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

8511 Folder Collection
davif published on October 7, 2018    cyen translated    Evangeline reviewed
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