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Archive for July, 2009

…and being a nudist

….and being a female.

Prior to going to the Netherlands I happened to start communicating with a man living in England who is also a nudist (we met on a site geared towards that).  It just so happened that he went to Rotterdam quite a bit on business and, naturally, spent a lot of time at nude beaches in the Netherlands while he was there.  So he offered to be in Amsterdam at the same time as me and guide me to the nude beach at  Zandvoort.

Hurrah!

So no sooner had I returned from said trip when I received a message from yet another man from said site* contacted me.  This time from Sicily.  Now when flipping through my handy dandy guide book on all beaches nude  I didn’t see much for Italy.  But this man lives on Sicily “in a house with a garden” and swims nude quite often in the volcanic waters off the coast.  Can you imagine!  So when he offered to host, I had no choice but to accept.

In my history I’ve met a lot of people (yes, mostly men) online.  And no one ever fails to tell me “be safe!” when I meet them…even some of the very men I’ve met in the same manner!  But I’m of the firm belief that the vast majority of men in the world are not psychotic murderers/rapists/maulers…they just like women.  And I like men.

However, I am noticing a difference here. Nothing to raise a red flag, just a difference in personalities between Brits and Italians, I guess.   With the Brit, there was A LOT of back and forth via e-mail, proper planning, full communication on both sides so that we could both be assured that we weren’t said psychotic murdering, raping, maulers.  With the Italian it went pretty much like this:

Him: hi [one sentence about me and where I live]

Me: hi, that sounds like a really great place to live.

Him: So I saw you travel a lot to nude beaches.  You should come here!

Me: I’d love to.  So tell me more about yourself.  Do you want to know anything about me?

Him: Well I would like to know if you can make it here to go swimming in the volcanic waters with me.

I’m in the process of drawing more info out of him. My instinct tells me he’s not being evasive, just less interested in “foreplay” than the actually getting to business portion.  I tend to be the same way so I sympathize.  Besides, we have a couple months to chit chat because I’m throwing caution to the wind and going.  But not stupidly.  I always tell two people where I’m going and who with…so they have as much info as I do.   If he ends up killing me, at least I’ll have experienced nude swimming in volcanic waters.

*I won’t mention the name of the site because I have a bit of personal information there and heaven knows one of you sneaky bastards will try and find me.  You know who you are!

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Let me start off by saying, I didn’t much care for Paris.

To be fair, Paris was sort of an aside on this trip; A place I went because, well, I was all the way over there and, why not?  To be even more fair, Paris does have sort of a nasty reputation for being full of snobby pretentious people who hate Americans….a fully deserved reputation.

Not that anyone was rude or condescending towards me.  Most people were either neutral or quite nice…with a scattering of that just-can’t-be-bothered blasé that so many of them seem to have.  A few even mistook me for being French!   But there was still this air about them that made me antsy any time I wandered into  a bar or boulangerie or restaurant.  Unlike in Amsterdam where I always felt welcome and at home in any place…even if the staff were stand-offish (can’t figure that one out).

The city itself is as beautiful as all the photos and movies portray it to be.  I took the metro to my hotel.  Thier system there is very user-friendly…even for the non-native speaker.  Of course the city itself is a labyrinth which seems to have been built up before the  terms “city-planning” and “grid” were invented.  But I suppose some people might say that’s part of it’s charm.  I say that’s exactly why I got lost trying to find my hotel.   I was on the “Left Bank” near the Eiffel Tower so, despite my bewildered state, I was privy to some glorious real estate.

I had chosen my hotel because someone in some online review had said there was a bakery right down the street and I had no desire to visit French restuarants and pay French prices. Here’s the thing about Paris, or at least the part I was in,  there is a bakery (boulangerie) on every fucking corner there.  Chances are, no matter what hotel you are in, if you walk two blocks in any direction you will run into at least three.  A lot of those The French are Skinnier Than You Neener Neener Neener books go on about how the French buy their food fresh daily from different markets, also holds true.  On my block there was a boulangerie, a “convenience store”, a fruit stand, a place to buy meats, a wine shop, and a flower shop.  I also had a view of an Italian restaurant from my hotel window where, yes, the Parisians did eat late and linger a long time over their meals.  Me, I stuck to a diet of baguettes (purchased from the snooty boulangerie lady) and Camembert cheese and mimosas (from the civil man at the convenience store)….and still lost weight!  I attribute that more to the walking than the diet.

