“Amsterdam.. Ohhh Amsterdam!” Is what I start with when talking to others about my time spent in Amsterdam!
Definitely something out of this world and out of my comfort zone for sure! With a layover for 2 days, Amsterdam greeted me with the craziest stories to tell, from hostels, no cash, no close by ATM machines (that properly work to get cash!) almost being run over by a million bike riders and a train. Chased down by drug dealers in the middle of the night with fake coke! Bar hopping, long lasting friendships and last but not least, finding out about the red/ blue light district!
So the above is the description of my Amsterdam at night (of course I left out many other things!) But when the sun comes out, it’s like nothing had ever happened and everyone puts on their halos with class and all those prostitution windows disappear and the city gets filled with cute little cafés everywhere.
Started out with an Uber ride from Schiphol; Amsterdam Airport to my “first time” Hostel stay close to the middle of the city, you know to save money and meet people.
Hostels are where you share rooms with other strangers, some have 4 people, 6 people, and even 8 people. I had no idea my room will be shared with Cocaine loving nomads!
“Do you mind if we sniffed this?” A nomad duo asked me as I settled on my upper-level bunk bed, “Mmm, Noo!” I erred, waving my hands with a sign of no confrontations as I uncomfortably look away; and they jumped into the lower-level bed, seconds to hearing sniffing sounds.
From staring at my Amsterdam’s city map on my upper-level bunk bed to getting ready in my hostel’s restroom, yelling back to the duo “Give me a minute, I’m almost done” As I slip on my black jeans and put on my nude lipstick, the clock turns 10 pm
We rushed out of the hostel into Amsterdam’s dark streets, between the canals to find ourselves being confronted by a man or a group of, asking us if we are interested in purchasing cocaine, approximately 3 different occasions on every same small street. (Amsterdam has a lot of small streets!)
Some of those dealers even offered samples to try, unfortunately, one of the duos fell for it and decided to try it out; seconds later the dealer was yelling at us as we rushed away from him, asking for money as he follows us. The duo stayed behind with him and I rushed into the next two streets to meet another traveler-friend, the duo met two days earlier in Amsterdam, as I explain to her what’s happening- you can hear coins dropping on the floor with loud confrontations between the duo and the dealer; seconds later we’re all running away until we’re breathlessly laughing into a large crowd staring at different windows with red light neon everywhere.
We made it to the red light district, large windows with naked women behind each window, if the curtains are closed, she has a customer; if the curtains are not, seconds later it will be! To the total of 300 one-room cabins to be rented out, if you reached an area with blue neon lights, you’ll get the drag queens!
Four strangers roaming Amsterdam’s streets, bar hopping and endlessly laughing our hearts out; An Australian, a British, and two Americans- Los Angeles and New York City!
The next morning, I woke up early- as my flight leaves Amsterdam at 3 pm, to a new hostel stranger from Italy, as we chatted for few, he wanted me to go for breakfast with him, so I offered that he would accompany me and the duo for a day-light city walk, canal ride, souvenir hunting, and a light breakfast instead, he couldn’t resist saying no.
Obviously, Amsterdam during board daylight is not the same when it’s dark, there’s fancy clothing shops everywhere and small cafes on every corner of its small streets between the canals. More boats, elder adults and children walking down the streets, tourists looking for boats to rent and go on a canal tour; and so were we! Unfortunately, the cheapest of those canal’s tours go as low as £45, which it was out of all 4 of us, leads!
So after hours of walking around the city, we decided to settle for a cute cafe for breakfast, take some pictures, and buy some souvenirs. As I got back to the hostel, I had to say bye to everyone I met, only to find out that the duo wasn’t even a duo, they’re just strangers met a day ahead of meeting me; and saying goodbye was the hardest part.