Published: August 31st 2009August 31st 2009
The Netherlands (Holland)
I’m now in a train, going from Amsterdam in The Netherlands, to Antwerp in Belgium. It seems so funny going to the ‘International’ section in a train station. There’s not many of them in Oz!
Retrning to our story, flying from Dublin I arrived in Amsterdam where Anna kindly picked me up. Anna is a champion surf-mad kooky dutch girl I met in Torquay. She then drove us to her house, me shitting myself the whole way as I was sitting on the right hand side of the car, freaking out that there was no pedals or steering wheel and the car just seemed to drive itself. Possibly because in Contintental Europe the driver sits on the left.
Get back to Anna’s house and have a good old catchup, then that night cycle to the outdoor Film Festival. The kooky Dutch are at it again, as out of all the squares and parks in Amsterdam, they chose the smallest square with the most amount of trees. Yes, basically anywhere you sat, a nice bushy tree was covering almost the entire screen. I’m not convinced it really made a difference as the first movie
was about a guy vacuuming his house. Something tells me I wouldn’t have understood the movie anyway!!!
Next morning wake up to the chorus of builders in the apartment below banging in nails and sanding things. Put up with it a while, then finally get out of bed. After internetting a lot, I catch the tram into town (without paying - dumb tourist routine) and check out The Nine Streets, see the narrowest house in the world, walk past Anne Frank’s house and buy a bottle of absinthe. As I’m told, it’s the real stuff - the milk coloured stuff, not the silly bright green stuff you get in Prague. Head home, have some absinthe then cycle out to a local pub to meet with Anna’a friends.
Next morning, the builders once again wake us up at 7am, but then finish by 10am. Thanks guys… ya aresoles! Speaking of which, Anna doesn’t understand what is meant by the kooky Dutch, but how about this - Anna lives on the first floor of an apartment, but my room was separate, on the third floor. In Anna’s house, the toilet is in one room, the shower is in a closet
in her bedroom and the sink is in an entirely separate storage room! Also, they live in Holland, their country is called the Netherlands... and they call themselves Dutch!!
Today it’s once again absolutely beautiful weather (some of the best weather they ever had… same as in Ireland). The plan is to spend the day at the beach and hope to surf Holland’s famously bad brown coloured wind swell, but the weather report says thunderstorms and no surf. Scrap that idea.
Instead, I head to town again, and buy a burger from a typically dutch Burger Vending Wall - someone makes burgers but instead of doing the norm and serving people, they just stick them in floor to ceiling high plastic boxes where you stick your money in and open the door to have a juicy taste of the stale burgers. Finally finding what I’ve been searching for my whole time in Europe, I find a massive map or Europe. Certainly not a ‘map of tassie’ but still good. I think they cost more and are all in the next suburb…
Anyways I go to the ATM to get some money out… but it doesn’t work. So I
go to another. Same problem. Nothing else to do, so I go to another two. Same problem. Bugger. $2.50 left in cash. Buy a bottle of water for $1.50. Shit! What can I do for a full day in Amsterdam with only $1! Ummm, nothing else to do, so why not go for a perve in the red light district!! For those of you that don’t know, in Amsterdam, the girls are all behind glass windows in their sexy outfits doing their poses. Good for a look! A girl even invited me in. I explain the situation to her, that I only have $1 left… and that I would be willing to service her if she gave me $50. Unfortunately my prostitution skills weren’t quite good enough, so I walked away still with only $1.
Passing another window, I saw a beautiful large-breasted asian girl with a skimpy bikini that just could not hide her massive penis. Woah! What the hell?!? Something was not right with that picture. As I found out later, I had found the fabled ‘Blue Light District’. Thought to be a myth by many, it appears to in fact be true. In the heart of
the red light district, just down from the Christian Backpackers (what the hell is that doing there ?!?) is the blue light district. In the normal situation, the glass windows have red neons at the sides so in case you didn’t realize, these girls are prostitutes, not just normal residents trying on their bikini at 1am. The difference is, when these lights are blue, you have to make sure you bring two condoms for added protection - one for your cock…. and one for her cock!!
As I had a free ticket to the Casa Rossa Sex Museum I check this out too. It was nowhere near as perverted as I was hoping, but still good. Sitting on mushroom stools in the ‘kids’ room watching seriously perverted fairy-tale cartoons definitely being the highlight.
Sometime later I need to do a wee, so I do the old ‘Go to Macca’s’ routine. Walk past the sign that says ‘Customers Only’ and head towards the toilet only to be stopped by the bloody toilet attendant demanding 50c . 50c for a wee!! Its disgraceful! True to my stingy Aussie self, I decided to hang on the whole day instead. There’s nothing
like Aussie stingyness in a European country to practice bladder strengthening!
