Archive for the 'koninginnedag' Category

Koninginnedag Flashback:

Dutch Word of the Day:
Geen blauw zonder geel en oranje!
No blue without yellow and orange!

Not fully back yet, but I was reading this NYT article by Holland Cotter about Van Gogh’s letters to Emile Bernard, which are currently on display at The Morgan Library.*

If, for you some reason, you think that Van Gogh was French instead of Dutch (too many people do) this handy passage will remind of you of where he really comes from:
“After a year in ashen Paris, he was in a chromatic delirium. He couldn’t stop cataloging the colors he was seeing and using…Frustrated at how to convey the reality that even transparent elements — water and air — have complex color ranges, he ends up shouting on paper: ‘No blue without yellow and orange.'”

Oh, Vince. I feel your pain.

*I smell a field trip coming on!

Special Guest Star, two fronts

Dutch Word of the Day
Groote-Brittannie: Great Britain
Ik heb gisteren Groote- Brittannie.
I was in Great Britain yesterday.

(Bear with me and the chronology)
But before I went to London, my friend Alex visited me for a few days. It was finally warm enough for a canal cruise and we even saw IJburg on a class field trip, a new series of manmade islands that you can find above Centraal Station to help ease the housing shortage. You can see one of the plans here. (Including a “breeding center?” Yeah, that woman’s English wasn’t on point.)

Insert Queensday.

Then I was in Islington (part of London) visiting Ashley at SOAS. I wasn’t there long enough to get the full feel of the city, but I liked what I saw. I went to The British Museum, Harrods, and saw a bit of the VA, but I feel like I have to come back. You can get a full flavor for Amsterdam in a shorter span of time because it’s much smaller, but London’s quite big. The Tube system’s very nice, though. But the train itself is very tiny, much smaller than the trains in New York. And the Body Shop is everywhere. I had some pounds remaining when I got to the airport so I went nuts and got so much Body Shop stuff.

Remembrance Day was today, and Liberation Day is tomorrow (both Holocaust related). It’s strange to be spending so much time in a country where the Holocaust happened. Even with the Anne Frank Huis and Homomonument down the street, it is still hard to fullly wrap one’s head around the horrible things that have happened here. On the one hand, I live in America where slavery was everywhere. But as a New Yorker, even as a black New Yorker, I’m not in a place that’s still as visibly scarred as other regions of the U.S.. I’m not used to being in a place where evidence of a terrible place is so close to the surface.

Today Albert Heijn closed early, there was something going on near the Westerkerk, and Dam Sqaure had a huge TV screen that I was too far from to really get a good look at. Aside from tomorrow’s Cold War Kids Concert, we’ll see how Liberation Day feels.

Queensday: The Dutch St. Patricks

Dutch Word of the Day
koninginnedag: Queensday
Vandag is koninginnedag.
Today is Queensday.

Queensday is the most hectic day in the world. It’s impossible to get around anywhere in the city. It’s such a problem. Everyone was wearing orange, (even the dogs) drinking on boats and wandering the streets. We saw some woman getting pulled back into a boat after falling into the Prinsengracht. Today wasn’t cold, but that couldn’t have been good. I hope her cell wasn’t in her pocket.

All of the boats played that repetitive, bad techno that one usually associates with gay pride floats, except everyone here was into it. It was a little scary because when music that’s entirely beat driven and there are sound systems playing all over the city, if feels like it’s all one big song that never ends. There were a few exceptions. The “Cha Cha Slide” boat was my personal favorite.

People set up stoop sales in front of their homes and were trying to sell all there stuff, including pancakes and beer. Apparently, Vondelpark was entirely reserved for children selling their stuff, dancing around and playing instruments. I’d have loved to have seen that, but it just too crowded to even think of going there.

I felt bad for the tourists who rented MacBikes, because bikes were nearly useless today. There was no tram service, either. I’m a bit worried, cause I’m heading to London tomorrow, but I should be fine.

Right?


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