1. A trip to Amsterdam without a visit to the Red Light District, De Wallen is for sure incomplete. Make sure to visit past sunset and kindly adhere to the rules followed in the area. It is closely guarded and any attempt of photo taking, staring or slurring can have serious consequences. You can have pee (Yes!) thrown at you or you can get seriously beaten up.
Holland is one of the countries where prostitution is legal. In the age of the internet, whatever you're heard of the famous Red Light district is possibly true. There are lots of red lights and young women standing in windows to lure customers in. Photography is prohibited but you can go in to one of the houses to see how clean the business is.
Eyeing us from behind the tall glass window was a lady of big built and frizzy blonde hair who was flamboyantly dressed in black underwear. Neon lights and risqué posters adorned most of the room she was standing inside. There wasn’t a soul on the street apart from the four of us and having judged that we were a family, she continued to stare nonchalantly but never beckoned to us once. I pulled my sister by the hand, having realized that we weren’t really in a perfectly appropriate area, but the curious little nipper was a little too captivated by the novelty of the situation. My parents were probably having the same train of thoughts as mine, I’ll never know, and asked her to walk but she was busy playing staring games with the woman in black. We finally got the kid to move only to be greeted by many similar women down the street. Some even waved, winked and blew kisses, thereby amplifying the awkwardness. I was only learning to be a progressive individual but couldn’t help burying my face into a pull-out map in order to avoid the uncomfortable situation. The ordeal hadn’t really ended because we then chanced upon stores carefully tucked away into the many nooks and crannies of the street. They had neon lights similar to the ones in the aforementioned lady’s boudoir and signboards that mostly contained words like ‘XXX’ and ‘KINK’. The products on display are a little too graphic for me to describe and honestly back then, I didn’t even know what a lot of those things were. There weren’t many people we could see but the handful of customers that emanated from these shops mostly had weirdly blood-shot eyes. I could see my father walking faster than usual, hoping to get out of this particular neighbourhood but everything was a maze. We tried locating ourselves on the map every now and then but the puzzle just wouldn’t get solved. Everything around us either wasn't marked with an address or was in Dutch. We were tired and famished and after a point, we didn't really care about being lost in a city we hardly knew. All we wanted was food. And that's when the Gods descended on the planet in the form of a tall, bulky man with greasy hair, a face that was evidently bruised in places and a very conspicuous black eye.We would have definitely avoided him had he not been standing outside what was apparently an almost empty pizzeria. “Lost? Food? I ‘ave pizza”, he said. We looked at each other, my mother had the most vexed expression on her face. After a few minutes of pondering, we finally gave in to our growling stomachs and stepped inside this strange establishment which surprisingly smelled of cheese and tomatoes. We were handed a large but dirty menu and this scary but somewhat kind man recommended a few pizzas, two of which we ordered. When the food arrived, it looked pretty good and we couldn’t really investigate it for narcotics or poison as we had ravenously polished off everything on the plate within minutes. The server came a second time with the menu but on this occasion, he was more interested in asking us where we were from and how we managed to get lost despite having a map. He then proceeded to talk at length about his pizzeria, his friends, his parents, his Italian heritage, his ex-girlfriend, his medical history and a few other things we had tuned out. He laughed a lot at trivial things, munched on some chips during the entire monologue and his voice was louder than a wailing baby. Irrespective of whatever it was that he was tripping on, he did provide us directions to the main street which finally helped us find our way back to our apartment. On our way out, we saw a beautiful blonde woman walk up to him and they exchanged a few profanities in raised voices followed by some currency. She walked away with one of the customers in the pizzeria while our big friend was busy counting the cash.I was lost in a Red Light District in Amsterdam and had lunch with a seemingly menacing pimp and I can't wait to take a second trip to this roller coaster of a city. I like to live my life dangerously. How about you?
When in Amsterdam - this is a must visit place. Most of us wouldn't have ever seen anything like this before - so be prepared to be amused and surprised :) Beautiful women standing in skimpy clothes in Windows, like an exhibit. You can see these in many of the lanes around this area. If you are lucky you will catch a negotiation or two happening. €50 for 15 min No photography allowed :)