Today was supposed to be a quiet day. Lunch at noon with the 50+ (age, not count) Professional Women's Meetup group at Foster's in Rhinebeck, then I planned to take Suzie to Valvoline for an oil transfusion, then home to shovel dust bunnies and crack a whip over paper piles. Or take a nap - whatever.
Instead, I met a Ms. O at lunch, and after lunch we did a bit of window shopping, some people watching on a bench in the middle of town (Rhinebeck is an overgrown but very ritzy touristy village - I think there's only one traffic light) where we talked about men and how complicated they make life, but they sure are nice to have around, then to her friend Ms. L's house in Rhinebeck for tea and brownies, then the three of us headed off to a festival in Rhinecliff.
Sinterklaas (Dutch Santa Claus) was to arrive by boat at the Rhinecliff Hudson River boat landing, with all kinds of dancing and drumming, to start off a week or two or whatever of festivals and displays and performances all around Rhinebeck and Rhinecliff. (I picked up a booklet describing what all is planned, but haven't read it yet.)
There are railroad tracks between Rhinecliff and the river, so pedestrians get to the landing by going up two+ flights, crossing, then back down. We must have crossed back and forth three times. Ms. L was cold (wind!) so we'd head for the Rhinecliff Hotel, then something interesting would start at the landing, so we'd go back, shake, stir, repeat. I got some exercise.
Sinterklaas turned out to be a statue of Santa mounted on a white horse, who arrived on a small sparkling winged boat, and was hoisted high and carried around the streets like a patron saint, to dancing, drumming, and cheers. (The Wikipedia link above mentions that he's supposed to arrive by boat from Spain. I guess Port Ewen, across the river, is Spain for a day.)
We then managed to get a table in the packed bar of the hotel, got some drinks, flirted randomly, managed to capture a man*, and then the four of us repaired to the dining area for dinner. I got home a little after nine. Pretty darn good for a nothing day.
*The "capture" was funny. Ms. O had been married for nearly 40 years, divorced recently and moved from Florida to here, and is just getting back into dating, and says she doesn't know how to flirt. She noticed three nice-looking men at the bar, pointed out that we were three women, so she asked me "How can we get them to join us?" She really liked the looks of the guy in the hunting jacket. I laughed and said, "You walk up to him and say, 'Would you care to join us?'" She caught his eye, crooked her finger, he came over, and she asked if he'd like to join us. By damn it really was that simple! By the end of dinner he was patting her arm when he spoke to her. Call me Cupid.
The pedestrian bridge, Rhinecliff Hotel in the background:
This is some of the "mummers", who made a lot of noise and generally raised hell. My comment - "looks like Mardi Gras".
Sinterklaas arrives. If you look carefully, you'll see him below the stars and flag.
O and L: