorts, food and beaches. 

There have been one or two other "name" passengers but when they request what I term "hyper-privacy" - verbally or non-verbally -  I respect it, although I think this particular odd trait is an indication of an underlying psychological complex: False-modesty and the superiority complex. For what other reason would the public personality feel shame or inconvenience for who they were? The obsession with hyper-privacy (a phobia of being 'known') is based on a falsehood. There are over 7 billion people on the planet. My sports-minded friends know all the "big" sports names, I don't. I know some film "names" but not the film "names" in India. When there are 7 billion souls on the planet, everything gets mixed into one big soup but the egomaniacs fail to realize this. I could go on forever on this topic. That's why boxer Muhammad Ali was/is one of the most authentic personalities of 20th century media. His lyrical speeches were not egomaniacal but pure show and he knew it. He did not give a hoot, he played the game like no other media personality has, before him or since. Ali realized the ironical, finite nature of human existence and dropped all the pretentious nonsense and just let himself be himself. Few understand this concept but he did, and exceedingly well. Watch this sequence of famous Ali rhymes/speeches. 

 

  

What's the most irritating aspect of rickshawing (hatemongers)?

0. The humans who walk or cycle past you and speak loudly condemning your work even though they know absolutely nothing about it. Sadly these are all Amsterdammers (even though it is only about 0,2% of Amsterdam's population at most, if you get a daily dose of it on average in a calendar year it can blur your objectivity sometimes.) The most frequently uttered sentence is: "ik vind hem een oplichter" (I find him to be a thief), the other insults are so hateful and evil I cannot even repeat them here. Perhaps I am expected to work for free, it isn't already bad enough that I work my ass into the ground just to pay bills? What about the big bananas of the Netherlands, the Dutch multi-millionaires and billionaires, are they also expected to just go live under a bridge and stop working? It's called the market economy, last time I checked the Dutch more or less invented it...

 It can really crush your heart hearing this, because such hatemongers have no clue whatsoever how hard, fiscally insecure and stressful it can be and all the nuances involved, the highly personalized and linguistic aspects of the service, not to mention the continual daily physical exertion and tremendous amount of re-investment in the rickshaw (repairs and new parts, not to mention inkomsten verlies or income loss during sick/rest/other duty days or while awaiting spare parts in the post when not in stock.) Six years of daily hateful condemnation from Amsterdammers. Hard to swallow indeed. Have I ever gotten paid for giving free tourist advice or instructions to thousands of visitors since beginning in June 2008, even when there were no corresponding paid rides? No, never. And worse, the same places I recommend or bring passengers to since 2008 tell me to go away. Rickshaw drivers are the "untouchables" of society, definitely, and this is no victim complex. This is but the tip of the iceberg and putting it extremely mildly.

1. Rude/impolite/arrogant people. Thankfully most of my passengers are not like this but it's the rotten apples; I don't care if it's a cop, a cyclist, a pedestrian, a Prime Minister/President or King/Queen, rude is rude and I make a mental note of the rude ones in case I ever run into them at a future juncture. The most tragic part of these people is, they live life in a mean spirited manner and are blind to the fact that their nasty behaviors poison their lives and prevents them from achieving their potential towards better places in life, proverbially speaking. 

2. Waiting for hours without clients, especially in the freezing cold (risking hypothermia)

3. Conceited types who think it's free, or think it's cheaper than or as cheap as public transport, or presume they know better. I sure as hell ain't gonna walk into a bank and dictate to a banker how to run the bank, or walk into a barber shop and tell the barber how to be a barber. You don't quibble about the price by the cashier at the department store. We are professional rickshaw runners and must make a certain amount per ride to make it worth our while given each ride sucks out a tremendous amount of energy from the battery. 7 rides in a shift is an indicator (often less) and Amsterdam is hellishly expensive and we are not slaves. So to the conceited types I say: get a reality check and eat some humble pie and show some respect to a personalized and partially human-powered (namely pedaling) service and stop comparing us to automobile taxis because a fish ain't a bicycle!

Furthermore, automobile taxis tend to prefer longer rides because short ones under 2km are not profitable for them. About 90% of rickshaw rides are 2km and often less. That's why there's never been no war between rickshaws and automobile taxis. Anyway you can't compare an automobile with a tricycle, it's absurd. 

