Hello From Amsterdam 
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 12:01 PM
Posted by Administrator
Here, in Amsterdam, thousands of bicyclists and hundred of motor scooter riders share a narrow path, next to the narrower sidewalk. The scooters blast past the bicyclists and they both blast past startled pedestrians who are also harassed by passing cars and two-train-car trams following tracks laid down the middle of the city's streets.

Pot is "legal" or sort-of-legal or tolerated but, it seems to be bad pot (I don't smoke pot but I keep my ear to the ground----in this case a Union Electrician and a college student, both from New York City---where they tell me there is good pot). Canal boats---long tour boats, small cabin cruisers, a beautiful green steel boat which the woman-owner told me was former US Army---line the sides and (today, at least) boats full of pink-hatted gay-priders glide down, canal center, blasting music (and this seemed to be centered in the canal across the street from Anne Frank's house where a line of people more than 50 yards long waited to pay to be allowed into the attic where Anne hid from the Nazis before visiting the gift shop or doing a quick lunch at the coffee shop...Note: I am talking about the people on line, not Anne. Anne hid from the Nazis before she was discovered, sent to a concentration camp and murdered....there was no gift or coffee shop involved in that and I apologize for any confusion that my phrasing may have caused.).

Almost every street is a shopping street and the streets are packed with locals and foreigners. Many are drunk. All seem well behaved.

Every street seems to have 20 places to buy a beer and sit outside and watch masses of people walk, ride and drive by. The drinking age is 16?, 17?....I don't know but nobody seems interested in proofing anyone else and no teenagers seem to be among the drunk.

"Except for pickpockets it is very safe.", a local told me , this evening. The police don't patrol much (we did see three on bicycles), instead, "there are cameras everywhere", plainclothes police in crowds (and a van full of them in the middle of what seemed to be a small, 1:00AM demonstration that happened a few blocks from our hotel).

Marijuana is sold out of coffee shops and there is a minimum age of 18 to get in. Prostitutes sit behind the large windows of ground floor shops. Long red lights glow over each window. The red lights are there to let passer-bys know that sex is for sale...though seeing a woman wearing only a thong dancing around and motioning for people to come in is another sex-is-for-sale tip off. I do not know the minimum age for this because I have not yet thought to ask.

To be continued.....
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