Amsterdam Red-Light District

During the day the Red-Light district is mostly downtown shopping with cute fashion shops, Chinese restaurants and British sports pubs. OK, and hash bars and prostitution, but the vibe is still downtown shopping district. Come dusk every few blocks you’ll hear a quiet whistle, and if you turned your head someone would offer to sell you coke or X (low quality, according to my tourist guidebook). The prostitutes were all out behind their windows, preening under red neon in bikinis or lingerie and looking rather bored.

Going down a side alley (I know, never go down the side alleys…) I ran into a very friendly gentleman who wanted to pick my pocket. We chatted for a while, him asking questions like “have you taken any pictures of your trip,” and patting his pocket, as if to say “now you pat the pocket where your camera is!” I never gave him a lead and kept to the touristed streets, glad that I’d zipped everything in my inside jacket pocket. Eventually he asked if I smoked pot and I when I told him I didn’t we parted ways, and I went to the Hash Museum.

(No pictures — even during the day I didn’t want to take my camera out.)