Sunday, September 27, 2009

VE in Amsterdam

One of my post requests was for more on VE’s travels. Let’s focus one on Amsterdam. I’ve been there twice. The tale is a long one, but its every bit as stupefying as you’ll want so stick with me!

First of all, I love Amsterdam…for I’ve only been there on vacation and only during nice weather. So I can speak fondly of it since I wasn’t freezing my ass off on those narrow streets in the middle of January.

The first time I went to Amsterdam it was by rail. I had a Eurorail pass and was bumming my way around Europe with a friend. It’s a marvelous way to travel if you have no specific plans and can take your mind off the mentality that a car is freedom, as so many of us cannot.


The second time I went there I drove a huge sedan. I was there to drive the autobahn in Germany and being that I couldn’t afford a race car like a Ferrari (because the rental agencies had figured out that people just rented them to race them) for the week. I was on the tail end of a business trip (back when I bothered to work) and the first stop was Amsterdam.

The “dam” was applicable too. Because “Damn” was it hard driving around there in this huge sedan. I was with a business friend and we wanted to stop and sit at one of the outdoor brew establishments and oodle Euro chicks for the afternoon - It’s a long standing European tradition that as a tourist I’m compelled to oblige. Anyway, we’re driving all over town trying to find one damn parking spot on the street. There was NO WAY I was going to attempt to drive this thing into an actual parking garage. I’d tried that before in Italy and had only just recovered from the experience. Had I a scooter or a smart car, perhaps, but not with this behemoth…no, no!

Finally, in desperation, I parked on this obvious and ominous looking red X on the corner of the street. “Oh, we won’t get caught,” I told my friend. Besides, what could they possibly do, just write a ticket for somebody out of the country? Forget about it!

So off we went to the outdoor pavilion. Amsterdam has these great open areas with lots of tables outside where you can drink good European beer and enjoy the outdoors by people watching. I highly recommend it. Especially if the hot looking waitress is like the one we had for she was wearing a pretty high skirt and didn’t have on any panties; a fact my friend discovered when a napkin fell to the ground. Let’s just say that a lot of things accidentally fell to the ground that afternoon.

Of course, that just worked up our appetite and it was off to the “Red Light District” of the city as my friend hadn’t ever been in town before. For those of you that don’t know what that is, they have legal prostitution there and the women (and men and transvestites) are the window displays. You shop just like you would anything else. When the curtains are closed; they’re busy!

They also make no bones about displaying adult sex toys proudly in elaborate window displays too. There are laws, though, about taking photos in the red light district. Don’t do it!

One of the most curious things we saw was a line of people waiting for a play. There were entire families lined up. When we walked around the line to see what was playing, we were quite surprised to find that it was a live sex show. Alas, we didn’t time to entertain ourselves with that whole bizarre scene.

Instead, we spent a miserable half hour desperately looking for a bathroom with which to dispel our earlier beverage abuse with. They don’t make it easy in Amsterdam to find a free bathroom. Neither of us had any change and this was before the Euro. We didn’t want to change money because we were headed for Germany. Surely there had to be a bathroom in some bar or coffee shop somewhere in the whole bloody town! Surely there wasn’t! None, nadda.

We ended up bumming enough change to use one of the “public” money ones. Now, first of all, the Dutch are all very tall people. Extremely tall. I’m a half inch shy of six feet, personally, and my work companion was barely 5’6”. I had to get on my tip toes to reach the urinal. I seriously thought I might have to perform some magical pee arcing trick to be able to go. I can only imagine what my companion had to do. Oh, and all this while the female attendant that collected the money got to also watch me take a piss. Bonus!

We ended that debacle and headed over to the coffee shops to shoot some pool before we had to leave. Now, coffee shops in Amsterdam are not for coffee. They’re for buying and smoking pot! But only on premises. While we played pool on a table that was half in this one place and half outside, rest assured that we didn’t need to buy any of their product to sample it. Every coffee shop around had its own private cloud of dope smoke hovering in and around it. It was so bad I was worried about driving under the influence later on!

As our time ran out, we headed back to our rental car. By this time there were two cops standing right on the sidewalk next to it talking to the corner shop owner. “Oh, shit,” I thought. Just my luck. I escorted my friend over to the other side of the street and said we’d just hover directly across from the car and when the coast was clear, we’d get the car and go.

The police officers went around the corner and into the shop with the owner. “That’s our chance,” I yelled to my friend and we took off to get into our car. No such luck. The officers came back out of the shop right as I put the key into the car door to get in. Acting like the average American, I played completely stupid to the reality that I’d parked in a no parking zone with a giant universally-recognized red X all the way across it. But apparently I should go to Hollywood because my stupidity act so frustrated the Dutch policemen that they just let us go in disgust over our lack of sense and communication skills.

Yes, another mission impossible scenario safely handled…we got on the freeway, I set the car speed to an illegal 130mph and we were off to Germany where it was legal.

I’ve since heard that they’ve closed about half of the red light district….bummer.

44 comments:

Mrsupole said...

I am being a tart again, but a first place tart at that. Yea!!

Mrsupole said...

I sure hope you both tipped that waitress very well after making her do all that extra work.

I guess if I ever went there that I would just have to spend all my time in the Coffee shops because that seems to be the only safe place there. And I would have to be close to my hotel room in case I had to use the facilities, and maybe I just should not go there because I might not want to come back home.

But I had never heard that they were all so tall, although being that my one Grandma from Norway was so tall, I should have known.

Looks like it is a fun place to visit.

God bless.

subtorp77 said...

Ahem...went there quite some time ago. Glad to see not much has changed. And you shoulda known better to park there! And hey! they do have a speed limit in Holland, y'know( and I've seen the police catch cars going faster than that, BTW... ) Course, once you're over the border, fugitaboudit-HA!

