Thursday, May 17, 2007

Gelukkige verjaardag koningin! ( told by Geno)

April 30th used to just be an insignificant date, except that it was 11 days after my birthday, and that's usually when I give up on waiting for "late" birthday wishes. (If you missed it...avoid the holiday rush and start shopping now for next year.) In Holland however, April 30th is the biggest party of the year, "Queen's Day". Imagine Mardi Gras combined with New Year's Eve, but everyone (and that includes the additional 1.5 million people who come in to the city for the party) is wearing any article from their wardrobe that is orange. That last part is funny enough, but the Dutch also gracefully celebrate their Queen by pulling all of their "stuff" (think random coffee cups and ABBA records rather than antique gems) out in front of their apartment for an annual garage sale. Finally, there are the kids, who take advantage of their parents partying in the streets to make a few bucks. Most of these young entrepreneurs, like my bosses kids are hawking muffins and lemonade, others are more creative, like the above kid who would let you throw miniature pies at him for 50 cents.

It's not a wild brawl or anything, it's just people hanging out, listening to live bands, drinking beer, dancing on their boats in the canals, and enjoying the sun while trashing the city. The "day after" Queen's Day looks like a bomb went off, but 2 weeks later, all is well. Nothing violent about it, unless you count the part where you are elbowing your way through crowds while avoiding falling in a canal.

So, we did just like the locals. After arriving at 11 PM the night before Queen's Day...we hit the streets to explore, and then conveniently locked ourselves out of our 2nd story apartment ... but were able to get back in by 2:30 AM thanks to a local hostel with a ladder. Click here for more pics...


Leanna said...

Sounds like a blast! Must be so fun to be part of a totally different culture and holiday calendar (double the days off?)

You two have been doing a great job keeping up the blog. Love the pictures! I'll have some thailand pics up at the end of this weekend, once Paul and I can go through all 660 of them together. :)

Take care, and try to keep your key on the right side of the locked door... ;)

Amy & Max said...

Queen's Day looks like a riot! I wish we could have been there for that holiday! Hope all is well - let's get to the Turkey update already!