When you don’t expect anything, that is when everything happens.
I don’t go looking for interesting things; they find me, or I happen upon them. I’d spent most of the day at Pancakes! — an adorable (pancake) restaurant where I am a regular. Writing there gives me serenity and delicious food and tea. I’m slowly getting to know the staff more, as they recognize me and have finally learned I’m not, in fact, a tourist.
Closing time; I tipped the waitress (not a necessary thing to do in the Netherlands) and began peddling back home to Funenpark. And, quite suddenly, rainbows.
Off of Prins Hendrikade, in front of the NEMO museum, a multitude of activists and protestors had gathered. Drag queens, queers, trans, gay, straight — all gathered decked out in rainbow paint or clothes or flags. Protestors on stage spoke in Dutch, then English, then Dutch again. Cheers, posters, and signs.
I parked my bike and crossed the street. The Dutch are tall, and there is no better way to realize that then to plunge into a large Dutch crowd. No one was annoyed by my presence, as they easily looked over my head.
The protest concerned Russia’s President Putin coming to the Netherlands to conference with Queen Beatrix. LGBTQ issues in Russia are quite poor, and so Putin’s presence riled up the Amsterdammers and the hospitality the Queen gives him while seemingly not questioning Russia’s harsh anti-gay laws is unacceptable to many here.
A sign read: “Poetin Go Homo.”
Soon, the chant began: “Poetin, go home! Poetin, go home! Poetin, go home–oh!”
I joined the chanting. Some officers to the side smiled watching the protestors, and when a ball bounced out of the crowd, they tossed it back. When the talking and singing stopped, a DJ started entertaining; one of the officers bobbed her head to the music. I moved my way through the crowd, marveling at decked out queens or sweet couples or proud protestors. In the harbor, a float with two cartoon Dutch boys kissing gurgled passed.
Soon, it ended, and the peaceful protest sashayed away, garbed in the proud spectrum stripes. I smiled and got on my bike and returned to Funen.
I love Amsterdam.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I'm Kaylie Crawford, a tea-drinking writer with a desire for travel and poor coordination skills. I hail from the small town of Dracut, Massachusetts, and study writing at the gorgeous Ithaca College in New York. Besides doodling, snapping photos, and reading, I love adventuring with friends (or just staying in with a home-cooked meal and a movie). I plan to see the world and meet the many beautiful people in it, and share my shenanigans with others in hopes to spread some smiles.</span></p>