Dam Square is the big touristy area, so I head there so see some street performers including a crazy contortionist and some break dancers. Amazing stuff! I then check out the park which is pretty cool. There’s even Dutch cycling around selling Heineken from their saddle bags. Reminds me of Bali!
This evening we travel to Haarlem for the Jazz festival. Leaving our bikes at the train station, im blown away to see a bike rack for a few thousand bikes… and the bloody thing’s full! Still nothing like the one at Centraal Station though…. It’s a multi-storey bike rack. That’s right, its like a multi-storey car park, but instead its just one big bike rack holding a few million or so bikes.
Arriving in Haarlem, we catch up with Anna’s friend, have a quiet beer then go to the main stage… where I get a little confused (as well as a bit aroused) by what I’m seeing. Yes, like typical jazz there were five guys on stage all with different instruments, all playing different songs; but to make it actually interesting to watch, a girl
came out dressed as a doll, then starts taking all her clothes off! We’re all blessed to see this girl get down to her lacy undies and tassles hanging from her bare breasts. Great stuff!! Next song starts and a girl comes out dressed as a Japanese Geisha and the same happens… and it continues all night!!
I do hate to admit, but the music was actually really good. Really good. They also played the Pulp Fiction theme song (the one the Black Eyed Peas ripped off). So good!
The next day I take my spare bank card and manage to buy things. I buy the map and an aussie flag cloth badge then check out the torture museum. Some things they did in those days were pretty funny, but most of it was eh pretty nasty, e.g. chairs with thousands of spikes on them where they slowly tightened the straps, the rack, the saddle, jeez, the list goes on! Near the museum I see the Magic Mushroom shop. While previously legal in Holland, mushies are now illegal…. But the truffles are still outside of the narcotics act and therefore are completely legal. The thought of being off
my face watching the northern lights in Iceland the next week sounds beyond awesome, but the need to carry them through 4 international borders didn’t sound so good.
That night I meet with my good friend Joris whom I met in the Torquay backpackers in Australia. Champion bloke and very kooky Dutch. That night we drink lots of absinthe, drink Jupiler beer (man, we need that in Oz!) and head out to arguably Amsterdam’s best club, Studio 80. Now I cant tell you too much about the club because I don’t really remember, but it was filled with only Dutch which is a nice change from all the bloody Contiki clubs. I also remember eating a baby carrot there. I really don’t know where that come from. Do people in the Netherlands normally take carrots out with them? - Wallet, check, phone, check, camera, check, carrots… shit I left them at home!!!
By the end of the night, Joris and I are pretty certain we’ve met every single person there.
The next day we wake up we have unanimous agreement that we’ve both felt better. There’s no bitching to be had though as we’ve got an afternoon
party boat to catch! This is an event Joris’s mate has organized of a 6 hour cruise around Amsterdam harbor with famous dj’s and a FREE bbq!!!! If there’s one thing that will get a Dutchman excited, its something free. Being another really hot day, all 75 of us are on the open air top deck, chilling out on been bags or up dancing next to the bubble machine. Once again, its only Dutch so its great! Everyone there was so friendly, all with perfect English and I made a lot of friends. The sunset was awesome!! Back on dry land, we go to Duncan’s house to drop off my sunnies before heading out to Studio 80 again, but as soon as we sit down, we’re instantly asleep. I’m blaming that on the soccer that was playing on tv.
The next day, another of Joris’s mates has a birthday party bbq in a park. Once again, its only dutch, so its good. Kicked the soccerballl (football??) around, ate, chillaxed etc. In the arvo I check out the Auswitch memorial. As every genocidal memorial inscription says, 'how can you make a memorial for such attrocities?'. Well this one is pretty
good. Its lots of cracked mirrors on the ground, so even on the most beautiful day, the sky is still cracked. Deep huh?
Next day I walk to the postoffice to send a postcard I left at home (it’s the second time ive done this) as well as to buy some shoes where my heel isn’t actually touching the ground. Shit myself seeing second hand basic adidas casual shoes for 60 euro ($110). Luckily I find an outdoor market and buy some crap second hand shoes for 10 euro. I’m not delving into my beer money!! By virtue of the name, I start to assume Iceland will be cold, so I buy a brand new jacket of questionable waterproofness for $7.95. Have another chill -out night, then next day catch train to Antwerp, Belgium… which is where I am now!!
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