David McCarthy, New Haven, CT

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


My initial impression of this city was beauty, followed by the sensation that everyone wanted to steal my camera, sell me drugs, or hurt me. I must have been asked to buy cocaine over 100 times with in a few days there. As I walked around the city, I saw what it was and what it could be. The feeling I had was that the whole downtown area was taken over by a college frat.

How does this city function? How is its government viewed by other governments? How can anyone take this city seriously? These are some of the questions that ran through my mind as I strolled around and over the canal guided streets. This city was in a cloud; latterly.


As my friends and I sat inside a burger shop with a street view, we witnessed a homeless man panhandling. Someone out of the kindness of their heart handed him a basket of fries. This man did not seem like the homeless I was used to back home, he appeared to be seriously deranged, disturbed, and possibly psychotic. His hand holding the basket shook with a tremor and the fries scattered out on the streets in small bursts, and his whole body jolted as me murmured sounds. With in seconds there were few fries left, and in one last spasm he threw the basket in the air followed by a leg twitching and some screaming.

The red-light district, this place was very unique. Here you were subjected to seduction from some of the most beautiful women alive, and simultaneously some of the most repulsive women to ever exist. Temptation for many tourists, but not me. I was not even remotely interested.

For a moment, my friends and I stood still just people watching and talking about our journeys through Europe. All of the sudden I heard music very loud, as if a I was in the middle of a club dance floor. I looked over to see that one of the red-light girls opened the door to seduce a passerby. I looked in awe at the soundproofing of the door, and decided to ask her if it actually was.  Her ears battered by the sounds of her boom box, she could not make out what I was saying so I repeated my question “is that door sound proof.” My mind was flourishing with thoughts by the millisecond about how it was, and why. I thought maybe they did it so the streets were not flooded with the sounds of happy customers, but wouldn’t that make great advertising? With in moments after the third repeat, she called me a “fucking fagot loser,” and laughed at me and the passerby joined in on the ridicule as well. I was called a faggot loser by a prostitute, awesome!

The Climate
I was there in March, and the weather was similar to a late spring afternoon. It did not rain while I was there, it sunny most of the time.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 5:32 pm and is filed under Photography, Travel Photography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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