Amsterdam : test your senses

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It was my 3rd time to the city…2006 , 2010 and 2013 and I know it won’t will be the last.
In 6weeks , I was in and out of this city 4times.Amsterdam was my hub.
When my friend Jochem , who is my brother in my head comes to get me at Schipol around 7am on a Saturday morning , I knew I was back home.

About 3 hours after I put my bags down we were off to the Rijskmuseum.Jet lag ? What jet lag ? , this museum has been closed for 10years for refurbishment and it had just opened 3 months before I got there , to miss this opportunity will have been a real shame.I crashed in on his museum visit with his sister , but they were too cool and willing to have me tag along.
I am glad and grateful I did as I learnt so much about dutch history and it great painter like Rembrandt and Van Gogh amongst many other greats.

Looks like I brought the Ghana sun with me , for it was equally kind . A spontaneous picnic idea by Jochem in the park with new friends was a perfect start to my working holiday.
Amsterdam ,was and is by far the easiest part of my trip, because it was “home” and really felt so. Serving as a link between other destinations it was comforting to know that if I changed my mind about my adventure , I could always come back “home”. I wasn’t surprised I missed it when it got tough along the way at other destinations.

The next day, I went to The Roots festival at the Oosterpark. This was great and fun as Jochem and I spent time tent hopping trying to catch diverse music and bands from across the globe.
Not only was it a very family friendly festival , where I saw kids passionately and competitively collecting used plastic cups usually with help from their mothers for some reward in the name of recycling , I also saw people trying to show off how worldly or eccentric they were by the various explosion of colour radiating from the fabrics and styles they were wearing. I have no doubt these clothes will not see another day until the next festival or opportunity to show off. 🙂

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I said it was a working holiday right? Well, I got to do my first Interview with Lucien just in time before he goes Russia for his summer holiday.
I should be doing working holidays often as the setting for the interview was the beautiful beach at Egmond aan Zee, less than an hour’s train ride from Amsterdam.

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I got the chance to Interview Jochem later before he also left for Portugal. Another city calling for me to visit soon.

What did I learn in Amsterdam?
1.That someone’s trash is definitely another’s treasure, I saw seemingly well dressed people looking through other people’s cast offs, just opposite our apartment. Who says this happens only in Africa ?

2.This city somehow built my confidence. The confidence of a local. I found it amusing that other tourists thought I was a local and several will stop me in the street and ask me directions to attraction , whilst others had to recheck with me if they had the right ticket for their journey
I don’t think I know every corner of this city, not even close , as several places still looks the same to me.
But I felt confident enough , I guess its because I had a place to lay my head and lucky enough to call home.

The extra bonus being tourist were forever taking photos of our apartment building , making me feel I was part of the attraction, although I won’t appear in their shots.
On one of the days, the light from our kitchen gave a sudden reflection on the faces of the diners in the expensive restaurant below our building. I made eye contact with a few of them and we shared a smile.

3. I still want to learn how to ride a bicycle ,even if its just for the cool sexy factor. Yes, I have bought one and it’s still parked in my garage. 🙂

4. Friendship doesn’t have to be complicated. A boy and a girl can just be friends. Thank you Jochem for making me believe and trust completely.

5.I want to be a better hostess and not fuss , for it is really okay to be kind and share your space with people you care about.Our world is changing and people can be a pain. But who knows if I am a pain too.

6. I never had a sad moment in Amsterdam and it was the only place i felt sad to leave behind and for that I will be going back someday soon.

7.There are people and I mean young people who know their city inside out. l was lucky enough to meet one of those people. Michel , a Tom Cruise lookalike ,who is a young dutch lawyer I shared a plane with on my way to Iceland. With my promise of Ghanaian chocolate later to a chocolate addict , I was booked on a special personal tour starting from The Dam Square all the way to the Red Light district and beyond. My goodness , Michel knows his city, where the original canals were , exact dates of buildings ,history etcetera , I am not surprised he is a lawyer and also lives next to the Ann Frank’s Museum. I made a new friend, even if it was for a few hours. We started at 7pm and ended up having hot chocolate at a nearby bar near the canals at midnight. Who is checking the time?

8.Amsterdam is beautiful and very liberal in a lot of ways… I missed the gay pride because I was away at the time. I did see some very colourful photos though, shame I don’t have one to share, maybe next time.:)
I got to see guys from University being initiated into their various fraternity ceremonies and that include a ride on the canals before God knows what next.

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I was not brave enough to watch a live sex show, not sure I ever will, but who knows.
As much as I have had people tease me during my teenage and possibly a rebellious and an experimental time of anyones life to smoke weed to cure my hate hate relationship with asthma, Amsterdam hasn’t convinced me yet and probably never will.
I must say every now and the. On the way to the supermarket it is inevitable to smell it as there are a chain of “coffee shops” along the way.

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There is a limit to how liberal I will go.

See why it won’t be the last time my curious and creative self is coming back to this city?

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