Amsterdam March 13th

In the morning, I woke up and tried to find my bearings within the Amsterdam Map. I had no food or milk so I made a Nespresso and stayed in bed reading and watching Netflix until 1 or 2. I still felt burned by the shit attack from the day before. When I eventually could not wait any longer to eat, I left the apartment and walked to Bar Basquiat which was this cute ass cafe where locals and American Masters students were eating. The menu was in Dutch so I ordered a latte and what sounded like a New York pastrami sandwich which ended up being open faced and good. You know it’s good when it has those crispy fried onions on it. I decided to walk around until I found a store where I could pick up a souvenir and then a grocery store so I could find some food for the next day. I aim big. This proved more difficult than I thought so I decided to go to the zoo instead.

It was a Sunday so everything was closing at 5pm (fair) and I couldn’t figure out that the entrance to the zoo was at the farther east corner of where I was. When I eventually got there, it was too late to do anything cool so I just walked around for a bit and stopped and watched the flamingos. 10/10. I wanted to go to Microbia but that would have to wait for another trip which would have to wait until I wasn’t poor again from this trip.

I kept walking around and the sun was setting making everything look pretty but I still needed groceries so I walked to an Albert Heijn that was nearby (kinda like their Loblaws if they were smaller and more classy.) I was a bit overwhelmed mostly because I can’t read Dutch. But I bought some mango smoothie thing that I thought was orange juice, some fluffy buns, a cucumber, oranges and bananas, some chocolate and some milk to put in the Nespresso in the morning. I was confident in myself for having the wherewithal to have cash on me. I walked around a bit more before feeling light headed then light headed back to the Airbnb. I put the stuff away then got dressed again to go to Terry and Jake’s place to have pizza for dinner. I picked up wine on the way and took the tram which was a straight shot to theirs. We ate and chatted and drank wine and then I took another Uber home. This guy was way less chatty, thank God. I stayed up a bit later watching Netflix but knew I had to sleep because I had plans to go to a class at the university for a program I was looking into the next day.

When I woke up, I took it easy and stayed in bed and ate some buns and oranges and espresso. I finished off some reading and took a shower then got all ready for class like it was my first day. The tram to the school was fast so I got there with time to kill. The campus is right on the canal so when I came out of the building’s bathroom to wash my hands, this giant window overlooked the back of a restaurant with a patio and these three tourist-looking guys looked over at me. Not sure if they could see anything with the window reflection but it made me laugh a lot.

Then I went into the class and introduced myself to the TA and this American student and everyone was nice and largely ignored me. The class was sitting around this big conference table and working away on their computers or on Instagram. They did presentations on their projects that were on maps and measuring social media metrics. It was intimidating for me even though the class was being collaborative and nice. They encouraged each other and asked questions about their projects. I saw that the American student had colour-coordinated notes and to-do lists when I was creeping her binder.

It got a bit passive aggressive at times and reminded me of work. Which can be passive aggressive. We finished early and I thanked the prof who was from New Hampshire and smart and nice. Because I was leaving early I had some extra time before my dinner reservation (for 1) at RIJKS, the restaurant attached to the museum. It has a Michelin star so that was a first. I walked around more but realized I couldn’t just waste time by walking so I wandered into this little bar on a corner somewhere near the museum. I was nervous at first because it was divey and weird and had peanut shells all over the floor and two old guys chatting but the bartender was hot so I committed. He also looked like he was 20. He was 18. I saw that they had Palm beer so ordered one and took out my postcards and wrote to friends back home. I finished my thank you card for my Airbnb host. Then I finished my drink and the bartender came over and saw that my ID was from Ontario and he chatted to me about how he went to high school in Ottawa. I was just excited that a blond boy was talking to me. Pathetic, girl.

We had been chatting for a while when I realized I was late so we had a long drawn out goodbye which had me walking in the wrong direction to get to the restaurant. I was already late so I doubled back and kept walking until I saw the giant museum and went under the giant pass towards the back where the I Amsterdam sign is. I ran in right at 7:30 on the dot and gave the host my coat. He gave me a coat check ticket and we walked in together pretending like I hadn’t just run the last five minutes. I told him I was honoured to eat there and he responded “No! Don’t be. You’re always welcome here.” Lol. I sat down and this guy in a suit came over and started talking to me in English really quickly. I ordered a dark and stormy and some water and they brought over this single piece of avocado dusted with this brown stuff on top of a bed of inedible mushrooms.

I ordered a few really great things like this little mussel and maybe scallop-filled dumpling in a green sauce. Then this other dish had asparagus and nuts and goat cheese. It was always going to be weird eating alone at a fancy spot. Everyone was with their friends or having a business meeting except one guy who was on his computer but he might have worked for the restaurant so he gets a pass. All the servers were young, professional and super relaxed. I got a couple of texts which took me away from being a loser in peace. I finished eating and payed so I could walk a little north to the Red Light District to see what was going on there.

