Dope Floats


Amsterdam celebrates its watery heritage this week with Sail Amsterdam, an event held only every 5 years.

Yesterday featured the Sail-In Parade. (Have you noticed a trend of late? Amsterdammers love them some parades). It features 39 tall ships from around the world, accompanied by every conceivable type of local boat, like so many pilot fish swimming with a whale.

The whole event takes place in and around the IJ river, for four days. It's free, family-friendly, and per usual comes with a healthy dose of gezelligheid, as evidenced by the friendly women I luckily sat next to along the parade route, who were well-equipped with tea, sandwiches, grapefruit and the classic Dutch tea towel. They kindly provided me with apples, licorice, a plastic bag to sit on, and conversation.

The tall ships came from all over the world - Russia, Italy, Sweden, even Indonesia. There was supposed to be a French boat too, but they were on strike. ('ti blague).

Impressive and imposing, these historical behemoths will stay docked for the weekend and over a million visitors are expected. The programme has various dance parties, fireworks, and general sail-y stuff happening as well.

One section among many kilometers of spectators

Booze cruise

Carien and Mieke, my caretakers for the afternoon

The nautical equivalent of the wooden shoe

Grannies gone wild

Q: Who's the most famous Dutch pirate? A: Janny Depp?

Udderly Dutch

Important Things


A very good friend of mine has brain cancer, I found out yesterday.

Meanwhile, flooding in Pakistan has been especially devastating, affecting 20 million people.

What do these things have in common? Not much - one is very personal, the other global, more remote. But both affect individual families very much, and both are a stark contrast to the hedonistic pursuits that this blog usually covers. So today hedonism itself takes a break.

This won't turn into a personal journal, nor a moral sermon on the important things in life.

International support for the situation in Pakistan, compared to recent disasters, has been low for some reason.

If haven't yet but you feel like donating, you can do so here at the International Red Cross.



Admittedly, this was on my bucket list.

Over the past 10-15 years, I often thought of attending a big, booming European dance festival of some kind. I would often gaze wistfully at photos of blissful people of all stripes - attractive, eccentric, downright freaky - only to retreat to the subdued suburban life I had chosen for myself.

And so it was that I entered Loveland 2010 in Amsterdam's Sloterpark, a large waterfront green space transformed into some 10 stages of various types of dance music with a few friends. Also accompanying me was my friend Fear. Fear of being the oldest guy there by those same 10-15 years.

He didn't even make it into the front gate however, as there were easily just as many people older than me than there were younger pups. I was reminded once again of one of the beautiful things about Amsterdam - its all-inclusive vibe.

Loveland was in its fifth year, and for those who care about such things (not many do), it featured a stellar line-up of DJs from around the world. It was an extremely well-run event, from the smart concession munten (chips), to lockers, to easy-to-navigate walking paths between stages. And non-stop music from 10am-11pm.

For those following the blog regularly this may sound like a broken (remixed) record, but the overwhelming sense again was of the positive, relaxed mood of a large diverse crowd. Below, some photos of diversity at its finest.

Arrival in true Amsterdam style

Felix da Housecat

Awkward moment here - seeing someone in the same shirt I was wearing.

I think we all felt a little safer

Ron Carroll

Enjoying the festivities

The festivities

Strange to have to post this sign. Although maybe it's called Loveland for a reason.

At dusk, a water-bound reveler

Now the tricky part... finding the bike at the end of the night