Lost in Amsterdam

I am choosing to go against the grain by skipping around a bit and heading straight to summarizing Amsterdam. Alyssa and I arrived, backpacks strapped to both our front and back. Like usual, passersby’s stared in disbelief at the amount of luggage both of us were able to lug around ( let me tell you, I dread every airport trip for the very reason of how many kilos I must endure when switching locations). We waited at Starbucks for Jessica, a friend I had met in the Philippines, to arrive and the ‘dynamic duo’ to then transform into ‘triple threat’.

For you to really understand just what I had anticipated Jessica’s arrival to mean, I will summarize how we met and then how the fates sealed our relationship by bumping into each other two weeks after our first encounter. So there I was, taking a boat tour with two friends from Mad Monkey, the hostel I was staying at in Boracay. Half-eyed open, we trooped through the beginning of the tour, excited that we finally made it away from the raging parties that overtook Boracay each day and night to actually explore the island. Jessica and her boyfriend ended up being on that same boat tour and both of us being chatty, we began to mingle. The tour was supposed to take us to a few islands, come with a few free beers and I was told that vegetarian options were served for lunch. This is how the tour actually went: we waded in the water then headed to a trashed island where those ‘free beers’ ran out and no vegetarian options were served. We basically spent two hours on this trashed island and to prevent death from boredom, the crew and I did our own tour of the island which  included photoshoots on a wrecked boat, a stroll along the pier and a walk along the beach. Our next stop, which was Ariel’s point had involved cliff jumping which we were all forced to pay even more money despite having had the worst tour so far. We unwillingly paid the fee and went up in order to finally do something productive (like jumping a 10 meter cliff). When we walked up the island to the jumping point where I noticed the booze cruise was there, a party boat hosted by my hostel and which had a high attendance rate of fellow friends from the hostel. Sharing the horrors of a boat tour gone wrong with friends from the party boat, we decided it would be best for me to hop off that boat and onto the party boat to make up for troubled times. I found the owner of Mad Monkey, told him of my experience in which he then offered to have the crew and I hop boats and party well into the sunset . So there we were, the five of us now hopped onto the party boat, blasting music, dancing, screaming at other passing boats to show our enthusiasm for being the loudest and craziest bunch. The amount of fun we had disregarded any annoyance of that day, all of us just embracing the night.

After that night, however, Jessica and I didn’t see each other. I thought that may have been the end to the start of a beautiful friendship. Flash forward to two weeks, me chilling on another island called El Nido sipping Margaritas with some friends and I hear from the corner of my ear Jessica’s voice. I drop my drink immediately, looked to my left to find her sitting on a bean bag at the same restaurant just meters away. I run with full force, tackling her out of happiness knowing that this had not been a coincidence but fate that we two find each other and seal our friendship with a Facebook add. We once again danced the night away  (or until 9pm when my bus came to take me to the airport to fly to Bali). Of course, her and I can’t do anything mediocre se we head to a club where a band had taken a break from playing live music and we took over the show by showing our crappy drumming and singing skills. Completely ignoring the security trying to kick us off the stage, we drummed away happy as can be.

So there you have it, why I just knew complete insanity was in store for Amsterdam. She walked out of the airport and we immediately rushed to give each other a hug. The triple threat was now in session! We headed off in an Uber to our hostel that was situated in a cute little neighborhood filled with restaurants. With no time to waste, we got dressed a bit and headed off to see the notorious Red Light District where prostitutes stand in windows seductively trying to lure in customers walking by. We peered into each window, amazed that they all resembled Barbie’s in a way. The crowds were pouring and shoveling into bars and peep shows along the strip, but the triple threat decided to take a more educational approach by heading to The Sex Museum. We walked through rooms of interesting sketches, statues and posters. The museum ended with a snap with the giant golden penis and a picture in the torture chair.

