Where do I begin. I have to say that it was hectic getting to the airport because there was still much to be done. I am thankful to my brother who is house sitting. So we catch a flight to Jersey, but we encounter an African family of five on our way to the ticketr counter. There are 3 small children and they have 15 min to get through security and get on the plane. I felt bad for them as I watched then run in the direction of the gates. Maybe they had not ridden on a plane since they first arrived in this country. It's not like catching a bus, where you run and flag down the driver. Hope they made it wherever they were going.
So let me say that I love Amsterdam! I have learned many things alread. Today was quite an eventful day. Let me summarize and then I will get into detail. To summarize it : I got cold, found out they love flowers alot, learned how to ride the train , got swindled by an Italian for about $50 for a pizza, saw the Red Light District with all its window hookers, saw B-Real from Cypress Hill either checking the scene or coochie shopping? who knows? Got lost downtown for about 1 hour after midnight, took a canal cruise, tried Dutch chocolate candy, and went to Erotic Museum...a highlight. I love Amsterdam...very cool.
This day has proved to me that no matter how much you read, you can never be prepared enough, The tourist office sold us unlimted GVB riding cards, so we can jump off and on any trains, trams or water taxis for the next four days. We also had to buy a train ride to the central station. This proved to be difficult. Nothing looks like I expect or works like I expect. Like for example if you don't turn the bathroom power light on, you can't flush the toilet, There there is no doodooing in the dark I guess, Not that I do that...just saying. LOL.
But Nizz is the best travel partner, he helps get things figured out, So we got these tickets and don't know how to stick then in the machine. It is pretty simple but when you don't know you don't know, These folks trust you to buy a train ticket and then get it stamped and no one comes to check to see if you did, Now you know good and well that would not work in the U.S, Man please, that transit system would have been bankrupt! I would pay most of the time...I believe. But we don't understand the train system to get from the airport to central downtown Amsterdamn station. We watch about 4 trains go by on platform 2 and we can't make any sense of it...so we start just asking people. It is amazing that what you have learned to be your own type of common sense is meaningless in another culture or country. Like their postal drop...It looks like a robot/tranformer figure thing. I was shocked when I saw the lady stick her mail in it! Or the fact that their elevators are set up like a numberline....ground floor is 0 and basement is -1. Makes more sense actually.
So we get on a pretty spacious train and arrive at the tram yard. I never rode one of these. It is like a trolly but cute. So we are standing there talking about which one to catch, you see...everything is an ordeal when you just arrive. A white lady comes over and tells us to take a number 3. I can but I see a bunch of them sitting in the midst of tracks...and we know you stay off occupied tracks in America,,,no matter what...you stay away. So instinctively I say to her, is it coming over here? She says it is on a track you have to go to it,,,,man I feel dumb! Duuuuuh Meymoona....but the idea of crossing 5 sets of active tracks with all those trams right there was not happening. So of course when you don't know you watch and sure enough the euros just cross the tram tracks...so we give it a go...and no problem. we did not get hit or squished. I am trying to get used to the idea of crossing these tracks because they are on every street and there are no signals or warning arms and flashing lights like we have. Oh and you can run out in front of a car and they will go out of their way to stop for you, I have never seen such a thing in my life, They feel responsible not to hit you, This explains why our white people don't look before crossing.,It is in their dna just like it is in our dna to dance,,,and be on beat, Oh and the white folks can't dance here either. I saw some in a bar and theywer tore up and tripple off beat...but you couldn't tell then that. hummmp!
So we arrive at our hotel,,,very nice. We check in and go to our room. We notice that the weather is rainy and kind of chilly. So we dress a little different. It looks like London. But man their buildings are so cute. There are all so old and unique. Their streets are cobbleston and they all ride bikes. No one drives a car, The map of the city is deceptive, This place reminds me of Athens downtown with narrow streets. You can walk everywhere. So we saw Dam square, and decided to go for our Canal cruise and then to get some dinner.
We got tickets for the canal cruise 9Euros. That is about $12 each. So we head down the Amstel river, waterways.