Amsterdam has carved out a "red-light" district where prostitution is not only legal, but tolerated. I also had a delicious gourmet dinner at Restaurant Anna in the district. After dinner, I figured I'd wander around the corner and see what all the fuss is all about.
At first, I just encountered a bunch of the coffeeshops (where pot is legally sold) and their patrons. The patrons at night seem to be of the first date kind (!) and lots of bachelorette parties arriving from across Europe. I saw a few no-tell motels and condom shops, as well as Asian massage parlors. It's the oldest part of the city, dating from the Middle Ages: there's a lot of cool architecture, as well as narrow, winding roads.
It didn't seem too different from Baltimore's Block, so I started to seek out a cab to go back to my hotel. I was on high (no, not that kind of high) alert, having been warned by locals and my mom about area pickpockets. It was snowy and icy out. I saw a lit alley that was covered with powdery snow leading to a main street. The alley was empty. Surely, the main street would have a cab or two, so I quickly headed down the alley. . . and BOOM! There they were.
In row home type structures with the ground floor fronts replaced by glass, were ladies of the night. They were all kinda standing around in their individual booths wearing bikinis, lit by red and black lights. Since nobody was around and the girls all looked intensely bored, I took out my camera, trying to take a quick pic. All Hell broke out.
One gal started beating on her glass window. I once beat on a glass window like that as a kid, when some neighbor kids were setting off firecrackers on our lawn. I ended up severing my thumb and forefinger . . . thanks to microsurgery, I have 10 digits. The gal yanked down her window shade and suddenly, a bunch of guys appeared -- speaking rapidly in Russian. At first, I thought, "Is this some kind of douchy bachelor party?" Then, the guys started quickly approaching me. I backed up a bit and realized they were purposefully trying to back me into the canal! I had learned that a person dies in the canal every week. F! I blurted out a few things in French, not wishing to reveal that I'm an American. They let me pass and I quickly did find a cab.
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