It’s just occurred to me that I’ve not published my travelling stories from January. I do apologise. They were written.
So I left Portugal and headed to cold, laid back, surprising Amsterdam.
And oh Amsterdam. How you shock me!
I know it’s legal, I know it’s not a big deal. But I’ve never been there. And I’m a massive “square” so I found myself surprised in spite of myself. From the strong smell of weed on every street to the lingerie clad girls of the Red Light district displayed in shop windows. I didn’t really know what to make of the place at first. But after a stroll around the narrow streets, alongside the snaking canals lined with wonky buildings, I relaxed and saw the beauty of Amsterdam.
However, I’m very much a “when in Rome…” sort of girl and I couldn’t leave Amsterdam without experiencing some of what Amsterdam is famous for. I’d done some museums (which are wonderful!) and I’d relaxed in local bars and cafes. I’d soaked up the fashion district and taken time out on a canal tour. So after a late dinner and a bottle of wine, I wandered into the Moulin Rouge – Amsterdam’s “least sleezy” sex show according to a helpful blog post I found on Thrillist.
After another drink at the bar, I turned my eyes to the stage where I saw young boy, topless and laid out across the stage with a naked women squatting over him and making rather strange movements with her body. I felt my head turning on its side, the way a dogs does when it’s confused. As she stood and smiled, proudly gesturing to the boy like a magicians assistant, he sat up and showed us his chest, which had “Thank you for visiting the Moulin Rouge” written on it with a pretty decorative heart to finish it off. I couldn’t help but laugh. I mean I’d heard about it. I’d heard about men on their stag-do’s eating a banana that has been placed inside a prostitutes vagina – but I’d never seen it – and now that I was, I really wasn’t sure where to look. During one very awkward “performance” where an ageing man in leather bondage gear robotically “made-love” to a sad-looking ample-figured woman, I found myself suddenly very interested in the air conditioning unit above the bar. I did gaze long enough at one point to see her yawn and him try to hide the fact that he wasn’t, “up” for the task anymore. Our last girl of the evening, Candy, wore a headpiece with a clog as the decorative centrepiece and I found myself being fascinated by this as she artfully removed her clothes and strutted around the stripper-pole. She made the audience laugh and gave a lot more to the show than the previous acts. It turned out it was her birthday and we all got a free drink to help her celebrate. Bonus!
I can’t pretend I wasn’t happy to leave. I was. However, I was glad I’d gone and seen some of what it is all about.
A quick stop by a Coffee Shop; which translates to a dark, smokey room where pre-rolled spliffs of varying strengths and flavours are the only thing on the menu. I took one drag (sorry Mum) and immediately needed to go home. On route back to the hotel, I knocked into a bike and after a quick apology to it, I realised that even Amsterdam’s weakest offerings were too much for me to handle.