The street where my hotel was on:

hotel room

hotel room

 

hotel view

hotel view

I was only there for a full day so I did what any tourist would do with only one day in Paris: Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

Eiffel Tower:

From below

From below

From Afar

From Afar

At night

At night

It does this sparkly thing only at the top of the hour.  I didn’t realize this until after waiting 45 minutes, then flying back home and looking it up online.  I caught a glimpse on my way to photograph it at night and it wasrather spectacular.  I did also go up to the top of the tower but the photos are boring.  Go online and do a search…mine were no different.  If you’re going, I suggest avoiding groups of spoiled American teenagers on a tour of Europe…is it any wonder the French hate us?

Then I was off to the Louvre.  I took the metro and got off at the Concorde exit. Let me just say, if you are going, this is the exit to get off at.  Walking out of the metro entry you will see a grand scape that is very reminiscent of the Mall in Washington DC, but lovelier.  I suppose all Capitols have such magnificent and manicured impressive displays.  Paris is no different.  It was quite beautiful. 

Unfortunately the day was rather drab.  I walked through a park  and some gardens and past the ferris wheel to get to the Louvre

You can walk into the pyramid without buying a ticket as the ticket booths are inside underground.  You do of course have to go through security.

Here’s the thing about the Louvre: if you aren’t into art, it’s a chore and a half.  I won’t come right out and say don’t go, because you can’t just go to Paris and not go to the Louvre.  It does have some interesting pieces in it (see below) as well as some famous ones it’s fun to see in person.  But Christ almighty if you don’t have to walk 10 miles through crowds and exhibits of what seems to be the same thing over and over again just to get to those bits.

My favorites:

Ancient Egypt

mummy case

mummy case

mummy

mummy

Then of course there is the Louvre’s most famous piece.  I had been warned before hand to be completely underwhelmed by the size and scope of the Mona Lisa, so the real thing actually impressed me more than I thought.  It wasn’t enough to overcome my complete wonder as to why that particular piece should be more important than the thousands of other paintings that were just as, if not better than, the Mona Lisa.   I mean really…a smile??

Mona Lisa Orgy

Mona Lisa Orgy

This is as close as I could get

This is as close as I could get

 I personally was far more impressed by the HUGE painting that took up an entire wall opposite the Mona Lisa:

Now that is what I call an awe inspiring painting!

Having walked about 5 miles and 6 civilizations I was tired and ready to go back to my hotel.  Unfortunately there appear to be no short cuts in the Louvre.  It’s like they are forcing the culture down your throat in some sort of sadistic Clockwork Orange torture program!!!

I did snap a photo of this on my way out only because it made me giggle like a 13 year old boy:

Yeah, I know...Im a total boor

Yeah, I know...I'm a total boor

By the time I did find my way out…I bought a well deserved crepe.  I wanted to try Nutella because you (apparently) can’t get it in the states easily and all the Europeans (and American travelers) gush on and on about it:

crepe being made

crepe being made

Ok, at this point I’m totally sounding like a boobish annoying ugly American but…it wasn’t all that.  It tasted like sickly sweet chocolate spread.  Maybe the guy, seeing that I was a fat slovenly American, put too much in, but it nearly made me gag and I literally had to squeeze most of it out to enjoy it.

nutella crepe

nutella crepe

Of course, as usual I found the best parts of Paris to be off the tourist path.  After a much needed rest and a bit of boredom I wandered around.  I came across some development sites with gravel out front and decided to get my “sand” from here:

Paris sand

Paris "sand"

I was happy about this spot because right after, walking in a tunnel, I was “accosted” by a man who spoke only French and made it very clear that I was an impressive specimen, basically “gibberish gibberish BELLE gibberish gibberish MAGNIFIQUE gibberish (kissy hand signal thing with fingers to mouth).”  It’s true, when it’s in French it sounds so much more impressive and romantic…sigh.  I smiled and skipped during the rest of my evening constitutional.   And I found a library branch!

library branch

library branch

If there is one equalizer, it’s the public library.  I had no trepidity about walking  right in and perusing the books.  If there is anything that will make me ever want to learn French, it’s Largo Winch comic books. 

