11 April 2008

a presidential visit

yesterday i took some notes after witnessing a very cool event. they are as follows,

"i sit, now, with my coffee (too expensive here...) and my book (anne frank would have enjoyed this...) in the sun on the terrace of t'nieuwe kerk kafe, feeling compelled to write down what i just witnessed, since i forgot the camera. and, oh what a day to have forgotten the camera...

today, when i arrived in town, with the intent of going straight to herenstraat to pick up sela's "doggie lounge," i was stopped at the dam square by thousands of onlookers. 'how could there be an event in town that is didn't know about?!' of course i went right up to check it out, and i managed a "first row" spot behind the police barricade! what luck, and what a sight! the dam square, normally filled with tourists and street performers, was cleared, and replaced by police officers in their full formal attire who circled the barricade and over 100 (i counted...) members (all men) of the dutch royal guard, who were "at attention," and complete with rifles, while the officers held their swords at their sides. they were aligned in two rows from de niewe kerk to the dam monument, where there was a full military band playing. two soldiers stood at the base of the monument with a large wreath of yellow tulips, and speaking of tulips, there were large boxes of bright yellow tulips and daffodils lining the route on both sides. the entire dam square, which is very large, was also surrounded by alternating netherlands and brazilian flags...my first hint as to what the event was...all in all a magnificent sight.

at a quarter past three, two groups of very well dressed men and women emerged from de nieuwe kerk, and made their way to the base of the monument. the guards raised their rifles and the officer's their swords, as the procession passed. at that moment it hit me that i was watching the president of brazil and his wife pass before me. mr. and mrs. president were presented with the wreath as the band played. it was thrilling...my first presidential sighting!

the weather was warm and sunny, but the sight still gives me chills. such respect. such fabulous pomp and circumstance; i love it. and i can only imagine the lengths they go to for their own queen beatrix, whom they all seem to love and idolize. i would certainly like to see that!"

No comments: