Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wijkfeest Spoorbuurt

Several weeks ago I found a bright-green flyer in our mailbox, obviously hand delivered and stating that there would be another Wijkfeest Spoorbuurt this year on Saturday, June 14. The flyer was packed with information about the 12 hour event -- in Dutch, of course, so it took days for me to figure out just what was happening and where.

Turns out it was our annual neighborhood (Spoorbuurt) get-together, held at a primary school called Bello a few blocks away on Snaarmanslaan. The activities included: the Opzoomeren, including the passing of the Vergulde Tuinkabouter (golden garden gnome), a BBQ, snuffelmarkt (flea market), stratenvolleybaltoernooi and in the evening an open-air concert called Single Tunes (local musicians, singers, dancers and actors).

My neighbors Mereik, Irene, Rus, Jong, Jon and Annelie talked me into joining the volleyball tournament (6 games in all). Later, the "wisselbeker" (trophy) was awarded, Spoorstraat had won the tournament last year but gave the cup back this year. Along with 15 other buren, these guys sang "California Dreamer," "My Way" (both in Dutch) and 14 other fun songs on stage. I was so impressed with the quality, as well as the numbers.

Guess who I ran into the other night (June 20) at a house concert... Tineke Schoemaker of Barrelhouse. I've made friends with the musician in the office next to mine and Jane, who I've mentioned before, invited me to her house for a concert she was hosting. Jane was also the entire night's entertainment, doing solo performances of multi-cultural songs with three musicians as backup.

There were around 40 of us and later, Jane, Evelen (the guitarist), Tineke and I ended the night at 2:00 AM chatting over a last drink (apple cider, ha!). Tineke has been compared to leading vocalists like Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, and I find her to be "just too cool" and fun conversation.

I also attended an outdoor concert in the Centrum last weekend and saw Rapalje. There had been free concerts all week long because of Alcmaria Feesten and Kaeskoppenstad (old-town turns into a 16th century Alkmaar). Rapalje was absolutely terrific; the music, medieval costumes, the performance and especially the marketing. I liked them so much I even bought one of their T-shirts -- like I really need another T-shirt.

Last Friday night John, our Executive Director, and I went to a "wild" bar on the Waagplein called Joey's to watch the EU football game. The Dutch had won three big games in a row, and the whole county was going crazy. It was a riot but I didn't stay long; one tonic-water, an hour of Oranje songs and big screen TV was enough for me, ha!

I had to chair our publications working group the next morning at the office, so it was quite a weekend. I'm swamped right now with my publications work and IFOR's annual report (that I'm also responsible for) is coming up fast next week.

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