Later on I stopped to partake in my usual endeavor of drinking beer at a bar.  I braved a bar where the camaraderie seemed genuine….except for those of us who speak English.  But the bar tender was nice enough when I asked for a beer (gasp! as opposed to wine???).  French or Belgian, he asked.  As if!  Who has ever even heard of French beer.  Naturally I went with Belgian….which is probably why it cost 8 Euros (!!! I know!).  Needless to say I was very much longing for Amsterdam, the land of cheap yummy beer.

I also found an interesting art “exhibit” outside of a school near my hotel.   These were some of my favorites:

For more, go to this website

For more, go to this website

 
 
 
 
My personal favorite:
 
And the next day it was time for me to head back to my beloved Amsterdam.  By this time I had been forced by default to learn how to get a single ticket using the machine.  1. Because, much like New Yorkers, Parisians have zero tolerance for clueless people who can’t quickly get their tickets (here I don’t blame them, once I figured out the system I myself had little tolerance for slow people holding up the line trying to figure it out) 2. because the guy who was supposed to be manning the booth at the Dupliex station was, unsurprisingly, NEVER there, and when he was, was too lazy to be bothered (I was soon to learn this attitude is somewhat of a trend in Paris).
Anyway, I made it on to the metro with 1 hour to spare before my train took off.  An unfortunate series of events, and my own ignorance led to me just making the Thalys to Amsterdam…no seriously, just!   First, I missed the first metro headed to Gare du Nord and had to wait 5 minutes for the next one.  Then when I got there I had no clue how to find the international trains, let alone the one I was supposed to get on.  here’s the thing Parisians: SIGNS, PEOPLE…SIGNS!!!!  So I asked a very nice woman who didn’t speak a lick of English but didn’t give me flak for trying to communicate that way.  After some hand signals and finally the word Thalys she pointed up. 
 
Note to future travelers:
1. Once you get off at the Gare du Nord station…go all the way up if you are looking for the international trains.
2. HOLD ON TO YOUR METRO TICKET.  For some insane reason you can’t get out of the station without one.  I spent 20 minutes figuring this out, after having lost mine.  This forced me to deal with a lazy Frenchman leaning against the gate who simply yawned, shrugged, and pointed off to some amorphous place elsewhere.  Then the “information” booth where another lazy Frenchman sat and stared in all his slack-jawed slothiness for a full minute and finally buzzed me out through the side.  If I sound bitter it’s because I am, being that all this silliness this gave me only minutes to race to the international trains platform, discover that my train was at platform 8, my car was car 16, which meant a full 2 minutes of running to get on as the doors literally closed behind my back.   The French may have a cushy “working” system, but it totally sucks when you are on the receiving end of it.  And you thought Americans were lazy workers!
 
Anyway, I was happy to be back on my way to Amsteram and leave Paris far behind.  It certainly has it’s charms but I’ll be fine if I never go back.

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So, having figured out the Belgian “Coast” Tram system, the next day I ate my 5 Euro breakfast of chocolate croissant, OJ, coffee, and brie cheese, grabbed my towel, had the front desk watch my luggage, and was off to Bredene!

Or so I thought.

You really do have to pay attention to the digital schedules posted at the tram stops.  My first tram took me all the way to Oostende station…and right back to Marie-Joseplein station again. Then I actually paid attention, caught the tram to Knokke and was on the right trail.  Once you get into Bredene there are signs posted that let you know that the Naturiste beach is coming up.  The stop you want to get off at is Bredene Rebaan. 

You will see a sign right across from the stop letting you know you are in the right place.

Bredene naturist sign

Bredene naturist sign

 Once you cross the way, there is a tunnel you go through that has some lively graffiti (or art?) along the walls:

wall art

wall art

For those of you who like to live vicariously…

Once out of the tunnel, you hike along a short trail toward the beach and see yet more signs:

And more signs:

And in case you missed the first 50…more signs:

One can only assume with the many signs and various translations, the Belgians really don’t want you to get lost…or maybe they just think nudists are dumb.

