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  • Good morning, Hank, it's Monday.

  • I woke up early on Queen's Day here in Amsterdam, because Henry was all like, "I don't always

  • wake up at 5:42 in the morning, but when I do, I expect to be fed." The Yeti and I dressed

  • him in a Dirk Kuyt jersey and headed down to the Vondelpark that morning. The streets

  • of Amsterdam were abandoned and only ducks were on the canals although the port-a-potties

  • in the distance hinted that a party was brewing.

  • As we walked we passed this Emily Dickinson poem "To make a prairie it takes a clover

  • and one bee, / One clover, and a bee. / And revery. / The revery alone will do, / If bees

  • are few."

  • When we got to the Vondelpark, families were already setting up their stations for the

  • freemarket, which is so called because none of the items in it are free, not even the

  • back issues of Donald Duck comics.

  • Queen's Day is a celebration of Queen Beatrix's mother's birthday, and it involves this strange

  • city-wide garage sale where people sell artwork, and old clothes, and unicycle with hula hoops

  • for tips, and offer carnival games, and oh my God to be kid on a lake in a bubble. It

  • was pretty great, but Henry just wanted to play in the sandbox. He was like, "Guys, look

  • at this stuff! It is AMAZING."

  • After a while we walked back to the apartment, and I watched thousands of people streaming

  • downtown. And then I met up with nerdfighter Tobias who was the only person in all of Amsterdam

  • not wearing orange.

  • Tobias: I looked in my wardrobe and I didn't have anything orange.

  • John: You're embarrassing yourself.

  • John: I'm starting to feel a little anxious. Tobias: Why?

  • John: Just because of the number of people who are here and also wearing orange, which

  • is very anxious color for me.

  • There were no more ducks in the canal and no more empty streets, just a lot of people

  • and free inflatable hats.

  • John: Now that we've got these hats, it's definitely a party.

  • Tobias: Yeah, it is.

  • We finally made it down to the museumplein where a hundred thousand drunk people were

  • listening to music, whereupon Tobias tried to teach me how to say "Queen's Day" in Dutch.

  • John: CO-nin-nin-nin-dag Tobias: Koninginnedag

  • John: Ko-nininachdach Tobias: Koninginnedag

  • John: Ko-ni-- Photobomber: Koninginnedag WAHHHHHGH!

  • We got photobombed quite a lot down there in the museumplein.

  • On the walk home Tobias and I had an impassioned discussion in RE: the providence of this liquid,

  • and then he bought a biography of Elton John at a free market.

  • John: We just saw a guy trading underwear for Rice Krispie treats. Which is the kind

  • of thing that, like, does happen, but not at 2:20 in the afternoon.

  • Finally, after an hour of pushing through crowds I made it home. Techno was rattling

  • our apartment, but I was happy to live in a world that finds cause to celebrate. And

  • happier still that, by law, the party ended at 9 p.m. That's just good government regulation

  • at work, Hank. I'll see you on Wednesday.

Good morning, Hank, it's Monday.

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B1 US tobias john amsterdam queen clover ko

Trading Underwear for Rice Crispy Treats: Queens Day in Amsterdam (Thoughts from Places)

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    davif posted on 2015/11/15
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