1) The prostitutes are REAL. PEOPLE.
And real women, to boot! I think. Now that I'm looking back on it, I can't be sure. I went to a club called Church this Sunday in London and bore witness to what I'm convinced was a post-opp tranny stripper. I'm not hating. I'm just realizing now that I have no evidence to prove that any of the Red Light District strippers a la Amsterdam were actual ladies. OR actual people! How can I be sure they're not robotic, bikini-clad orifices regulated by one big control room in the Dutch capital building!!?
So actually, this list is now the 9 things I learned in Amsterdam.
2) Bring your allergy medication.
Because the youth hostels are full of cats.
And they do not haz a gud tempurrr.
3) Bikes count as real traffic and will kill you.
Anyone who knows me knows that crossing the street is not my forte. In Amsterdam, you don’t only have cars to battle, but also cyclists in separate bike lanes on every street. It’s interesting because in cities like New York or London, where there is only the occasional cyclist, you sometimes forget that moving bikes are like, ya know, DEADLY when impacted with a stationary object. But in The Netherlands, it’s not uncommon for your bicycle to double as the family car, so when you see a dad riding a bike with his wife on his lap, two kids in the basket and a dog skitching along behind, eventually your brain rewires itself to get the hell out of the way.
4) Dutch is super convoluted.
I think it’s a little like Gaelic, where in certain cases a subject and predicate will join to make one word. But really, what does “ingstijden” add to the meaning of “open”? Really!?
5) Oh my God, clogs.
I’m convinced that no one actually still wears them, but they are everywhere.
More comfortable than Crocs, they go with any outfit and provide great ammo when stepping on the feet of children in underground transport systems. They'll also make you look significantly less ridiculous when breaking out into spontaneous Scandinavian dance. Or more ridiculous. Either way I'd say it's a win-win.
6) The national monument is a giant dildo.
How’s that for national pride?
7) Pancakes are great in Holland.
I ate quabillions of these things. Until I almost caught diabetes from one.
8) The tram is free!!
No it’s not. But no one’s checking either. It’s AWESOME. You buy a ticket the first day and then just continue to show the same one to the conductor every time you get on. I hear there are officers that come around every once in a while and warrant you a fine if you didn’t pay, but our tactic is always the same. And that is, to plea, “Oh but we’re American! We don’t know anything!! We don’t no have culture for realz!” Ah, to perpetuate American laziness one hasty generalization at a time. Aren’t you proud of me, USA?
9) There is other stuff to do there besides party.
I know, this is NOT what you want to be hearing at all. I don’t mean to kill your Dutch boner, but from the Anne Frank Haus to some random ass palaces, there are plenty of educational experiences to be had in between the wild nights. And anyway, I was an angel on my trip and did nothing scandalous in Amsterdam. Not one thing. I was only laughing the whole time because everything was hilarious, that's all. And that McFlurry binge on Saturday night happened because I was hungry, ok? No, YOU stop being paranoid!!!
10) Don’t try to smuggle weed out in your bra.
I’m made of lead, and I beep every time I go through a metal detector. I’m used to being searched. So when I set off the detector in the Amsterdam Airport and was asked to be pat-down, I was all, “Hah, I’m the pro at this. HAVE AT ME.” But let me tell you, they don’t have any regard for your personal boundaries in Holland. Let’s just say that for the first, and hopefully last time, I made it at least to second base with the over weight 40-year-old Dutch lady who searched me. She felt me up with more expertise than any of my high school boyfriends. Most religions would insist that I now have to marry her. I’m no prude but I still feel a little violated. I do think that’s a fairly symbolic ending, though. Because my whole trip to Amsterdam was like a giant molestation; if you leave and your figurative boobs haven’t been groped at least once, you haven’t gotten the full experience.