Monday, February 04, 2008

I'm in Holland, yo.

The trip so far has been WONderful. Jim and I arrived at around 8:30am Sunday morning (that's 2:30am Lafayette time). We spent the whole day walking and driving around. He's been here twice before, so he was able to get us around with no problems. He's amazing when it comes to traveling. Once he's been a place just one time, he can find his way around again.

So as of just yesterday, Jim and I saw the following things in Amsterdam (where we spent the majority of the day):

-The Anne Frank House-it's now a museum. This was a powerful, tear-jerking experience.
-The "Old Church". It's right in the middle of the Red Light District. And still an active church!
-An old castle (I can't remember the name). It was gorgeous.
-The Sex Museum. Yes, I went to the sex museum. I had to. I was in AMSTERDAM. It was hilarious.
-And of course...the Red Light District. We walked around shortly after dark, so it wasn't as active as it could have been, but it was already totally hoppin. Here is my observation: it's not as racy as some people believe. Yes, there are prostitutes all over, but they're not by any means "on the corners". They are more like living advertisments. They stand in their doors and windows (which have red-lights over them, henceforth the name), and the men simply choose whether or not to buy some time with them. And everything is negotiable. I saw two men negotiating at two different times. I also saw three men leaving rooms at different points. If their curtain is pulled in their window or door, they are working. If not, they stand there in skimpy little pretty things advertising. And believe me, it's not like a Victoria's Secret catalog. Most of the women I saw were pretty. Only a couple were "hot". And there were several...bigger girls. I guess there's something for everyone. That's probably the idea. There were also several different races. Like I said...

Another misconception about this district is the concentration of women. This area is actually several blocks in size and contains a lot of actual buisneses other than the women. Yes, some are geared toward sex (toy shops and sex shows), but there are actually totally normal busineses within the area. The women are spread out over the area (and more concentrated in the alleys) There's even a whole block or two that is a local China Town.

You have to take into consideration that, within this culture, this is normal and has been for several hundred years. The only people walking through with any sort of fascination were tourists. One has to walk through the area to get to pretty much any area in Amsterdam, and not a lot of people drive, so it's a part of daily life here.

It made me a bit sad to think of any woman making sex her career, although I did not see a single woman who looked like they didn't like what they were doing. I guess that act just means so much to me...

Well, I'd better get going. I must eat something. The little one is kicking me. Either he's hungry or just...well...bored.

I'll update again soon!!


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