Part I
Hello Everyone. I am back home in The United States after six weeks of travel and a month in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I flew to New York City October 24th where I was to stay for a week (which was great) before flying to Amsterdam. My flight was delayed for a week because of Hurricane Sandy. After a long bizarre week of being in the punished and bruised New York City, I was finally able to fly across the Atlantic. I arrived at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport in the middle of the night on November 8th. I will never forget the night leaving Amsterdam Central Train Station at four in the morning and walking through the empty brick streets that whine around the canals and between hundreds of years old buildings. After a beautiful quiet walk, I found the Heart of Amsterdam Hostel. It was in the center of the Red Light District.

After many years of my Amsterdam studies I was finally there. It took me only two minutes to get completely lost on my first day. After about two hours of walking in the beautiful cold sunny day, I found myself in a bar drinking my first, second, third beer in Europe near the Amsterdam’s zoo. I stayed at the hostel for five days. I sat in cafes on my computer looking for a place to live. On the last night at the hostel I finally found a room to rent in the Oud-West section of Amsterdam. It is a working class neighborhood that is about a ten minute bicycle ride to Centrum, the central part of Amsterdam. That is where the center canal rings of the city are. I realized after my first night at the apartment that I needed to buy a bicycle . One can’t live in Amsterdam with out a bicycle.

While at my stay at the hostel I met a cool guy from London. We talked and spoke of past experiences. I mentioned to him of my mistaken perception of a woman who was actually a male after making out with her/him. To my credit It was dark when I was walking home from one of my countless jobs and the Hermaphrodite picked me up. Plus it was about 13 years ago. In exchange, he gave me his account of visiting a prostitute in detail. He told me that one must give the woman fifty euros just to enter into the prostitute’s lair. Then you negotiate what you want for certain prices. The girl offers a menu of sorts. For instance a blow job with a condom on is 50 euros. His experience was that he went to Amsterdam after he and his girlfriend of 8 years broke up. He walked around the red light district alone in search of a woman to be paid for sex. He eventually saw a tall blond with medium size breast, (he reiterated the fact several times), blowing kisses through the pane glass window. He walked in nervously and strait up gave her fifty Euros. After relentless negotiations and an attempt of selling cocaine to him, the two finally came to an understanding. I won’t go further into the details of the services now, but I will make a dark and moody painting from his clear descriptions of the experience. My influences and knowledge of seventeenth century Dutch painting will come in handy for this.

The first week in Amsterdam seemed like there were two different cities, one in the day and the other at night. The landmarks that I scratched in my head in the day disappeared at night. The center of the city is very Americanized as far as the restaurants is concern . I didn’t know what Dutch food was like until a friend at my residency made a delicious hearty stew. I will go in to that night and the residency later. There were Italian and Mexican restaurants, a bunch of Argentinian restaurants. Indian, Thai, and French restaurants. Basically anything that you would find in any City in America. You need to go a little bit out of the historical center of Amsterdam, Dam Square; (the town square) to find some delicious restaurants. Right beside Dam Square is the remarkable 15th-century Gothic church Nieuwe Kerk . It now holds art exhibitions. I foolishly bought an expensive ticket which I thought I was going to see Van Gogh’s paintings but instead I saw reproductions of his paintings. I was an idiot. I didn’t look at the fine print of the poster. I forget what the point of the show was but it is a beautiful building. I am very fond of the med evil era. Next to Nieuwe Kerk church, (New Church), is the Royal Palace which was built the second half of the seventeenth century. It is also where I parked my bike. In the middle of the square you will be able to find an english speaking fellow (likely American) doing tricks for the crowd, exactly what you would see in Union Square or Washington Park, New York City. I have seen the same juggling bowling pins while spitting fire out the persons mouth a million times. I giggle and go to the hot dog/sausage truck.
I must leave it here for now. I will continue with my exhilarating love affair with Amsterdam in days to come.

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