Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Amsterdam – A Survival Guide for the Modern English Male Tourist

This is a first for the Man Blog, our first female contributor! Some of you maybe scared by this, but don't be, listening to women can pay dividends.

So to paraphrase Kuato from Total Recall (the good one, not this new shite): 'Open you mind'-

"Despite being in full possession of a uterus (and related female paraphernalia) I would still like to contribute to the man blog and vent my spleen on the topic of male English tourists in my fine city of Amsterdam. These men need guidance....urgently.

Amsterdam – A Survival Guide for the Modern English Male Tourist



Woo hoo. You and your mates have arrived in Amsterdam. You’ve pulled up at Centraal Station complete with tattered adidas holdall, hilarious personalized T-Shirt (eg Guildford Alcohol Disposal Squad...ahahahaaaaaaaa), half-finished can of beer and the overwhelming desire to repeatedly bray out the name of whichever member of your group is lucky enough to be getting married/one year older. STOP. You’ve done well to get this far, don’t drop the ball so early in the game. You can see a coffeeshop from the station but that doesn’t mean you should immediately rush in, order 6 joints with a manly name like ‘AK47’ and then proceed to quickly inhale them. There is an invisible wall in Amsterdam. It exists about 40ft from that coffeeshop. Once you reach it all 6 joints will hit you and you won’t know who you are, where your hotel is, or why your hand seems to be moving so very very very slowly. I’ve known english tourists to spend their entire weekend curled up in a fetal position next to that wall. Sobbing.


bad idea

Different rules, different game. In the UK the beer is about 4%. You can merrily down pints and play beer games without angering the vomit gods. In Amsterdam the beer is between 8% and 20%. You drink it like you’re in the UK and a mere 4 hours into your trip that lovely personalized T-shirt will be covered in vomit. And you don’t have a spare T-shirt do you. And you want to be part of the pack don’t you. So you’ll keep the vomit stained T-shirt on, effectively creating and maintaining a 10 foot anti-girl cordon that your friends won’t thank you for. If you’re very unlucky you’ll become the one who gets left behind. …the one sitting on the steps of a random dutch church at 2 a.m, looking lost and trying to chant the name of his football team for no discernible reason.



For many people a holiday isn’t a holiday until they have sampled the local cuisine. Those people haven’t been to Amsterdam and if they did I would absolutely piss myself watching them eat bitterballen and lukewarm sausage baps out of a vending machine. There are great curry houses in Amsterdam, and some all-you-can-eat Sushi bars that will make a man of you. Be wise, do your homework.


floppy hair

Let’s be honest. You will be getting drunk, stoned, and will probably end up covered in vomit (which may or may not be your own). At a fairly early stage of the evening your conversational ability will be reduced to shouting and producing complex hand gestures to indicate that you would like another beer. Dutch women do not want to talk to you. You see, Dutch men take care of themselves. They have long floppy highlighted hair. They iron their clothes and smell like sandelwood. They make you look like some scary Neanderthal who has invaded Amsterdam with the sole intention of being sick on everything. There is only one type of woman in Amsterdam who has any time for you. And that time costs money.



You have three choices for transportation. You can walk, cycle or use the trams. Using the trams is fairly straightforward although there are four doors, only one of which can be used to get on. If you pick the wrong door every Dutch person on the tram will mock you and the conductor will shout at you to get off and try again. I’m not sure what the English equivalent of this is, but suffice to say the Dutch never tire of the hilarious ‘he used the wrong door’ routine and being on the receiving end may make you feel a teeny weeny bit punchy. If you choose to rent a bike (or buy one for ten euros from a junkie) you will experience what it is truly like to be king of the road. Bikes rule in Amsterdam. They can do no wrong. You can (and will) cycle anywhere and anyhow. It will be sweet bliss up until the point when your bike is stolen or you end up wobbling into a canal. If you choose to walk, good luck. If a cyclist doesn’t hit you a tram will.



Woo hoo again. You have found the Red Light District. You’ve been really excited about this bit of the trip but now you’re here you are slightly concerned by how busy it is. In fact it is crammed with tourists, many of whom look a lot like your parents. Your only possible reaction to this embarrassing situation is to increase the amount of braying and backslapping within your group to near seismic levels in the hope that all this inflated camaraderie will somehow hide the fact that you simply can’t stop staring at all the boobs. You now have three choices ahead of you. Choice one is to keep contact with the ladies down to some cheerful banter, sexual innuendo and frantic window tapping. Well done, you’ve managed to look like a manly man without catching something with a long name and an even longer list of symptoms. Choice two is to get a bit carried away and conduct a full transaction. Henceforth your mates will call you ‘dirty shagger’ and this story will be retold on your wedding day. Your mum will never look at you the same way again. Choice three is to attempt to creep back to the RLD unaccompanied at some crazy hour in the morning to conduct said transaction in full privacy. You will suddenly realize that without the tourists the place is scary as hell and one or more pimps are already planning to rob you.



I’ll be honest; nobody really likes you being in Amsterdam. You’re loud, drunk and you smell of vomit. Eventually this sense of being unwanted may permeate through the drug and drink addled haze and you may want to head somewhere where you are always welcome. That place is the Bulldog bar, a mecca for English tourists who only want to socialize with other English tourists while listening to English music in an English bar. It’s like walking into a really rough Yates Wine Lodge, albeit one with a surprising relaxed attitude towards the smoking of marijuana.

I hope that this guide has enlightened and informed. I think it should be required reading on any easyjet flight between England and Amsterdam. I’d ask them to print it on the back of the safety instructions but I think we all know the target audience has no intention of ever reading those." 

Big thanks to Sarah (who is a resident of the fair city) for that. Handy information for those looking to impress in Amsterdam.

If you feel the need to rant, you can submit one here.



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