Orange sweet Orange
16.00 O’clock. I just sat down on a wooden bench in the Vondelpark. The sun is gently warming my face while my eyes feel glary and watery behind my sunnies. A vague numbness is floating through my brain in a strangely soothing motion when a mumble escapes my lips: “Gone...Just like that. Sweet 30th of April”...
“Yes, what about it” I can hear you think. Could you stop thinking so loud though! “Just another day in spring, right?” True. To most people on our planet this day is as insignificant as many others. But to us Dutch the 30th of April is sacred, anticipated, longed for, saved for, planned for & dressed up for, stayed awake for and getting absolutely smashed for. That day we celebrate the birth of our Royal Queen. Nobody remembers which Queen, or when our present Queen was born, but it remains our best national celebration up to this day. Having witnessed about 28 Queensdays (of which I’m afraid I can fully recall about 8) it was a pleasure to introduce 3 foreign friends to this highly ‘contagious’ Orange fever!
This is their story:
“We already partied the night before. Queens-night they call it. Bands play amidst orange decorations, people laughing, smiling; the city was just full of life! The next day we didn’t get out the house till 1.00 p.m. since we had really dreaded the prospect of the crowd. It was indeed overwhelming; a huge sea of people amidst the largest junk from a trunk sale we had ever seen”. “First, we just looked at our local guide (that’ll be me!) and wondered; we’re so late! How will we get anywhere? How do you do this? We found out the trick is to just ride the current. The crowd is slow because there are stereo’s blasting from many windows, DJ’s on the 3rd floor of apartment buildings are showing their stuff & various food is sold all around”. “You quickly learn to watch, follow and dance while you sip from a home-brought can of beer. In short, the whole day is just a crazy ride in a seemingly weightless crowd drowned in orange and boats”. As I sit down with my friends, wearing their silly orange toga’s or hats with beers and joint in hand, I can’t help but ask them why we have a different national colour than our flag. A silence follows resulting in 3 sheepish smiles; “Yes..We should’ve asked ourselves that question, hey?” (There are only about 15 million people walking around in this colour guys!). When the night starts to grow cold we finish our Queensday with pool and another smoke.
So here I am, my friends have left, the streets are empty and so is my painful head. I get up slowly to make my way home. Only 364 days to go…