Thoughts on Amsterdam

So Amsterdam. I loved it. It has got to be one of the top three cities I have visited this year. I could definitely live in one of those cute house apartments by the canal. We peaked into some of their windows around dinner time, and I could not handle it. And there were so many cute modern coffee shops, my weakness. I’m talking about literal coffee, not to be confused since we are talking about Amsterdam.

However we did not stay in the area I described above. We stayed in the red light district. It was cheap. And now I know why. The manager of the hostel loved us though, really loved us. Because we were a breath of fresh air in comparison to the quality of teenage boys that normally stay there…

The first night I was paranoid out of my mind walking down the street in our area. There were so many guys, almost all guys. And the smell of weed and the sight of mostly naked girls really freaked me out. But then I realized that these areas exist in every city, I just don’t stay in them. And this area in Amsterdam is actually safe. Our tourguide told us there are security cameras everywhere, two police stations, a church, and a kindergarden (go figure).

Some interesting moments:

- Watching a Christmas parade in Amsterdam that includes Santa followed by his African slaves… We are talking black paint, wigs, the whole deal. We were completely shocked. Weed, prostitution, ok I can handle it. But borderline racism/cultural insensitivity… no, just no.

- Listening to our hostel manager complain to us. In one of his many rants, he mentioned that he killed Chinese when he was in the Taiwanese Army, and that he stayed up til 6am the night before drinking Tequila because he was so annoyed with the stoned Belgian boys in our hostel. A very fascinating man.

- Eating stroopwafels. Those things are good. And addicting.

- Taking the Red Light District tour. I learned many things, including not to take pictures of prostitutes because they will throw pee on you.

- Going to a bar/slash club one night when we weren’t planning on going out. Some of us were wearing multiple layers of sweaters… sexy.

We also did some touristy things in Amsterdam as well: two tours, the Rembrandt house, the Anne Frank house, the Heineken factory, a sex museum, the “I Amsterdam” letters, and a Christmas parade.

I would definitely go back to Amsterdam! But maybe stay in a different area…