Monday, May 12, 2008
These are the Pinksterdagen of our lives...
Within the first few months of living in Amsterdam, we had abandoned our original intention of turning our lives into a Dutch Submersion Project...the idea that we would only make Dutch friends, only watch Dutch tv, only eat Dutch food, etc.
But one thought did remain...we wanted to get to know someone who lived on the canals and owned a boat. Because spring and summer are all about cruising around on a boat with friends and beer, blasting Jan Smit at obscene volumes, giving drunken waves to the folks on the bridges.
Fantastic. Sign us up.
Boat ownership has a slightly different flavor here than back home. Parking places aren't secured. Your boat is subjected to passersby, every day of the year. The canals aren't so very big, so boats don't reflect wealth in size or speed, but in beauty. In other words, no open-bow massive Bayliners around here.
And the practical matter of where the boat goes during the winter (not to mention how it would get there) is enough of a concern to inspire many to buy simple fiber-glass models built to withstand Amsterdam winters. (And for those with the grave misfortune of owning a less-than-water-tight vessel, there is always room at the bottom. There is a website dedicated to the sunken boats in Amsterdam: click here)
Yes, being in the boat scene would indicate a certain level of assimilation, and we're all about it.
Since our original attempt at blanketing local vessels with our request ("American couple desperately seeks adoption by boat-owning friend") not only didn't pan out but also wasted a lot of paper and masking tape, we changed our tune and decided to wait for Fate to intervene.
And if it rains, it pours!
All in one day, after three years of waiting, we began not one, but TWO maritime relationships!
Friends Daan and Rodrigo (Piraat's parents, the neighborhood Jack Russell who had a litter last summer) took us (Five included) out for a morning cruise on Pinksterdag (Pentecost).
And after a fortuitous run-in with Ashley and Gero at our friends' daughter's birthday party later that same day, we were invited for a nighttime sunset ride (which ended up with a stop at a local watering hole, resulting in some entertaining interactions with intoxicated Frenchmen...A story for another day.).
It was a fabulous weekend. The sun was shining. The boats were cruising. And everybody's happy.