It was fairly late by the time we got to Amsterdam, and checked into our rooms at the Blue Square Hotel - a hotel that put the crappy Royal National to shame. We'd been told by our tour manager, the newly-introduced Cindy, that we'd be attending a sex show that night in Amsterdam's famed Red Light District
. She also said not to think of it as an erotic thing, but rather compare it to something you'd see on the Discovery Channel. She wasn't wrong. After a surprisingly pleasant dinner (we didn't know what to expect on Contiki), we made our way into the city proper with certain classics by the Bloodhound Gang and Afroman playing on the bus. We departed the bus for a short walk passing by the numerous coffeeshops, hardcore porn ads lining the walls on the street and a couple of laneways with some windows containing less-than-attractive females, thereby making it to the pink elephant, the landmark outside infamous sex theatre Casa Rosso. There's no need to go into detail, but in brief, this is what I wrote in my notepad the next day: "sex show at casa rosso, breakdance sex, cigar-smoking vagina, dildo double penetration, lesbians, more sex, black male stripper". They involved the Contiki people in a couple of acts, and thinking about the unwillingness of myself, Jacko, Nick and Matheesha (before I even knew the latter two) to get up there is amusing in hindsight.
After the sex show, we made our way to the Grasshopper where three joints at a lazy €6 each went into my pocket. Although I knew they weren't made for one person, I made my best effort with a bit of help from another member of the tour (don't know if he'd want to be named), and was out of it for the rest of the night
. Very lucky I had some assistance in getting home, because I was mashed out of my mind. When in Amsterdam, I say!
The next day, Jacko and I skipped the clogs and had a bit of a sleep catch up from our big night in London. We then had our first experience of non-English speaking public transport with Dutch trams, which was surprisingly easy. We terminated at Centraal Station, and started at the Sex Museum, which was another interesting experience. Sights to behold included a board dedicated to 'Titanic Tina', the 'Sex Through Time' display and plenty of others that don't warrant mentions. A daytime walk through the Red Light District followed, along with traditional Dutch food - croquettes - for lunch, as well as some national monuments and the like seen along our walks. We also got to see the Homo Monument, which Jacko thought "was kinda gay", and the exterior of the Anne Frank Huis, which was closed! After many kilometres walked, we caught the tram back to the hotel to gear up for our dinner and canal cruise later in the night.
After being stuck in traffic, the coach finally made it to the restaurant where we'd be having our quite expensive, €31 dinner. The 'appetizer' was a horrible tasting shot of some form of alcohol, then we got into our courses, of which the main course of fish was delectable, to put it lightly
. After dinner, the bus took us back to the city where we boarded our cruise boat, in which we'd travel around Amsterdam's canals and see sights such as the "lover's bridge" whilst sinking many pots of Heineken. After many beers and a few crappy dance moves, with a tour guide who told us to "whip it out" when the other bus' boat went past us, we departed the boat and headed to the Grasshopper for beers. Following a short stint there, we found a pub within the Red Light District where we played some pool - Jacko and I were the pool champs in the early-going of the tour after this night! This was the end of the night though, as we caught a cab back to the hotel - with the cab driver's playlist exclusively from Dr. Dre's 2001
album - and crashed, with a big bus trip to follow the next day.
Too much of this fine Monday was difficult. Getting myself out of bed after the absolutely massive previous night at 6.30am, trying to be sprightly in the morning, catching the ferry from Dover to Calais on the choppy English Channel, and having to actually see the city of Antwerp when driving past it - it epitomises decrepit and ugly. Think Bratislava's depiction in Eurotrip. In any case, it was a long and sickly bus/ferry/bus trip, and we lost an hour as we moved over on to the continent from the UK. The only sight on the trip there was the White Cliffs of Dover, but they couldn't be appreciated in the state I was in. We also got another stamp on our passports, which totally made it all worth it...