I've been getting alot of new readers in the past few days, with the link on Deadspin, random Myspace bulletin pimpage, and of course, the new and improved Facebook group(join!) So, I wanted to perform a service for the newer readers, because that's the kind of guy I am.
Believe it or not, Christmastime is coming up, and with that comes vacation. Whether you're going with your family, your roomates, or by yourself (LOSER!), planning a trip is important. Where should you go? What should you do? Is the availability of prostitutes and drugs important to you? Well, if you answered "Yes!" to the last question then I have a treat for you!
After I graduated college, myself and a friend backpacked through Europe for a month (which is my favorite pretentious thing to say, by the way). Anyway
The Because I Didn't Want To Go To Grad School's Guide to...Amsterdam! (a semi-regular series!)
Amsterdam takes alot out of you. Mostly money and energy. I was there for 3 nights, and I think I'd have to wait 3 more years to go back. That's one year for every night I spent there. Between dodging ugly hookers, the "coca/ecstasy" dealers, and bikes, a dude can get tired. Not to mention the fact that *gasp* Amsterdam has alot of cultural activities to offer and *gasp* it's actually a very beautiful city.
There are a lot of things you notice about the city when you first get there. One, the main areas are very congested between pedestraisn and cyclists all frolicking together on the same sidewalk. And by frolicking I mean, walking shoulder to shoulder, dodging the trolleys that are Amsterdam's form of public transport.
They say that everytime a bell rings an angel gets it's wings. Well in Amsterdam, everytime a bell rings, you're about to get a Huffy White Heat right up your ass if you don't move. With small, serpentine, clogged streets, the prime mode of transportation is the bike. And you'll learn pretty damn quickly that the investment banker in a 3 piece suit that you were laughing at for riding a bike, will indeed run you overif you dont get out of the way. An added bonus, for about 2 weeks, no matter where you are, when you hear a bell, you'll duck and cover like a Pavlovian soldier. Fun times.
That culture I was talking about, well, within a few mile radius of eachother you have the Anne Frank house (an effectively simplicit museum, which I loved) a Van Gogh museum (pricey but worth it) and a Rembrandt museum (um, the outside looked nice). Not to mention everywhere has canal tours so you can check out the city for yourself and they'll explain what you're actually seeing.
The red light district, I suppose, for better or worse, is one of the main reasons people go to Amsterdam. It's actually alot like the Phish Lot Scene, except the hookers fill out W-2 forms. Well, actually they're nothing alike, aside from the smell of pot and tbe shady "coca, ecstasy, charlie" dealers that offer it to you every three steps.
After going through the first time, you think you'll never go back, because it will get old. Alas, I went at least twice a night, just to walk through, because you see something different everytime. Sometimes you see fights, sometimes you see drunk guys hecking the girls only to be dragged away by the biggest bodyguard you've ever seen in about 3.2 seconds, and more often than not you'll see someone emerge from a booth trying to pretend like he was just discussing Astrophysics with a Rhodes Scholar, and not paying 50 Euro to get some ass from a hooker.
It's also funny to note how all the girls are separated by fetish. Which leads me to realize that an awesome job would be a "Red Light District Personal Shopper". "Ah, you have an Asian fetish, you say? Well, come this way, I think I know what you have in mind."
It's unfortunate that most people associate that with Amsterdam because it's an unbelievably gorgeous city, with a ton to offer. Good museums, beautiful sights, life threatening staircases (2 ft horizontal for every 15ft vertically), good drugs if you're into that, decent beer, and a good place to meet people out to have a good time. But, Im not in any rush to back anytime soon, it's a little too insane.
YouTube Clip Of The Day
GOB is the greatest television character ever.