January 5th, 2000

Details about New Years!

I was in Dam Square in the middle of Amsterdam as the millenium changed. Along with 200,000 other people. It was crowded, but I'm a veteran of Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras, so this wasn't too bad to walk through.

Amsterdam put on a huge show, with big video monitors to broadcast the stage show with a great sound system. I was 50 feet from the stage. I went out to eat at a Greek restaurant Bill and I discovered, earlier in the evening and then made it to Dam Square by 10:00.

2 of the biggest singing stars entertained. But the songs were mostly in English. I guess you can't beat Louis Armstrong, and other great American composers and performers for their songs. "I see skies of blue..."

Amsterdam has a long Asian tradition of Fireworks. On a personal level. Everyone has them! Firecrackers, bottle rockets, noise makers, M80s, and superbig suitcase size firecrackers that make noise for a minute or more. And they set them off everywhere. Including in the middle of the crowd. They were going off from 10:00 pm until after 3:00 pretty much continuously. Even during the show, the personal fireworks were going off, over your head, around the corner, behind you, everywhere! At Midnight, the official main fireworks went off. Totally cool!

At work the next day, my coworkers told me most people wore older clothes so they didn't need to worry about the bottle rockets burning holes in them. Didn't know about that. I did have to wipe down all my clothes due to the numerous champagne showers I walked through.

The first Y2K problem everyone had was their cell phones not working. But it was primarily a problem of several thousand people trying to use their phones at once on one cell. I couldn't get a network signal until I left Amsterdam and was back in Hoofddorp.

They shut down the trams, so I had to walk back to the ring road. It took an hour. But it was a nice night. I got home around 3:00 am. It was a lot of walking and standing around, but I'll always remember the Millenium change as my first New Years in Amsterdam. I feel totally lucky!

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