Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Thursday, December 06, 2007



In the Netherlands, 5 December marks the anniversary of Sinterklaas. His annual arrival in the Netherlands by steam ship from Spain is covered live on television. His "birthday" is anticipated by all children already a month in advance by putting shoes under the chimney for Sinterklaas and his many helpers to put sweets and small presents in. There is daily televised news coverage of Sint's preparations of getting all the presents to the children in-time; a major feat! The BIG DAY for presents is 5 December. The presents sometimes are in surprise packages and can contain 'sharply formulated' personal rhymes. It is engrained in the Dutch culture. It brings back memories of a care-free childhood and wonderful page-long personalized rhymes from Dad.

For many the tradition perpetuates when there are children, and grandparents for who you will always be a 'child'. Our family celebration of Sinterklaas lasted through me and my brothers' twenties.

This year I celebrated Sinterklaas on the island of Texel together with Karien, Jannie, Leo and Wim. Because in this case there was a game and 'chance' element, it was never clear that the present one unpacked would be the present that one would take home. We had a wonderful Sinterklaas evening.

I was amazed by the detailed knowledge that Sinterklaas has about sea kayaking. One 'glitch' might have been the 'tow line' that he gave me. It could have been a 'mistake' of a junior assistant Piet. Or Sint is reminding me that there is more in life than only sea kayaking... It indeed has large clips, it is strong and it has a shock absorber. But in any case, I now finally have an excellent tow-rope for my car. Thank you Sinterklaas!

Pepernoten, Pepernoten, Pepernoten, Pepernoten
Pepernoten, Pepernoten, Pepernoten, Pepernoten
Pepernoten, Pepernoten, Pepernoten, Pepernoten
Taai, taai, taai, taai, taai, taai
Pepernoten, Pepernoten, Pepernoten, Pepernoten

De beste vrienden van ons allemaal
Voor altijd en eeuwig, altijd en eeuwig, altijd en eeuwig
Altijd en eeuwig, altijd en eeuwig, altijd en eeuwig
Gul en royaal

Sinterklaas, wie kent hem niet - Henk Westbroek & Henk Temmink

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