My first observations of Amsterdam- the visual graphics in public spaces were really fascinating. The exploration line and color was beautiful. From the moment we arrived at Central Station the heart of Amsterdam (looks much like VT) I was a bit like Alice in Wonderland. We walked along the canal, I had never seen anything like this. Quaint narrow homes 3- 4 storeyed high lined next to each other. Each one a different characteristic, beautiful flowers along the side of the road. These homes Irene explained were very expensive to buy or even rent. The ground floor of most of these houses were shops, cafes, restaurants, tattoo parlors. Strange kinky signs for tattoo, invitations to come in and smoke and you know exactly what. We walked down Amsterdams famous red light district, women in their underwear flashing their goods in the windows. Sin City it is, fascinating to me. I was warned not to take any pics of the women as their pimps might chase me down the street. The signages and names of streets were so diffeernt from the German ones. Double 'ee-s' and double 'oo-s' seemed to be common creating a sense of a language spoken with much emphasis.
|land of Heineken. YEA!|
Irene and I bought our two day I Amsterdam card- for the trains, buses, museums- a really decent value and started with looking for a Dimsum place for lunch before we headed to the museums. Chinatown in any city in the world is always delightful. This street was narrow and filled with little windows with broiled chicken and pork, hello kitties, chinese kurtas and also a Chinese temple. Right across we settled for a seemingly decent Dimsum restaurant which served green tea with the meal. It was not expensive and eat all you can. Rice, noodles, cabbage, chicken, beef, pork and ofcourse dimsum. It wasnt the best Chinese meal but considering our hunger we gorged and were ready to start the cultural exploration. Irene's grand ma lives near Rotterdam so she has been to Amsterdam many times.
|Lots of Argentinian Steak Houses- just like in Chicago|
|Irene picked us some sweet buns from here. A place she frequented in her childhood.|
|Most decked up bicycle|
|Lovely Delft Blue tiles|
|Self Portrait - Rembrandt|
|Self Portrait- me|
Bicycle city- watch out or you will be run over.
|Cute half car|
|Psychedelic healing books|
|Because the stairwell would be too narrow to carry furniture so each house was provided these cantilevered hooks to help pull the furniture up using a rope. This system is still in use.|
As the afternoon went on, Irene and I decided to cash in on our canal ride. As you can see every bit of Ansterdam was fascinating me. Flowers on the bicycle handle bars, cobbled street, old church that was de-religionised, houses along the canal, strange Australian tourist- raving about the cost of the 'Charlie'.
And finally our late evening canal ride with the sun going down.
|No standing on the table|
|Fairy tales on the building tops|
My friend Prashant will be showing his film Patang in this very theater this week.
Vondelpark (named after the poet Joost van den Vonde as my Dutch friend Lucas informed me) a great place to catch cinema in the Amsterdam. Alas it was closed when we got there so we just hung outside under the trees staring the sky as night fell creating silhouettes and shadows. I smiled. I am so glad I came to Amsterdam. A must see, still had not tried any real Dutch food but the city was so intense it was hard not to enjoy its energy. Tourist yes, photographs a plenty, but I Amsterdmmed!