Who are the weirdest passengers? And, Amsterdam Syndrome explained (and PURO cops, plus religious workers) + The Billion Boner March, and Art is born on the street

By far the weirdest passengers are the ones who are literally embarrassed about being seen arriving at their hotel inside a rickshaw, and they actually express it "wait, wait, wait, keep driving don't stop right in front of the hotel door I don't want people seeing us in this orange cab." This severely weird scenario happens on a weekly basis. I never react to this because if I tried to psychoanalyze it my brain would explode. It's in such instances that you realize the world has more than its fair share of total head cases. 

Then you have the ones who "pity" us rickshaw runners. "We feel sorry for you, we pity you doing this for us" to which I always instantly reply "no need to pity me, you are paying for my fitness" 

It is truly stunning the number of people who think they know what is best for others. This is another frequent oddity: getting lectured by people who have a god or superiority complex* or know-it-alls. They are convinced I must stop what I am doing at once and go work inside a cement building as an employee because that is the holy grail and there is nothing else. But if I try to explain I write, make films and music, forget it, they don't want to hear anything else because they live in a narrow box full of mirrors on all sides and all they see are themselves. Funny, it never ever occurs to me to even think about someone else's life or pretending to know how to modify it. 

There is also what I term "Amsterdam Syndrome" (alternate monikers: Amsterdam Fever, Amsterdam Noumenon, Amsterdam Vibe, Amsterdam Buzz, Amsterdam Euphoria, Amsterdam Bliss, Amsterdam EcstasyAmsterdam Craze, Amsterdam Trance.) For a decade I have wanted to make an existentialist film about this. But anyone who is a no-budget underground filmmaker trying to emerge and join the "official high society garden club" of established filmmakers (not trying to be cynical but hey folks, that is what it is), they know from experience that it is basically a mafia and metaphorically incestuous; they lock the door tight and god knows what goes on behind those closed doors. I have always sensed a poisonous, hostile contempt from the establishment (with extremely rare exception) and have always found it profoundly regrettable and pointless. I suppose the establishment will accuse the guerillas of having contempt for them, and that is also true, but I have always steered clear of allowing myself to be tainted from this vicious circle.

Wherever I lived - in London, in Toronto, in Vancouver, in Germany, in France, in Switzerland and now Holland, I have come across this exceedingly bizarre beast. This is a topic I could write a book about and most of the characters implicated could well use several years of psychoanalysis. This weird phenomenon is basically lots of pretentious/jealous/shallow-minded people trying to put up obstacles to prevent you from personal progress. I can remember hearing word as early as 1991 of a lead role in a German film that required a young Canadian male. I had to find the information and finally when I found a lead, the punk on the phone said "no that part has been taken already". I had a sixth sense he was lying and pursued my investigation further, and sometimes I had to bend the law. Was I right in my sixth sense? Yep, you bet your ass. Finally I traced it to the source, it was a company out of Munich and not only did I audition but they wanted me for the role. The financing fell through (as often happens in the film world), but it illustrates the scum that permeate this planet. If I collected all the anecdotes it would make a book so surreal you would need magic mushrooms to go with it. Sometimes you just want to yell and pound your fist on the pavement because people can be so insanely petty and narrow-minded.

I conclude this tirade with the fundamental question: does the establishment make gold? Was Vincent van Gogh the establishment in his lifetime? Once in Ireland something happened which I will always remember. We were in the middle of a University lecture and some Frenchman burst into the lecture hall with a nude woman. The woman was an actress and had all kinds of electric-tinted paint on her. The Frenchman put on a ghetto blaster to warp 10 volume. He stood ontop of the lecture hall's front table as the lecturer quickly exited. Then he hurled himself into mid air onto the students' desks in the audience, repeating it in a succession of wild stunts. The dude was from Strasbourg and later I went to talk to him, fascinated to hear his tale. I shall never forget his key phrase: "L'art se fait en dehors de l'ecole" (art is made outside of school or the academy.) Life is lived on the street. This is why in the entertainment world, the real heroes are the people like Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, the Beatles, Katja Kean/Katja K and so on. It's not the pretentious twits wth their heads up their asses. And guess what, none of them went to academies, not that I snub my nose at schools, but look at the content, not the surface.

