You know you won't get much sleep in during Da Boy Tommy's birthday weekend. That's a given for Monsieur Le Président's friends, just as much as they accept the laws of gravity.
It all started on Thursday night when, after running (or actually: swimming) into Justine and Josefien at the Olympia pool and inviting them over for spaghetti and drinks at the Kwekersstraat Mansion, I ended up stumbling out of the Pick bar well past midnight and returning home for a short night's sleep.
On Friday night, both Stijn and me joined Tommy in a pubcrawl which extended itself from the Rica to the Bras, then onto a local pita bar for some grub. Next up were De Vetten Os, Il Fiore, once again the Bras, with a final drink at 't Speelmanshuis.
As much fun as Thursday and Friday were; it was only last night we shifted into top party gear, at the annual election of Prince Carnival in Blankenberge - the infamous Prince Ball at the local casino. Normally around this time of the year, the Belgian Beach Club roams in the mountains of Switzerland, France or Austria, but as the 2011 skiing trip was postponed due to various reasons, at least we got to go to the Prince Ball.
And a ball we had. Our party of nine (Tommy, Julie, Julie, Bens Tiller, Pimöne, Katrien, Stijn, Eva and me) got the best seats in the house: right in front of the stage where we saw performances of the Quality Schlager Band, Swoop (see picture above), some ripe Dutch schlager queen and a couple of dance performance outfits.
We also got to enjoy the moment suprême - the election of the new Prince Carnival - from the first row.
Which was nice.
I must admit that I'm a sucker for these Carnival events. They're such fun: I like the music because it gets people moving around in polonaises and everyone's there with just one goal, and that's to enjoy the evening without too much fuss.
During the evening, we probably spent more time on the stage than the actual Prince Carnival did, performing several polonaises, exploring the backstage area and dancing around the various schlager artists. The rest of the crowd soon followed our lead - there was a moment in time during the Swoop show when the singer couldn't see his backing vocal girls anymore.
And when he started off the encore by getting the whole venue to sing along with 'Happy Birthday To You' - which I had requested while passing by the singer - for Tommy, we just knew this would be a night to remember.
Things only went uphill from there.
There's no ball like the Prince Ball in Blankenberge, believe you me.
BY THE WAY
Happy Birthday, Tomy.
SOMEONE WHO'LL BE LESS THRILLED TODAY
Renault driver Robert Kubica, who suffered broken bones in a rally accident in Italy yesterday. According to the BBC coverage, "there will be doubts about his ability to continue in the sport." This is to hoping that Kubica fully recovers and one day makes it back to Formula One.