Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back From Barca & Into the Queens Day Madness

I'm back from Barcelona. It was probably the most intense week of my life. I pretty much had no time for anything else other than the job itself... Had to leave my yoga mat unrolled so any time I had between brushing my teeth and hitting the bed at 1am, I'd be reminded to do at least one down-dog. One of these nights, this led to an impromptu practice session up till 2am. Probably not the best idea before bed time!

Because I have signed my life away with nondisclosures to the max, I figured it was probably just safer not blogging nor tweeting about my week (not like I even had time to, anyway). I can only say that this is probably a job most Producers would kill for, from the scale of the job to the budget, brand and talent involved in it... and I am eternally grateful for the experience and opportunity. Except, in the midst of the madness, and having 5 conversations at the same time every other minute for the most part of the day... And fighting fires with the relentless flow of changes, requests and the knock-on effects these issues have on the budget and schedule... I felt like I was juggling precariously with eggs the entire week.

It was a week completely filled with Vata and Pitta. And interestingly, while my face broke out with stress spots (the last time I had proper zits was like... what... in my teens?)... I noticed the stress spots only occurred on the left side of my face. I interpret that as the female/ yin energy (which flows on the left side of the body) being completely under attack while the male/ yang energy took over. I might also just be talking shit.

We now have months of post-production ahead of us, and once the ad breaks globally in October, I'll be sure to post it here coz I can't wait to show it off. Of course, there'll be more dramas to come since we're still so far away from completion.

BUT... I'm glad to say the first part of mayhem is behind me now.

It was my first time ever in Barcelona, and all I saw of it was literally the 4 walls of the hotel business centre, the drive from our hotel to the location and the location itself. All the photos I have from Barcelona are of the team working in the hotel or on the location, so I can't post them anyway. So, it'a a really weird first experience of a place because quite frankly, it was a non-experience! I never got to see the water nor its famous beaches and Gaudi buildings! Oh well... hopefully my second time back there will be less intense.

The last shoot day wrapped at 1am, but since our airport pick up was at 4.30am the same day for a 6.30am flight, we all decided it was pointless going to bed. The reason for the super early return flight? April 30th is Queen's Day in the Netherlands, and all the roads leading into the city are shut down for what is essentially the biggest flea market and street party of the year in Amsterdam.


Just what we all needed. Right? ...It was probably a wise decision to get the earliest flight back since we pretty much had to be dropped off as close to the city centre as the driver could take us, then wheel our bags back to our individual apartments. So it was good that it wasn't so crowded yet at that point. We decided to drop off our bags, get a couple hours sleep, then join in the PARTYYYYYYYY!

By 10am when we got into town, people had already spread their wares all over the sidewalks. And by "their wares", I mean: everything you spring-cleaned from your house the week before. Yeah, there was all kinds of CRAP for sale. Apparently there's a system for claiming your spot on the sidewalk... From a week before Queen's day, people start writing their names in chalk or use masking-tape to tape a space on the sidewalks, so on the day itself, you turn up and claim "your spot". Good system.

Everyone wears orange, the national colour, and every 50 metres or so, there's a "sound station" - basically a stage with a DJ, blasting cheezy Top 40 hits. It's literally a flea market and street party rolled into one.

Here's where I have to interject to tell you what Queen's Day is. It's SUPPOSED to be a celebration of the Queen's birthday, of course. Except the Queen's birthday is actually at the earlier part of the year, not on April 30th itself. This is what a good queen Queen Beatrix is - she decided that she'd rather have her loyal subjects enjoy the day off when the weather is better at the end of April, rather than celebrate right in the middle of winter. HAHAHA. Gotta love them Dutch!

So... I came home for a nap, but was woken up about an hour later to the neighbour's old man band playing in the street. Quite literally. They decided to take advantage of the fact that loud noises are permitted on Queen's Day. Good thing they were playing really good R&B.

See the lady in the left corner? She's a typical "I'm selling my crap on Queen's Day" seller. You lay down a blanket and place your junk on it for sale.

You know why it works and people actually get to sell stuff? ...BECAUSE EVERYBODY'S DRUNK!! I went out for a couple hours with the same crew I was on the shoot with... someone ended up buying a couple of My Little Ponies ("it's 50 cents for 2 ponies! What a steal!") That, my friends, is how you offload your junk: Ensure your buyer is drunk as a skunk.

Every single boat in Amsterdam was also out in full force. There were big boats and little boats. Every once in a while, a small boat would capsize from the wake of the bigger boats around it, or you would see a lot of smoke coming from another corner of the canal, or there would be a traffic jam in the bottle-necked areas of the canals. QUEENS DAY CANAL MAYHEM!

And then of course there are the crazy people in the streets, drunk and dancing in broad daylight...

(I know that guy dancing on the speaker!)

These 4 guys in orange bodysuits are STILL running around town today in the same suits. I saw them stumble out of an apartment this afternoon when I was on my way to the park.

And since this was Queens Day... you had to have a tribute to the Queen, of course. I wonder what Queen Beatrix would think of this?

It was like the entire city threw us a massive wrap party, congratulating us on a job well done. But... I didn't last more than 2 hours. My feet were killing me and I couldn't handle anymore noise. Retreated to the peaceful vacuum that is my living room, where I will probably recuperate the rest of the weekend. :)


  1. Glad to hear you survived your week, with tons of entertaining pictures for us to boot! I love the orange everywhere, such a happy color, and can't wait to see the ad itself! :) Have a good and restful weekend!

  2. I love orange, but those body suits... ew. And to think they wore them all night with the only way out (you know, to pee) is a zipper in the back!!!

    Great photos and great account of the mayhem! Glad you're back to Beige Heaven to catch up on some sleep (maybe?). Can't wait to see the product of your secret Spain project!! You HAVE to go back, of course- for a vacation.

  3. Thanks guys! ...A picture is worth a thousand words. Except in my case, I post a thousand pix and also write more than a thousand words. Heh.

    Yeah - those orange suits... erm... I couldn't believe they were still running around town in them the day after. It just looks so uncomfy, and yeah Liz... about the 'going to the loo' situation. EEEEEK!

  4. SO FUN!!
    I'm loving catching up here.

    Did you know, people in east London set up a blanket and sell their crap EVERY SUNDAY in and around Brick Lane, it's hilarious!

    You should definitely treat yourself to a long weekend in Barcelona sometime when you have the time... amazing place, I need to go back myself.

  5. East London Crap Market on a Sunday... hmm... Maybe I'll go visit next Sunday! :)
    Yeah, at this point "Barcelona" just conjures up stressful thoughts; not quite ready to go back there yet. HAHAHA.


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