Tonight I had the pleasure of going to see The Decemberists playing live. The show was at Paradiso which is a nice concert venue in central Amsterdam. Kellan and I made sure to get there a bit early so that when the doors opened at 7 we were able to get to the front of the concert hall and secure ourselves a spot FRONT ROW CENTER! It was really awesome. For the entire show I was looking right into the lead singers /face (I would say Colin, but I always think it sounds wierd to refer to band members by their first name when I obviously dont actually know them). They played an awesome show including many songs from The Crane Wife and then a few from random other albums. At one point they divided the audience into teams and Colin leaned down and asked me and Kellan and the people around us to come up with a good name for our side of the audience... Kellan came up with "The Deceptacons." Oh yeah, and she also got his pic when he threw it into the crowd, she was pretty excited about that. I also really liked the opening band that played. They were called Land of Talk and I wanted to buy their album but by the time I got to the merch stand it was sold out... I'll have to find it somewhere else. All in all it was a pretty amazing show and I think Kellan and I were very pleased that we went.
In other news, last night I had a few more adventures to tell you all about. To start the night, I went over to SIT where Yitka's program was having an event so that all the students could show their photo essays about different Dutch cities that they had visited on solo excursions last weekend. Yitka invited me to come see the projects and also so that I could finally meet the rest of the SIT folk, so I went and had a great time drinking wine and eating snacks and meeting new people. The night moved on and me, Yitka, Alanna, and Taryn and Ellen (Yitka's friends from SIT) went out and met a bunch more people from CIEE. First we went to this bar called Vive La Vie where Alanna immediately made friends with a table of older South African lesbians. Somehow they got to talking and we ended up spending the rest of the night with these three women. In the hour or so that we were sitting outside of Vive La Vie, about 10-15 police officers formed a sort of blockade of the road we were on. They started stopping every person that walked by in order to pat them all down. The one person that was actually from Amsterdam in the group we were sitting with told us that they were most likely searching for weapons. What was most interesting about observing all of this though was that no one seemed particularly annoyed or even felt that they were being violated in any way. In America, any type of attempt at a random search on a public street would cause an uproar because of the violation of constitutional rights that would occur. Here, many of the Dutch that were being stopped found it almost exciting. We heard more than one person exclaim in Dutch, "Oh, what fun!" when they found out what was going to happen to them. After the blockade had been in place for about twenty minutes a large group of about 20-30 people marched through in an obvious form of protest because they made it so the police would have no way of searching all of them at once. But even these protesters didnt seem particularly upset, in fact they seemed rather light hearted and excited about their night. It was interesting to observe such a thing, and just another thing to add to my list of extreme differences between this culture and the one I am accustomed to.
After we had been at Vive La Vie for awhile we decided to head over to Cafe Sappho where it was womens night. We spent the next hour dancing at Sappho until the bar closed and we had to leave. At that point we were all really hungry so we decided to go get some falafel before calling it a night and heading home around 4am. Another night full of adventure! It seems that spending time with Alanna is a sure way to meet a bunch of random people who she finds herself randomly talking to at all the bars we go to, I enjoy it.
Tomorrow Yitka and I and some other friends are going to try and take a long bike ride to a pannekoeken house on the outskirts of the city that you have to take a ferry to! I'm really excited because Yitka's host mom, Cinta, said that they're the best pancakes in Amsterdam and it's supposed to be really beautiful out tomorrow, so it'll be a nice long bike ride on a wonderful sunny day (or so we're hoping). Well, I'll write about that adventure in my next post I'm sure. As always, I'd love to hear from anyone who's been reading!