I take this term because it bears vague similarities with Jerusalem Syndrome. Because it is metaphysical it cannot be proven scientifically. I noticed certain metaphysical aspects of Amsterdam in the early days, especially during a succession of visits in the 1990s. Difficult to concisely capture with words but in essence Amsterdam Syndrome seems to affect outsiders (non-Amsterdammers; people whose place of residence is not Amsterdam nor its bordering regions) visiting the city who in a word experience "excessive freedom", and it involves a sensation of desire mixed with euphoria or ecstasy and can transform into a trance. It is identifiable when those undergoing Amsterdam Syndrome issue a visible reaction as outlined here under. However it differs from ordinary excitement experienced when a person is on vacation. In the case of Amsterdam Syndrome, the affected person cannot fluidly process the received "vibrations" and experiences sensory overload. It bears some characteristics categorized as culture shock, only in this case we are talking about visitors: people who come and go. A compact concentrated mini-version spiked with some extra weirdness. 

Of course substances such as marijuana and hashish may play a role as enhancers but Amsterdam Syndrome is a phenomenon unto itself and can be experienced entirely without ingesting any substances whatsoever. It is fascinating to study how people react when they experience Amsterdam Syndrome. I have had a number of passengers who are in the middle of an Amsterdam Syndrome episode. It can be good, bad, irritating, a bit of everything.

Many other professionals notice it, such as what I term "Pure Cops", or "PUROs"; this is when a professional elevates his or her vocation into an art form, thus becoming an artist, uncannily becoming one with the zillions of nuances and variables particular to his or her work and moves forth Jedi-style, applying the correct level of energy and reaction to each scenario exactly as needed (called "Correct Action" or "Non-action" in Taoism)  because each situation is unique (though one may categorize various familiar recurring scenarios into known groupings). The PURO cop is best exemplified in Sean Penn's 2001 film The Pledge starring Jack Nicholson. In the film, Jack Nicholson is a PURO, but tragically things take a nasty turn in the drama (occupational hazards) and by the end of the film, the character he plays flips out (it's a delicate balance when one becomes an artist.)

The polar opposite of a PURO cop is one who totally disconnected from his or her instincts and intuition. Once I had a cop kick the back of my rickshaw accusing me of standing still in a restricted zone (I was waiting for the traffic light to change from red to green.) The danger in keeping disconnected cops in service is that they busy themselves with nonsense while serious crime is being committed, as seen in this film clip (1975's Return of The Pink Panther in which Inspector Clouseau quibbles with a blind street musician while a bank is being robbed right before his nose.) So in fact, disconnected cops indirectly help increase organized crime because criminals take careful note of identifying (known as "casing" in crime lingo) the disconnected cops and organize their activities around them specifically. It shares some similarities with the art of debate. A skilled debater will take a great deal of time studying the opinions, mentality, psychology of his debating opponent and the debating team that knows the most about not only its own perspective, but more so about the other team's ideas, wins the debate. Listen to Don Ellis's score of The French Connection (by William Friedkin, 1971), my fave cop caper.

Also religious workers are tuned into this jazz. For example I had long conversations with a religious missionary who was very tuned into this and she had spent a dozen years in Amsterdam with her colleagues cleaning up lots of bad energy in Amsterdam. So she was also an "artist" of sorts, and Amsterdam has indeed purified a good deal of the nasty spirits and messy scenarios compared to how it used to be. For example there used to be tons of homeless, more petty thieves, lots of zombie-like drug addicts and street prostitutes around the Zeedijk and Wallen (Red Light District) and now it is much less. To get a blast from the past, have a look at this report by my father Neil whom I assisted for the Cologne-based erstwhile weekly television program European Journal (aired on PBS in the U.S.) between 1987 and 1993; this one is about the homeless of Amsterdam on youtube.

I am a highly sensitive person so I notice a great deal more than the average person, though this is not to be taken as a boast because it can be exhausting or overwhelming much of the time.  Here are some examples of Amsterdam Syndrome, in the form of passengers I had:

1. A British man from Birmingham with his mate. Man A is experiencing Amsterdam Syndrome while Man B is not (thankfully, because if both were locked into this trance it would be too much.) Man A seems overpowered by a tangible euphoria and at one point wants to have sex inside my rickshaw in broad daylight, says sex is allowed in Amsterdam and so he wants to pull out his penis inside the rickshaw's cabin but is halted by Man B. 

