Daily Archives: 14 November 2009


So today was the day that Sinterklaas arrived on his boat from Spain, with Zwarte Piet. It’s a big deal here, you can take your kid down to the… place where he’s going to be, here in Utrecht it was the… Weerdshuis, I think it was, but he shows up in every city at pretty much the same time, as far as I can tell. Anyway, it’s for kids younger than mine, but I kind of thought I’d take them anyway, as a sort of cultural experience. We live here now, I think we should observe at least some of the local rituals, you know? But it rained fairly heavily this morning, and I’m not all that keen on being outside, so meh.

But the Amsterdam Sinterklaas arrival was televised! So we watched that! With the Sniglet’s Dutch friend from across the street, we’ll call him, um, Vos. And there was conflict, Zwarte Piet got homesick and tried to turn the boat back to Spain, and another Zwarte Piet claimed to be Sinterklaas and sat on the throne and the kids sang and it was all very silly and stagey. And of course since this is for preschoolers, the drama didn’t last – Sinterklaas got Piet turned around, and the boat arrived at the right pier and he got on his white horse and rode to his throne and ousted the impostor and then everybody did the Macarena.

… wait, what?

Yeah. Not sure how old this tradition is, but, um, apparently it includes the Macarena. I think maybe it’s good that I didn’t know about that before. I might have been less enthusiastic about coming here.

Instead of a song du jour of the day today, here’s David Sedaris reading his essay, “Six to Eight Black Men.” Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.