...Of course it had to happen! You can't be "the only gay in the village" if you're living in Amsterdam - aka Gay Capital of Europe. (Come to think of it, I seem to end up living in the gay capitals of the world - Cape Town, Sydney and Amsterdam. Maybe because where I'm from in Singapore is on the opposite end of the scale on the tolerance level - although there is a thriving gay scene in Singapore in spite of this).
Anyways, I digress.
Yesterday was GAY PRIDE DAY!!! What a beautiful day to celebrate everyone's individuality as human beings. Zero judgment. Zero nay-saying and tut-tutting. In a city where there's a high tolerance for everyone and everything, it was gorgeous to watch the outpouring and celebration of all things gender-bending. You could totally feel the outpouring of love from everyone (gay, straight, trans-gender, dogs, babies...) in the streets for the people taking part in the Gay Pride canal parade.
Amsterdammers love an excuse for a good theme party. So, of course someone had to throw a party with the theme of "Let's Go Sailing!" We raided the costume shops, army surplus shops and tattoo parlours (for fake tattoos of course).
This is Sailor-Moon-me:
It started off with a relatively grown-up party with a breakfast buffet spread (if you looked past the fact that everyone in the room looked a little silly!)
And the plan was to head over to another apartment belonging to a friend of the Sailor-Party-Host, coz this guy she knew lives on the Prinsengracht, the canal directly overlooking the parade itself. In preparation for the parade, everyone got glittered. Even the straight boys got preened with stars and sparkles all over their faces.
Sailors leaving for the other party, en masse. By bike, of course.
We bumped into this dude on his way to the parade too. HOW RIPPED IS THAT SIX-PACK?!? (He loved that I asked to take a picture of him! HAHA!)
Festive mood in the streets.
None of us except the Sailor-Party-host knew this poor guy who lived on the Prinsengracht. He didn't quite know what hit him when 20 sailors decided to crash his little tea party of 5 people. He had the most awesome view of the canal from his living room windows, plus it was pissing down intermittently, so it was very civilized being indoors!
Of course, everyone's fave... the S&M float. Leather chappies, exposed bottoms and all!
While the majority of floats were full of young and fit gay boys and their young and fit fag-hag friends, here's one of the few lesbian floats! These girls (or should I say: women) were having a grand old time.
In between the floats, these guys on smaller boats went past with giant bags on the end of sticks (almost like a tithing bag in church, haha!) Except these were shaped like condoms. They were collecting money for the HIV foundation. What a good idea.
It was kind of interesting that different floats were sponsored by different companies... some were radio stations and nightclubs... which were kind of predictable and understandable. Here's the STD clinic float. We were trying to figure out WHY IN THE WORLD these guys were wearing terrible headgear. Is that supposed to be gonnorhea on their heads?! HAHAHA!
The random Japanese float... sponsored by a Japanese restaurant.
More random floats with random themes... a Middle Eastern theme (with sheikhs). And the Gay Swim Amsterdam (huh?! Really?)
But then real CORPORATE floats came sailing past. Like... GVB (the tram company)
And the TNT float had people synchronizing dance movements. Of course when I shot this video, they had to be dancing to the campiest song, "I Will Survive".
At least TNT got in the mood and had a theme for their float. Some of the other corporate floats were really *BORING*. I think these big international companies feel compelled to take part in the parade just to show their support for the gay community coz "it's the politically correct thing to do"... but they don't really GET IT coz instead of going with the spirit of the parade and theming up their floats and having a proper gay old day... they stick a bunch of BORING CORPORATE BUSINESS MEN on them. Like... Seriously?! Some of the middle-aged, pot-bellied guys on the bank floats looked really confused and in total shock. HAHAHA!
It was raining down really hard at some points but none of the other floats cared. They were virtually half-naked. But look at these boring corporate people, with their brollies out!
I didn't bother taking photos of the other boring corporate floats. We ended up shouting down at them "You're RUBBISH!!" HAHAHAHA! I mean, really... Why bother sponsoring a float for the sake of it coz everyone can see right through your trying to be politically correct and not really meaning it.
We all got really excited when we saw this float come past. Because of the giant cap in front, we thought it was the sailor's boat (like us!) ...Turns out it was the Police float. In this context, somehow these men in uniform just looked like the Village People and not actual cops! HAHAHA!
Then the REAL sailors' float came past. They all did a double-take when they looked up and saw us sailors screaming down at them. They were motioning for us to "come on down and join us! You guys should be on this float too!"
(One of the dudes on this float had a banner that said "Looking for love? Call 06******". I honestly think it was his personal mobile number. Cheeky!)
Some of the floats were shooting out confetti or smoke intermittently. The one in the video below was bellowing bubbles and soap suds!
It was raining throughout the parade, of course. And while most people on the floats were half-naked, this is what the bystanders looked like.
We had such a grand old time, sticking our heads out the 1st floor window, shouting and waving at the floats and the people walking past downstairs.
And throughout the afternoon, the sailors in the party got progressively drunker and drunker (as sailors do, of course). May I remind you that I don't drink, so was happily snapping away at the unfolding silliness. Heh.
And then someone decided to put on '80s songs and it was all over from there. We were dancing and singing along at the top of our voices and serenading people walking past downstairs. (By this time, the owner of the apartment and his tea party of 5 people had retreated to the kitchen at the back! HAHAHA! Talk about seriously gate-crashing then hijacking a party!! We should've worn pirate outfits instead!!)
This is probably my favourite picture of the whole day. Everybody really *IN THE MOMENT* and screaming out to A-ha's "Take On Me".
Ah... Amsterdam in Summer... There's nothing quite like it! :)