Since it had been raining all morning and, thankfully, just cleared up in time for my arrival, I was not surprised to find this:

Belgian nude beach

Belgian nude beach

Yes, I had the entire nude beach to myself.  But not for long!  No sooner had I stripped down to my birthday suit, when, not one, but two lifeguard trucks sped in to keep watch over me, lest I drown in the sand.  I also had the boys volleyball tournament in the next beach plot over to keep an eye on me.  All in all I felt very secure. 🙂

Stripping off!

Thankfully the Gods of Naturism blessed me with a few hours of sunshine, so I wouldn’t completely freeze my ass off. 

Bredene nude beach view

  One other person did later come to the beach as well but he never made a formal introduction. After a few hours the clouds decided to make an appearance again.  So I was off.  Fortunately I had a bakery full of mini eclairs, cream puffs, chocolate croissants, and crepes, and a bar with great Belgian beer to tide me over until my train for Paris left later in the day.

End note: Being Belgium’s only naturist beach, the beach I was at is usually so filled to capacity on nice days that they are thinking of expanding it.  I will admit that the nude portion is about the size of a football field. At least someone in the world is headed in the opposite direction of most places that want to lessen the amount of space people have to go nude…I’m looking directly at you America!

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 Correction: I think you may need to replace all references to “Dutch” with “Flemmish”. 

After my very enjoyable 3-day stay in Amsterdam I caught the train to Oostende, via Antwerp.  This was my first train ride and because Amsterdam Centraal Station seems to be one of the few places in all of Europe with decent signage (more on that latter) I had no trouble finding my train.

After getting unsolicited* help in Antwerp I made the train to Oostende in no time.

Oostende Station

Oostende Station

It was most definitely a beach town and, had the weather been nicer during my stay, it would have been that much more obvious.  As it was, the clouds were heavy and the weather a tad nippy.  Things didn’t look good for nude sunbathing.   Instead I walked through town, enjoying the sites on the way to my hotel.

I got there and some sort of construction was going on outside the front door.  It was the Hotel Thevenet.  The proprietor didn’t speak English but assumed I spoke French.  We got by, and heck, the place was only 45 Euros a night so who was I to complain.  I signed up for the 5 Euro breakfast just because.  The next day the guy at the front desk did speak English…and was cute and flirty, but more French than Dutch so, eh.

My Hotel Room

My Hotel Room

My Hotel Room

My Hotel Room

 

The thing about Belgium is that it’s like a mix of French and Dutch. In fact they pull the best from both worlds.  They are not snooty like the French, but they do know how to make a damn fine pastry.  On the other hand, the men are just as “intensely observational” of someone like myself. And the beer is fucking awesome!  Belgium is definitely on my to-re-visit list.

Sites from around Oostende:

A gorgeous day for the beach...NOT!

A gorgeous day for the beach...NOT!

Statue near Oostende beach

Statue near Oostende beach

Leopold Park

Leopold Park

Leopold Park in Oostende. This is the front landscaping telling the date and time. Pretty darn cool.

Leopold Park in Oostende. This is the front landscaping telling the date and time. Pretty darn cool.

 

Leoppold Park

 

Stones in Leopold Park

Stones in Leopold Park

The day started to get better so I decided to figure out how to get to the other side of the bay to Bredene where the nude beach was.  My train the next day to Paris didn’t leave until around 3 so I’d have all morning to be a naturist.  I had looked up the Belgian Coast Tram online, and even mapped out exactly where my stop would be.  So I sat on a wall near the beach and waited….and waited…and waited.  The closest thing to a tram was a train looking contraption that was obviously made for tourists.

So to save you a lot of unnecessary, and embarrassing, grief I’ll point out….the Belgian Coast Tram isn’t literally on the coast.  The photo in Wikipedia is misleading. It does pass through coastal towns though.  Which is how I figured out that that “tram” running all through the center of town is in fact the Belgian Coast Tram. Doh!

Anyhoo, I was at a complete loss as to which ticket to get because all the info packets were in Dutch (?).  Fortunately there is a visitor’s center right smack in the middle of town near the BIG Casino.  The lovely woman I met there did her best with English for me.  Again I’ll save you unnecessary grief.  The line is called De Lijn (you’ll see it on the side).  Get a day pass for 5 Euros (you can get this at the Visitors Center).  If you want to go to Bredene, like I did, make sure you check the times listed on the info board and see when the train going to Knokke is.  Some of them only go as far as Oostende Station.  Then you have to get off and get back on again!

