anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

Amsterdam, etc.

Amsterdam is overrated. Yes, the city is beautiful with its unique architecture and its numerous canals, and I enjoyed the Anne Frank House and the van Gogh museum very much. Still, I think it is sad when a city's selling points include its red light district and its legalisation of marijuana, two things that are distinct about Amsterdam and perhaps the Netherlands in general, but which I find deeply unappealing after the initial novelty wears off. It was interesting at first, noting the difference in the quality of the women in daytime as compared to nighttime (the former women were a lot fatter and uglier) and marvelling over how nonchalant the whole enterprise was with the prostitutes standing by the window like window displays, and how men approached some of the women as if it was a perfectly normal thing, seemingly oblivious to the stream of tourists and their curious eyes (or maybe they got off on being seen like that). Later, as I saw more and more of the same, I wondered about the kind of man that would pay for sex; the kind of man that would pay for sex with a prostitute with obviously fake breasts; and the kind of man that goes to a prostitute on a regular basis. I wondered, too, about the kind of woman that becomes a prostitute, the reasons for doing so, and the kind of enjoyment that she gets out of it (if any). What does it feel like to be paid for sex, and to be fucked by so many different men, even fat and ugly ones? How limited must a woman's options be if she chooses this line of work, and why do I assume that she does this because her options are limited? I saw a fat guy, completely unappealing, talking to one of the prostitutes, and I was unable to stop myself from thinking, "I wouldn't fuck that even for a million dollars."

My friends and I paid 2 euros to watch a peep show for two minutes. The three of us squeezed into a tight, darkened booth, inserted a coin, and was greeted by the sight of a hot girl doing a reverse cowgirl on an even hotter guy. Our immediate reactions were a collective "oh my god" + facepalm combination, and I wanted to get out of there immediately. Not only could I not stop laughing, matters were made considerably worse when I noticed that I could see the faint impressions of the faces of the people in the booths across from us - which meant that there was a good chance that the live sex performers could see us; or more to the point, they could see me and how I was laughing so hard. Suffice it to say that those two minutes were some of the most uncomforable two minutes of my life, and sharing them with two friends made it slightly less strange...but I cracked up again when A leaned against the wall and immediately recoiled, saying, "Maybe I shouldn't do that."

I wondered about the kind of people that got any kind of enjoyment at all out of these things. Lys wondered about the performers, about how they were able to keep it up and for how long; it did look pretty tiring. At least the guy was cute, I guess; but still. Ugh. When the lights came on, we literally got out of there as fast as we could, not wanting to suffer the discomfort even a second more than necessary.

I guess it was pretty much a live porno, but since I don't watch even regular porno, I can't say that I am able to see the appeal. Why watch people have sex when you can be having sex yourself, right? Better still - tape yourself having sex and then get off on that if your imagination isn't good enough. Isn't that better than watching strangers fucking each other?

Other weird things I saw in the red light district:
- A really, really, really fucking fat prostitute in fluorescent white lingerie, her legs spread open, one hand holding her phone to her ear and the other stroking her crotch
- A normal-looking prostitute trying to solicit a random man standing across from her room, saying things like, "Don't worry, I won't give you a heart attack" and the man simply didn't give a flying fuck and just stood there, totally ignoring her

It was definitely interesting. My extreme liberalism doesn't care that it's all so out in the open like that in Amsterdam, but the more sentimental side of me finds it a bit sad that sex is so easily reducible to a mere commodity. Mostly, I think it doesn't matter and that people can do whatever they want as long as no one is harmed in the process and there is informed consent, etc.; but personally, I think sex should be a bit more meaningful than that. Nonetheless - to each of his own. It's just not something that I would ever do (it's possible to pay a prostitute for lesbian sex, right?) and I would not be very kind if I ever find out that the person I'm dating has been to a prostitute.


As for the weed. I got high in the middle of the afternoon, 4 hours before I had to go to the airport, and it was an absolutely horrible experience. We bought a joint of pure marijuana in a coffee shop plus a space cake (disgusting-tasting chocolate cake with weed in it) and shared a third of it between the three of us. I had about 5 drags of it in total, which amount should be adjusted according to the smoke that I didn't inhale as I was very bad at smoking (still am) - in other words, I didn't really have that much. A and Lys had more. Lys was the first one to collapse; she had her head on her arms folded against the table. A kept on trucking initially, but even he gave up after a while.