2. A negative example of Amsterdam Syndrome: a couple of German men. Again, one has the trance and the other not. But this time the guy who's in the middle of it does not know how to handle all the sensations and is translating into a weird quasi frenzy; he is yelling out each sentence so loudly it is killing my ears and disturbing passers-by as we are riding along canalside. 

3. A repressed mild version of Amsterdam Syndrome. This is a funny one because the person is aware something is afoot but cannot situate it internally and each gesture seems silly in a mild manner. The person is obviously euphoric (hyper-sensitive people pick up on these things) but cannot give it full expression so her or his way of being and reacting becomes downright silly in almost a slapstick comedy kind of way. For instance, I had a passenger quibble in a friendly kind of way about a price: she was adamant she wanted the price lowered by 1 euro. Of course any level-headed person sees how absurd this is so I said "sure" and this agreement seemed to almost give her an orgasm. Or another man who demanded a receipt be written with the exact time notated, right down to the second. Or a couple of German women who suddenly became obsessed with wanting to know the exact year of construction of each building that was even vaguely historic looking. Then of course you just make up years (that one over there is 1344, the one farther down is 1567, et cetera, and they just loved it.) The condition is similar to that of Charles Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge the morning after the ghosts (see clip from the 1951 film starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge.)

Yes, all weird stuff but this is the big wide world where anything and everything happens. Bu the main message in my mind is to be tolerant (or even better, accepting; or the highest level, empathic or loving) to all types in a society as long as it's peaceful because the spin-off is much more positive in that kind of approach, compared to an intolerant and negative judgmental approach (the world takes all kinds.) And if you let people just experience the Amsterdam Syndrome, ride out the storm so to speak (so long it stays peaceful and doesn't block traffic) then when the person comes out the other side he or she is cleansed (hopefully.)

The sad part is that eventually Amsterdam Syndrome wears off (the Peter Pan syndrome), especially if the visitor comes to live here as it did with me. I thought: good then I will come live in Amsterdam and plug into its vibe and be jolly and boink my brains out to kingdom cum. But the irony is Amsterdam women ooze orgasmic sex vibes far and wide but wear horse blinders and seem to live in another universe; disconnected, disinterested, mentally busy, never in the present moment and going by sheer observation, they seem to just barely tolerate the male species as a kind of "necessary evil" until science renders it possible for women to reproduce by dint of stem cell technology without the need for sperm (see my short film about this topic, Naked Conversations with Nude Women.) Sounds harsh but contains at least a grain of truth for many a lost esquire floating in the lonely infinite abyss of human existence.

Exageration I hear you exclaim? No, understatement. When a man ventures forth with good will and joy and puts in his elbow grease and is "assassinated" by womenfolk over and over and over it deals a blow that echoes across decades. It is the subject of books, films, songs, you name it. I even made a movie about it which screened in Estonia (see articles in Vancouver's free weekly); see this scene with Tom Cruise in Magnolia. Like a commando you go back into the warzone but a wounded soldier is a wounded soldier; never falling prey to the self-pity, victim or martyrdom complex, not being a masochist nor fetishist, not placing blame, not being a defeatist, not falling for the false self-fulfilling prophecy myth (thinking you will lose you end up winning; being sure you will win you always seem to lose), not being bitter nor sweet (yet drinking both bitter and sweet beer), rather giving therapeutic expression to truth, sailing through the storm dispassionately not seeking a certain outcome. Seeking and striving towards an outcome, missing it a zillion times by one quadrillionth of a nanometer (simultaneously quad-training.) In doing, banging one's head against a wall, in non-doing drifting into nihilism. Going around endlessly on the merry go round, dizzy when alighting, stepping back on for more madness. Thus the human insanity continueth until it endeth (end/death?) Hello paradise, purgatory or inferno, please explain to me what that was all about? And so the boner boy bounces back again and again, jacking, jacking and jacking up the hill minus Jill, Jill being boner-phobic. The only solution? Pull a quick Frankenstein routine; take a woman, and take a homosexual man. Put them in an operating theatre. Then exchange the woman's brain with the man's: then you have a heterosexual woman interested in sex with men (speaking on behalf of roughly a wee billion men; how about a "billion boner march"?)!

