Sunday, December 17, 2006


Burger Light District

As you can see from the photo below, we stumbled across the not so famous Burger Light District in which various beefy delights were displayed in transparant boxes and looked upon as mere pieces of meat.

Of course, there is also another such district for those with slightly alternate appetites (although I believe the BLD is cheaper), and, whether you're a serial curb crawler or not, it would be a crime not to a least take a fleeting glance, wouldn't it?...

Ironically, it's not even a crime to utilise the female services, nevermind take a sneaky peep. Loitering in Lynchian lit compartments, the incredibly diverse array of talent attempts to lure you into their 'box' (sorry) in order to sell their bodies to earn a crust.

Separated into the main street, alleys, backrooms, and even a sidestreet that encompasses the church (yes, the Lord himself is watching on), these ladies of the night have an early start. Wandering down the canal breathing in the 11am fresh air, Dana and I are shocked to see that the workers have already set up stall - some curtains yet to open, but many have adopted the all too familiar 'come and get me' pose and are ready for action.

Whilst some make the effort to persuade you into the murky depths of despair, others choose to eat their lunch, do their nails or chat on their mobile whilst in full display of the passers-by - not too attractive, I can tell you.

Having to deal with an inevitable flurry of jeers and abuse from drunken lads, the women remain strong and aren't scared to return the insults, even stepping outside of their room to do so. I'll never forget walking passed one street only to catch the end of a heated hooker-customer conversation. "You're not that sexy that you can get it for cheaper", shouts the prostitute as the young male walks away disappointed but simultaneously slightly embarrassed by the daylight insult. Clearly rejecting a discount proposal based upon the customer's supposed 'good looks', the confident hooker casually steps back into her box and awaits her next client, who will undoubtedly be paying the full whack.

What will instantly strike you as bizarre is the wide variety of tourists who frequent the area. Like the pokerroom, society is well represented in the Red Light District. Young lads looking to fulfill a fantasy, greasy old men hoping to get an easy ride, couples voyeuring out of curiosity and families treating it as nothing more than a 'sight to see'. It really is amazing.

Unfortunately, photos of the district are prohibited, predominantly due to the threat of being chased down the street by an angry pimp or hooker, and that wasn't a risk I wanted to take. However, I couldn't resist a quick snap of the amusingly named 'Bananenbar'. What goes on in there, only the imagination knows...

More Sexy Time
I think now would be a perfect time to use our friends the bananas...

Intent on undertaking something slightly more edgier than the usual 'smoke a spliff and gawp at the hookers' routine, Dana and I decided to venture into a 'Live Sex Show'... just to see what it was like. Honest!

At first, we were somewhat shy. Wandering around at the still light time of 4pm, we hesitated before approaching a selection of places - even standing aimlessly outside felt embarrassing. And, after deciding that one place was a no-no due to the ticket office being in full view of the many passer-bys, we came across a 'buy your ticket quickly and head in before too many people spot you' kind of place.

A friendly security guard took our tickets and summoned us into a dark dingy building. A guy in a ticket booth gave us a menacing look and pointed upstairs - he didn't seem interested in conversation.

Heading up the eerie staircase, I do recall thinking, "Is this where we get kidnapped and rogered to death?", but, to my relief, no such event occurred.

Soon enough, we came across a small theatre (a lot smaller than I first thought) in which 2 big black dudes, a couple of middle-aged loners and at least three couples (one Asian) were watching a porn film with raised eyebrows.

Strategically taking the back seats in the corner (and away from any sort of proposed participation), Dana and I watched on as the screen went up, the curtain reeled back and a young brunette lady proceeded to strip off her schoolgirl costume to an Alice Cooper medley.

With the young lass wiggling her rear and fondling her nether regions with a dildo, I'll never forget Dana commenting, "Can you believe it, they're playing 'School's Out'!" Personally, I wasn't listening to the music.

Next up was a young Afro-Caribbean girl, strangely speaking to the manager as she was performing (so unprofessional!). She had a specific area of expertise - not only could she strut her stuff, but she was also in favour of sticking a candle into one of her less visible orifices and lighting it up in front of her entertained crowd. Amusingly, she struggled with the lighter and had to grab another before it worked. Seriously, that was side-splitting.

Finally, it was time for the full show of courtingship (although the ticket seller put it differently). Awaiting the final showdown, I looked on slightly disinterested as a greasy haired fellow got jiggy with the first lass. They started off mouthing bits from Full Metal Jacket before moving onto something less recognisable. It was all very quick and rather tedious. Of course, it was interesting to see a live sex show in action, but it felt very staged and fake and not quite as seedy as I'd hoped. Plus, when the girl mimes 'Me so horny, me love you long time' it doesn't really do it for me.

Nevertheless, as the curtain closed before anyone climaxed, Dana and I felt the urge to clap, which no one else did.

Exiting to the daylight (rather rapidly I might add), I was satisfied that I'd experienced something rather edgier, but disappointed by the overall performance. At €25 each, we didn't get our money's worth, but it's still something to plop into the 'have done' category.

Bottom line, more amusement than arousal, especially when the girl couldn't get the lighter to work. Cheesy

Van What? Remember Who?

Whilst the whacky backy and Red Light District were admittedly top of our 'things to do' list, we had a bit of extra time to kill so decided to sample a taste of some of the less intriguing and throughly inferior cultural aspects Amsterdam has to offer.

First on the list was the Van Gogh museum - apparently Amsterdam's most popular tourist spot.

As a former art historian (I kid you not), this was all very interesting to me, and I vastly enjoyed the exhibition that was on show. This is where Dana tired to ruin my photo of one of the art world's most famous pieces (see 'Sunflowers' below).

To all those who hold a candle for art history, I urge you to visit this gallery if you are ever in Amsterdam. Van Gogh truly is an fascinating artist and there is plenty of information available for those who know nothing about the chap.


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