Do you remember the scene in Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo Baggins and the other Hobbits narrowly escape the riders in black and go to the inn to meet Gandalf? I'm pretty sure the inn had a sign that looked something like this:
Unfortunately, I moved to Amsterdam and not Middle Earth, and this is not a sign for an inn, but instead a sign above a fraternity. A fraternity immediately next door to Jen and I's new apartment. In fact we share a wall.
The text on the sign says "tHierNumaals" which was translated to me as "something to do with the after life". I'm fairly certain this translation is incorrect and should actually be translated to "something to do with after hours", or more specifically "screaming old style drinking songs so far beyond after hours it's freaking morning". When the yelling and singing gets to loud, people give up and just spill out into the street to continue. This happens every night. Monday, Tuesday, whenever, it doesn't matter, everyday is a good day for partying like it's 1560.
Finally, two nights ago at 4am Jen and I decided it was a good time to say something. We threw on some baggy sweatshirts and sweatpants and headed outside. It was raining. Once we were at the door of the fraternity I could smell the beer through the wood. There was a giant "lion biting a metal ring" style knocker I was pretty pumped to use. We could hear some yelling behind the door. I knocked a few times, and the door opened. . .
Quick side note: statistically speaking the Dutch are growing faster than the rest of humankind. I've felt particularly small being here. After all, I'm not a large guy. Once Jen arrived, who is even smaller than I, I've gone so far as to start kicking around the idea we could possibly be midgets. However, on this particular rainy night, standing under that stupid sign in our baggy clothes, knocking on that huge wood door that smelled of beer with a huge lion's face, it was obvious. . .we are Hobbits.
Once the door opened there stood a huge Dutch guy dressed in, kid you not, onesies button-up pajamas. He was holding a pitcher of beer like a it was a pint. The pitcher pint made me even more aware of my Hobbit sized Hobbit-ness. As I glanced around the room I realized virtually everyone was in vertical striped onesies with footies. It was not an apartment at all. Everything was wood, and there was a full bar along one of the walls and a long bench along the other.
I figured this was a good time to start in with some Dutch, "Goede avond," (Good evening). I suddenly became self conscious thinking, "what a stupid thing to say," it was, in fact 4am. So, I started again in English, getting right the point. "You guys need to keep it down." I continued for about minute before the guy even realized I was speaking a foreign language. Then, He and his brothers started in with a gaggle of slurring profanity mixed with invitations to drink and inquiries of our nationality. Luckily, out of now where came a slightly less drunk, normally dressed gentleman who politely explained everyone was really drunk, and it was pointless for us to ask them to keep it down, but he would try to remind everyone. He was right, after all who can reason with a small army of beer soggy pajama wearing giants.