Hello Europe!

Amsterdam Travel Blog

 › entry 34 of 94 › view all entries

“It costs how much?”  After spending the past few months in Asia and far far East Europe, I had forgotten how much things costs.  Nights previously I was having an internal argument about whether or not I should splash out and spend USD$4 on dinner and now how I long for those days.


When I left Tehran, I was told that you had to wait until the doors had closed on the aircraft before you could take off your hijab, but I couldn’t wait that long.  After passing through customs and having the Iranian man tell me I look nothing like my photo (perhaps this trip away is starting to have an affect?), I noticed a lot of Indian women in their saris not wearing a head scarf and since I had suddenly decided that I was an Indian woman, I too removed my scarf.  The feeling was liberating, but only because I had spent the past week and a bit trying hard to not let my scarf slip that I ended up with a nervous twitch which seemed to come out every five or so minutes.  The hot-cold sweat of panic realising that my scarf was out of place is still present, but slowly it is waning to a distance memory.


So I caught my flight to Amsterdam via Dubai and on the Tehran – Dubai most of the women had removed their hijabs before we had even taken off.  There were some fervent wearers still by the end of the flight, but the majority of women had them off before stewardesses could say “Welcome On Board.”


My feelings on this sight are that there is a change in the air.  The more the clerics in power push for religious devoutness, the more there is a feeling of rebellion against the state enforced religion.  The people of the Islamic Republic of Iran may be Muslim, but that does not mean that all of the population is religious.  The Iranians are just like any other country – the same hopes and dreams like we in the west have, but the minority of the population (the women) want to have the freedom to choose whether they wear the hijab or not.  I’m not sure how long it will take for this change to come into fruition, but it is hearting to hear the youth of the population, especially the young men, feeling empathy for the woman and girls, who after age nine, must wear the hijab.  Like the Pantene advertisement, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.


On arrival in Amsterdam it was nice to be greeted with a ‘Welcome Home’ by the immigration officer, and after collecting my baggage I made my way to my friend’s house for the evening.  The night was spent with a friend and past colleague from New Zealand, Lisa, her German boyfriend, Martin, both sets of their parents and friends celebrating Martin’s birthday.  I have never eaten so well as I did this evening, but maybe this was in part due to the fact I haven’t eaten so much for months in one sitting that my stomach was stretched to capacity.  The food was delicious, tasty, yummy, all the superlatives to describe how good it was can be used here but nothing can express my sheer joy of this tasty meal.  It was heavenly and thanks to Lisa, Martin and their families for taking me out and filling up this happy backpacker’s belly.


So I’m only in Amsterdam for the night before I head over to Barcelona for a few days.  Clearly I haven’t traveled enough recently and am in need of a relaxing holiday ….. no, who I am kidding, of course I won’t be relaxing while I’m in Spain but I’ll be doing a lot of walking, sightseeing and trying of the local cuisine, but first I’ll need to ask one vital question …. Cuánto cuesta?


Tot straks from Amsterdam


Saskia007 says:
Hey Bob! Sorry I hadn't responded earlier!
What a awful story - I hope I never experience that (the dead body that is and not the hangover). Never that I really get to experience a hangover anyway as I'm such a lightweight. One drink and I'm tipsy, two and I'm dancing on the tables.
I'm keeping well - off to Scotland on Thursday for the first time .... any pointers?
Posted on: Oct 10, 2010
oaxacaman says:
My Dear S. Maria - I have been vicariously traveling with you and Lovely Jan since the getgo! What wonderful memories you two are accruing (assuming you're still talking). Just a comment about Amsterdam. I know, I know, your old stomping grounds. In my youth (yes, I was once young like you two), I recall a trip to Amsterdam and it's infamous dock area where one morning while nursing a nasty hangover I spied an unfortunate young sailor floating face down in one of the canals, the result of a late night misunderstanding. Enough to sober me up I can tell you. Stay healthy, I pray. Bob the Yank
Posted on: Jul 30, 2010
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