Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Would You Like a Cuppa Urine Tossed On You?

All you have to do to win the lovely prize of urine soaked clothing is to snap a photo of the ladies in the Red Light District of Amsterdam!

The tour guide informed the group about the lady's favorite past time while we stood in the courtyard of a local nunnery.  The statement led to a string of questions from a twenty-something guy about the "services" provided (f**k & suck), how much it costs (€50), and the length of time that the customer is permitted (15 minutes).

Tour guide: "The 15 minutes includes a shower."
Guy: "A shower?  Before or after?"
Tour guide: "Before.  City regulations make customers take a shower before the deed is done."
Guy: "But I'd want a shower afterwards.  Can I do that too?"

Hilarity ensued.

Yes, you heard that correctly, the ladies are city employees. Condoms, healthcare, and (if they choose) birth control are provided to the women at no cost.  Every prostitute must charge the same €50 for the same amount of time.  The primary difference of income depends on the location of the room that the women choose to rent and at what time--prime spot at prime time obvi costs more than crap time in a crap room along a canal south of city center.

I was amazed to learn that marijuana is not actually legal in The Netherlands; it's more of a "don't ask, don't tell" type of policy. The legal loop hole is that sellers of the product can't blatantly advertise what it is they're selling, hence the term "coffee shops." Ah-ha!  Also, establishments can't sell alcohol and weed under the same roof BUT you can purchase cannabis in one place, walk across the street to a bar, order a beer, roll a spliff, and get wrecked till your heart's content.  Not that I know from tour guide was reeeeally informative.

Actually, out of all of the tours I've tagged along on in various cities, I learned the most from the one in Amsterdam.  The name "Amsterdam" is derived from the nearby river, Amstel, and the dam that was built way back when.  Hands down my favorite story was how, in the middle to golden ages, the priests from the local churches "allowed" the sailors--in port overnight--to purchase an "indulgence card" before a big night out on the town. The card forgave the sailors of any sins that they might commit before they'd even committed them!  Pretty crafty, these godly folk.

Another great story was "The Miracle Bread."  Mid 1300s a priest was summoned to give the last rights to a dying man and to issue a final communion.  Just as the bread reached the mouth of the man he coughed it up and died.  The nurse cleaned up the bread/phlegm mixture and threw it into the fireplace.  That night the house burnt to the ground.  The next morning the only thing remaining were the flames in the fireplace and a perfectly normal piece of bread.  For centuries the bread was kept in a metal box and praised as a holy relic. Apparently, and this is where the internet trail runs dry, a man stole the box sometime during the 20th century and, upon opening it, found a moldy piece of bread inside.  When the police caught up with the thief and questioned him about the holy host he confessed that he'd stolen the box but didn't know what they meant by "holy host;" only that he'd found an old hunk of bread inside and had tossed it into a canal but couldn't recall which one.  What did the authorities do next you ask?  As any logical person would do, the city drained the canals in search of The Miracle Bread.  It's still M.I.A.

I also ventured into the Anne Frank Haus which was interesting in the sense that I was in the middle of WWII history, but I felt that the museum lacked on information about the Frank family, their capture, and their time spent in the upstairs apartments of the warehouse. FYI, the rooms are much larger than how they're portrayed in the 1959 film.  

Finding it necessary to see what all the fuss was about, I tried mayonaise with my fries.  Meh.  I think I'll stick to my ketchup and ranch concoction.  Wait, as a future dietician, you didn't hear me say any of that!


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