Het Strand

As I sit here in front of my computer...I'm longing to be back on holiday. I wasn't ready to come home. I needed more time to roam around Holland! There was so much to see, so much to do!

One of the nicest days we had was a day trip by train from Amsterdam to Den Haag (The Hague) . It's a beautiful city, much bigger and spread out than Amsterdam. The gem of the city is an 11 km stretch of beach called Scheveningen.

I love the flesh fest of going to public watering holes/beaches.

It’s a smorgasbord of body types and sizes, and I'm utterly fascinated...from an anthropological perspective...by the variations, both beautiful and bizarre, that exist between humans when disrobed and on display in blinding broad daylight.

What I love to check out more than anything is the tattoos. The mind boggling gallery of body art where even the most unsuspecting seem to be inked. Fifty year old grannies with soft white crinkled skin sport barbed wire arm bands. Rakish young girls, barely in their teens, are scrawled with fresh floral flourishes and dragonflies. Even the most conservative looking mothers don fading tramp stamps on the lower back (I must admit that I sport one of these)...an eternal reminder of bygone days.

The tat fest is spectacular! A tat-stacular! A human canvas...a fleshy sea of artworks. Old, new, faded, regretted, fresh, frightening. But, in amongst this ocean of ink, one stood out above all others as, seriously, one of the oddest tattoos I've ever seen. Scrawled across the chest of a 30-something young man (from shoulder to shoulder) were the words, boldly emblazoned in fancy, carefree, thick black ink... Family Friends.

But then I thought...Why not family friends? It’s a concept worthy of tattooing equal to all others. In fact, possibly more so. Forget tattooing the name of your girlfriend or wife...who knows when you might find her in bed with the pool boy?

When you break it down, the only truly safe bet for that tell-all, lifelong statement to declare lovingly to the world is family friends! Take, for example, Patricia, your mom's best friend’s kid who you used to bath with when you were four and who once wiped her bum with her finger when the toilet paper had run out, then tried to wipe it on you. Then there’s Keith, the fella you once caught dressed in his wife's dress when you dropped over unexpectedly to collect overdue babysitting money. And don't forget Fran, the lady who always brings bread to BBQ's in a garbage bag.

These are the people who helped to shape our lives, define us, enrich our BBQs. Who better to celebrate? Commemorate? Although they may be the people who we don't necessarily want around, they've been engraved in our lives, as permanently as tattooing ink. If life is a travelling circus, they're our carny freaks. And who more fitting to carve in permanent ink across our chests?

Yet, as I tried to rationalize all of this and be diplomatic and non-judgemental while in line for ice cream, staring with my peripherals from beneath my sun glasses, admiring his daring, I couldn't help but wonder...

Dude, what were you thinking?!


  1. Haha! I love this!! And those pictures are awesome!

  2. I want more pics! I love your description of the smorgasbord of bodies and tats. Traveling is so great because you get to just "take things in" without question or judgement. I wish you were still on vacation too. And I wish I were on vacation. Mmm. Vacation.

  3. Oh you were in Scheveningen... and I think you enjoyed those really warm days. It's funny, the other day we were also commenting about the huge amount of people that have tattoos, pretty much everyone. (I have a dolphin tail / bracelet around my ankle, Mark always wanted a weeping willow but he never got around to doing them). Every now and then you see some pretty ones.
    I hope you enjoyed your time and that things get better soon.


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