Anyway, once I had that figured out, it was too late to go to Bredene anyway, so I wandered around for a place to eat.  And what luck!  I passed by this bakery with delicious looking chocolate croissants in the window.   I don’t recall the name but wander around the Marie-Joseplein station downtown until you see this red sign.

Worlds Best Bakery

World's Best Bakery

The woman inside is slightly more French than Dutch but not enough to be a complete twat.  And she didn’t bat an eye when I asked if that was indeed chocolate in the croissants (note to readers, chocolate in croissants seems to be very popular in Europe…or at least Amsterdam/Oostende/Paris.  I fully plan on starting a campaign in America to get more chocolate in croissants!), or when I decided to order a crepe as well…oh and 2 of those mini eclairs, and, um, 2 cream puffs too!  I don’t even like the last two but they looked so cute and delicious…and I was not at all disappointed.

And wouldn’t you know it, there was a bar nearby to order a beer to go with them.  I’m labeling the following a typical Oostende diet of Belgian beer and French pastries:

Crepes and Stella Artois

Crepes and Stella Artois

Chocolate croissant and Luffe Blonde

Chocolate croissant and Leffe Blonde

 

More Stella Artois and mini eclairs and cream puffs

More Stella Artois and mini eclairs and cream puffs

Yes, I was just that sort of glutton.  Fortunately, wandering around trying to find my hotel earlier in the day, and figure out the tram system earned it for me.   Needless to say I went to be satisfied and quite ready for my day of nude sunbathing in Bredene the next day.

*Here’s the thing.  When I see someone with an obvious lost and wandering look on their face, I offer to help.  Parisians could give half a shit (see next post), but Belgians/Dutch are much nicer that way.

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This is the hotel I stayed at in Amsterdam.  It’s called Chic and Basic and I originally picked it out from Priceline because it seemed Chic and Cheap.  I can’t plug this place enough.  My room was great, the staff was great, the free cappuccino machine was awesome, and they even have a (free) place to check the Internet.  The guests are young but not too young and hip but not too hip.  I knew I’d fit in when I was being shown to my room and the drunken couple on the stairs above me invited me to their room later that night (not that swinging is something that necessarily goes on at this hotel or anything). Seriously, it was only 90 euros a night, which considering the view and location is hella cheap.

My room, with canal view!

The next two days I spent wandering around on my own in Amsterdam, the greatest city on earth! 

First things first.  It happened first in the Houston airport at our terminal.  I kept getting stares.  Then while I was with The Guy it happened even more.  While we were drinking and eating he pointed it out to me.  I told him that I just assumed it was because I was black (this being the Dutch and all), or maybe because I was with him (he’s white).  But no, he pointed out it was because I was “quite attractive”.  I’ll take it.  I guess even in a city with nothing but tall gorgeous leggy blondes a short(er) curvy(er) average(er) brown girl’s attributes will stand out.  Even a raven has to be a refreshing change among peacocks, no? 

Later on I could see that it wasn’t so much hard glaring as intense observation….and it happened A LOT! At least 90% of men gave me the once over.  Of course they weren’t nearly as bold as black men and Arabic (Persian? Middle Eastern?) men who will boldly call at you from their cars.   But white men are always so much more repressed reserved ;).  Before you get the wrong idea about my ego (which is quite healthy thank you very much) I don’t consider myself all that special so I’m assuming it will happen to any half way attractive black female (or non-black female)…so soak it up ladies!  It is a nice little massage to the ego.   It certainly altered my views on blond men…even if it only applies to Dutch blond men. Now if only one of them had been bold enough to ask me to marry him and forget my life in America to come live with him in Amsterdam forever.  But I’ll take what I can get. 🙂 

And so I went through  the days soaking up all the attention, stopping every now and then at various bars to drink beer and watch people ride their bikes.  Bike riding is a BIG DEAL there; It’s far more ubiquitous than driving, and walkers beware about getting in the way of bike paths.  I was planning to rent a bike my second day but it rained all morning.

