Number of days without a bike theft – 400-406
Days since it last rained – 2
It’s always great when the week is broken up by packages from home, and this week brought two – with presents for Kitten as well as presents for Mom and Dad!
Aunt Jen sent a big package, with a big pile of clothes, a new animal and some books, as well as some Cheerios! Kitten has been rocking her new looks for a bit now.
And Bill, who is apparently not mad that I lost him in the streets of Amsterdam nearly a year ago, also sent Cheerios, as well as football scarves for Mom and Dad! Now there’s no question of which team we should appear to be supporting when we’re out and about, which scarves will raise deep-seated rivalries or pub brawls, because we’re official supporters of Detroit Football Club, which nobody can argue is the greatest team in the world!
And we’ve now managed to bypass the Dutch embargo on Cheerios.
Despite a rainy week, the week blossomed into something quite nice, looking sunny and fun. We headed out to our imaginary friends’ house, to experience a festival known as Kwakoe.
Now Kwakoe is a festival of Surinamese origins, held out in Bijlmerpark. I think it was originally created to celebrate the city’s Surinamese population, and then expanded to encompass diversity in general. I’ll be honest, because I paid more attention to one thing more important to me – the food.
There were ribs and chicken that were closer to Southern soul barbecue than anything I’ve had so far since we arrived here, and we ate a lot. Then, there were bara.
Bara are my new food love.
They’re a savory deep-fried dough thing, and in the sense that so much of this Surinamese food was like Southern soul food, bara are like a giant hushpuppy. I ate two. And I want more just thinking about them.
I was too busy eating to take pictures of the food, but just picture some adults and a few kids sitting on a blanket in the summer, listening to reggae, and consuming large amounts of grilled meats and fried dough. As pretty as that sounds… yeah, that’s about right.
After meandering to our imaginary friends’ house, we talked late into the night, missing the metro back into the city and having a sleepover. Not only was it the Kitten’s first sleepover, Sunday morning found her first jam session as well, as she and the Lal Lass started plotting their musical careers, with the Kitten on tambourine and Lal Lass on piano. Sadly, like the time that Elvis jammed with the Beatles, no recordings exist of this first session.
Let’s just say that Kitten hammers a mean tambo, manhandling it the way a young Pete Townshend manhandled his guitar, sidelined only by a collision between her head and the coffee table (the coffee table won… this time), while Lal Lass channeled a combination of the theatricality of a you young Elton John and the fury of a young Jerry Lee Lewis, as she, decked out in PJs and one Welly, proceeded to bang out a furious melody on the ivories – with her butt. It was a musical tour de force, and when they get a little more formal training, they’ll take the world by storm, touring with Glad Rooster as an opening act.
After the concert, some coffee and a killer breakfast, Nicole and I made our way back to the Pijp. Now, the normal, quicker way would have been to take the Metro to Amstelstation and switched to the tram back to the hood. But by taking the Metro one stop further, we placed ourselves in the position for a nice 20-minute walk home – much more preferable for a nice day.
As we made our way back into the neighborhood, we saw a used bike shop, and decided to scope out the offerings. There we found exactly the bike that we were looking for (able to take a baby seat and had hand brakes), and it was within our price range. Money exchanged hands, and we had this:
It’s got a baby seat and windscreen (that makes me feel like I’m riding a police chopper). So we celebrated the end of the weekend with a long bike ride.
Let’s just say that the Kitten loves it very much. When her helmet comes out, she gets as excited as she did about the baby carrier or stroller (it’s good to get the little ones excited about safety, no?), and as she settles into her baby seat, she all smiles and giggles, chattering away as we roll through the city.
I’m so happy that we can get the new baby excited about riding a bike, and I’m so happy that we can now take her places by bike. In a way, it’s like I rediscovered freedom.
So for now, Vincent is locked up, to be my bike for running errands alone, and to work as a guest bike. I won’t forget about him, in fact I plan on giving him plenty of love, and also using him as a guest bike. But just like many dads before me, the time has come to trade in the sports car for a station wagon.
But I do have to say, this station wagon rocks!