So, I got into Amsterdam at 10pm or so last night, mainly due to pissy station staff in Paris who wouldn’t let me get an earlier train. It had just got dark, and all I had was the name of a Hostel and the street it was in. After wandering around for half an hour I finally found the place only to find in the window a “full”sign. A guy outside gave me directions to another hostel, so I went the way he said and found about 10 hostels and a few hotels. All were full, it was getting late and I was getting a little desperate.
Eventually I spied the poshest hotel in the world so I went in and asked the guy at the reception if he had a room. He said there wasn’t, but that I should try a place in the train station that booked hotel rooms for you. So, off I trudged back to the station, to find the place open. The woman at the counter said there were no rooms free anywhere in the city, the closest one being in Rotterdam, an hours train journey away. She said I may still be able to find a room in a hostel, so I changed some travellers cheques, assuming I may have to pay quite a bit for the last room in Amsterdam.
Then I made my first mistake. Instead of putting the money, including 2 50 euro notes, in my money hiding belt, I just shoved it in my pocket. Outside a tramp asked me for money and I asked him for directions to a free hostel. He pointed me in the direction of the red-light district, which was wary of, but I went in that direction anyway and found another posh hotel. The woman at the counter said there was a room free at the airport but that it would be 250 euros. I wasn’t THAT desperate.
After that I had to resort to looking around the more dubious hostels above cafes in the red light district. In one I realised that the best thing to do was to get some change and phone around all the hostel numbers I had. At the bar I made my second and third mistakes. First I accidentally pulled out a 50 euro note instead of the 20 I should have got out. Second, when the huge black guy at the bar offered to show me to a hotel with a room free, I (very tired and starting to panic) instinctively said yes. As the man ordered a double vodka, which he would pay for “afterwards” I looked for somewhere to conceal all the rest of my money. There was no way, and eventually I was being led out, his arm around my shoulders, into an alley around the corner. A group of other huge black guys crowded about, but he said “he’s with me” and led me off. I started trying to make a cover story to get away but he just started saying that I should trust him, that he didn’t like people who didn’t trust him, that I was safe with him and shouldn’t be afraid, and that he had a gun.
As we got around the corner I started to try to angle myself into the crowds, where it would be harder to mug me, but he pulled me over to a wall and asked for the 50 note he’d seen me take out of my pocket, reminding me that he had a gun again. I put my hand in, hoping to find the same note so as not to let me look like I had as much cash on me as I had. Thank god, I found it. Then he asked if I had any more money. I said that that was my only money, that now I could not afford a hotel now and he started spinning some crap about it being his brother’s hotel and how he’d sort out a room for free.
With the thread of his lies unravelling very quickly I took the opportunity to walk off in the confusion and leave him with his fucking 50 euro note. He didn’t follow. I trotted quickly away from the red light district and went towards the station to find a 24 hour bar I could spend the night in. At a place right next to the station they said that they were a hostel and that they had some beds free. Right next to the fucking station where I had started. By now it was nearly 1 so I got straight to sleep in the disgusting and expensive pit that is the BA Hotel, woken occasionally by the snores of the guy in the bed above me.
This morning I ate my unbelievably shit free breakfast and went over to the hostel I was meant to be staying at. They had a room free at just over half the price of the other place. It’s fucking good too, decorated amazingly and full of hot american college chicks. Swings and roundabouts as they say.
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