In my earlier article, I described how the gaeity is best associated with festivals (particularly Oktoberfest). Continuing the combination of my love for literature and travel, Netherlands can be described at best — trippy. Trippy is an often abused word, just like Netherlands.
Netherlands is often associated with sex and drugs. And it seems to be designed to please admirers of these. No wonder, trippy. Rotterdam has some of the most weirdly designed buildings — be it the central station in shape of a boomerang, a half-suspended bridge, a distinct maroon-colored skyscraper or another red building with white frames.
And when you are walking through these streets, glancing at these imperfect art forms, after a rendezvous with ‘space cake’, the gaps slowly ebb out to make the picture perfect. Gaps of space and gaps of time!
While Rotterdam fascinates the admirers with its land (architecture), Amsterdam does so with its water (canals). Canals run through Amsterdam as blood through our bodies, with no corner left inaccessible. In an alternate scenario, if I would have been born here, I imagine myself owning a small boat which I would use to have rendezvous with my friends. Not that cycles are any less valued in Amsterdam. In fact, cyclists seem to be the thugs of Amsterdam, giving you intense stares when you use the cycle-lane.
The Red Light Area, the busiest street in Amsterdam, seems to be a distinct phenomenon of its own. I always knew sex made good business but never really understood the magnitude until here. An average prostitute here makes 650$ per night. To give you some context, this is 5 times the average American household income. But as you look beyond the rosy cheeks and perfectly sculpted bodies, you feel only sympathy for a different kind of bonded labour.
There were a couple of things though that stood out from this milieu of vices. Firstly, the Peace Palace, which overwhelms you with the complex systems (International Court of Justice, and Court of Arbitration)working silently in the backend to keep the peace machine of the world working.
Secondly, Anne Frank House. I had read the Diary of a Young Girl when I was quite young. It was one of the first books to intrigue me towards World War II and Hitler. And the house just brings back all the memories, all the horrors that the family must have been through and the precarious times they lived in. And as you know her inner ramblings, struggles and desires, you only wish she would have lived to tell her own story.
Despite all the abuse and trippiness, Netherlands is a country proud of accepting and internalising its vices. One country that would live by Tyrion’s quote- “Never be afraid of who you are. Wear it like an armour and no one can use it against you.”
P.S. The Rotterdam pic is clicked by a friend.
All pictures used are mine and should not be reproduced without permission.