We walked slowly to the Airbnb and waited for the guy to drop off the keys. When we got them, we toured around for a minute then went to meet Terry’s friend, Amy (from Foodhallen) to get dinner at Roest. Right now, I’m at this small place called Café Chaos watching the cutest and grossest couple drink, eat peanuts and make out. It’s disgusting. I’m close enough to hear them speaking Dutch and the sounds they make while kissing. I like how people make out in the open here. It’s usually the girl initiating and putting their skinny arms around their bf’s neck. The bf always seems pretty engaged and into it too, just never the initiator. It’s weird to not tip here. They have Palm beer at this bar.
Also at Roest, we had all this vegetarian food (and fish) because it was their Caribbean vegetarian week. Who knows. We were drinking white wine pretty consistently in these small cups and I felt tired because we had been out all day. Eating a ton of food then walking around for hours can be more effort than it leads on. We ate and drank more and went to leave, but then we discovered this second bar in the back of the first bar. It wasn’t hidden or anything, you just had to pass the bathrooms to notice it at first. There was loud music and a bunch of people from Manchester there (we could tell because of how they kept saying “I’m frum MANCHESTUH” and “Sorry, luv” whenever they passed you) piling in and out of the second bar so we decided to give it a quick look. There was a giant net on the ceiling and a DJ playing like EDM or some shit. There was also this giant double decker bus that had been gutted and replaced with chairs to lounge in and roll joints from on the upper level. We went up there and creeped on the people on the dance floor below us.
We decided to stay so we put our coats in a locker (that was so handy and cost 2 Euros, why isn’t every country as efficient as the Netherlands?), bought a final beer and started dancing in the middle of the crowd of very drunk and high Mancunians (www.google.com). It was 8pm on a Friday. My stomach started to turn and I imagined the beer wasn’t sitting well with all the cheese and fish I had consumed all day and then the jostling I was doing on the dance floor. Terry mentioned that her stomach felt off too but we kept dancing. We thought we could just dance our stomach problems away. We were wrong.
Eventually, we decided that we would need more alcohol or drugs to justify staying there but as soon as we left the second bar with the double decker bus and walked to the bathrooms, I realized I urgently needed to shit. I went into the last stall and realized there was no toilet paper. Great. As soon as I sat down, there was a piece of string on the wall with all these empty toilet paper rolls. They were laughing at me. At one point there must have been eight full ones. It was still early on in the night.
I heard Terry puking in the stall next to mine and felt badly until I realized that my problems were bigger than her. I took a last quick look around the stall and panicked and started rifling through my purse. It didn’t have anything I could use besides a comedy flyer that Terry’s boyfriend, Jake, had given me the night before because he didn’t have anywhere to put it. He handed it to me and I just took it because I didn’t want to throw it away and offend the person handing them out. Smart. I decided this would be a good thing to use as toilet paper replacement. It wasn’t. It was hard and sharp and stupid. I used it to the best of my ability, mortified at myself but weirdly proud of my creativity and threw it into the water and energy efficient Dutch toilet. When I got up to flush, I turned around and it was just sitting there, sad and crumpled. I also had a different vantage point of the stall and was able to notice a single full roll of toilet paper that seemed like it was hidden behind the toilet. I marvelled at how dumb I was because this was the same vantage point you have when you first enter the stall. But I got over my stupidity and used the actual toilet paper then got up to finally flush the toilet. This nightmare was almost over.
At this point, I’ve been in the stall for at least five minutes, a suspiciously long time for a night out. The bar seemed to pick up and get busier and more full of people from the UK and their drugs. When I finally got up to flush, I noticed there was a giant gold chain with a fake bar of gold at the end of it as the flushing mechanism. All the toilets in this bathroom have different, weird flushing mechanisms that are supposed to be funny, I guess. I couldn’t appreciate the humour in the situation when I started gently pulling on the chain which felt plastic and cheap. It jammed a couple of times which did not surprise me so I jiggled it a bit. Then a lot. Then I started to panic more because I was looking at the toiler bowl and my cardboard comedy bar flyer. I could not appreciate the humour in the situation. I didn’t think it was ironic, I was scared. Finally, in complete shock at how stupid I was to have used a bar bathroom in the first place when I was feeling sick, I pulled on the flusher and the chain came off in my hand. But not before flushing one last time as a little gift to me, after all I had done for this bar. Which was nothing. I decided this was good enough for me, even though the comedy flyer was still just chilling at the top of the bowl, basically unmoved. I shrugged and breathed slowly out of my nose. Whatever.
I left the bathroom and tried to divert anyone’s attention from the last stall. A short, brown haired girl from Manchester walked into my stall and I couldn’t muster up the energy to feel any embarrassment and just continued to wash my hands like I hadn’t just taken a shit in a public bathroom and covered it in a piece of cardboard like that would solve everything. She turned around and walked out and made eye contact with me in the mirror. She looked disgusted and disappointed in me. It was at this point that I realized I was truly growing up because I felt almost no shame and mostly just kept washing my hands and laughed.
We left and walked to a bar inside a parking garage next to a canal. It sounds less cool than it actually was. So many places are next to canals in Amsterdam because it’s pretty much all canals everywhere. The water was calm and the air was cold but we had a couple of beers there before we decided to head back to Terry’s. We ran to a tram and got in around midnight. Jake was still feeling sick but he stayed up and chatted with us while Terry made us ginger, lemon and honey tea. This should have settled my stomach but it kept growling like I was hungry or something. I wasn’t, I was just having another travel stomach attack but was too polite to use Terry’s bathroom. She asked if I wanted to, in the most considerate and least condescending way possible but I was tired and really wanted to be by myself. When on vacation in foreign countries, I either can’t shit for three day stretches or have constant diarrhea. For Amsterdam, it was the second.
I called an uber, which felt exciting in a different country, and got my bags. All I wanted to do was crash at the Airbnb but the uber driver kept saying that I looked like Rose from Titanic and trying to remember her name in real life. He also kept mentioning that Leo DiCaprio was in Amsterdam for the G8 summit. I faked interest in his weird obsession with the actors from Titanic. Eventually, I got creeped out and told him that I was heading to another friend’s apartment instead of to an Airbnb by myself but he kept chatting about how he lived outside of the city and asking if I wanted to go there with him sometime. Uh, no thanks. He offered me a cigarette and I accepted because I was on vacation but then when I tried to roll down the back window, he said it didn’t work. So he pulled over to let me into the passenger seat. I felt weird about this but figured it was too late to say I didn’t want to sit up front and I wanted to avoid any rudeness. I was feeling increasingly upset and bothered by him which wasn’t helped by the fact that he was saying “You’re sweet like chocolate and honey.” All this after the nightmare of breaking some innocent restaurant/bar’s toilet. When he eventually got us to the place, he asked if this was the last time I’d see him. I grabbed my bags from the trunk and said “Yup. bYe” quickly and loudly and shut the trunk. I rushed up the stairs of the apartment building until I got into the unit where I took one of the more needed shits of my life. My second in a few hours.
After showering with just the hand soap available in the bathroom, I called and Facetimed everyone I knew at home. I spoke to Sam for two hours while he was working late. He made me feel better and worse about my life and told me stories about his trip to Amsterdam. I fell asleep pretty quickly after that.