I’m bad at directions so got lost on the way but once I found it, I was relieved to have it knocked off my list of things I felt compelled to see. I felt weird staring at young, almost naked women through windows while walking alone. They did at some points seem like they were having fun scrolling through their phones. Millenials. It started to rain so I headed back to the Airbnb. I passed a few cheese and dessert shops on the way that I wanted to visit but they looked too full of people. This was an alone night. I saw a tattoo shop and debated getting a small one for fun (and to piss off my parents) but this feeling passed quickly. I must be maturing. I found the right tram home and chilled once I got in.

My stomach was doing all sorts of flips and turns all week so I liked being at the Airbnb so I could be close to a private washroom at all times. The next day was a Tuesday and I got up earlier than normal (9am) to pack up my shit and go back to Terry and Jake’s for my last night and eventually the Jessie Ware concert. I organized my time well and was out right on queue in the morning. I trammed over with my stuff to their place and had a quick coffee with Jake (Terry was at work again.) We made plans for my day. He made his recommendations and I was off. I saw these cute shoes in the window of a store nearby their place and just walked in and chatted with a sales guy who physically put them on my feet and buckled them up. It was romantic? I bought them, obviously, and he kept them at the desk so I could pick them up on my way home.

I tried taking the tram again but decided to get off to try to locate this magical store I had found earlier in the week where I was able to load my tram card, buy stamps AND send my postcards all in one go. I wasn’t able to so I bought a bagel instead. Then I walked a bit more and eventually got to the RIJKS museum. I hadn’t had enough of it when at the restaurant of the same ilk, so I asked Jake if it was worth it. He had no opinion. As someone with a lot of opinions, I respected this take.

Once there, everyone who worked there kept reminding me that they closed at 5 and that it was already 3 and was I really sure I wanted to pay for the price of admission to only be there for an hour and a half before they ushered everyone out. I guess it wasn’t obvious that I am very uncultured and don’t like to hang out in museums for over an hour. It’s not just that they start announcing that people need to leave at 5 but they will personally make you leave at 4:50 pm to make sure the place is empty by 5. So efficient. It was a very huge place though and the floors were organized by date with the oldest art being on the bottom floor. Smart. It was beautiful and crazy. I put my earbuds in and just walked around. I saw this giant Rembrandt painting and all these other beautiful ones. I loved it. By the end, I was feeling a bit tightly wound and pressed. I can only be inside a museum for so long. I was also thinking about the shoes I needed to pick up before the store closed by 8 or 6 and I wanted to go to this fancy hotel bar I had seen a couple days prior.

Once 4 hit, I left and walked to Tune or Tunes in the Conservatorium hotel. It’s the kind of place that has doormen at multiple entrances so you know it’s out of my price range. The server was nice and very Dutch and she recommended that I try these gin and tonics that come in these huge glass goblets that look like fish bowls. I ordered one with Dutch gin (on brand), oranges and a bunch of cilantro which sounds weird but tasted good. I must try putting a handful of cilantro in all my drinks. I hung out at this fancy bar for an hour or so and listened to this American guy talk to the servers about Coachella.

I paid and left and walked through their fancy shopping street by the hotel to Vondelpark where I felt comfortable and like I knew my way around. I picked my shoes up and realized I still had a postcard to send and bought a stamp then dropped my postcard off in one of their orange post boxes. I couldn’t understand which slot to put the card in so I guessed. It was pretty exciting using one of those like a local. I went back to Terry’s and started packing up my shit and took a shower in preparation for the night ahead. I knew I’d be leaving early the next day. I took the tram to the Paradiso and waited in line to pay for a temporary membership fee then I checked my coat (and paid a Euro by debit card, lol) and walked in just as Jessie Ware finished her first song (I’m guessing, who knows what number song it was.) Everyone was so tall there so I stood up on this riser next to the light booth with a bunch of other regular sized shorties. There were so many lesbians there. At one point Jessie Ware called these two ladies onto the stage and one of them proposed and it was so sweet, I teared up a bit. After that, I got a beer. Then the show ended and I grabbed my coat, some cash and bought a shirt from the merch spot.

I texted Terry because they wanted to meet up for a drink for my last night but we were tired so when we met up we decided to just head back to their apartment to eat leftover fajitas they made for dinner. It was nice of them to have made so many fajitas. Terry made whiskey sours and we stayed up late talking AGAIN and then we went to bed all yawning. I made sure I had packed everything and left all the pot I had bought there. In the morning, I woke up at the same time as Terry and got ready to leave. She left for work so I hung out with Jake and had coffee before leaving for the airport. I had an easy, fuss-free bus ride and managed to pick up a croissant from Albert Heijn before getting into the airport itself. I checked in with time to spare so I went to the McDonalds in the lounge and then went to another Albert Heijn to use up my last Euros on water and chocolate.

I waited at the gate for a minute and boarded. The flight was longer but felt shorter which never happens when heading home. I got in and took the subway where my dad picked me up and brought me to my sister’s.