Good morning or afternoon as your circumstances may dictate. After the fiasco that was my lost luggage and the “chalet” from hell, there was a bright side as there often is. My bright side came in the form of two energetic Australian young ladies who I first encountered while waiting at the hotel registration desk. Behind me in line, their chatter was amusing and enthusiasm contagious it was hard not to giggle. I was the first to check in and went to my dorm room. There I found a bright, clean and HEATED room with a bed to call my own for the next few days I began to settle in as the door opened. The two girls from the registration line, Steph and Taylah, walked in and took up two of three remaining bunks in the room. Perfunctory introductions were made: polite hellos, how do you dos and where-ya-froms. Both are friends from Australia but Steph has been living in Liverpool. Both are in their early twenties and while I was please to meet them I was also EXHAUSTED.
Jet lag was tapping me on the shoulder after fifteen hours of flying, stressing over lost luggage and a sleepless accommodation booking that did nothing to relieve any of it then after sneaking out of the campsite, I need to kill time before the permitted check in time and had purchased a public transport pass, spending the day exploring the city on foot, by tram and canal boat, visiting the Rijks Museum, taking photos of the canals, attending a Banksey exhibit at The Moco. By the time I was comfy in my bed all I wanted was a NAP and the last thing I heard before passing out entirely were giggles and hair dryers as the girls prepared themselves to go out for the evening.
I awoke almost two hours later and they were still there, still preparing to leave. They apologized for keeping me up but I assured them I had slept like the dead. I was completely floored when they then told me that while I was sleeping, they had made reservations for three for dinner in the event that I wanted to join them. WHAT?? HOW SWEET IS THAT?!?! We headed out toward the red light district where apparently all the best Chinese food is 😉 The girls were a blast and just the thing I needed to break the travel funk I had found myself. We ventured into the the bowels of the district, the seedy under belly of… naw, I’m just kidding, it was no where NEAR that dramatic. It was basically bar after bar with glass doors here and there some with heavy red drapes pulled closed and others displaying young ladies of every look imaginable available for rent, for the right price. What amused me is that most of them looked rather bored and some were on cell phones. We wandered the streets, had a few drinks, and did some shopping at the Condomerie. Yeah, you read that right. A whole store dedicated to prophylactics with marijuana brownies available at checkout (that was not really anything special, there is pot-anything-you-want at EVERY store) Speaking of, some of the Mary Jane laced items on offer were: brownies, cupcakes, candy bars, granola bars, cheese, bath salts, perfume, edible panties and oh so much more. For purely scientific investigatory reasons, I can report that the brownies were preferred, took longer to take effect but a much better feeling.
One of the more amusing shops we visited actually, after the brownies took effect ALL the shops looked amusing. However, I got the bright idea to educate myself on mushrooms & truffles so I drug the ladies into the shop that actually looked like a museum. There were glass cases, displays and little cards explaining the history of soft drug use in Holland and all the available options. I accosted the hapless sales clerk then proceeded to grill him, forcing eye contact even though his left eye wandered a bit. ‘Shrooms are scary business, I believed what they told us in high school “YOU TAKE DRUGS, YOU’LL DIE”. I needed information! Apparently, at some point the girls had enough and dragged me out while complaining LOUDLY for all to hear “MOOOOOOM!!! We have to GO!!!” 😀 Once we were outside, they fell into fits of laughter and told me there was no way they were gonna let me buy ‘shrooms from a creepy perv with a wonky eye. We were RIDICULOUS. Risking social rejection and ridicule for your education. You’re welcome. (never worked up the courage to try the mushrooms, bad trips are scary to me and who knows what you’ll get…)
We found THE BEST uber driver EVER who started the trip home with some loud trap beats while screaming/singing over it “PEOPLE ASK ME IF I’M AN UBER DRIVER, I TELL THEM HELL NO, I’M A MUTHA FUKIN’ DJ !!” His car careening in and out of the bike lanes at breakneck speed thankfully it was after 2 a.m. and the streets were deserted. It rather reminded me of The Knights Bus of Harry Potter.
I had the best time with the Aussie girls we rented bikes, cycled the city and had tons of fun. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few things that I was not able to get to I suppose I’ll have to plan a return at some point.