We headed home shortly after because we had an early rise the next morning to get in some touristy activities in before the madness was unleashed. We headed to Van Gogh Museum, strolled the canals and went on a free walking tour where we got to go to the only condom shop in the world, a ice cream parlor where tourists get to sniff cocoa powder of a mirror for fun and hearing the history of buildings like the world’s first stock market. When the tour ended, we “embraced” what Amsterdam had to offer for the next two days. From bar hopping the Red Light District, to coming back at 4 am and having a picnic in the middle of the hostel room floor with phone lights illuminating the cheese and hummus while three roommates snored away, to getting completely and utterly lost sitting in a park then paying for a bike taxi to head to Lost in Amsterdam, a coffee shop suited for the amount of lost we were feeling. We definitely embraced Amsterdam completely.

If you think the story ends there, it doesn’t. As we were Lost in Amsterdam, we were due to switch our luggage from a storage area at the train station to a friend of a friend’s house. Still feeling lost, we pulled our heads together, gathered our luggage and hopped in a taxi to our new home. Wouter called from the window as we arrived and came to open the door to welcome us into his house. Bikes lined the front hallway, a blanket hung from the entrance to the stairs we were to ascend to his apartment. We pushed the blanket to the side, walked up the stairs and was immediately mind blown by his place of residence. Art work was on every wall, a DJ boot where he already had music playing was carefully crafted on the side of the living room, a secret cabinet that opened to reveal a hidden room with a pool table, another soundproof room for recording, a bar hanging from the ceiling to swing from and two awesome friends already waiting to meet our acquaintance. All three of us ran through the house, recording the wonderland we had just discovered.

When we calmed down from the excitement of seeing his amazing home, we headed for dinner, another picnic night including hummus, cheese, bread and meat. After our long day, it was now time to begin faze two  (or maybe three at that) of our day. All of us pregamed before heading to a club just a three minute walk away. With a car dangling from above the dance floor and a skate park behind the DJ boot, I watched as the Dutch all got down to some 80’s vibing music. I looked around and paused at so many moments, feeling as though I truly went back in a time machine watching the moves and wear of all the people in the building. That party had ended, but our night was not even close to ending. Wouter gathered what he thought to be a few people for an after party at his house. Our main group headed back right away, cleaning up a bit for the new guests. Wouter got the music ready and a projector shot moving mandalas on the wall for a visual experience. As I was washing dishes in the sink, Alyssa goes to the kitchen window and sees a crowd of 20 people gathered outside the door. That small party was about to be a bit larger than we all had thought. The next thing you know, people are pouring into the place, dancing, greeting one another. A person walks around the room with a hat taking donations for a beer run. Wouter organizing a driver to deliver the booze for an unexpected party. That night was complete mania and lasted until 9 am, where we then all snuggled together, completely exhausted from basically what was two days worth of activities crushed into a day.

Jessica woke up for her flight and headed to the airport while Alyssa and I slept, both us continuing the party of Amsterdam for another few days. We finished our days with a tour of the Anne Frank House, a few other museums and a trip to Keukenhof Gardens where beautiful flowers grew everywhere.

Before leaving, I even got the pleasure of meeting up with another member of ‘the crew’ I spoke about earlier during my adventure in the Philippines. Marthe met me the night that Jessica left. Her and I stuck together for our time in the Philippines because of our connection. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting another human being who’s main priority was to have a good time. That was exactly what we two did every single day. The nights out in Philippines where we lost each other, would always work out by us re-finding each other and acting as if we hadn’t seen each other in years. You can say we were a bit more enthusiastic than the typical pair that had only known one another for mere days. Instead of dancing that night, we chose mainly to sit and talk, getting up only for another tequila  shot as we both caught up on what the past three months without each other had been like.

It’s funny how things work out. You cross paths with complete strangers and with a few common traits, you feel instantly connected to one another. Maybe its those exact traits that draw us together again, wanting those commonalities to shine once more with such ease.

 

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