How is everyone doing? Hope things are going good. I have been busy like crazy, had a presentation last week, another one on Thursday and another next Tuesday! I decided come whatever, I am blogging tonight, even if I cannot read posts.
I went to Amsterdam during the winter break and boy, was it an adventure! It started with the bus, the buses from my house to the train station stop working at 9.48pm on a week day. We were meeting at the station to take off at 2.00am. I didn’t want to walk alone at mid-night besides, it’s quite far, so I took the bus and beagn the waiting game. I killed time with an apple cider at a pub with like-minded individuals going on the trip.
We finally gathered everyone and set off to board the bus only to discover that it was running late. We were standing in the middle of the expressway in the middle of the night with no shield from the cold! It was 0 degrees! The bus showed up at 3.00am and we set off. I was dozing off after cornering 2 seats for myself in the from of the bus and getting used to the usual chatter among people bound together on a trip when the first wahala started.
I heard WTF? I woke and smelled smoke, and someone went ‘the bus is f****** and the driver is still driving?’ The smoke was so much we could smell it in the bus with all the windows shut against the cold! And the people at the back could see smoke coming from the bus. The driver finally stopped and we were ordered off the bus, it was 4.10am. We had to wait for the police to set up the emergency cones as we were between borders on the Highway and no one was allowed to get into the warmth of the bus. The temperature had further plummeted of course as I was shivering and everyone was complaining. People had to pee but the bus didn’t even have toilet facilities, it was locked, someone said ‘hit the bushes’ but it was ridiculous as we were on a highway, no shoulder on the road to even stay in clusters! We had to make a single file as it was a bridge and the little space on the side of the road was very narrow. I have never heard so many swear words in a single night before.
We got back on the bus around 5.00am when the emergency signs had been erected and proceeded to wait for the replacement bus. It came 3 hours later. Set off again at 8.00am, badly pressed and quite grumpy we were the motley crew . We found a rest stop after 2 hrs and everyone got about their business. Arrived Amsterdam at about 4.00pm. School trips, you gotta love them!
We got to the hotel/hostel only to discover the fool that organised the trip got two rooms only to be co-shared between both sexes! I promptly objected that the smaller room be taken by the girls and I could see the hesitation on the guy’s face, I ignored him, I am a full grown adult and no way would I share a room with over-grown kids still exhibiting traits of youthful exuberance. They are undergrads after all! Still have the boorishness and manners or lack thereof attached to males of that class.
We girls had our way but some unlucky girls had to share the other room with the guys. I told them they could bring their mattress and bunk with us. We rested a bit and met in the lobby for what they called a visit to the ‘coffee house’. Innocent enough until you have been to Amsterdam and discovered that coffee houses do not have the same meaning. These are cafes where marijuana is sold and smoked freely! Innocent me! I have never inhaled so much smoke. It’s everywhere. The laws are not like in the UK or France where smokers go outside, they can stay in the room and do it. I responded with having allergy attacks! So severe my eyes were almost swollen shut!
Another pet peeve of the trip was, the ‘leader’ kept giving information in French, it was so annoying considering that half the people on the trip do not speak it and he manages English quiet well in school environs. As eloquently pointed out by a friend, since the guy had been smoking weed, all his language capabilities had been disconnected, and he can only resort to his native language!
The guys were principally there for the smoke. We meet in the mornings and go to a museum after that everyone is left to their own devices. I like the city away from the smoke and red lights. It’s a bicycle city. There are thousands of them everywhere. My friend almost got hit by a tram too. Between them and cycles, it was all very crazy.
The food is great! I love their Vlaamse fries, so thick and long, just how I like my fries. And the waffles and huge street pizzas, doughnuts etc. The foods are available 24/7 on most of the streets. Even in the 'coffee shops' you have muffins (made with hash), brownie (made with weed) etc proudly displayed in neon signs! They also have fab restaurants. Even the silly hotel we stayed in, the beef of the burger was so huge the bread only covered half of it. Some of them had silly names, space cakes, space brownie, anyway I assume by the time you finish onhe, you will be in space! This aptly named.
I also saw girls (in minuscule undies) in live windows, calling men and the bars are open all days and hours of the week and the girls are there in the windows even during the day. It really is a bustling city. We went to the Marijuana museum, the torture museum and the sex museum. We also saw the floating flower market. I went on the boat round the city too. I have never had so many touristy activities in a single trip!
There were also quirky quotes everywhere such as, 'drink beer and save water, do your part to save the environment' and ' Don't drink and drive, instead, smoke and fly! It was a lesson!
We went to the Anne Frank museum and it was a very sad experience for me because I could not imagine the persecution such a young girl must have faced during the Hitler era. She was just 15 and forced to hide in an upstairs room with her sister and the people in the office downstairs were not even aware of their existence! They were eventually betrayed and sent to the camps where they were killed. The only good moment was seeing a live Oscar won by one of the actresses in the Film based on her life. We were not allowed to take pictures though.
On getting back to school, a lecturer asked what we did for the winter break, I sat in front so I had to respond and told him I went to Amsterdam, his response? Ha you went there to smoke!
So there goes my trip, many more memories but this post is long enough already and I can’t even include the gist about the stalker I have managed to acquire.
The temperature is going up yipeeeeeeeeeee! It will be 15 degrees tomorrow, I will brave it and wear open toed flats, about time. Enjoy the rest of the week. Will be back after heavy school schedule.