Monday, August 10, 2009

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 7 July 2009

Freedom... Sex... Drugs... Canals

i always wanted to go to Amsterdam. So that i can buy hash or marijuana legally at the coffeeshops? No, no... That is not my cup of tea. i don't very much fancy the art scene, windmill, tulips or wooden shoes as well. What i wanted to see is just the red lights district. From my typical Asian upbringing, the sex scenes are very intriguing. i wanted to see and feel the kind of openess that people have over the sex and drugs, which are both taboos from where i come from...
We surprisingly found out also, The Netherlands is quite an environmentally conscious country. There are certain town which plastic begs are not allowed. So you have to either bring your own shopping begs or sometimes, you can pick up the packaging boxes of the supermarket to put your groceries. We think this is really a good idea, rather than dismantle the boxes and pill them up behind of the shops.
All Dutch who we talked to, such as asking for direction, speak very fluent English.

Amesterdam is a canal-lined city, which i did not know before.
The country is masterful feat of engineering, since most of it is below sea level, vigorous pumping and many dikes were used to create dry land.
If God created the rest of the world, the Dutch created The Netherlands.

War meomorial near to Damrak and red lights district.
We paid the most expensive hourly parking fees for our Europe trip here, 2 hours for 8 euros.
After this, we never really drove right into the city centre of any country again. The endless one way streets and hefty parking fees are just too much.

Damrak, the street when one comes out from the central station and where tourists buy inexpensive survenirs.

i personally feel that, the red light district is surprisingly liveable (especially if you compare with red lights Geylang in Singapore) and in many ways the area is less outrageous and seedy than i have expected.
Like Clichy and Pigale in Paris, the streets are full with pushers, porn shops and live sex theaters.
There are many kebab shops and Asian restaurant or take away, not to forget, fine cuisine restaurants and bars/ pubs.

i heard that before: The prostitutes displays themselves in the window. They pay tax like any tax payers as well.
Many tourists were attracted by the prostitutes dancing in the window. Some knocked at the door/ window and asked for the price, but we did not see anyone got inside and engaged the service of the prostitutes.

Besides from the aroma of marijuana and the city's infamous sex scene, it is romantic to stroll along endless cobblestoned streets and canals sparkling with lights.

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