I started off with the public library which is located on the right of Centraal Station:

Amsterdam Public Library

Amsterdam Public Library

There was a lot of construction going on around the station so it ruined the view of the building

Public Library

Public Library

I wandered through the library was was quite nice. Unfortunately all my photos came out blurry.  But there was a rooftop terrace with a cafe where I had a latte.

Library Cafe

Library Cafe

It was also the perfect place to take a photo (see facebook for those).  

Then, because you know how much I hate planning and touristy crap, I just wandered the city.

Amsterdam street view

Amsterdam street view

Mostly that second day I just drank (good) beer and people watched.  

The third day it rained all morning, thwarting my plans to rent a bike and hit the museums.  So I hit the hotel capp’ machine and lay in bed all day watching the canal and people braving the rain on their bikes and by foot.   Then it miraculously cleared up so I headed out.  Since I’d been lazy all morning and wasn’t sure when the rain would return I didn’t want to spend the money on a bike or public transport.  See, this is why I could stuff my face the whole trip and not gain an ounce!

Anne Frank House:

anne frank house

anne frank house

The thing about the Anne Frank House is, like most of the buildings in Amsterdam, it’s a tall convoluted series of steep stairs, tiny rooms, an odd lay-out, and twists and turns…even more so because it was a hide out with secret places.  Apparently after the Nazis discovered the place they emptied out all the rooms.  For some reason Anne’s father decided to keep it that way for the museum.  I guess I understand the rationale, but it doesn’t do any favors for visitors.  I had no idea what room was what and it would have had so much more meaning to see things as they had been when they were hiding from the Germans.  So the whole thing was confusing and slightly disappointing. 

Then I stepped into Vondelpark for a second before realizing I had more places to visit.  So I snapped a photo and left:

Vondelpark

Vondelpark

Frankly I liked the museum district, which was close by, much better:

Museum District

Museum District

This is where this sign is:

I Amsterdam

I Amsterdam

Now I didn’t actually go into the museums.  I’m not a fan of non-modern art. And even modern art has to be something interesting to get me to fork over my time and money.  I was thisclose to going into the Van Gogh museum but they wanted a certain amount for credit card use.  As for the  Rijksmuseum,  I wish I had because I heard a girl talking about the dollhouse exhibit inside.  So it isn’t just art after all!  Either way, more beer money for me on both accounts.  But I did snap photos of the outside!

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum

 

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

I found a really great pizza place that night and came back to watch the Michael Jackson Concert that the hotel was airing in the lounge for the guests.  This, before the snafu with RailEurope.  Note to readers, if your ticket doesn’t automatically have a reservation…you don’t necessarily need one.  There will be a seat for you.  It took me 2.5 hours and 5 back and forth trips to the ticket counter at Centraal Station and the hotel internet computer to figure this one out.  Last night in Amsterdam: ruined! 

Then it was off to Oostende!

Final tips:

1. The ticket machines for the Amsterdam trains/metro do NOT like ATM/Debit cards.  They rejected mine every time.  And you have to know your PIN in order to use your credit card.  So cash it was at the in-person ticket counters.

2. ATMs for some reason spit out 50 euro bills. You think we hate $20 bills in America? Try buying a 3 Euro beer with a 50.  I sympathized.

3. Bring an umbrella…yeah, even in the middle of summer.

My WTF moment:

WTF!

WTF!

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It was only after confession my history of sins and dropping several blatant hints about wanting to go to the Red District, but alas! I’m but a vulnerable little female, that The Guy finally offered to take me.  So, after taking the train back into Amsterdam, The Guy and I headed out for a night on the town…or at least a specific part of it. We started in a bar that we thought served food. By this time it was 8pm, and still bright as day out (northern hemisphere), and they stopped serving food by then.  We shrugged and ordered two beers.  Then we both had Jagermeister shots.  Then we had two more!    This at least kept us going for the rest of the night.

We then hopped across the street to a little place that served something called Shoarmas.  Since we were already on a sinful track (and on a Sunday of all days!) this was the least of our offenses:

Shoarma

Shoarma

Then the fun got started. 

