Eurotrip: Amsterdam - Queen’s Day
I arrived in Amsterdam the night before Queen’s Day. (The queen’s birthday party— her actual birthday is in February, but have you ever been to Amsterdam in February? I don’t recommend. This is much better.)
You’re supposed to go out and rage the night before, too, but I went to a barbecue at a friend’s house and ate an undisclosed amount of meat and went into a mild coma. I had a partner in crime— a girl a solid 30-40 pounds lighter than me, who decisively won the eating contest she didn’t know we were having.
Step 1: Brunch.
I am drooling over the picture.
It’s important to lay down a strong foundation for a day of drinking beer, because really, you’re just consuming mass quantities of yeast excrement, which you’ve somehow over the years come to find is delicious. (I’m no exception.) My friend Sanna-Maaria is Finnish, but damn, she makes a mean chilaquiles. I had seconds (obviously, because I always have seconds). Base achieved.
We also had Queen’s Cake. I said, “what’s that?” and was told, “It’s a hard thing, some cream, and another hard thing.” I said, “Oh, I totally get it, I lived in San Franc— oh, you mean literally.”
BAM. Exactly as advertised!
Step 2: Drinking games.
If you try and head out too early, you end up passed out face down in a corner someplace and/or calling an ex-boyfriend and saying something you don’t remember (which on the plus side means you can’t technically regret it either, right? Right!) and incurring exorbitant international roaming charges, if you aren’t lucky enough to have that option removed.
Anyway, this is a Finnish game called “I-ha-haa!” which means “Tiny Jenga on a donkey!” Whoever knocks the sticks off the donkey’s back must drink. It gets pretty suspenseful, actually.
Then we played Celebrity, which I officially brought to the Netherlands. I’m sure I’ll be added to the Wikipedia entry shortly. Girls vs. Boys & Katie. I think it was a tie in the end, even though we were leading, because one of our team was such a SLOW UNFOLDER OF PAPER that I had to weigh my options between day drinking and going to Dutch prison for murder (bonus TV credit: Locked Up Abroad!). I flipped a coin.
Step 3: Get your orange on.
Amsterdam on Queen’s day is a sea of orange. I personally don’t look my best in orange and do not own one piece of orange clothing despite living in San Francisco for a World Series win, so I had to specially buy an orange shirt. I picked a 2010 World Cup t-shirt because Wesley Sneijder. If I can’t wear him, I’ll settle for the shirt. And I got a free inflatable hat from the Statsloterij.
Okay, maybe I do look good in orange. [hair toss]
Step 4: Leave the house.
We made it outside (harder than it sounds— we were on the second floor and Dutch stairs are a DEATH TRAP). Plus we all had to make sure to use the restroom first. I was told that “before the end of the day, you’ll be peeing into a canal.” It definitely almost came to that.
We proceeded to a canal bridge to hang out in the sun. We were there hanging out for a few hours, which (naturally) precipitated some trips to the bathroom at €0.50 a pop, which (of course) was located at a gay bar called (obviously) Mankind. I was right at home.
Men of Mankind Just your standard gay bar
Step 5: Get on a boat.
Yeah, I’m on a boat™. I know.
I don’t know.
We hooked up with a friend of a friend with a boat. It was so awesome. Except for the lack of bathrooms. This was the closest I came to peeing in the canal until we had a pee/additional beer purchasing break. Of course, the guys pee into canals as a matter of course, which is just annoying. We did motor past one girl with her backside hanging off the back of a boat— I applaud her resourcefulness. At our pee break (€1! What a ripoff) we had several guys try to pull rank on the bathroom line to go straight into the men’s room, like, I DON’T FUCKING THINK SO, dude, either get in line or go pee in the canal and leave the toilets to the pros.
After we got off the boat, we went out for kebab pizza (I didn’t invent it, and I didn’t quite believe it was real, but I did skarf it), and then met up with with my other friends at a bar to be exhausted together with additional beer. Mission accomplished!
Step 6: Make it safely home.
Queen’s day, for a day of everyone in a city of 780,000 people plus visitors getting shitfaced and riding boats & bikes all over the place, is incredibly civilized. I didn’t see one fight, and there were very few cops. And my friends on the other side of town saw a human fruit machine. AMSTERDAMMERS ARE ADORABLE. AND, they started cleaning up at midnight that night and by noon the next day everything was pretty much clean again, and Amsterdam is really clean (also: no homeless people. Like, ZERO). Suck it, O’Reilly.
Even though I was staying out of the city center, there were still prostitutes on my way home. There’s nothing more awkward than trying to convey one’s nonjudgment and open-mindedness to a prostitute via eye contact through a lit-up red window, but it’s never stopped me trying. I don’t know why we aren’t BFFs yet.
I had to take this from across the canal because you get beaten if you try and take them up close. Which I totally agree with. Sorry, skeevy dudes!