What Amsterdam thought me.
Do not buy drugs off street dealers, as according to the local police, the street dealers are selling white heroin as cocaine. So far, three tourists have died and 17 more are in hospital fighting for their lives. Also, the police did inform us that if you do buy cocaine and it happens to be heroin, ring them as they will help and not arrest you.
That scared the shite outta me.
But, I also thought, the police clearly know exactly what goes on in their city…not a bad thing either.
So Amsterdam and I began our love affair. It was shaky at first. I won’t lie. Saturday night we took a tour of the red light district. The leery, drunken and drugged were out and about. I was grateful for my big husband and the safety of a tour guide. Tourists mainly filled these busy streets and the loudest, most obnoxious were British tourist. That’s not my opinion, that was a fact, while we walked these streets. I was uncomfortable. But, with D holding my hand,and in the safety of our group of tourist I began to ease into the red light district. I learned each woman pays tax, as any profession requires. Each woman may not be a woman either. Each woman has a panic button and each woman rents the window, daily or nightly, depending on their shifts. They are seen very much as business women.
It was bloody weird though, as we walked along the canal and just looked at these semi naked women filled with red light( apparently red light makes you more attractive and hides wrinkles!) staring right back at us, tapping their windows to see if we, not just D, but WE, would like to avail of their services.
We left the red light district around 11 pm, no longer as innocent as we were. Sex sells.
Day two and I really began to fall in love with Amsterdam. Every street, every canal and every building had a story, each looking similar but each so very different. The people are without a doubt, the friendliest I’ve met abroad. We took a train ride to Harlem, a small version of Amsterdam. There we walked for hours around one of Europe’s largest market. The atmosphere was relaxed and fun, no one was in a hurry and everyone wanted to give a piece of history to the tourist staring at the beautiful church in which the market stood. We eat, drank and watched the world go by. It was a great way to spend a Sunday.
Monday was our tour day. Sadly, we couldn’t get in to see Ann Franks house but we were happy enough reading about her in the wax museum. We took in the dungeons too, were I was accused of being a witch , with a strange name~ it was the first time in my life where other people thought I had a exotic name!~ I was burned at the stake and I loved it! We finished our tour day by taking a boat ride through all the canals in Amsterdam while seeing the festival of light. After an hour we had had enough, but we were on a boat…
Tuesday we spent on a train to an outlet mall, not worth it. We also stopped by Google, which was pretty good actually, D obviously loved it. We were given a tour and invited, accidentally, to their Christmas party! It killed D to explain, he was a Google ambassador not an employee! ( yet )
We headed off to the red light district for a coffee and to see what it is like during day light hours—- it’s the same.
Wednesday we did the famous 9 streets, if I had money , I would have bought all around me! What beautiful shops full of vintage clothes! We met a lovely Irish woman who runs her own shop, she gave us the best places to shop, thanks to her I got a vintage coat for €30.00 ~ I love a bargain!!! We left for the airport at 3 and I was happy to go but sad to say goodbye as I knew there was a lot we didn’t see.
I can now know the smell of hash as soon as I get that ’ funky’ whiff, I no longer need to wonder!!!!
Visit Amsterdam, if you ever get the chance. It is steeped in history and so much more than sex, drugs and red lights!!! But, christ, it’s a whole different world when you do step into the red lights, you’ve got to see it to believe it!!!