Postcard from Amsterdam

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The city is gleaming and I can hardly keep my eyes open for fear of the searing sunlight. The canals around most street corners are more like grand mirrors, upon which the rays hit, dance and blossom. Our refuge from this mighty star is found only between the skinny buildings, in the hose-pipe alleyways. We walk often on the road, for the pavement is thinned downed for one car to squeeze through, and we have fattened ourselves with violins and rucksacks on our shoulders.

 

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I walked through the Red Light District on a Sunday morning for the first time in my life. A rather pretty area found in the North of the city near the train station, characterised by black and grey bricks, siren-red embellishments on the faces of the buildings, half-nude humans posing in their own personal window and of course, the familiar scent of marijuana cooking away in some room.

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Passing by the windows in a winter coat and a scarf that twists round my neck three times, I learn that, despite the taboo and the still prevalent issue of sex-trafficking here, these workers most probably benefit from the safest sex work in the world, with security guards on hand and a discretion to accept or reject a customer who approaches their door.

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One girl looked especially lonely and sad. She was in purple lingerie, sitting on a plush crimson fauteuil decorated with gold carvings, in a window that had several steps leading up to it. Perhaps that she was the only one on display, with nobody else posing beside her, which gave her a stark similarity to a doll in a toy store.

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Gimme some dim-sum…

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Culture time at the Rijks Museum, smelling the newness of the renovated building…

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…watching canvasses of all kinds, hearing the paint speak to us…

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…adoring the wrinkled hands and faces painted by Rembrandt and laughing at the some of the stupendous Delftware.

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And a live TV appearance on Podium Witteman to finish…

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