Monday, April 26, 2010

Amsterdam: The Saga Continues...

Disclaimer: This post may not be appropriate for those under 18, or even those over 40. This is Amsterdam, people. You have been warned.
Back to where I left off in The Saga post...

We wake up in the morning to city that we have only barely seen in the dark. How much can you see anything when you are dodging bikers left and right cruising through the streets like in a game of Frogger, listening intently to the navigation system like your life depends on it, wondering if your tiny car can even fit through these ridiculously small streets, and it's midnight. Even with all that, I immediately get out of the car (once we found a parking spot - YIKES - and found out how much it cost to park - DOUBLE YIKES) and I turn to Josh and say, "I could live here". It just had this very cool, hipster, sort-of San Francisco vibe.

We get an early start and head out to Keukenhof Gardens hoping to beat some of the tourist madness, as well as, skip out on paying for parking during the day. Let me just tell you that it cost 45 Euros (60 bucks) a day to park in the city center. No joke. And, the parking machines are a nightmare to deal with. I think it may be the first thing I have seen in Europe that doesn't accept cash and it might be the first thing that I actually wanted to just pay in cash. Horrible user-experience (a little nerd speak for ya!).

We spent the first half of the day busily taking pictures of flowers (if you haven't figured that out yet) and the second half on a bike pedaling through the fields surrounding the gardens. You must rent a bike if you plan a trip here. Must. Must. Must. We picked up a map for the shorter route, maybe 10-15km, but of course we got maybe 2km in and Josh already was done with the map and venturing out in his own direction. This is very usual. It would have been strange if we had stuck to the map.

Every flower was so vibrant. And, the number of flowers...ridiculous! We rode from one field to the next, stopping and taking pictures the whole way through. It was a perfect Peterthal day.

That night we trekked through the city. We ate at one of the top recommended restaurants in Amsterdam, De Witte Uyl. Stellar service. Adorable place and probably something major foodies would enjoy. I just don't think my taste buds are grown up enough. I try to like the beef tartar, the foie gras. These buds still just go for a good rack of ribs or some queso. 

And, for a little entertainment, straight from Amsterdam, where else would we go? The Red Light District, of course. Where to even start with this explanation? It wasn't really what we were expecting. There were definitely red lights and definitely hookers standing behind glass lining the street. But, maybe I had this idea of more like a brothel. It would be like window shopping, which it kind of is, but each girl was actually in her own room. They stand behind glass doors, where they either were pointing at their next prey or chatting away on their cell phones annoyed that they have to be at work just like the rest of us. I guess more like the rest of you since I am sittin' hausfrau here. In each room there looked to be a small bed with a beach towel of their choosing and a small sink off to the side. The guys would just walk up to whichever door and the girl would just let them in. Strange to see. And, instead of hanging a towel on the doorknob, they would pull these heavy, dark curtains over the door and that's how you knew it was occupied.

This wasn't the only time we got a glance at the RLD. The next day we got to see some of the day workers. Ouch. Let's just say there was a big difference between those that worked during the day and those that worked at night. And, depending on where you were located on the main drag or off in one of the alleyways, there were definite differences in the "level of talent". It was sad. A lot of these girls from the night before were so young and my guess is probably primarily from Eastern Europe. They come here looking for a better life, and maybe this is better...I don't know.

There was no partaking in any of this fun. We didn't even hit up one of the theaters for the live sex shows, or even the live animal show. Don't ask me. This is advertised.

I think at this point, we need to take a break. My Bubi (grandmother), who is a loyal reader -- Love you, Bubs -- probably is grasping her heart trying to hold on to that image of her innocent grand-daughter who could do no wrong. 

Still more to come. This is a story about Amsterdam, and I haven't even gotten to the coffeeshops.


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