Hello Amsterdam!

by zee

Yes I took these pictures on 3rd June, 2011.

Not long ago I finished reading Aidan Chamber’s Postcards from No Man’s Land. Jacob travelled to Amsterdam from London to visit Geertrui, an old lady with terminal illness, to learn about his family and about himself. The book was narrated by Jacob and Geertruit, with the latter telling about her story in the 1940s during WW 2.

The book was a little dull for me as it was narrated quite flatly. What I really like though is how through Jacob we learn more about the Dutch culture, especially their openness! It’s a culture shock to know that bisexuality is a common sight *cricket* Nor was it comfortable to know that Jacob, at 17-years-old, has already had his share of ahem physical experiences *more cricket*

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I was in Amsterdam for less than 24 hours lol almost 2 years ago. It was sunny (yay summer!), literally everyone was out in the streets. It was nearing 8 pm, but the sun was still shining.

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Amsterdam (or Netherlands) intrigues me. On a single main street (don’t know what is the street name, hahaha) you see all sins and vices, some combine with intellectual: casino, sex museum, vodka museum. I was there for less than 24 hours and I was already shocked. How on earth can such a place exist? It doesn’t seem like what a “proper” metropolitan should look like.

(But in fact, none of the European cities that I went to seem like a “proper” / Asian metropolitan. They are filled with such vintage charm, it’s impossible to not fall in love with them!)

Also, on their local guide books, you see advertisements for call girls -_-

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What’s unique about Amsterdam is definitely their canal system. There are bridges and canals and boats literally everywhere. They even look the same wtf. How do they recognise which is yours mine where?

Boat houses line two sides of the canals. According to the tourguide, these boat houses are definitely not cheap at all. Apparently it’s more expensive than land houses (as you can see lining at the side of the canals). However, most people actually own a small boat for convenience. They just tie it up at the side.

Gentlemen in suits with their bicycles!

Amsterdam, being such a flat country, is filled with bicycles (and trams). People there are either walking or cycling or taking the trams. Cars are still common but it’s relatively few. It’s just delicious to see cute guys in suit riding in a bicycle. They look so down to earth lolol.

Dutch are a funny lot, as they seem more lackadaisical than other (stereotypical) Europeans. They just bask under the sun together with a few friends, have a few cans of beers with them and have a good time.

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If we have a boat right here and now, this is what we’ll most likely be doing. Chillin’ out. I hate puns. Damn frickin’ hot la Penang these days -_-

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