18. Red Light District

Dudface invited Hayden to Amsterdam, and Hayden invited me.  We got on a train on Friday and arrived late afternoon, checking into a bed and breakfast.  We didn’t have the money for two rooms so we took one room instead.  I wonder what the owner thought of that.

I loved the architecture of Amsterdam, with its beautiful fanciful fascades along the canal.  We ate at an Indonesian restaurant that night, and I remember the plates were divided into little sections with small pieces of food in each one.

We went to the Red Light District, so called because of the prostitutes who displayed themselves in red lights in glass rooms.  Prostitution and drugs are legal in Amsterdam, so we bought some hashish and smoked it.

The hashish made me randy and that night in bed I forgot Dudface was there.  I have no memory of what happened, but Dudface did.

“You got kind of wild last night, Karen.”  I still wonder what I did with Hayden that night.

The next day we split up and Hayden and I went to the Riks museum and stood marveling in front of the gigantic canvas of Nightwatch.  I stood there a long time, wanting to remember every detail of Rembrandt’s masterpiece.

But my favorite museum in the world was the Van Gogh museum.  They had every period of Van Gogh’s work, and many colorful canvases that I had never seen before.  Then art historians still believed Van Gogh killed himself, whereas today there is speculation that he was murdered by a local bully.

That night Dudface revealed that while we were at the museums, he had visited a prostitute.  I don’t know if the prostitute was male or female, but I suspect he was male.  Apparently the night before had made Dudface excited.  I was disgusted.

On Sunday we were scheduled to leave by train that night so we could get back to class on Monday.  Dudface and Hayden wanted to rent bikes, so we biked into Holland’s countryside, past a brewery.  I was falling behind, until I could no longer see the boys.  The roads were flat and lined with perfectly symmetrical trees.  I had come to a fork in the road, and panicked.  I was holding everyone’s passports and money, so it was not only rude, but incredibly stupid, not to wait for me.  I decided not to turn but to go relatively straight.  I came across an old man with a black hat.  He didn’t speak English, and I tried in vain to act out if he had seen two boys, one in a long black shirt that looked like a coat, Hayden’s favorite bizarre outfit.  I was getting more and more upset, acutely aware that I was alone in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language and I didn’t know my way back to Amsterdam.  I turned around and went back to the fork, sat down and waited for a long time.

Finally, the boys reached me.  I was furious; they were nonchalant.  I still wonder if they left me to have sex.  What’s worse was that we missed the last train back to Paris.  I became incensed.  “I have never in my life missed a train!”  I yelled at them.  They acted like I was a lunatic.  We would miss class and we would have to figure out a place to stay another night.

Of course, I wasn’t really angry about missing a train.  I was angry because I suspected what had really happened between Dudface and Hayden.

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Filed under humor, mature content, memoir, travel

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