I thought, “This place is not so scary.” In fact, the AMS RDL is a jam-packed tourist hotspot filled with curiosity to discover “the dark side of Amsterdam.” Finding a coffee shop, actually a café where they served lattes and not bud-infused lollipops, I uploaded a picture of the RDL canals on my Facebook wall.
Ping. Ping. Ping. What the heck is that noise? I glanced down at my phone to notice people are commenting on my pictures. Nearly every sexually conservative American posted, “Get the hell out of there. Stay away from that area. Stay safe.” Get out of here? Is this place supposed to be dangerous? I felt as if I sinned against the Holy Bible itself.
But trust me, everyone else found it amusing including the two Asian girls next to me in a sex shop holding a 2-foot tall sexual device and taking selfies with it. I’m not sure that’s the type of picture I’d send home to mom, but ya know, when in AMS – explore the culture.
Bizzare? Yes. Extremely strange? My god yes! I don’t think it’s a place to take the kids (or your passport), but it’s certainly interesting to explore at least once in your life.
I couldn’t help but look at the women in the windows. Although most were very attractive, and probably Eastern European, my feminist side kicked in and my stomach dropped thinking of what that life must be like. In that moment, I could not help but thank the universe for being me. I could not imagine being subjected to that life of soul-sucking energy.
Just a side note, do not dare to take pictures of the women in the windows.
Baked, like a fresh brownie coming out of the oven, coffee shops overflowed with smoke flowing outside every time the front door opened. And what else to try when you’re flying high as a kite than to eat a freshly baked Dutch waffle.
So, if you’re looking for the real deal, buy the fresh waffles or the inexpensive ones made at the Albert Heijn grocery store. Every sugary morsel will melt in your mouth faster than an ice cube. Those premade ones at the local French-fry and bakery shops are not-so-tasty. Besides getting a seizure from a diabetic coma, the thick glaze and whatever else preserves these waffles and they sit for days (I think). I’m not a food snob, but I have a sweet tooth and high expectations for dessert.
Whenever you have drugs and sex together, it certainly attracts the seedier crowd. But, there’s no need to fear – use common sense, keep your head on straight and your pockets tight. I find the RDL to be harmless, not to be confused with being naive. No matter where you are in the world, if you seek trouble, it will find you. If you want to explore (or have a laugh at) the underground sex culture, buy flowers from a market, taste-test Dutch cheese or photograph a historic church - you can discover everything that (not so) normal people do (without sugar coating it).
And avoid what the British do – overconsuming high quantities of drugs and alcohol. Things take time to capture the essence and so do the overhead cameras located on every street.