Welcome To Amsterdam: Everything’s Here!
IT IS meant to be a kind of improvised Dutch music and dance. As it is, I have a limited understanding of international music. On top of it, half an hour before the show, there are just nine people at Bimhuis, the riverfront concert hall.
It looks like my first evening in Amsterdam may be a flop. I head to the bar for a beer. By the time I finish the second pint, a sizeable crowd has gathered. I grab another pint of Grolsch blond and sit.
The backdrop is a glass wall, through which the Eastern Dockland lights pour in, creating a magical effect. Two women take the stage. No microphone, no accompanying music. Monica Akihary starts playing with her voice and a young woman breaks into a slow dance. Then, two new artists emerge for a dance on drum beats.
Fifteen minutes into the show, I find I have forgotten to take a sip.
Two lessons learnt: never underestimate the power of music, and that of a Dutch beer!
THE OVERFLO OWING PLATTER
Amsterdam offefers a lot of choices – except shoppiing – to its guests in the evening. In one of the most densely populatted cities of Europe, almost all shops pull down their shutters by sunnset.
But the cityy doesn’t sleep early. At 9 pm, with teemperatures falling rapidly, I enter Rijsel: a FrenchFlemish restaurant in a quiet neighbourhood by the Amstel river.
The place is as lively as a good Roman Trattoria. All customers, except the two of us, are locals. They mix food and drinks with endless, loud chatter. It’s a packed house on just another W ednesday evening.
W e order mussels, Flemish chicken roast with vegetables, and a fish soup. The server asks for my choice of poison. “Dark beer,” I reply. Five minutes later, she puts a bottle labelled ‘W ild Jo’ on the table. I am worried when the food arrives. How can two of us eat so much? The portions are twice of what you get in a Delhi restaurant.
Ruchira, my wife, suggests that we order less next time. I propose to increase my beer intake to help digest the food. As usual, she has the final say: “W e have to walk more.”
From its art to its sleaze to its heart of darkness, you’ll never have enough time to ex plore this city
SEX, DRUGS, AND…
Amsterdam has an excellent tram network, plus metro-rail and buses. But thee best way to see the heart of Holland is to walk.
Armmed with a Rick Steves’ audio gguide, I turn left from Damraak to W armoesstraat for an Amsterrdam landmark: the red-light districtt.
Eveery city has its version of a sex trrade hub, but Amsterdam takes itt to a different level. On the