Staying on a boat on a canal in Amsterdam is like living in a fish bowl. Canal tours go by and people look and take pictures. The shower is on the street side of the boat. There is a big picture window in the shower. You literally see people walking by as you shower. I know I could close the blinds but it is kind of a pain in the butt. Once the window steams up a bit it is more difficult for people to see in. Really, someone would have to intentionally stand on the edge and look down to see anything. I suppose if someone wanted to work that hard to see in then who cares. I would just prefer people don’t take pictures.
In my experience Amsterdam is a rather voyeuristic city. People leave their curtains open and live their lives like no one is watching. Or maybe they are living their lives knowing people are watching.
I haven’t been to the Red Light district, yet. We did go by some red lights near the centre. Although, the red lights were on their weren’t many women in the windows. There was one woman sitting on her stool in the window twirling her hair smiling as people walked by. Like so much of the Amsterdam I have experienced so far, the windows are designed for people to watch and look. The difference is the woman who lives on the corned isn’t necessarily inviting anyone in. The women in the windows with the red lights are definitely inviting you in…for a cost.
It was a beautiful Sunday yesterday. We slept in as we were up until very, very late. I went for a little walk and took some snaps with the little camera and then pulled the big camera out for some other shots. It is rainy today so I will probably leave the big camera behind.
Much later in the day we went for a LONG walk. We went back down to the centre. I wanted to get those little pancakes again. I just can’t describe them well enough to do justice for how delicious they are. As we walked by the Tuschinski movie theatre near the Amstel Canal we noticed a large crowd of people. There were photographers snapping photos. Then a car pulled up and the crowd roared and flash bulbs went off. Another car pulled up and the crowd roared again. I had no idea who it was. It was a Dutch actress. Then moments later another car pulled up and a tall man stepped out of the car. The cameras flashed again and the crowd went crazy. It was Vince Vaughn. He was here for the premiere of Couples Retreat. Just recently I posted on a friend’s Facebook wall that I always think it is great when I see actors out where I am. Living in Los Angeles it happens a lot. It kind of gives me the sense that I am doing the right thing. That may sound silly but I’ll take any reinforcement I can get that it isn’t time to give up my dreams. It was perfect that I travelled around the world and found myself just steps away from Vince Vaughn. Sure I wasn’t here for a premiere of my movie. But there was something calming and great about it.
We walked by some art galleries. Some of the artwork, to me, was like something that was done in a kindergarten with finger paints. Some of the artwork was disturbing. In one window, someone had taken to fawns, cut them in half width wise and then sewed them together. They were hanging together as one, like a siamese two-headed dear, their faces sweet and innocent. There was a fabulous pig statue in one gallery window that I coveted. The good news is all the galleries were closed. No purchases were made.
We finally ended up at the restaurant that Sima has been wanting to take me to. The restaurant is called De Zotte. It is a Belgian pub and restaurant. Like most of Amsterdam it is small tightly packed inside. After the long walk we ordered beers. There were so many to choose from. They didn’t have the Dutch beer I have grown to love so I ordered something that had a great name. The beer was called Delirium Tremens. It had 9% alcohol and tasted lovely. After half the glass I felt a bit light headed but figured it was just from the long walk. After the first bottle, I knew I was drunk. One bottle was enough to make my head swim. We had dried Belgian beer sausages and bread with pate. After the second bottle we ordered dinner. Sima asked if I wanted to split a meal. I should have. I left nearly half my steak. The fries were great!! I stepped outside my comfort zone with food and tasted Ben’s venison stew. I was surprised I liked the way it tasted. I would never order it but it was good for me to try something new. We also had some pate, again, good for me to try something new that I NEVER would eat at home. The third beer with dinner was probably too much as the first half of the walk back to the boat I felt pretty awful. The second half of the walk back was delightful.
As we got close to the Anne Frank house on the walk back, we saw a big police action of sorts. Police lined the street on both sides. They had police vans and police on motorcycles. It seemed like they had a blockade but they were still allowing cars through slowly and they allowed us to walk. There were a lot of people standing around watching them too. Sima asked someone what was going on and they said they were there to keep some squatters out of a building. It didn’t make a lot of sense that they would need that many police for something like that. Also, they way they were lined up it didn’t seem like they were keeping people out of a building as much as they were blocking a street. In the US I might have asked one of the police, “hey, what’s going on?” but here they seemed very serious so, my curiosity will never be satisfied.
Sima needs to go spend some time in her salon today. I was thinking about going to one of the museums but have decided to go to the Anne Frank house. I wasn’t going to. I have walked by twice. I find just being at the building to be incredibly moving. I honestly don’t know how I will do being in the house. It may be too much for me. I suppose that’s the point. The point is to feel something. The point is to be moved. The point is to remember.