(Not Las Vegas)
In some ways Amsterdam reminds me of Las Vegas. You can do things there that are illegal everywhere else. It's almost a compulsion for me as soon as I hit town to break laws. The comparison to LV ends there.
Before I went the first time a co-worker gave me a run down on the safety issues. "Avoid dark alleys."
"Uh, OK, got it, I'll avoid dark alleys."
"Yeah, avoid the dark alleys. You'll get mugged. They'll take your money. Then, they'll make you buy heroin."
I was worried about this for a few days before the trip. After they take my money, how will I afford the heroin? What will happen if I can't afford the heroin? Should I hide some extra money in my sock?
Six foot tall blondes on bicycles.
On a Sunday morning I walked from my hotel to the nearest grocery store. (By the way, grocery stores in Amsterdam will not supply you with bags for your groceries. You are expected to bring your own.) As I walked down the street I couldn't help but notice the bicyclist. As she went by her head turned and she smiled at me. The light was red and I made it to the intersection were she was stopped with her bike. The light turned green, she turned her head toward me again and blew me a kiss.
My mind was racing, do I follow her, do I yell…..do I…..stand like an idiot with my jaw hanging around my ankles?
I forced my mouth to close and I walked into the grocery store.
As soon as it gets dark the blondes disappear. They are replaced with tourists. Like LV, the natives protect the whereabouts of the interesting places to go at night.
I'm about to take my third trip to Amsterdam and a native has finally promised to take me somewhere fun.
On Tuesday night the group of us went out and got a little loopy. Afterward we were at our hotel and at 2:00 AM (GMT+1) and meetings in the morning, we realized we should stay in the hotel bar. Shortly afterward the bartender closed down so he could go out.
After quick deliberation we decided to go to one of our hotel rooms. I volunteered mine. I was in a no smoking room.
People smoked stuff.
The next night I went back to my hotel room really late. I couldn't get my key to work. I turned it over and tried it upside down. Finally I went down to the front desk.
"Excuse me, I'm having some trouble with my key"
She took the key from me and put it into a machine. "Oh, mister Jones? Yes, will you be having any guests in your room tonight?"
"Uh, no, uh…. just me"
She gave me a new key. I was so happy to discover my bags still in the room.
Two days later at check out the nights bill had the following items:
Mini Bar - $159
Movie - $14
Room - $250 (yes, that's a multiple occupancy charge.)