Posts filed under ‘travel’

Queen’s Day

 Queen's Day 2007

This post comes a little later than usual as I was in Amsterdam on Sunday, celebrating Queen’s day and needed some time to recover. This despite the fact that I did feel some internal resistance to celebrating some dead old ladie’s birthday, but I was not about to refuse a party because of the legitimacy of the occasion, or lack thereof.

The city is a sea of orange people and there is music everywhere. There is also a city wide flea-market, because anyone is allowed to go on the street and sell whatever they want. At it’s worse, the only way to get around is following a people stream in the general direction where you want to go, trying your best to avoid stepping on vomit, horse poo or peoples feet. There is music blasting in the street at every corner, hundreds of party boats cruising the canals, orange bodies dancing (or trying).

I was trying not to let my ‘convictions’ get in the way of enjoying the party, but I couldn’t help noticing the prevailing creepiness of it all. They were people giving out ‘Queen’ masks, a piece of cardboard with a eerie photo of the queen with orange hair. They were also giving out this stupid unfoldable orange paper hair piece that is supposed to represent the queen’s hair.  Most of them of course were on the floor. 

With commerce restrictions lifted for the day, dutch entrepeneruship was at it’s prime. The stuff being sold at the fleamarket was so pointless and random that you were left wondering “Why are they selling this? Who did they even keep it?” Most cafes made a point in hanging ‘NO TOILET’ signs on their windows, while others were happy to make a healthy profit on desperate girls, 1E per pee. Guys didn’t have to go through it because there are plenty of ‘pissing boots’ installed especially for them. Some people were selling 5E rappel rides to the other side of the canal from their windows.

Of course, with so much going on, the police thinks they ought to have a ‘presence’, you know, as a deterrent or something. And for some reason they thought that going through the crowd on horses was a good idea (crowd control?). So guess what a surprise it was when one of the horses climbed on the sidewalk (this on a tiny tiny bridge with nowhere to go) and trampled a few people right in front of us. Seriously, how bright do you need to be to see that coming? *sigh*

Towards the end of the day, the crowds started to clear out, and then you could really see the extent of the damage. The sea of people was replaced by a sea of trash and piss spilling out of the urinals… A whole city completely completely trashed.  And I have to give them credit for not using disposable plastic cups. Instead they had these reusable ones with a 1E deposit. Even so, the amount of trash was unimaginable. The end of a party is not a pretty sight.

And for an environmentally conscious girl like me, this just leaves me wondering, is the ‘fun’ worth the damage? Does wearing orange, getting wasted and dancing poorly really honour her majesty? In the end, all she had to show for was her face lying all over the gutter, side by side with beer cans and vomit.

Photo courtesy Andries3 on Flickr.

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May 3, 2007 at 1:39 am 2 comments

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