No, I will not tell you about the red-light district, illegal immigrants, bicycles, unfriendly people, marijuana, coffee bars, Anne Frank, Van Gogh museums, canals, tulips dykes and rainbow dykes and more bicycles.
I will start off with a little about Scottie Blue, because I shared a seat with him for more than 10 hours from London to Brussels where he got off, and from where I continued around 5 hours more to Amsterdam. Amsterdam, grey, cold and devoid of public toilets. I peed in the park in defiance in grey Amsterdam, because I couldn’t understand why there were no puclic toilets and how in the world the supermarket refused me – a paying customer- to pee in their toilet. I peed in public for revenge, hot pressed revenge.
Back to the present, and I am in Brussels. Scottie Blue just got off the bus. Sounds like a nickname right? It’s his real name, he’s Scottish – a Scottish guy called Scottie. 2 hours into the conversation is when I start to understand his thick accent. I stop staring at him awkwardly every 5th word, and our conversation enters some sort of rhythm frequently interrupted by naps, I conclude he is one of those super smart people who know something about everything including my dissertation which he carefully picks at despite never having studied business (he quit his marketing degree because he felt it was all lies). He talks a lot, he tells me about his music- he’s a percussionist and enjoys playing Brazilian samba ‘ Ka-chu ka-chu ka-ka’ he beat-boxes a little and then tells me about the beer he left brewing under his mum’s watch. He tells me about the American girl he was about to marry but they couldn’t decide where they’d want to settle down. He’s going to Belgium to stay with a lady-friend and her son, he shows me the toy helicopter he bought her son, he speaks to her on the phone in French (though he says his French is poor), I suspect romance but he doesn’t say- instead he offers me a tomato. After 10 hours of talking, I still feel like I don’t know anything about him- he’s one of those people.
Now I am in Amsterdam. Grey Amsterdam. I’ve read the Dutch developed a love for flowers because their country is grey. That doesn’t seem silly anymore. The water is grey and the sky is grey. pooh. The trams are blue and white, but at least the driver- is he a driver or an operator or a cashier- is black and friendly.
I find Amsterdam Central, not a complicated task, and find the right train to Utrecht. It’s an empty train. There’s an English guy on the phone, he talks about lesbians, bisexuals and homosexuals to whoever is on the other side, they are discussing people they know including some girl that he apparently used to have a thing with but who everyone thinks is gay. He has long nails, not really manicured, but feminine and a little nauseating when combined with his drawl as he starts defining some ‘__sexual’ word that I had never heard and don’t remember. This guy is sexually lubricated ah, yaani liberated. That’s what it’s called right?
I finally get to Utrecht, I chill with the tiny rat that’s running around close to my feet, as I wait for my host- a friend of a friend maybe soon to be my friend. She was very gracious to put me up for a night with only 24 hours notice- I mean, hawa wazungu, they are just not spontaneous so I was pleasantly surprised. The best part of meeting her is that she carried me on her bike- blackie style- around the cobbled streets of Utrecht. I hold a kebab (dinner) in one hand and my driver’s handbag in the other and wonder where to put my legs, all the while noticing the sensation of a wedgie in formation.
As he zoomed down the highway, my dad used to warn my siblings and I that if we didn’t work hard we would end up ‘like that man’ he would point as we overtook. I would silently watch and reflect on ‘that man’s’ situation- a watchie (assumption) cycling down Waiyaki Way on his blackie, his wife precariously balancing on the carrier sura ndimu and squishing a baby bundled and suffocating in a blue blanket. My dad had obviously not been to the Netherlands.
I spent the night in Utrecht. There were some nice things to see the next morning when I went exploring.
Then I went to Amsterdam. That’s where I was bored because it’s a little underwhelming. That’s where most museums are expensive to get into, that’s where the guy I tried to ask for help completely ignored me (but first he made eye-contact to assure me that he had heard me and had chosen to ignore me) and most importantly that’s where I was refused a toilet. I had concluded that I hated Amsterdam, and was walking to the train station before I decided to make a detour. Let’s just say that was the best €3 I ever spent. This is what I wrote immediately after:
‘I LOVE AMSTERDAM! I like that that really pretty girl with short black hair and dressed so coordinated but so natural caught my eye and smiled twice. It was…surreal. I like that the music playing right now is on my playlist- well at least a version of it. I like that the guys serving me are Arab, they brought their culture with them, they are laid-back, they stare, they smile and try make sorry maintain conversation in limited english.I doubt they speak Dutch, their accents are too strongly Arabic. I like that Amsterdam is a bit more chaotic than I expected. It’s not structured as properly as London, it’s not regularly shaped, it has mismatched buildings, it has grafitti, huge canals, boathouses and the bikes, all those damn bikes!Even though there are no toilets for the public, eveb though the people seem v.cold- Ams has its charms ❤ :-)’
Like I said, best €3 ever spent. Then I took a few more inspired/ random photographs, saw a whole load of prostitutes that I am sure you have already heard of – there was a midget, that was interesting – and carted off to the airport.