I had that TLC song running through my head all the way into Amsterdam. You know, Red Light Special. I was like, 11 when that song came out and I hadn’t a clue wtf it was on. It didn’t help that I grew up in a strict Christian home and was only allowed to listen to hymns so I used to listen to CrazySexyCool under the covers on my Walkman, periodically pausing to make sure my parents didn’t catch me. Anyway, what was I talking about again? Oh, right. Why I had TLC on the brain.
I had a 7.5 hour layover on my way home from my African Adventure so I thought I’d pop into the city. I didn’t know much about what I could do for four hours at 6am except that the Red Light District was close to the train station and it was, as told, a must-see.
I don’t know why, but I thought the Red Light District would be, well, red. I imagined bright neon lights announcing “Red Light District” and prostitutes and people selling weed on every corner. Now maybe that’s what it’s like at night or on Christmas, but at seven o’clock in the morning it was so inconspicuous that I almost missed it (I actually did miss it. I walked past it about four times before I figured out where I was).
I didn’t see much. No neon lights, only three lovely ladies dancing lasciviously in a store window, and no one asked me to buy ganja. I was kind of disappointed.
No matter. I wandered aimlessly around the city centre, peeking into shops, drinking coffee, and marvelling at all the sex and marijuana paraphernalia.
Not much else of a story to tell here except that it was both a refreshing and melancholic little trip. Part of me was thrilled to be stepping foot in big-city Europe again and part of me desperately missed the rural freedom of Africa. All of me was freezing as fuck because I didn’t think to take a sweater with me in my carry-on.
If you’re wondering, it took about 15 minutes to get to Amsterdam Centraal from Schiphol Airport, costing €5.60 each way. Well worth the trip but allow yourself at least an hour to get in and out of customs/passport control.
Next up, nothing really. Already planning the next adventure and Africa, I think I’ll be back much sooner than you think.