As for me, I could not believe how terrible it tasted. It stung the back of my throat as I swallowed the smoke and it left a very bitter and unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth. When the pot finally took effect, I felt like everything moved twice as slowly. I tried moving along to the music in the cafe and it was a terribly sluggish effort. A while later, we managed to haul our asses to a kebab place where we had some food, after which A and Lys promptly fell asleep. I didn't have as much as them so I managed to stay awake, but not without considerable effort on my part. I wrote this on my phone:

3.36pm Amsterdam

Got high. Dance music still sounds like shit. Food suddenly tastes amazing, even bland ordinary ones. Smoke stung the throat. Smoke stank. Tasted awful. Feel so sleepy and drowsy. Weird feeling. Genuinely don't see the attraction. We look like fools now, sitting around the table, slumped and silent. So obvious what's going on. Says something about me and the Foucaultian effect of home country's legal system, whatever, maybe, that I feel really embarrassed.

Finally understand why stoners are portrayed like that in movies.

This isn't helping my writing at all. Feels like it impedes my thinking. This is probably the laziest drug habit. No wonder it's banned. Leads to unproductive labour which is bad for economy, etc.

I wish I had a bed right now.

That pretty much sums it up. It was probably also the weed that made me sleep on the train to the airport, then on the plane almost literally the minute I sat down in my seat, then on the bus back to my flat from London Stansted. I was just so tired. I wonder how Lys managed to get back to Germany but at least she had four hours to recuperate while A and I had to get on the train, then get on the plane, in that horrible state. It really wasn't fun. Maybe I would have actually enjoyed it if I didn't have a plane to catch, but even then, the taste was so bad that I am really in no rush to try it again.

I'm also quite serious about my theory of why marijuana is banned. It makes people lazy. It incapacitates people. It slows them down. It is unproductive. Cigarettes don't seem to have the same effect on smokers so it's okay for those shit to be legal. Or something. I'm not in the mood for serious thinking at the moment.


I did enjoy meeting A's friends from law school, a couple who met in law school and then got married. They invited him - and by extension, me and Lys - to dinner at theirs, which was in a small town called Leiden exactly 31 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. The guy showed us the Leiden law school and it was so beautiful. It is situated along a canal which means that students can rent a boat and row leisurely along the canal whenever they pleased; on top of that, the library is beautiful and definitely put the LSE library to shame. It looked like a museum with its pretty, classical-looking orange-light table lamps, and it was actually quiet and looked conducive to study in. The LSE library, in contrast is damp, noisy, ugly and all-around gross. Lys chose the LSE over Leiden when deciding where to do her LL.M. and she couldn't believe what she passed up. It was pretty funny.

Dinner was amazing. Ever since lunch at Aditi's a couple of months ago, I have fallen in love with home cooked Indian food. It tastes so fresh and healthy and clean. Too bad it's too complicated to make. Too bad I'm too lazy to learn.


The van Gogh museum was great, as was the Anne Frank house. It was a bit surreal being in those rooms, even if I didn't quite remember most of the book which I read when I was 12. I was really tired that day though; I took a morning flight and had to get on the National Express bus at 3.56am and so I was kind of falling asleep while walking through the Anne Frank house. Still, it was fascinating to see how they lived, especially since I read the book when I was young.

Van Gogh museum - so fascinating to see his development as an artist. It was very informative too: they explained how he had to work on getting his proportions right because he apparently didn't have a natural eye for it by using this ruler thing, and also how he re-used old canvases by painting over them. I also really liked that the museum juxtaposed van Gogh's paintings with those of the artists that influenced him, including Japanese artists. I never knew that he was influenced by Japanese art...then again, I never knew too much about him except that he cut off his ear.

We wanted to go to the national museum but had no time. I had to wait for A to get up on the second day, and after we finally left the hotel at noon, he had to wait for me to have lunch. As a result, we started the day really late and didn't have time for the national museum. What we had time for, though, was this stupid Heineken Experience that A dragged us to which cost more than Anne Frank and van Gogh (18 euros) and was worth maybe 5 euros. A complete rip-off.


