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Amsterdam Red Light District
B A D   T A S T E   T O U R S

Our Bad Taste Tours are just as advertised -- some folks find them in very poor taste, indeed. But these are not places we make up. They exist and are often visited by millions of tourists each year...even if you're not one of them. The Savvy Traveler's Cash Peters is our brave guide. Today he takes us to the red light district of Amsterdam...a place you may have heard a lot about. So be forewarned...this particular tour may go beyond the boundaries even for the heartier among you.

Bad Taste Tour: Amsterdam Red Light District
by Cash Peters

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The Amsterdam Red Light District is like a theme park, where the theme basically is debauchery. Drugs freely available, legalized prostitution with booby ladies sitting in shop windows. My tour guide thought it was all perfectly normal.

Tour Guide: "This is the system since World War II. This is the system that the ladies earn their money, sitting in the window."

Cash: "Yeah, but what happens if I'm easily shocked?"

Tour Guide: "Uh, you have to avoid the area."

Cash: "'Don't come' is really the message."

Tour Guide: "Just don't come here."

In fact, 'Don't come here' could well be their tourist slogan. Anyway, the Red Light District tour begins in a sex shop where you get the chance to watch some deeply unattractive men buying quite ridiculous products, such as a pair of Milk Maid Jumbo Squirting Breasts and a CD-ROM of naked girls doing raunchy things with clogs. Stare at the floor and keep walking would be my advice.

But the sex shop is tame compared to the rest of the tour, organized by an ex-game-show host on Dutch T.V. called Rob Van Hurst.

Van Hurst: "We have a look behind the scenes. For example, we go in a brothel; we speak to one of the girls, why she's doing that work and what kind of clients she gets. Then we go to a peep show, behind the scenes of a peep show. We go to a sex theater. We don't go there for the shows, but we talk to the actors.

It's all a bit mind-blowing actually, walking past hundreds of windows and having semi-naked women invite you to indulge in sins of the flesh, when in truth, you'd rather pop back to the hotel and fool around with your new Milk Maid Jumbo Squirting Breasts.

Van Hurst: "Over one million visitors go to a girl in the Red Light District."

Cash: "Every year?"

Van Hurst: "Every year. They go in a room and they have sex with a girl. They pay 50 guilders."

Cash: "How long would I get for that?"

Van Hurst: "Seven, eight minutes. And if you want extras, you pay a lot more."

Fifty guilders being about twenty dollars, in case you even care. Anyway, as you walk around town, you learn some of the history of Amsterdam, you visit a novelty condom shop...

Tour Guide: "For example, you have the fun condoms. You just have the nice, well, football or an animal on it. And it's just for fun. Here you can just buy also with taste and flavors and everything."

Cash: "Such as what?"

Tour Guide: "Well, banana flavor or strawberry flavor."

Also, you see a peep show, talk to a real prostitute, and then, the climax of the tour -- literally, if you're lucky -- you get to visit what I'm told is the best brothel in the whole of whoredom, which unfortunately I can't name, run by a woman...I can't name either. Sorry. The most shocking fact I discovered, though, is that most men who visit brothels don't even do anything.

Woman: "Nine out of 10, they don't have sex. It's just a good laugh and a good time with the ladies, drinking champagne, have a nice a bubble bath together, good massage and that's it."

Cash: "Are men so dumb?"

Woman: "Yeah. [Laughs] Absolutely."

Cash: "So how much would it cost me?"

Woman: "We have an entrance fee of 150 guilders."

Cash: "Which is about how many dollars?"

Woman: "Uh, say about $55."

Cash: "Which isn't bad, actually."

Woman: "No, that's okay. You have five drinks for yourself. And if you like to go to a private room with one of our ladies, that's $200."

It's all so wrong, and so weird too, because Amsterdam is a wonderful city, full of nice people, winding canals and pretty architecture. In fact, I put it to the person with the craziest name in tourism, Els Wamsleeker, head of the tourist office: In the name of decency, woman, get rid of the drugs and hookers; make Amsterdam a great place to live. But hey, they're way past that.

Wamsleeker: "It's very difficult to get rid of the drugs and the hookers because we have been already city of prostitutes since centuries. Yeah, some are used to it in Holland and the rest of western Europe, this kind of life. It exists, it's there, and who cares?"

In Amsterdam, I'm -- if anyone knows how these Jumbo Squirting Breasts work, would you please call in -- in Amsterdam, I'm Cash Peters for The Savvy Traveler.


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