Thursday, October 3, 2013

You're not in cannabis anymore

Want to hear something ironic? I'm staying at a Christian hostel -- in the red light district* of Amsterdam.

The hostel was last minute; I hadn't reserved anything until yesterday when I was looking around online. Turns out Amsterdam is very popular on the weekends. I looked at a dozen hostels before finding this room, which I am sharing with 15 other women. Yay. Fortunately, I do not plan to spend much time here. I just hope no one snores. 

Speaking of, did I tell you about my last night in Dublin? The girl sleeping below me breathed extremely loud. I know it sounds dumb, but I am telling you -- loud. At one point I rolled over, stuck one ear in the pillow and pulled my sleep mask over the other ear. It wasn't great, but it would block out the mouth breathing. 

Then she started snoring. 

But onto my day! Maastricht is a beautiful old city in the south of the Netherlands. I highly recommend it. The run was great. I went to Helpoort (Hell's Gate), the oldest city gate in the Netherlands. And if that's the way to hell, it might not be so bad. 

I also went to the tunnels that run underneath the city and into Belgium. They started out as mining tunnels for limestone, but have been used for defense, to shelter the city's residents during the war, to smuggle Jews and soldiers across Allied lines and more recently, for some pretty raucous raves. Somehow people didn't get lost in there. At one point the guide shut the light off and it was completely black. I could see nothing. I am not generally afraid of the dark when other people are around, and I figured losing a tourist in the labyrinth would mean extra paperwork for the guide, so while it was disconcerting, it wasn't too bad. 

Then onto Amsterdam. In the half mile or so between the hostel and the train station, I passed a sex museum, a torture museum and a hemp/marijuana/cannabis museum. I also passed a number of stores selling pot -- including cannabis lollipops; I had no idea -- and a number of sex shops selling paraphernalia in some cases and actual sex in others. Plus President Obama in the wax museum. 

Before this amazing display of the human spirit, I spent 20 minutes at the station trying to figure out where I was on the map and where I was going. I also wish to concur with Michael Scott that sometimes machines are out for our souls. I looked my hostel up on my phone's map, took pictures of the directions and noted the general area. Then I looked at an actual map. My phone wasn't even close. My hostel is, though. I went from a 2-mile trip to a half-mile trip. 

Then I ate some vlaamse fries. They only look disgusting. I'm also not sure they agreed with me. 

Now, onto tomorrow!

*If you do not know what a red light district is, ask Google. But maybe not at work, just to be safe. 

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