I walked into a Shoarma or Falafel Restaurant and got sticker shock as a sandwich cost around 12.50 U.S. so I opted for French Fries at 3 Dollars U.S. My health is going fast in Amsterdam as my diet is the worst on a budget of 5 Dollars per day for food.
But here I am eating French Fries that would be called Chips in England with my small backpack on, while the owner starts to go into great detail about how dangerous the backpack is, and how people come in crying everyday. He does not say the word crying, but makes a sign of wiping his eyes with his hands as if he was crying. It says they will open the bag and steal faster than I can move. He is quiet adamant that I am really making a mistake and I should go back to the Hostel to get rid of my back and valuables.
We then proceed into the interview of where are you from, and where am I from and we discuss. But when I say I am planning on going to Cairo, Egypt on the 7th of November he starts into another tirade of why are you going there, it is not safe and the Muslim will kill me. He is Christian, but for sure he is dark skinned and look from the Middle East. He says to go to,
“Italy, Greece, Croatia, etc, but wait until next year Egypt.”
I was early corralled by a coupled of black guys up to no good here in on the bridge in front of the Hostel. I am not sure what they wanted, but decide to walk down the open street and not down the alley towards the main road. This place is definitely dodgy.
I took the canal trip today and was fascinated by the hooks on the gables of all the building that allows them to lower and raise furniture to the upper floor. I guess the stairs are too narrow for furniture.
The canal was great and easily worth the 6 Euros I paid. I sort of think it Amsterdam would be a good city to stop by train, pack your things into a storage locker at the Amsterdam Central Train Station and go on the canal trip, and late at night get back on the train and leave. Even if you only go to another part of the Netherlands. I really wanted to see some windmills and have been disappointed so far, as I saw a lot more in Belgium. I think I am in the wrong part of the Netherlands or Holland. There is suppose to be some 4000 or 6000 Windmills in this country. If I remember correctly when I was going to come here before 9/11 and was in Gent Belgium.
ON THE FLOOR AGAIN
Tuesday October 12, 2004 6:08 AM
I am outside the room on the floor again as all the tourist wander in from drinking all night. There are two British boys in a double room that went down and got another bucket of beer. I am always curious why I find British boys are up and drinking together very late or early in the morning and talking? The seem to never have girls with them, it is like there is something about the British boys where they have a need to sit around drinking with other boys at 5:00 AM in the morning. Of course there is also the cultural need to drink unto you pass out with them also, as opposed to just falling asleep.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city, clean, simple and easy to navigate. They have street signs although not real good, they have signs which is better than a lot of countries. Here they put the sign on buildings, and sometimes on a free standing sign.
What this means is I can use a map and actually find a place. I found the student travel place yesterday with almost zero problems other than the walk. Everyone told me I had to take the tram, but I kept looking at the map and calculated the time and decided they was dependant upon the tram and they just did not realize it was a short walk. I am a tourist and I came here to see the city and walking is ten times better to see a city than to take a train car. The feel and smell of a city is clear when you walk for a couple of hours from type of neighborhood to type of neighborhood.
I found a couple of grocery stores and was happy to find that the Lays potato chips were half the price of the Potato chips in the area I live. If the cost of living is the same as where I am than the Netherlands is in big trouble, but like normal tourist areas they gouge or take advantage of the laziness and stupidity of the tourist. I normally walk about 10 blocks away from any core tourist area before I would purchase anything much.
CHEAP AIRPLANE TICKETS IN AMSTERDAM
The best place REGARDLESS of your age to buy plane tickets is with a student travel agency, or ones that specialize in students. The ones that work the corporate or older tour crowd will gouge the hell out of you, and they are good at convincing you that it is necessary to observe their recommendations. I normally go to both type because sometimes you do happen upon a good travel agent that can stop being a gouger.
The plane ticket in Holland are best purchased as a round-trip price, then lose you return ticket. I have no idea why countries do this, but fortunately I base myself out of Bangkok, Thailand and they do not require you to buy round-trip tickets.
I was very happy that Kilroy Travels a Scandinavian or I think Finish company was able to find me a ticket cheaper with a layover in Boston of 5 days. This is a strange thing about plane tickets. It is very easy to stay or construct like a mini around the world ticket where you have few days in each city where the plane would normally stop. So if the travel agent says that the plane stops in a city, ask the agent…
“Is it possible to spend a few days there?”
A good one will admit that this is possible, a bad agent will deny the possibility. I am probably going to fly with Delta and this is allowed. There is smeway they buy a ticket or arrange the seats between the stops, and all they have to do is choose a different day. These mini multiple stop plane tickets are great. You have to commit a little, but nothing like a very restrictive around the world ticket.