Saturday, October 14, 2006

Amsterdam Part III - Tomfoolery

When we arrived in Amsterdam, we picked up the usual smattering of tourist brochures and maps. One advertisement said the city’s biggest problem was public urination, and it warned not to partake in this cultural experience. And since much of the city does indeed smell like urine, we thought it was funny.

Monday night rolled around (our second night in Amsterdam), and we found ourselves in a small bar on the outskirts of the red-light district. This was just a straight-up pub – nothing “red light” about it – and the bartender was freakin’ awesome. I think his name was Rick, but that’s probably wrong so we’ll just pretend. We got there early, stayed ‘til it closed, and rocked out to sweet American music from the 70’s and 80’s the entire time. Lots of beer. Lots of new random “friends”. And even more fist pounds with Rick. Don’t ask.

Anyway, it was a great time, but the bar had to close at some point. I think we were kicked out around 3:00 or 3:30 AM, after which we slowly started to wind our way back to the hotel. That’s when things got interesting.

At one point on the way home, Tino and I turned around to find Jeff and Mark walking down a small alley in the wrong direction. It was a long way home, and we were walking slow, so we just figured they wanted to partake in the aforementioned Amsterdam tradition (after all, when in Rome…). So they’re down the alley peeing, and all of the sudden two guys on bikes (GOBs) go flying past Tino and I down the alley. Jeff and Mark are probably 40 meters away, so we can’t really hear what’s going on, but we see the GOBs surround them so they can’t walk away. We also see a third guy on foot, also not in a uniform, standing near them.

So Jeff and Mark finish their study in Amsterdam culture, and the GOBs herd them into a small, unmarked door – the only door in the entire alley. Now things are getting messed up. Two GOBs, who may or may not be cops, just surrounded our friends and took them into a seedy, unmarked door down a dark alley in the middle of the red-light district of Amsterdam.

Now, at this point I should say Tino and I were pretty confident these were police officers. It’s not like we just let two random thugs kidnap our friends. Another girl we were with thought she saw a uniform on the GOBs, and Jeff and Mark went willing into the door. It’s not like they were alarmed or anything. Nonetheless, we all thought it was pretty shady. So while Tino stood at the top of the street to wait and see if they appeared somewhere else, this other girl and I went down and pounded on the unmarked door. Eventually we were buzzed in and found ourselves in the holding room of the only freaking police station in the entire red-light district! I could hear Jeff and Mark talking on the other side of the door, and eventually some other cop told us they were being fined. About 20 minutes later, the two came out, each 75 euros poorer. oops.

Walking home, we got the whole story and a funny epilogue. Remember the third guy on foot standing around them as they were led into the police station? He was a drug dealer who offered to sell them cocaine while they were peeing. But he didn’t get fined or arrested. He just walked away. So Jeff and Mark pissed in an alley, something so many others do (albeit not on a police station), and got fined 75 euros and berated by the cops at 4 AM while the guy dealing cocaine just walked off looking for more customers. Go figure. Only in Amsterdam…

Anyway, good times.

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