Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Do Live Sex Shows and European Futbol Have in Common?

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it."  —John Steinbeck
OK, let’s not keep you guessing. I’m only crazy about one.

Me & Erin in my apartment
After nearly 2 months of writing and decompressing in Amsterdam, I’ve concluded I want to make the city my home. Since 2007, I’ve been spending extended periods  in the world’s capital of tolerance and still wake up feeling like the universe is giving me a gift every day I open my eyes here.

Adventurewoman Agustina
Londoner Kathleen
Since the end of May, I’ve welcomed 3 visitors who’ve flown to Holland to experience the culture and ambiance of one of Europe's most international cities: Erin, my Sunset Beach, CA neighbor; Kathleen, a teacher from London I met at VaughanTown in Spain's remote mountains and Agustina, my host in the Italian Alps, who came with her fiancé, Nick. Charlie, a Dutchie from Rotterdam I met at Momo Hostel in Tel Aviv, will visit soon.

Highlights from these stopovers included a stroll through Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District on which Erin and I peered at scantily clad ladies in windows, passing peep shows, brothels, adult toy shops, the Erotic Museum and the Hash, Marijuana Museum on Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

Casa Rossais the facade with the pink elephant.
On this lively street, sailors sought female companionship as far back as the 14th century. They’ve been replaced by curious tourists, lovers hooked arm-in-arm and roving bands of tipsy bachelors and bachelorettes including one about to lose his or her freedom. While all are enticed by the historic area’s carnal pleasures, no one can help but notice it's one of A’dam’s prettiest, with 300-year-old gabled buildings (if only they could talk!) hovering over silvery, tree-lined canals.

We couldn’t pass up a visit to Casa Rossa, one of 3 infamous live sex show parlors in de Wallen. Yes folks, only in A’dam can you see live couples having sexual intercourse on stage (some more artistically than others), as well as dancers performing parlor tricks with bananas, ribbons, dildos, vibrators and other paraphernalia. It’s more funny than erotic, especially with a little drunken audience participation.

Being a nice girl from Pennsylvania, Erin wasn’t up for the notorious Bananenbar, home of girls in barely there lingerie, who show off their penmanship and other skills, writing postcards without using their hands! Walking home in the moonlit night (we’d missed the last tram), Erin gave me her lollipop souvenir from Casa Rossa. If you can’t visualize what it looks like, you don’t have much imagination!

The ultimate drink 'n' drive machine
So what if we lost?
When Kathleen came to town, Holland was in the World Cup FIFA finals. The town was awash in Oranje fever, everyone running around in insane costumes, blowing on vuvuzelas, roaring with anticipation. Having spent significant time in Spain, my guest was rooting for España while I was clearly hoping for an historic Netherlands victory.

Some of those Spaniards were cute!

Spanish fans in Vondelpark
With their gold & red t-shirts, it was easy to spot Spanish fans. Kathleen embraced them all! Although Holland lost the 2010 World Cup, the town went wild when Team Oranje returned from Jo’burg for a festive parade down Herengracht canal and a celebration at Museumplein. Now passionate about European futbol, I look forward to Euro Cup 2012 and World Cup 2014. Anyone want to join me in Brazil? You’ve got 4 years to save!

Victory parade down Herengracht canal
As I’ve been penning and pitching stories about my travels, I’ve discovered Trazzler, a great site for sharing experiences. No matter what your life is like, you’ve surely had some peak ones—devouring that delectable pastrami-on-rye at Factor’s, snuggling with a sweetie in a romantic B&B, going on safari in Africa (or San Diego Wild Animal Park), discovering a scenic bike route, swimming with sharks in Hawaii, rafting a river (any river!) or just hanging out at your favorite hometown diner.

Snap a photo, write less than 160 words about your fav weekend getaway, boutique hotel, adrenaline rush, music venue, food market, museum, urban oddity…ok, you get the idea. There are more than 3 dozen categories for posts and it’s fun to share pics and stories.

Crazy Dutchies
I’ve posted 4 Trazzler trips to date, focusing on recent experiences on Eagle Island, Egypt, the Dolomites and window shopping Amsterdam-style.

And what about that nasty ref?
If you like my stories, I hope you’ll “save” them and vote for those entered in Trazzler contests. I encourage you to become a friend on the site and to submit your own stories about cool places you’ve visited and experiences you’ve had.

My doors on Da Costakade canal are still open to anyone who may want to visit Amsterdam this summer. I’ll be back in California in early September and hope to return to A’dam in spring 2011.

Love & peace to all!


  1. some people just know how to live..... I think they recently ranked in the 5 happiest countries.

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