*It reminds of an occasion once in 1990. I was in my final year of secondary school at a Canadian school on a NATO airbase in Germany (in Lahr) and happened to be chatting with a French-speaking woman from Quebec, we were seated beside each other in a bus getting a guided tour of Liechtenstein. When I mentioned I had spent a year at a Belgian school, her face paled. "It must have been very low quality at that Belgian school, I bet you had to repeat the year at the Canadian school" (she had never even been to Belgium, didn't know any Belgians, knew nothing of Belgium.) No I explained; it was the exact opposite: the Belgian secondary school curriculum consisted of material used at University level in Canada. At that point she seemed to nearly have a heart attack because her brain could not grasp the information. It always stuns me when people view the world through a screwed-up prism of inate superiority and a painful inability or deliberate conceited unwillingness to see the world from another perspective. These are the people who halt progress in every sense of the term.

Why do rickshaws just wait on one same spot for rides, why don't they cycle around looking for passengers or approach people directly?

Years of experience prove that the overwhelming majority of rides are clinched by waiting patiently in places with the densest circulation of pedestrians. On more rare occasions, rides are scored by sheer chance while driving. This is an uncanny phenomenon, partly explained by the power of subliminal influence in a crowd mentality context. As with approaching passers-by, this too is practiced but only under certain conditions, it's tricks of the trade and comes with experience.

Why do you do it?

I prefer the outdoors and physical work, which forces one to focus. That's why my main loves are hang gliding, skiing and skin diving; it's an adrenaline kick. Also this gives ample opportunity to write in between rides. Read my new book if you like, Thus Spokes Solar Rickshaw; Other motivating factors are: preference for greater freedom as a self-employed person instead of regular employment, the daily workout for optimum physical fitness, interaction with global travellers of all cultures and practising foreign languages, and finally as a hobby to learn about and use new technologies hands-on.

Why is your site only in English and not Dutch and phasing out "Solar Rickshaw"

I speak Dutch and six other languages but the majority of my clients are non-Dutch, and the Dutch are mainland Europe’s most proficient English-speakers anyway (right beside the Swedes.) Fewer people speak Dutch than English in Amsterdam, meaning more Dutch people speak/understand/read/write English than non-Dutch know the Dutch language. So you maximize your audience by using English even though I still don't know if anyone in Amsterdam ever read this site - perhaps this site's audience was abroad? I don't have access to any stats for this site unlike Vimeo.

But the most ironical fact of all is, none of my passengers read my website; they don't even know this website exists. I have no clue who reads this website, it exists, but it has never been of any practical use. In fact I wonder why I continue to pay for the annual costs!

Eventually I want to drop the Solar Rickshaw name* as it has generated no interest or practical use income-wise (i.e., no solar-related advertising, events or reservations; and most importantly, this particular solar application delivers such little energy so as to make its continued use inconsequential)**, and totally redo my website and revert to Lundoxia which is the name this site originally started out as back in the year 2002. Struggling artists will understand but non-artists won't. When you are literally trying to make your money with your artistry since 1975 (yes no kidding, my first paid gig as calendar model was in 1975 and immediately afterwards I said to my father, "Dad I want to do more of this, not school"), and you try everythjng under the sun and nothing clicks, let me tell you it is monumentally frustrating. A lot of my creations (visual art, music, writing, films, photographs, spoken word) are linked through this site and while I may not be the best artist, I am certainly not the worst!

*Under the current rickshaw (fietstaxi vergunning) rules I must indicate the name on the licence on the rickshaw vehicle itself. I can only change the name when the current permit expires in April 2016 so for now I must stick with "Solar Rickshaw". No wonder "Get Back" by The Beatles" is such a powerful song..."Get back, Get back, Get back to where you once belong". Looking forward to refreshing this site and junking all the gobbledigook. Simplfication, more colors and as few words as possible and no more free English lessons! 

**The solar charger or inverter (regelaar) company got free publicity in the Reuters report and Reuters is by far the world's biggest source news organization. Even if the solar inverter's brand name appears only briefly in this 1,5 minute video report, this still qualifies as advertising for that company (ever hear of product placement or subliminal advertising? Advertisement Gurus say these are the most powerful ad formats even though these may be difficult to measure in terms of response or returns!) I wonder how many networks that report was sold to? I wonder how many plays that Reuters link alone got? I tried finding out contacting Reuters for a solid month in the summer of 2013 and it was like I was speaking Martian, they couldn't give me an answer. 

But who knows what could happen between now and April 2016...