And the loos-LMAO! There's something about tulips but I'll let that pass ;P

Nessa said...

Amsterdam is so progressive.

ReformingGeek said...

Great post, VE. I think you forgot your tour of Anne Frank's house, though.

I was surprised to hear that you didn't spend the night in jail. ;-)

Roy Scribner said...

Wow, VE, you should write travelogues! "Park anywhere you want and just act like a tourist when you retrieve your car."

Quirkyloon said...

VE acting stupid?

Nah!

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Okay, that was the edited for t.v. version. Now lets here the REAL verion of what you did on that trip;-)

VE said...

mrsupole - I think there probably are people that have never left the coffee shops

VE said...

subtorp77 - Oh I knew better than to park there, I just didn't want to have to park in Belgium in order to park. Got get risky sometimes...

VE said...

nessa - Amen!

VE said...

reforminggeek - Of all my misadventures and crazy antics...I've never spent the night in a jail (never even been in one...)

VE said...

roy - That's good advice, you know!

VE said...

quirkyloon - Stoopid is as stoopid does...

VE said...

perpetual chocoholic - Some portions have been sealed away for security purposes and will be available 75 years after the death of all parties involved...

subtorp77 said...

VE, parking in Belgium ****shudder***! I hear ya!

Baino said...

I dunno the only times I've been on the Autobahn there's been a traffic jam! Good yarn tho. But aren't you a little ashamed that 'acting like the average American' you got away with it? Tut tut!

Ronda Laveen said...

Magical peeing tricks? (Trying to squelch my considerable imagination).

nursemyra said...

a lot of men would pay good money to have a chick watch them pee....

Elizabeth said...

I liked your post! Do they drive on the same side of the road as us? Did you speak any of the laanguage??

Janna said...

Ok, I can honestly say I've never smoked pot. Yet I found myself absolutely fascinated by that sign that listed all the different types you can buy.

I read through it and said "Hmmm.... blueberry!"

Then I was amused that there's a kind called "Super Skunk"...

And then I laughed out loud when I read the description of "Fisherman's Friend", right there in the middle of the sign:

"This is very strong shit".

ROFL!!!

Megan said...

You have to pay to pee???

I'm not going there.

monica said...

being in that district, what you actually paid for was to have a woman watch you pee... woohahaha !!

VE said...

baino - The Autobahn's in Germany and Austria don't go anywhere near congestion and they have a minimum speed limit.

VE said...

ronda - It's a guy thing...

VE said...

nursemyra - That's weird. I can't go when somebody is watching...

VE said...

elizabeth - Yes, other than England, they drive on the same side of the road. I don't know any other languages than English and I'm terrible at picking up much because I'm in too many different countries with too many different languages. I get by ok though...Venezuela and Luxemburgh have been the most difficult countries to communicate in

VE said...

janna - They tell it like it is in those places. Truth in advertising!

VE said...

megan - It's not very much though...but it is still kind of irritating

VE said...

monica - Yeah, I figured as much. Lucky I had to go real bad!

Jacki said...

I, too, am sad to hear that they are closing the red light district. Granted, I understand the reasoning, since it is a haven for drugs and prostitutes. And they want to clean it up to make it a nice tourist destination. But still. Don't they realize that half the people that go to Amsterdam do so to say they've been to the red light district? And smoke pot in a coffee shop?**

You haven't really experienced Amsterdam until you walk through the red light district and be approached to buy drugs.

**I had a security clearance, and still do, so I didn't. As you said, the smell is enough.

Gladys said...

VE- The gnomes are stealing my comments once again. What is it with them? You need to take them to Amsterdam and get them laid.

OK what I said in my pissadearing comment was...

My car got booted in Amsterdam. I parked along the canal and evidently put my money in the wrong parking box. When I returned it cost me $300 AMERICAN (again this was before the Euro). Then when the cops showed up they pretended they didn't speak English and I didn't speak Deutsch so we were left pantomiming in the street. It took another 2 hours for the guy to show up with the key to unlock the boot. So at least you didn't get booted

angie said...

Half of the red light district got closed down? Wow. I spent a few days there. Pedalled one of those pedal me boats down the canals, visited the Anne Frank house.......biked through Volendam. And then went to the Red Light District. Wowee.....that's all I can say. :) Glad you got off so easy with the illegal parking!

VE said...

jacki - It's such a unique thing; too bad there's all the bad element to ruin the fun...

VE said...

gladys - Booted? Yikes. I've seen those in Europe before but, yeah, perhaps they just discovered the car when we got there. Sometimes I'm lucky that way but my crazy bad luck balances it out too

VE said...

angie - Ah, so you are a world traveler, eh? I wish I'd done some biking there; I've done so much in the states. Alas, I was there both times just passing through.

Uncivil said...

If I have to pay for her to watch me pee, then the least she could do is hold it for me?

VE said...

uncivil - I think you'll have to pay a wee bit more for that...

Serena said...

Never been there, but it seems ... interesting.

Jaime said...

if i went to amsterdam, would i have to ride a bicycle? because that would mean i could NEVER go there.

Jeff said...

Pretty cool VE. I've never been anywhere that racy.

No wait... I was in Milwaukee once. That's pretty close, right?

VE said...

serena - It is; one of my favorite cities in Europe

jaime - Nope; I never bicycled there at all...

jeff - Milwaukee...close...but I think the weed costs more because it's imported from Canada where they call it "hemp"...hehehe

Maureen said...

Yep, us Canucks and our legal hemp...

I was in Amsterdam; back in 1976. You read that right. The seventies. It was very groovy.

VE said...

In the 70s? Was there a city there back then? ;)