24 April 2009

Amsterdam's China Town

I was very much alone on our journey to Amsterdam. I was struggling with my impatient body and fighting for legroom, whilst Boon is 'aaah-ing' over the delicacies he is served in Business Class. Hmp.

So, I heard Amsterdam is the Sin-City of Europe and probably the only 'living' museum of sex and drugs. I've also heard about severe memory loss cases due to excessive 'magic mushroom' intake and a good serving of 'space cakes'. Yea well, we stuck to the mundane tourist alternatives.

We arrived at 7am in the morning, spent a fair bit of time figuring out how to use 'em damn lockers in the train station, and the walking mission begins.

Zeedijk - Chinatown
I'm usually more coordinated; i would look at the map and mark my every step from start to end (I think its an obsession or fear of missing something out). Boon2's more free-spirited than I am; by the 10th time i unfold the map to check our bearings, he'd fold it back up and say "Lets just walk okay?, we'll find our way =)".
Sometimes, i tend forget the meaning of 'surprise yourself!'.

We stumbled on to Zeedijk Street, the mainstreet of Amsterdam's Chinatown. The street was totally deserted except for the occassional *tzings-tzings* from incoming cyclists.

As i was cursing the un-even cobblestones, i was equally aah-ing over the quaint buildings that instantly transports you back to an old world. You'll find a mixture of Japanese, Malaysian, CHINEES (this is how it's actually spelt), Indonesian, Vietnamese and even THAISE restaurants nestled in between massage parlours, oriental stores, chinese acupuncture, and beauty salons with faded portraits of pale-faced, red-lipped women donning cheongsams. It feels like we're in those old Shanghai-tang movie, except once in a while, i'd remember to hold my handbag closer to my chest. That's because I overheard a couple of guys saying "the robbers here are so good, they can literally take your shoes off your feet without you realising." Well, exaggeration or not, my bag's not going anywhere!

We wandered, peeped into windows, and I even attempted sniffing out noodle soups but it was just too early. No luck with Chineeeeees food.

On the same street, we saw the Fo Guang Shan He Hua temple. It's roof tiles and ornaments were flown in from China, and it's said to be the largest traditional palace-styled temple build in Europe.

Word also has it that the actual Chinatown where most of the Chinese lived is southeast of Nieuwmarkt (which is really just a street away).


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