Late, late, late last night we finally arrived in Amsterdam... it may have been this morning come to think of it...
We went from riding in the back of a pickup truck in Egypt to the back seat of a Beamer taxi. Sweet. The driver is in med school and told us a bit about the city while he shuttled us to the hotel. Once there, he was so honest that he actually wouldn't accept a tip (apparently they aren't allowed to). What a change.
Our hotel is wonderful - great location, clean, nice staff, breakfast of things other than stale bread... perfect.
Today after sleeping in a bit we decided to trek around Amsterdam. We headed through the canal ring towards the van Gogh museum. The homes along the canal are so quaint and exactly what you would picture if you had a postcard vision of the Netherlands. We took our time walking through van Gogh's museum (although honestly, after the Louvre it was time limited).
We continued to tour the town stopping at a local pub for lunch. At that point in time we got brave enough to enter the Red Light District. The first sign we'd found the right place was the stench of pot in the air. Everywhere you went there were herds of giggling people with lovely red eyes. Good planning there though, they give you the drugs to lower your inhibitions then offer you tons of snack foods to eat while looking at the ladies of the night (although it was 2 in the afternoon... does that mean they are ladies of the day?)
Now I am not sure what I expected these ladies to be... until we entered this area Amsterdam seemed quite wholesome really.... trees, flowers, boats, cobblestone streets, windmills, clogs... but seriously, these ladies were, um, well... trashy. They stood at GROUND LEVEL (for some reason I expected them to be high in the building with pimps guarding the entrances) in their outfits talking to potential clients. They came in all shapes and sizes, let me rephrase that... ALL shapes and sizes. We saw no men however, I wonder if they are in another area...
We are going to head to Anne Frank's house shortly, but from our balcony we can see that the line still stretches down the street. Suppose doing laundry might be a good option...
PS: The weather here is totally awful (cool, cloudy, rainy) - but man is it awesome!
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