zaterdag, augustus 07, 2004

Gay Pride, Amsterdam

Today we experienced Gay Pride day in Amsterdam. Ian had never been to a gay pride before and wasn't sure if he wanted to go or not. Against my better judgment, I encouraged him to go. I think it's something every gay person should experience once - similar to my belief after spending time in Grenada (the Carribean island, not the other one) that every caucasian should spend time somewhere where they are the minority - and more importantly, that every minority should spend some time in a culture where they are the majority.

Still, Gay Prides are kind of a double edge sword, or have been in my experience. I suppose that's understandable. When you're locked in a crowded room and the only thing you have in common with the others in the room is your sexuality, well it doesn't take long before you're looking for the exit and wanting a little fresh air. Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with being gay or with other gay people, it's just that a room full of gay people usually have about as much in common with each other as a room full of people who have one blue eye and one green eye.

It's kind of cool to be in that room together with so many others who share this blue-eye-green eye trait, but THEN what do you talk about? Especially if there's lots of alcohol and good music?

But I digress. Back to the parade. And the floats. The floats actually were the parade. And they were actual floats as well. I learned that the rest of the world got the name for "float" in a parade from Amsterdam. You see, the parade is actually on the canals, and the floats, well, they float. So . . .

There were, I think, around 400,000 people at the parade. They of course weren't all gay, but it's nice to see some brown eyed people every once in awhile, isn't it? Oh - and did I mention where people take a leak in Amsterdam?

Enough said.

So we went. (To the parade, not to take a leak...) We met a friend of Ian's there - a very nice guy who was great fun to walk around with. He had been to several parades in Amsterdam, and it turned out that his brother had a barge.

He invited us onto the canals after the parade was over. His brother had rented his barge out to some people for the parade, but it was free after. We got on board, and after sailing around on the canals a bit, some friends of his brother also got on board. There was food, wine, beer, and some beautiful views.

Uh . . . Did I mention there was wine and beer?

As always seems to happen, I was quizzed on the U.S. government policies. I have yet to meet anyone who thinks Bush is sane.

It was a great group of people, very fun.

I think Ian and I both half-dreaded the day, but after it was over we were both glad we went. It was great - especially with being the cruise on the canals. I think we left around 11 in the evening, which for us (me) was very late. It was a beautiful night, though.

We rode the train home, then got on our bikes and pedaled home.

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