Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Alaaf til you drop! Part I

Alaaf is what they say here in Maastricht. It means joy, 'happy carnaval', 'have fun'. Really whatever you want it to mean. I have survived my first Carnaval and I'm sad that it is ending. Maastricht's cool factor just went up 1000%. This city is alive with music, lights, color, costumes, party bands, parades, beer, beer, and more beer! Experiencing so many new sights and sounds is putting me on sensory overload. What an amazing experience. Not to mention, Dutch people are so much fun!

My 'anthropological/cultural studies' of the Netherlands continues. Here is what I have learned from my first Carnaval experience.
  • You have to dress up, or you will look stupid
  • Drinking beer makes the music sound better
  • Don't question why there are small children out with a crowd of drunken people...just go with it
  • Carnaval doesn't discriminate. It's for everyone young and old!
  • People in the south really know how to party!
Carnaval started off with a bang in Brabant. We spent Friday and Saturday in Oirschot (Jaap's hometown). The Redt Band started off Carnaval the right way. Who knew my boyfriend is a celebrity? The crowds love these guys! I do too of course. Always entertaining to watch. Who can play the valve trombone and hold a beer at the same time? My boyfriend can! I'm so proud. That's why we call him Dr. Jansen.
Friday night was exciting. The energy was great! You can really feel the anticipation in the air and everyone letting loose when Carnaval finally arrives. Forgive me for the quality of these videos of the Redt Band. The place was crowded and full of happy dancing people!
We spent Saturday night in Oirschot as well and I became very familiar with all of the Brabant Carnaval songs. Unfortunately, Maastricht has totally different Carnaval songs even though its only an hour away. 
Jaap's move

Don't ask me what's going on here. At one point they were playing on the ground and half the bar was kneeling with them. :)

More about Carnaval in Maastricht next time....

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