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Archive for the ‘Netherlands’ Category

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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One of my planned trips next year is to Amsterdam.  I know a fellow there and he promised to show me around.  Originally the plan was to take the train to Paris.  Now that I’ve been introduced to nude beaches I’m not so hot on the idea any more. Instead I’m thinking of hitting the beaches of the Netherlands.

Of course my handy dandy nude beach guide informed me that the Netherlands has more nude beaches per capita than any other European country (or something like that).  Considering Amsterdam, is it any wonder?  Since I have no doubt my friend’s willingness to serve as host does not particularly extend to taking off his clothes in public, I was at a loss as to how to get there on my own.

God bless the European’s love, or perhaps just need, for public transport.  I found this site, which pretty much tells me how to take the train to several nude beaches.  The only problem now is how to fit it all in!

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