A note on the accommodation: It was shit. A was too busy partying to book accommodation and I was too busy flat-hunting and moving, and so I booked us a room literally the night before we were due in Amsterdam. The hotel - more like a hostel - was called Hotel My Home. It was not at all homely. I booked a room for three and there was enough space for three lousy bunk beds and a wash basin. The shower and toilet were shared between the rooms on the third floor - it was just us the first night, so we didn't have to share, but the rooms were occupied on the second night, a fact which I confirmed when I entered the loo and saw that it was not flushed. Lovely.

The stairs were super narrow and steep. Our room was on the top floor. To say that it was challenging lugging my suitcase - a pretty big one - up the stairs would be an understatement.

All in all, it was the worst hostel that I have ever stayed in. Granted, I never did stay in hostels much, but still. But still. Never again.


I may have spoken a bit too soon though. Arnaud is going to drive me to Montenegro from Normandy sometime next week and he's made it pretty clear that this is not going to be a trip within my comfort zone. He asked me if I have ever backpacked. He said that I can only bring one luggage (though it has to be noted that he didn't specify the size of the said luggage). He is going to bring a tent.

I am excited but also scared. We were in the library today after an awesome (for me, at least) dim sum lunch and he said that I should take an overnight ferry to Normandy so that we could save time, and then he asked me if I have ever backpacked. I said, "Why are you making me suffer? I thought you were suppose to be my boyfriend." Pout.

It would be different. It would be interesting. I would probably feel at some point that I'm too old for this roughing-it-out thing, but I would also probably feel like I am living life the way that it should be lived - taking a risk, leaving my comfort zone, going off the beaten track, forming memories in 9 days that I will remember and recall fondly (hopefully) for the rest of my life when I'm working again, wherever I'm working, and old, and unable to do these things anymore, stressed and with no time, with time taking away everything that I hold dear (my youth, my looks, my youthful looks). I will remember this trip and it will be a reminder that I was young once, and that I did things, and that I didn't live a life in vain.

Sounds like a pretty good way to end the summer to me.


I cooked dinner for Arnaud today. Oh my god. I bought new salt after I moved to this new place and totally didn't know how to use it so my fish was too salty; I bet his was too. He asked for potatoes (how French of him) so I cooked potatoes for the second time in my life - pan-fried them, which was not as difficult as I had thought.

He was very sweet; he said that the food was delicious. What a cute liar. He got to my place pretty late so the food was cold when he got here and I nearly killed myself with my over-salted fish, literally cringing at every bite. He said that I passed his potato test...what the hell. He's too cute.

He's currently sleeping on my bed where he's been ever since he was done with dinner, which was like 2.5 hours ago. Amazing.


Lastly, English Library Boy is the weirdest weirdo to have ever lived. He texted me a few days ago saying that he was finally back in London. I saw that and was like, wtf okay I don't care? and didn't reply. A day later, I received another text from him while I was in Amsterdam asking how I was. I had the same reaction but felt bad about not replying, so I texted back something generic when I got back to London (Good, you? etc). He responded within two hours and said that he moved to his new flat, that I should go over and asked if I could swim (I remember he said that his new place has a pool).

Er. Okay. I replied a day later: "Congrats on your new flat. :) Just so you know, I'm dating someone now whom I really like. Sorry if this sounds lame but it would be nice if we could be friends."

That was one of the hardest text messages that I have ever composed in my life. I even tried to google how I should tell a guy that I was no longer on the market (obviously it didn't yield anything useful). I was gonna ignore him at first but I felt bad about it and thought that even weirdoes deserved an explanation, which was why I decided to send that message. I didn't expect a reply at all, but woke up to a text message from him sent at 2.46am (obviously drunk texting): "I don't mind if you have a boyfriend, I'll be a MANfriend." (His comma usage...really.)

Honestly, you drop off the face of the earth for a month, blew me off before that with barely an explanation, and expect me to still be available after you got back from New York? Seriously? No one is too busy for someone he really likes; more importantly, no one is too busy for ME. Did he think that I was without options, that I would sit around and wait for him to have time for me, for a MONTH during which there was zero communication from him? What was he thinking? I obviously dodged a bullet here.

Guys like him make me appreciate Arnaud even more. He treats me like I should be treated; he adores me; and he's so sweet. It's not always smooth-sailing and I get annoyed sometimes when he's a bit overbearing and I've got on his nerves too when I was PMSing and being rather princess-y; but he's wonderful all the same. I can't wait for the trip!
Tags: arnaud, europe, guys, london, personal, travel

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