Amsterdam, Holland – 2005

Amsterdam, 2005

A quick trip! What a trip

When I arrived back in 2004, my life was a completely chaos. I was trying to put my life together in Ireland and thinking still in Portuguese; I was trying to make up to the fact that I left a heavy addiction in crack cocaine behind me; I was trying to come to terms about who I was and what I am doing in this world, and it was all going too fast and in completely disconnection to the real world.
I was cleaning toilets in a very good place in Dun Laoghaire but I was not happy because I hated that job. I didn’t know how the system works and my visa was expiring again! So I learnt that I have to go out and come back to Dublin, so I could get my extension.
As usual, running low in cash, I figured out that a good place to go would be Amsterdam, Holland. So I packed bags and went in one day trip. What a trip…

When I got pass the airport, I thought I wouldn’t ever pass it, everything was in Dutch and I was so scared that I remember that I missed the bus to get in my hostel. Back @ the day, no cash enough to pay 5* hotels, so I ended up in HANS BRINKER HOSTEL, @ Kerkstraat. I dropped my bag in room 9, bed B and started to walk around the same block. In fact I was scared to death that I couldn’t find the place again. When I crossed the 1st channel, I was in heaven.

My hostel was just few doors down the Global Chillout… a smoking café thing… so well, I just need to say that after 2 years cleaning up my mind and body, the only thing that I had in mind was blow a big splif and I did! I got a Pakkie one! It was huge! It sent me straight out of orbit…

I could barely move my mind, less still my body, and legs! A smoke in the Red Light City is an art! They have so many things paraphernalia that my old days nicking napkins at Nilda’s just looks wrong… *))
I was carrying my photograph equipment in a yellow bag and it was getting dark faster. When I left the place I couldn’t help think that I was been following by the Dutch police confusing me with a terrorist. It was indeed a moment of panic – a bad trip.

I notice in two years living outside Brazil that the cops in here carry guns, hiding horses and the streets are one way. So you can walk without look back… I hate the traffic. Bikes, cars, metros, bus, people, everything moving you to the side! Not cool.. And I nearly die twice ‘cos I was, first, crazy in mi mind and second, bikes. They are as dangerous as cars… not cool either.
I also didn’t like the visual pollution; the amount of black turbans on the street and everything seems to look like a big Red Light corner… I didn’t take pictures from the area! It is already well documented and I couldn’t be bothered, I was still very crazy from the joint. Everything over there seems to look very depressed, not ‘cos of the people but, the idea of selling a body is a well organised and structured industry…
From this moment, I just went crazy taking pictures from the area that I was in and maybe some other day I will be able to take descent notes and photos…
I’ll be back, indeed.

– – –

About the hostel:

Nice and young. Don’t go there carrying diamonds and a purse full of credit cards and money. Play safe is the best police. The hostel is near enough from the Vondelpark, good for cruising outdoors; the Tommy Hilfiger European headquarters; museums, metro stations and all the possible facilities to help the trip tourist find themselves in this crazy place!

The hostel’s profile on The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel Amsterdam takes honesty to the extreme with its infamous communication campaign, revered and reviled in equal measure.

Directions to Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam
From Amsterdam Central Station take tram 1, 2 or 5. Get out at 5th stop (keizersgracht) and take the first street to your left, this should be Kerkstraat. If it’s not, ask a local!

I had a quick chat with my American roommate before I became unsocial:
“The Hans Brinker is an interesting experience. If you are looking for an inexpensive bed in Amsterdam, this might be your best option. The hostel (I don’t think that the Hans Brinker qualifies as a “hotel.”) has a good location, is inexpensive, and has reasonably friendly staff. A completely uninspired breakfast is a part of the room rate.Some of the draw-backs include the fact that the hostel is not particularly clean and can be extremely loud, especially in the late evenings when many of the Amsterdam revelors are returning home. All this being said, the Hans Brinker makes no illusions about the quality of its hotel. This is truely a case of “you get what you pay for.”I never felt unsafe at the hostel, but I probably would not stay here again.Unique Qualities: Bar/dance club in the basement is interesting.”

And I firmly disagreed with his views. Also, as I was alone, I didn’t care about those issues. I was also crazy of my head so didn’t bother at all those things.

In Kerkstraat street area look for The Magere Brug (“Skinny Bridge”). It is a bridge over the river Amstel in the city centre of Amsterdam. It connects the banks of the river at Kerkstraat street, between the Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht canals.

What I did care the most was the fact that was my first hop off out Dublin; my first joint after kicked away my addiction, and I was moving on with my life, alone. Back @ the day, I was single, living in Island Bridge, D8 and not so scared anymore about things in life! I was just 24 when I first went to the 70’s Babylon!


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