Day three of yinning and yanging my way around the Dutch capital.
I woke up with goodness by setting off on my second lap around Sloterplas lake It was just as heavenly as the first time, and much easier now that I knew the route. Six kilometers of lakeside greenery, morning sun and birdsong.
I want to ride my bicycle
Three cappucinos and a breakfast fit for a King later I’m on the seat of a bicycle headed for Vondelpark.
I love that they are cycling addicts in places like the Netherlands and Germany. It’s such a gezond (healthy) way of living and I really wish that the UK would get behind it.
Imagine the cost savings from less motor accidents, more fitness, less health issues, reduced health care costs, less pollution, less respiratory diseases and lots of endolphin-pumped, happy people being the best version of themselves,, boosting their immune systems and boosting the economy.
It’s a no-brainer.
We wandered around Vondelpark for an hour or so before pit-stopping beside a lake to feed the ducks and work on my Donald Trump tan.
Tate took herself off to the Van Gogh museum as she’d never been before, but at twenty five euros for a ticket and audio guide, I decided to give it a miss. I’ve been before and it was definitely worth the visit; incredible work by an interesting human – but I was quite happy having a timeout to process thoughts and keep some pennies for the important stuff. You know, like peep shows and prosecco.
So after a lovely day wandering around like a local and trying out a Dutch snack called Bitterballen, we headed out into the city that welcomes you with open arms to see the people who welcome you with open legs.
I’m not really sure what my thoughts are on the oldest profession in the world.
I think most peoples’ bucket lists include bungee jumps or setting up their own business, mine includes interviewing a prostitute and I’m absolutely kicking myself for not chatting to the woman I saw in the Bulldog a few hours after her shift.
Could it be seen as freedom and power rather than opression? Could there be a chance that they like it? Has anybody ever fallen in love with or started dating a client? Do they make a lot of money from it or does most of it get paid out in Pimp Taxes? How does it make them view men? How does it make them view themselves? What about intimacy? What about life after prostitution?
So many questions.
An educated guess would be that the vast majority of responses would be unhappy ones and when I’m walking around the narrow streets of the RLD, the only thing I really feel is pity.
Fourteen years ago, a young and much more naive version of me walked through those tiny backstreets. She was shocked and fascinated and very disappointed by the lack of matching underwear.
These days the underwear seems to have gone up a level; there was a lot of latex going on and strappy contraptions that surely must come with an instruction manual and a YouTube tutorial for assembly.
But the pity is still there.
Pay ‘N’ Go
Being kicked out of a peep show booth in 0.1 seconds is definitely going to be up there in my greatest achievements of 2018.
We’d queued up for a good twenty minutes in what looked like an arcade inside. It was buzzing. The room was full of drunk and/or high tourists, eagerly awaiting their turn in the Pay ‘N’ Go Peep Show cabin.
In the centre of the room there was a circular structure with seven or eight doors. Each door led to a tiny dark booth with a slot machine for the pennies, which, once entered, would light up the window to see the sex show at the centre of all the cabins.
I’d clearly not seen the seven thousand NO PHOTOGRAPHS signs all over the place during my twenty minute wait, so the second I got in there I stupidly took a photograph.
I have genuinely never seen anything like it.
If there hadn’t been a perspex screen between us, I’m pretty sure he would have knocked me out. The man was LIVID. It was like watching a caged baboon react to somebody stealing his girlfriend and eating the last banana on earth – in fact, I’m pretty sure a little bit of chest-beating went on. He was yelling at me fifty decibels above the average, with a furious look on his face.
He absolutely hated me and I was a little bit petrified.
I sheepishly retreated out of the sex cave in reverse and went back into the buzzing arcade, waiting for Tate to surface. A good five minutes later she came out with a bit of a confused but slightly perturbed look on her face.
Apparently this man’s fury had not ceased, and although he’d got back to the task at hand, he was still glaring directly into our cabin with an “I want to murder you” look on his face. The poor girl in there with him was getting anger banged and it was all my fault.
Tate found the whole experience seriously awkward and was doing everything to avoid eye contact. She stood there in the cabin on her own aimlessly looking around the ceiling of the dark cabin or at other onlookers across the way. Even though she wanted to escape the feeling of his evil eyes on her while he was robotically rattling his co-worker, she decided that to make up for the whole taking a photograph debacle, it was only polite to stay for a few more painfully awkward minutes…
So she topped it up another two euros.
Considering the other four times I’ve been to Amsterdam have involved staying up all night, boat raves, hotel parties, dropping my passport in a canal, being stranded in a doorway during a torrential storm with nothing but a bottle of vodka to keep us warm, hijacking a barge, sitting through seven rounds of a terrible sex show and hitching a ride to the British Embassy with two very dubious looking, stocky fellas dressed head to toe in black, in the back of their blacked out Range Rover… this adventure has definitely been the most tame.
But with age comes the inability to handle lack of sleep, the after-effects of a few Godfather cocktails and the achey muscles from shapeshifting to Northern Soul – so I still feel like I’ve just spent a year in Glasto.
Dazed, dishevelled and disappointed to leave. This city remains high on the list of places I’d love to live if the universe so decides….
every Saint has a past and every Sinner has a future