Even if you never venture inside a show, walking through the Red Light District is a show in and of itself.  There are sex shops galore, catering to just about every taste and fetish. The same goes for the *ahem* live offerings.   The first “lady of the night” we passed was obviously no lady, biologically speaking.  She was sitting in a window sill, happy as you please, and didn’t bat an eye at our puerile giggling.  Everywhere you go there are women on display behind glass doors.  Those with curtains covering them are “in service.”   I will say this, some of them were drop dead gorgeous.  If I were a man and so inclined, I don’t see how I could resist.  In fact, I don’t even switch hit and I was tempted.

Living in England, Amsterdam is to The Guy what Vegas is to Americans…but like 100 times more wicked (and thus 100 times better).  So he’d been to many “Buck parties” (Stag/Bachelor parties) and knew exactly where to go.  There were three places within a block of each other and they varied according price, quality, entertainment, and how close you are to the stage.  I naturally opted for the one closest to the stage.

I forget the name of the first place we went to but once inside I realized my poor choice of dress.  I had been wearing an innocuous summery jumpsuit that day and kept it on that evening. In retrospect it only makes sense that they would have black lighting in these places and I might as well have been a strobe light for how much I stood out.  Being a female to boot, it made me an easy target the rest of the night (not that I minded 🙂 ).  This theater had a stage that was indeed quite close to the action.  It was a small semi-circle get up with a corny backdrop and curtains that closed after each act.   The murals on the wall were quite something else though.  They were of varous sex slave type themes and fun to look at in between sets.

[Warning: Graphic Content]

The acts went as follows:

  1. A woman dancing and stripping, finishing off with a dildo (penetration)
  2. A woman dancing and stripping, finishing off with magical ribbon act (think of those magic acts where the magician pulls the handkerchiefs out of his sleeve in a seemingly never ending stream…now change the originating location)
  3. A couple dancing and stripping, oral foreplay, then sex (this one was fun because she seemed to really be enjoying it)
  4. Two women dancing and stripping, then finishing each other off with a dildo (the weird part about this was the fact that they used a condom on it…the same condom!) 
  5. A couple dancing and stripping, oral foreplay, then sex (this wasn’t as good as the first, reasons for which I’ll point out on MS)
  6. The first woman pulling two boys from the audience (see below) and doing a banana trick…they got their comeuppance.  (it was minor embarrassment. Lucky for them as according to The Guy, they used to actually pull your pants down on stage).

It was during the fourth act that a group of boys came in.  They were young and rowdy and loud and obnoxious and sat in the first row by the stage.  The bouncer had to come and tell them to behave more than once.  They eyed us and asked about where we were from.  Apparently they were riding high on the credit card of the obvious ring leader’s dad because they’d been all over the place.  The Guy rightfully called him out on that and he had the good sense to be embarrassed about it.  Still, getting into a sex club and drinking till you’re smashed on someone else’s dime has to be worth something in life.

During the last set a guy in a Gorilla suit made and appearance.  He freaked me out by grabbing my boob as he passed, not so much from the grab, which all agreed was funny, but from the surprise.  Later he yelled at me to “show [my] tits!”  Don’t worry mom, I didn’t.   Then he sprayed the audience with his “penis” .  It was water.  And that was the show!

We then went to a place called Moulin Rouge…which I’m absolutely positive is decidedly different from the famous Paris venue.  I offered to pay this time around, which worked out well because the guy out front liked me and gave us four free drink tokens.  I was surprised it was cheaper than the first place because it was much nicer inside.  It was packed but we found a place in the first row close to the stage.  Looking at the audience it was quite obvious that there was no ID check at the door, since some of the guys across the stage couldn’t have been more than 16 years old.  This would turn out to be very entertaining later on.

We sat next to a couple from Canada and talked to them between sets.  Once again I was on display with my all white outfit, but felt better because the Canadian woman had made a similar mistake in dressing.  I ordered vodka and jagermeister because the “boys” next to me had it and it looked cool because it glowed green in the lighting.  This show was run by two women which was a refreshing scene, especialy since they were very no-nonsense and pulled a boy out for having the nerve to pull out his cell phone during an act.  Photos are a big no-no.

