Sunday, April 29, 2007

Queen's Day in the Netherlands

It's Queens Day in the Netherlands tomorrow and the city is already geared up to go as we found out on our bike ride this evening. Queens Day is a celebration of the birthday of the former Queen Juliana and is a huge party in the streets all over the country. I can only explain it by saying that Queens Day is a cross between the local church bizarre and Mardi Gras. Two very huge extremes in but the Dutch seem to make them come together and make sense.

The morning of Queens Day those crazy Dutchies get up at the ass crack of dawn and have the hugest country wide garage sale ever known to man. It's freaking crazy. Last year I just went in the neighborhood to have a look around and was blown away at the hoards of people out looking for a bargain. There are street vendors everywhere, little kids playing instruments outside of their parent's "stores" to make some pocket money... it's extremely busy.

The selling continues throughout the day but somewhere in the middle turns into a huge block party. There is drinking, dancing, DJ's, drinking, eating, dancing, Dutching, drinking, boating while drinking, drinking, pissing in the canals while drinking, drinking and drinking. This continues into the wee hours of the morning.

We rode through the city tonight, the night before the action happens, and saw that some people have already marked their territory (not by peeing on them which could be interesting but by drawing in chalk their square of space and writing their name in it or hanging up flags) to do their selling in. Some people even camp out in their desired spot.

We're looking for a cart to attach to our bike to carry our "kid" around in. Scooter doesn't bode well in bike baskets (probably because I dropped him out of the basket about 5 times in as many minutes but nobody knows for sure) so we need one of those little cart things so he can come along on family rides. We went tonight to see if anybody was out selling early.

We didn't come across any puppy cart but we did run into some interesting characters. One drunk man was dancing with his bike in the middle of the road. It was a cross between a two step and an interpretive dance. Mildly interesting but very entertaining.

Another drunk man proclaimed his love for me after I had to ring my bike bell in order to warn him that I was about to run over his drunk butt. "Sorry sweetie! I love you!" he yelled as I swerved past him.

It wasn't the drunkenness that impacted me tonight though so much as the DJ's that were spinning in the city center. The very first place we stopped was AWESOME. The DJ's were up on this really high platform that went across the whole street and the street below was crowded with people. (We also spotted these famous Dutch singers that I just cannot stand, but it was cool there were famous people there). It was a mix of thumping club music but with a live singer and live saxophonist. I LOVED it. It immediately brought me back to the days of ole when I would dance until the ugly lights came on in the clubs.

I wished my friends could have been there. I immediately saw a guy who reminded me of TJ. I saw plenty of people that Keith and I could have judged. There was unlimited amounts of people that Josh could have swore were talking about him.

I would have even joined in and danced had I been dressed more appropriately. I wasn't expecting to run into such a fun place but I just knew my over sized Lisa Loeb T-shirt over my sport carpi's and my flip flops weren't fit for this scene.

So instead of joining in on the fun we watched from the sidelines a bit and then walked away. I hopped on my new bike, complete with basket and rode off with my husband. It was getting late.

And this is the part that impacted me...who is this woman that I've become? It was getting late? It was 9:25 for Pete's Sake! I rode off on my bike with my basket? Where the hell am I living? Mayberry? It just amazes me how much my life has changed in the last 3 years and what a different person I've become. It's not a bad change... just a dramatic one.

It amazes me the power that music has to transport you not only to another place in your life but sometimes to a whole other life altogether.

1 comment:

Jay Manuel said...

After reading all that, the only thing I keep thinking is.....GET RID OF THAT DAMN OVERSIZED LISA LOEB T-SHIRT!