If you walk down the main street of any city, you will see rows of shops and lots of people window shopping. It is exactly the same in Amsterdam, but the shop signs are preceded by the word “coffee” and the people are window shopping for prostitutes. Amsterdam is a magical place. It can be anything you want it to be depending on what drugs you are willing to take.
We arrived in Amsterdam like we arrived in most other countries. We had no place to stay and no prospects. We walked across the street from the train station and saw at least ten hotels on one block. There were lots of choices and we slowly made our decision.
The hostel was a five minute walk to the train station and it was a decent place to stay. The man at the front desk was funny and honest.
“Do you have anything available for tonight,” I said.
“Yes. We have a private room with a double bed and breakfast is included. It’s €50. It’s not the nicest hotel in Amsterdam. Here’s the key. You can check it out first and then let me know,” he replied while drinking a beer and dancing behind the bar.
Amsterdam, of all cities, is a place where you want your own private room. People were walking around on mushrooms, coke, acid, pills, weed and everything imaginable; I didn’t really want them sleeping in the bed next to me.
“It’s a private room; we’ll take it,” without hesitation.
After dropping our bags in the room, we decided to check out the Red Light District.
“Um, where is the Red Light District?” I said rather coyly to the front desk clerk/bar tender.
“You just walk outside and go around the building,” he said. “Along the side of the building you will see doors with red, fluorescent lights above them and there you are.”
“Are we staying in the Red Light District?” I asked.
“You got it!”
I had expectations of Amsterdam, but it is truly a sight that you have to see to believe. As we walked around the Red Light District, I saw more signs with titles beginning with “sex” than I saw museums in Italy. There were sex museums, sex stores, sex shows, and everything imaginable with sex.
The Red Light District consists of one long street with many smaller streets and alleys. Each street was lined with businesses with glass doors on the first and second floors. Behind the glass doors are almost naked women posing for all of the men and women that pass by. This pattern of glass doors was broken by the occasional peep show or sex show. Surprisingly, there were other less sexual stores in the same area. It was not unusual to see a pizza shop or a clothing store next to a prostitute in a doorway. What was even more surprising was the massive church that was located in the middle of the Red Light District. I guess people could kill two birds with one stone. They could fulfill their strongest sexual desires and still have time to make it to confession before returning to work.
Amsterdam was not a place for hagglers. The going price was €50 and that got you about 15 minutes with the lady of your choice. We watched men of all ages enter the rooms. From the time the curtain closed, it was only 15 minutes before it was opened again. We also saw a couple propositioning a prostitute for a better group rate. The prostitute did not falter as she replied, “It is €50 each.”
There were hoards of tourists walking around and having a look at what Amsterdam had to offer. Even at 3 o’clock in the morning, we saw men, women, and even families enjoying the night life in the Red Light District.
We strolled down the streets and noticed a pattern in the alleyways. No matter what you’re into, you can find it in the Red Light District. Some alleys must have been the high-end district because the women were young and attractive. Other districts were less prosperous and had much larger, unattractive women. Some areas were for women that had a little something extra; it is called a penis and it was very noticeable in their white, thong underwear. There were women, and I use the term loosely, of all sizes and all races. They even have old, senior citizen looking women working hard to pay for their windows.
I thought it would be a good idea to take a picture. After all, what prostitute wouldn’t want her picture taken while she’s in her window propositioning men? As soon as I pulled out the camera, curtains started closing and heads started turning. It proved to be not such a great idea as women started telling me off and screaming at me. Needless to say, I didn’t get many pictures in the Red Light District; at least not of the prostitutes.
Amsterdam truly was a mysterious place.
Check out other great articles by adventurous bucket list seekers at Bucket List Publications.