Europe | Netherlands | Amsterdam – The Aftermath of an Amsterdam Saturday Night
I arrived at Schipol (Ski Pole) International Airport this morning earlier than expected. 8 am to be exact. On a Sunday morning. While I wasn’t entirely happy to be awake yet again after the intermittant hours of sleep permitted me during my 13 hours of air travel, I was reminded what a great joy it is to arrive in a new city when its inhabitants are still sleeping. It allows you the quiet you need to orient yourself and a unigue look into the culture of Sunday mornings and hangovers, at least.
Amsterdam, though, does not sleep completely. As I made my way through the spiraling brick and cobblestone streets of Amsterdam carved by dozens of canals, I also took inventory of what must have been a raucuous scene the night before, as one might expect here in Amsterdam. The roads were a litterbox of empty frit (french fry) containers and those little forks Europeans use to dip their fries into the many sauces. Papers from shoarma wraps and empty bottles filled the gutters. And the smell that wafted in from the canals left nothing to the imagination. Last time I was in Amsterdam, I saw for myself that there are, indeed, public urinals on the street. These are merely a facade to provide some privacy for a man (of average height, beware!). They are not intended for females.
Not much of Amsterdam seems intended for females, except work I suppose. I found the scene this morning disturbing and frustrating. I have heard the debate: at least in Holland ‘women of the night’ form unions and have health insurance and don’t carry diseases, etc. Sure, I suppose that’s better than the clandestine business of prostitution in the States, but in either case, I’d like to see women out of that scene altogether. It is hard to be comfronted with my morals so early in the morning.
And also hard to be confronted with the realization that it is, indeed, a man’s world. I didn’t see a single woman out and about so early. The only wanderers I did see where men heading to the bars for the early rugby matches and later for football, and also the stragglers from last night, still trying to orient themselves or find one last drink before calling it done. I find it stunning that even at 8 am, the windows of the red light district (which does, indeed, seem to be the centre of this city, not shielded from the eyes of anyone) are aglow with sex. Women on display for the taking. Not models or fakes, but women in the flesh and showing lots of it…