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  • Day18

    Welcome aboard

    September 28, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    A pleasant buffet breakfast and Brian was once again doing battle with the incompetents at Virgin Global Wallet. After them insisting that they couldn't do anything to help us until we had sent them proof by means of a screen shot from our phone proving that another part of their own organisation had done what was asked of them by updating Mary's mobile number in their own system, they finally demonstrated that their stupidity knows no bounds. We received an email telling us that the mobile number we had nominated as belonging to Mary and the number shown in the requested screen shot were different. The difference? One of them showed the +61 international dialling code while the other one didn't. So, email number 20 or thereabouts, pointing out their stupidity was duly sent. Surely that lot exists in some sort of Kafkaesque world.

    Anyway, we duly checked out late morning and Ubered to the Amaverde, our mobile home for the next 15 days. Quite a few fellow travellers had arrived already, all of them Aussies or Kiwis, and we too were welcomed aboard. Ample sandwiches, cakes and drinks were available, and we were happy to make ourselves at home out of the wet weather in the large and comfortable lounge. At the 3pm check-in time we were shown to our cabin, where our luggage was waiting for us.

    The cabin and bathroom proved to be surprisingly large with plenty of storage space. Heading back upstairs to the lounge we all received a detailed briefing about what was happening and what in turn was required of us.

    One thing became apparent early on. With unlimited quantities of drinks and excellent food it would be easy to turn into a 120kg alcoholic very quickly. Dinner and drinks were excellent.

    The tour leader had suggested that if anyone wanted to go for a wander, the Red Light district was only a few hundred metres away and was well worth a visit. We had seen it in broad daylight hours a couple of days previously, but thought it would be worth a look after dark. As we were passing the reception desk we overheard a fellow passenger, Caroline, asking for directions, so the three of us decided to join forces to explore the Red Light district.

    It was a pleasant leisurely walk of about a kilometre to get there, and what a surprise when we arrived . It was so different from our previous daytime visit. For a start, the streets of the area were jam-packed with pedestrians., and clearly not all of them were looking for girls. There were so many restaurants of all styles, and all of them seemed to be doing a roaring trade.

    Then, of course, there were the girls. There were dozens of them to be seen, but rather than standing in shop doorways each of the very scantily clad girls was standing inside what was almost like their own individual shop window. The moment a client opened the door and walked inside a blind would immediately be pulled down, and the rest was up to ones imagination.

    Brian was carrying his camera on a strap round his neck, and the instant he looked like picking it up to get a photo there would be loud vigorous banging on the glass window and wild gesturing from whatever girl was the likely photographic subject. Fearing either a riot or a beating Brian had to abandon any notion of photographing the girls.

    It was an interesting visit. Unlike Sydney's Kings Cross it wasn't at all seedy, and there wasn't the yobbo element that one might expect to find in Australia. We got back to the boat at around 11pm having had another full and interesting day.
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