A- is for Awesome
M- is for Magnificent
S- is for sensational
T- is for Terrific
E- is for Excellent
R- is for Ridiculous
D- is for Different Experience
A- is for Amazing
M- is for Memories
Hi Im Morgan,
Or as some of you may know me "Mr M"
Welcome to my one and only ever blog post for Life's Shiny Pretty Things (LSPT). I would like to begin by apologising to you all for making you endure the opening of this post. The reason for it is becuase the last time I wrote something on a creative level that another person might actually read it would have been in the 3rd grade and looked very similar to the above.
I promised Anna several months ago that I would write something for LSPT during our time in Europe and I feel that my time in Amsterdam is something that may be worth sharing with you all. This will be a slight departure from what you may normally expect when you read LSPT but I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.
Ready? Ok, here we go :)
Amsterdam - The Red Light district, Smoking Pot, Live Sex Shows, Anne Franks House, The original Maddam Tussaudes and Windmills are a few things that spring to mind when someone utters the words Amsterdam. I intend to give my account of the first 3 points mentioned above, much to my mothers disgust I'm sure.
We arrived in to Amsterdam on the train at Amsterdam central station, which is basiccally the heart of the city. After leaving the train station the first thing you will notice- well atleast the first thing I noticed - will be its stunning acrchitecture, followed by the ovelwhelming smell of Pot, ...Sativa, Indica, Blow, Puff, Draw, Weed, Ganja, Grass, Bhang, Dagga, Mary Jane, marijuana, Dope, Hash(eesh), Herb, Wacky backy, Tea, Thc, Pot, Chronic, Sensimilia, Bush, Solid, Lambsbread, Reefer, Greenleaf, Sweetleaf, Bud, Kif, Toke, Rope, Hemp, Hop, Smoke, Greens, Colly, Doobage, Shit, Black, Rocky, Slate, Gold Seal, Golf Ball, Northern Lights, Desert Orchid, Skunk, Gear, Orange Leaf, Pollen, Black Widow, Squidgy Black, Redline, Hippie lettuce.........
What ever you call it its in your face from the moment you leave the train station.
Now before I go any further on this topic I must make you all aware that Anna and I don't condone the use of illegal drugs and are not under normal circumstances drug users ourselves but as they saying goes "when in Rome"- Sorry Mum.
Let's get the most important thing straight...In Amsterdam it's important to know the difference between Coffe Shops and Cafe's. Cafe's are pretty much what you would expect. Friendly staff, Coffee, Croissants, light meals etc. Coffee shops are very similar but their cofffee tends be shit as does their food. The main differnce is that a Coffee shop can legally supply Pot as long as it is no more than 5 grams per person per day.
Breaking it down simpler for you...
Coffee shops = buying/smoking weed, shit coffee
Cafes = drinking actual coffee, eating their delicious cuisine .. minus weed.
"Coffee Shops" are not allowed to supply Alcohol if they are supplying pot and can be clearly identified by a specific green and white sticker on the window near the entrance.
My only advice for you if you wish to partake in this aspect of the Dutch culture is to talk to the attendant in the coffee shop before selecting anything to smoke. I am by no means an avid smoking - truth be told I dont even really enjoy the effects of pot- but by letting the person know your needs and requirements they then actually reccommend something that won't "ruin your day" as Inga from Pop-eyes Coffee Shop - yes that's a real name - so eloquently put it to me.
Random Amsterdam Factoid 1- The city takes its name from the river "Amstel" and the word Dam comes from, well the word Dam. Some 500-600 years ago they built dam walls around the river Amstel, drained all the water out using windmills and built the beginings of the city now known as Amsterdam. The dam walls are reffered to by the Dutch as "Dykes".
The city was then built on the remaining swamp land which is why most of their buildings are leaning to one side or as we say in Australia "are on the piss" - something we continually remarked to the locals "ahh why are you're buildings on the piss"? much to their delight. One of the Catholic church towers had its foundations made from 1000's of cow skins in effort to combat the sinking effect caused by the swamps
So let's move on to the 'thing' that you all want to hear about (or what we were fascinated by anyway...)
The Red light District and live Sex Shows-yes. Live sex shows.
Sexy, Sleezy, Smutty,Exciting but unforuntaly demoralising. There was and always will be something very exciting to most hot blooded human beings about the red light district, as was the case for me. We arrived in the red light district at around 8:00pm and the streets were a buzz with tourists, families - yes not even kidding, families, locals and even one Jewish Rabih trying to arrange a 3 way with 2 working girls........ I shit you not - every prostitute waved him on and it actually got quite awkward.
As mentioned the majority of the girls are very attractive, but behind their pretty smiles and 'come hither' looks I couldn't help but wonder how free they actually were. Its often said that the eyes are the gateway to soul, and when I looked into the eyes of the women I could see only Sorrow. That got me thinking.. Where did they come from? How did they end up in their current profession?
Anna and I contemplated paying one of the girls some money for an interview to ask these types of questions, but neither one of us had the courage to actually go through with it. So instead we ended up speaking to some locals and the consensus we got from them was that a lot of the women come from Russia -Except for the Asian transvestites- and there is a lot of speculation over whether or not they are being forced to do this against their will or if they choose this lifestyle for themselves. Or as almost every local put it "we're not sure how free they are to leave".
I know life for most Women who live in the free world is not without its difficulties, but for the vast majority you are free to make your own choices. What resonated with me the most was that a lot of these women aren't. So the next time you drop your Iphone and crack the screen or the next time you get mcdonalds at 10:35 and they have stopped serving the breakfast menu, remember ... that things could always be much, much worse...... You could be a Russian sex slave about to start a 12 hour shift in the red light district and an American naval fleet just docked in the harbour that morning.
At the end of my time in Amsterdam I came to the conclusion that there is much more to this place than Coffee shops and sex shows, which admittedly for me were the 2 major draw cards that led me to buying my plane ticket. Rich in history, bursting with culture and overflowing truck loads of diverse types of food that will have you drooling at every turn. So far on this trip Amsterdam was easily my favourite place and if you're ever in Europe I highly recommend spending some time there.
Amsterdam We will be back!!
[ One of the canals near the Red Light District - you're not allowed to take pics in the actual area, so we took one of the canal instead .. compromise..]
[ Left: Me with Sean Connary & Right: Anna with Michael Jackson - having fun at Madaame Tussaudes ]
[ An example of the houses 'on the piss' - they are sinking from being built on swamp ]
[ Enjoying our canal cruise - Amsterdam as we learnt is called the Venice of the North ]
[ Anna loving life in an amazing cheese shop - one of her favourite foods! ]
[ Indulging in our other favourite food - ice cream .. so so delicious ]