Trip Start May 27, 2010
97Trip End Aug 31, 2011
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I got up way too early on Friday morning with the intention of calling home with the spare time I had, but when that plan was foiled I resorted to watching re-runs of Sex and the City. They were the last few episodes of the series and I felt zero guilt as I sat on the couch and watched them back to back.
Once I'd had my fair share of SATC I got the bus and the train and another train to the airport. I had already changed my pounds to euros and only had a few quid left in my purse. When I walked through to the check-in desks I came upon a Burger King (I still call them Hungry Jacks - I just cant get my head around it even though it's an entirely separate enterprise!)
I boarded KLM flight 1413 bound for Amsterdam and was relieved that I wasn't flying there on a crop sprayer like old mate had flown home on from Oktoberfest last year. It was a pleasant 50 minute flight and I was there in no time, and a little while later Nat and Jane flew in. Six months has gone by since I last saw Nat, and Jane for that matter, so it was great to see their familiar faces and I was instantly excited about the weekend ahead.
We got the train into Central Station, and queued in the Centrelink-style foyer for our number to be called so we could get tickets for the tram
When we got to the hostel we were told that another person would be using one of the beds in our room that night, but would be leaving tomorrow to make room for Bec. We instantly decided that this stranger was Asian, primarily because of her bright pink thongs and the chicken noodle soup sachets that were on the communal table. In any case we all agreed that she was going to be outnumbered and we proved same later in the night.
We made our beds and headed back down to an area we had spotted on the tram which looked lively, and after being accosted by an annoying American with a busted nose trying to sell us tickets to something we were referred to a pub down the road with loads of Belgian beers. A few hours later and after being compared to Susan "I dreamed a dream" Boyle, making use of the chalkboard in the toilets and patting the resident cat, we were quite merry. Nat had to refresh mine and Jane's memories in the morning - she was a lot fresher than we thanks to decanting half of her beer into our glasses and hence didn't find herself as hungover as us
Nat filled us in. Apparently:
- We left the pub with our beers still in hand with the intention of keeping the glass as a souvenir. Mine ended up in the canal when I defiantly threw it in. No recollection of this.
- Nat reprimanded the coppers for having a tail light out on their police vehicle.
- I agreed that I would go swimming when I returned to the UK.
- I was photographed riding a stationary moped.
- We made a lot of noise at Burger King.
- We made a lot of noise on our return to the hostel, and despite the fourth person in our room being in bed - asleep - continued to make noise rather disrespectfully. I announced to Nat "she's not Asian!" when I realised the fellow hosteller wasn't in fact Asian
- Jane decided that a little spew in her bed was no big deal and didn't warrant a Jackie Chan leap off the top bunk to get to the toilet. She subsequently entertained us in the morning when we saw the vomit on her pyjamas!
By the time Bec arrived in the morning we were all ready and raring to go (me not so much, after my hangover had well and truly caught up with me), and headed over the road to a lovely patisserie for omelettes and eggs sunny side up. This served us well and lined our stomachs so that we were all able to go on a 75 minute cruise along the canal. It's such a lovely way to see the city through the canals which were once the lifeblood of Amsterdam and its various trades. Afterwards we wandered through the streets a bit longer, stopping for a pizza slice along the way, and eventually ending up near the red light district and where coffee shops can be found in numbers. We stopped in for coffee and cake of course, and then found a pub to sit at while we chatted away and if we hadn't already laughed enough the night before, we laughed some more.
Walking through the red light district later that night was interesting, and I was able to compare it to the last time I'd been there in 2007
We all decided we'd had enough and that we'd go and get some more cake and chill out back in the hostel room. It didn't take long before everyone had bombed out and fallen into a deep sleep, and when my conversation fell on deaf ears, I too switched off my light (not red) and went to sleep. I was woken at about 4am by a drunk Philo, on his way home from a night out with the boys.
In the morning Bec and I had to check out of the room, having to leave later that day. So we took our bags with us and sat at a canalside cafe where we were encouraged (to put it politely) to buy something so that we would be allowed to occupy the seats. We thought this was fair enough, but when we'd finished our drinks and were all but told to move on, we consulted the Amsterdam tourist book to find that the Dutch are some of the most hospitable people going
After whiling away a few hours, it was time for me to get back to the airport and fly home to Birmingham. But not before I was exposed to coughing, spluttering passengers on the return flight. At border control, where the wait was over an hour to get through, I had to endure a Kiwi couple's incessant chatting in the line behind me. I have some Kiwi friends, but I was quite ready to divorce them all on the spot after having to put up with these two.
It was a small price to pay though, for such a good weekend.
To avoid further memory loss, I will note some of the quotes that cracked us up over the weekend:
"Is everything ok?" - from the lady that shared our hostel room on the Friday night. What a weirdo.
"You're just like SuBo..." - Nat comparing me to Susan Boyle. Hmmmm.
"Your boyfriend is very photogenic" - hands off Jane
"Milli Vanilli", and various other comments made regarding the rasta wannabes sitting at the pub on Saturday afternoon, one with dreads and the other with all manner of yellow, red and green Adidas get up.
"Black Smurf" - a black guy dressed in a blue top and white beanie. Did he not realise he looked like a Smurf when he got dressed that day?
"Are you Jana Wendt?" - me to Jane regarding her probing lines of inquiry.
"Maaaaybe laaaater" - Nat's recall of a drug awareness campaign on TV back home.
"Did you just say my name?" - I swear I heard someone say my name!