The acts went as follows:

  1. A woman dancing and stripping, then doing a very skilled act with a lit candle
  2. A woman dancing and stripping, then doing the same act with the ribbon as above. The only difference was her pulling a boy out of the audience and having him pull the ribbon out.  He was entranced.
  3. A woman doing an acrobatic set around a stripper pole, then pulling a boy out of the audience, taking off his shirt and spelling “Dirty Boy” on his chest…without hands…if you know what I mean.
  4. A couple doing the same sex routine as above but with a preist/prostitute theme.
  5. Another banana act.  This one pulled 5 guys and yours truly on stage to eat peices of banana from various body parts.  Mine was fortunately only from her right breast. 🙂

The final guy ended up in a headlock between her legs in what was supposed to be a joke but turned bad when he panicked and grabbed her hair.  After that the show was OVER. 

For more…you know where to go. 🙂

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On July 4th, I celebrated the birth of our nation…by leaving!  I headed off on a long awaited trip to Europe to, in part, taste the delights of naturist beaches on foriegn territory. 

Bye bye Houston!

Let me start off by saying that my Continental international flight did not disappoint.  OK, well the fee based booze is kind of a downer but it’s more than made up for by the 300+ movie options available for viewing so you don’t get thoroughly bored during the 9-10 hour flight across the pond, which is in and of itself boring, being mostly over water and then mostly over clouds.   Food was quite tasty too.

But you didn’t come here for a critique of Continental airlines, so on with the full report.  I met up with The Guy in the Centraal Station as agreed. We both agreed that we look much better in person (blast my unphotogenic genes!).  I left it up to him to guide me to Zandvoort, which is one of three nude beaches I’d learned about in the Netherlands. Basically you take the train to Zandvoort, exit and head North (or go left when facing the beach). The town itself is rather blah and looked almost like a ghost town.  I guess when your country spends most of the year in gloomy rain beach towns have no reason to stay pretty and exciting.  But the weather was halfway decent so there was a good amount of people around.

If you are headed to the naturist section of the beach, wear comfortable shoes.  I had on these snazzy flip flops and ended up with a nice little blister on my first day of vacation!  The walk is a good 30-45 minutes total, part of that over sand filled with sea shells.  This is the pathway that leads towards the nude section, which is a good 20 minutes onward from here:

Walk to Zandvoort nude beach

Walk to Zandvoort nude beach

As per the rules of naturism I couldn’t take too many photos on the actual beach itself.  There were lounge chairs to lie on that supposedly cost 6 Euros to rent.  The Guy  and I opted to lie on our towels on a little dune above the others.  It was an interesting mix of obvious veterans and definite long-time-no-nudism-ers.  I’m happy to report that not everyone was gorgeous and fit. The Guy  had spent the prior week in Cape d’Agde and pointed out that the women there were.  Damn the French and their secret to looking good!  Though I can’t complain, I ate richly and still came back weighing less than I did going…they’re good for something I guess.  But more on that later.

One thing that was a new experience was seeing naked children mixed among the adults. Naturally America would never allow this sort of Abomination but looking at it in action it seemed perfectly natural.  Actually it was rather sweet and enjoyable.  Should my rigorous birth control regime fail me I would happily bring my kids with me to frolic nude on the beach.

There was, conveniently enough, a cafe where you could eat in the nude as well, appropriately titled Adam and Eva. It was too far out for regular beach goers so everyone there was either nude or partially nude (some put on clothes to sit down and because it got rather chilly occasionally).  I snuck a surreptitious photo of it:

Adam and Eva

Adam and Eva

We ordered hamburgers and they were….different.  The meat was odd but not in an untasty sort of way.  They put carrots and cucumbers on their burgers there, and, disgustingly, lots of mayo and ketchup.  No mustard.   While I was there one man kept staring and smiling.  It got so blatant I felt almost as though I should invite him over or something!  It’s good to know people are at least friendly, or at best think I look A-OK when nude.  Any boost to the ego helps.  More on this later as well.

We spent the afternoon varying between freezing, when the sun went behind clouds and the wind got stronger, and burning, when the wind died down and the sun came out.  I think that makes for the best day really, you never get too anything and feel the need to leave.  We spent the time talking, during which I laid bare my past…something which I’m 100% certain had an impact on him later offering to take me to the Red Light District.

It was the perfect lead in to my vacation and a perfect day at the beach.  One thing to note: the seagulls sound like cats getting strangled. That was a new one on me.

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