Amsterdam was crazy for new years. We grilled various things for dinner at Micheal's apartment, (a German friend of Marissa's). He was the most enthusiastic human being ever; He got really excited by American slang, by my method of preparing steak for the grill (which was admittedly unique and interesting--but let us never speak of it), by deciding who would ride with whom on bikes...He was just generally excited about life, which was genuinely refreshing. He was truly cool.
Example of his coolness:
Nicole: "Give me the spatula."
Michael: "Vhat? Vhat iz thez 'spatular?'"
Nicole: "No, SPATULA."
Nicole: "No, spatuLA. LA."
Michael: "Here iz ze spatular. Ze eggplant looks done."
We were going to go to Dam Square to ring in the new year, but it turned out the trams weren't running. Luckily, all together our little group of 7 people possessed 4 bicycles. I rode on the back of Jordon's, Marissa's boyfriend's, bike. I was given a back seat because I didn't learn to ride a bike till I was 10 and even then I didn't learn very well. No one wanted me behind the handlebars after all the wine I'd drunk at dinner. Nicole was brave and rode on her own, Marissa and her friend Mel shared a bike and Michael and his gorgeous Polish girlfriend Magda rode together. It was about as scary as riding on the back of a motorcycle, (I can judge as I have ridden on both), though on this occasion I didn't have a helmet and the road we were on also housed fast cars and some other (very drunk) bikers and also mopeds all of which kept driving around us at high speeds. Another biker who, we suspect, was (quite) drunk crashed into Nicole and knocked her over. She was not injured, though I may have pulled something laughing at her. Jordon and I made it through the night uninjured.
We lost Marissa and Mel at one point during the night, between midnight and 12:30, when they fell really far behind during our bicycle journey and for some reason went to Leindsplien, while the rest of us went to Dam Square.
We saw lots of fireworks, none of them actually sanctioned by the city. People were selling them in the square and lighting them off right in the middle of the crowd.
Michael bought fireworks and we set them off. I threw one under a police car by mistake; no worries, the car just kept driving. I suspect the police had bigger fish to fry that night than a drunk American tourist with terrible aim. I kept scouting out locations to throw my fireworks after I lit them but people kept walking into my spots so I ended up throwing lots of fireworks at people or groups of people. We, of course, had a fair amount of fireworks thrown at us as well. Its really something of a miracle that no one's hair caught on fire.
It was an awesome New Years, though.