Posted by: londontravels | October 8, 2009

Amsterdam

What. Just. Happened…3 days, 0 showers and 6 Nutri-Grain bars later and I still can’t even begin to describe Amsterdam. Let us just put it this way, if God were to take everything controversial in the world and plop it in a small maze, that dubious little maze would be called Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Alley’s consist of “coffee shops” (I use that term VERY loosely…if you don’t get my drift, contact me personally–I have to keep this G-rated), prostitutes in windows and more drug/sex/cultural insults towards America paraphernalia stores than the Wildwood boardwalk…and to top it off, our hostel was right in the middle of it all ha ha.

Our hostel consisted of 8 beds. On the first night it was Chris and I, 3 Aussies, a guy from Atlanta and a guy from France. The second night, it was Chris and I, 5 Aussies and the guy from France (not really understanding the whole Aussie/Amsterdam connection). The bathroom was no bigger than 5 by 3 and the walls were the color of Kermit the Frog. At first I was a little sketchy about the hostel, but after getting to know the other guys and my surroundings, it started to grow on me in a weird, dirty, lime greeny kind of way. Like I said, it was located directly in the Red Light District, so I am pretty sure I got the full effect of Amsterdam.

3 paragraphs in and I still struggle to describe Amsterdam. It was almost like that box game where you try to roll the marble through the course by twisting the knobs on the side in an attempt to get to the other side without falling in the holes (Scott/Nick/Tisin/Tom/Rubin, name that game…I know Jake has it in his basement)…I know, I know it’s an obscure reference but after I explain it I think you might understand. Chris and I were the marble trying to make it safely through the course, the holes are all of the dirty things you can do in the Red Light District and the maze-like walls is Amsterdam. No matter what you do, that marble is not leaving the box unless you physically take it out; the holes are everywhere and its extremely hard not to fall in. It is almost like someone thought we were mice and decided to drop us in a cage and watch us try to find the cheese at the end.

Another thing that caught me by surprise was how expensive everything is. A pancake breakfast is 13 euro, a hamburger (not including bun) is 11 euro and in some places you have to pay to use the bathroom even if you purchased something there. Even a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s is more than 3 euro and you have to pay for ketchup (this is a travesty! A sham! A mockery! This is a travashamockery!).

I know it seems as though I am taking it pretty hard to Amsterdam, but I honestly think this is place has changed my perspective on a lot of things. Outside of the Red Light District, Amsterdam is a breath takingly (totally made that word up, but I don’t care it’s my blog ha ha) fascinating place. Instead of driving, people ride bikes (there is a separate lane for bikes and sometimes its bigger than the car lane). Everyone can speak English if they wanted to (very impressive considering I couldn’t even pronounce thank you in Dutch) and it is Americanized on a very small scale (even though I felt like they hated American tourists). There are buildings and statues that are close to 800 years old and a lot of the interior architecture is very creative in an IKEA sort of way ha ha. Some might say it is just a big gimmick or an over priced, drug infested tourist attraction. To me, Amsterdam is not an attraction…but an experience (sounds like a pretty good slogan for an Amsterdam agency doesn’t it? Ha ha).

Amsterdam has taught me a lot of things. It has really opened my eyes to a different culture that speaks various different languages and has different laws. It has helped me to continue to learn that just because another culture does something differently doesn’t mean it is out of the ordinary. And finally, Amsterdam has helped me appreciate the U.S. of A a whole hell of a lot more. I don’ t care what anyone else says, I live in the best country in the world. People bust their ass to make a living. Service in public establishments is immaculate compared to here. If someone needed an inexpensive meal, inexpensive clothes, ANYTHING! there is a way in America. Finally, if tourists from another country wanted to learn more about my country, I would be honored if they asked me for my help. I came into this wanting to grow, be more cultured. I am beginning to think that maybe others also need to grow and be more well-rounded with the rest of this world. We live in a big effing world and there are a butt-load of people who live in this world…I think we all need to become a little more tolerant of each other.

Okay…I am done…sorry for the novel…just wanted to get this all down before I forgot…ha ha. Love you all, enjoy the pics.

Love,

Zac

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Responses

  1. http://www.blackdynamitemovie.com/

    oh yea and i’m glad you had fun (i think? you never really said) in amsterdam

  2. WHOA! I am glad you made it safe and sound out of Amsterdam. Sounded interesting, exciting, decadent, and S C A R E Y ! You really are getting an education! I am sure you wouldn’t have missed your time spent in Amsterdam but I wouldn’t put it on my travel itinerary any time soon in the near future. Thanks for your great report! It makes good reading.
    Love, Mimi


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