Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad
So a couple of weekends ago, the two halves of Hmsies were finally able to meet up after 6 months (!) to celebrate Carnaval in the Dutch town of Tilburg, where Olesya is doing her Masters. As we mentioned before, the workload abroad is pretty high so we had a pretty long wait before we could meet up again, however once the schedule cleared up, Jasper came to see the Dutch get very drunk in the festival of Carnaval.
Carnaval in the town of Tilburg was pretty wild! Coming from Britain where people are notorious for binge drinking and getting smashed, it was a whole other story in the Netherlands – they drank so much it was almost as if they didn’t want to live! It even made Brighton’s Gay Pride celebrations look civilised! As we were wandering around town at 1pm there were already people staggering and rolling around on empty beer cups on the floor, all whilst wearing some pretty impressive costumes. But in keeping with some familiarity back home, there was still at least one person dressed up as a banana.
And yet, whilst wandering around, you be listening to loads of music – all of it recognisable, but somehow not. After a while, we began to realise that every song we know and love had been translated into and sung in Dutch! So “Livin’ la vida loca” became “Leve de gekke leven”, “Don’t look back into the sun” became “Niet terug te kijken naar de zon” and “oo ee oo ah ah, ting tang walla walla bing bang” became… well, that stayed the same. In any case we were still dancing around and trying to work out what the real lyrics to songs were! When the songs weren’t weirdly dubbed, you would hear something like this…
As it turns out, Carnaval is something that pretty much takes place only in the south of the Netherlands, with some sort-of Carnaval taking place in Amsterdam, though it isn’t as full on as it is down south. Apparently, every town in the south of the Netherlands unofficially changes its name during carnival and the name that Tilburg was blessed with was “Kruikezeikers”, which loosely translates as “pisspot”, something people in Tilburg used to bring to work with them in the good old days. Nice…
Meanwhile, Jasper was trying to get to grips with the local language and not exactly doing well, despite it being so similar to German! He was perhaps distracted at how similar the two languages are, but just pronounced differently and with more English words thrown in. Instead he seemed to be more amused by the random signs that seemed to be insulting him with profanities.
We also managed to get in a trip to the nearby city of Breda, where we also checked out their carnaval as well as the local… casino. Given that there are no casinos in Munich, Jasper kinda missed winning/losing money at blackjack and poker tables. However, as always Jasper ended up walking away slightly empty-handed. Definitely need to have more poker practice over skype!
So there we have it! A small insight into Carnaval festivities in the Netherlands! Let us know if any of you have been to the Netherlands or have seen the festivities here! Ta-ra for now!