i knew what i wanted to do when i woke up this morning.
and that was to go to de poezenboot boat. i was surprised and a little disappointed that the boat cruise i went on last night did not point de poezenboot out to us. but being the resourceful little bee that i am, i found them online and made my way over to singel 38. although the massive 50% summer sale at h&m sidetracked me a wee bit.
de poezenboot currently houses 25 cats and the boat is run entirely by volunteers. think spca except that some of the cats have free reign on the place. they can stay in or choose to go out on the side deck (which is enclosed by fencing so the cats won't drown in the canal) those that can't be socialized are safe in their cages until the time comes when they could be introduced to the community at large. the cats were a bit skittish for the most part and i found it ironic that the ones in the cages are the most friendly and wanting to have human contact.
hanging out with all the cats made me miss sean and jonesy at home. i was at de poezenboot to get my fix.
i hung out long enough to chat with one of the volunteers who told me that de poezenboot never puts down or deny any cat in distress. that adoptions vary from once a day to once every couple of weeks.
the best story she told me was one of kismet and granny. kismet was 16 years old when he was adopted and taken to his new home. but then he ran off and his new humans couldn't find him. kismet had gone back to de poezenboot. the new owner brought him home once again, only to find kismet had slipped out and gone back to the boat. turns out that kismet is the male companion to granny. they had both come to de poezenboot together. and it wasn't until he kept coming back that the staff realized that "kiss" would not leave 17 year old granny.
the 2 cats even have their own cat cushion that they sleep in together. just for them.
an example of animals who mate for life. so wonderful.
i left reluctantly, but was happy to have been able to hang out at de poezenboot for almost an hour.
i walked over to the western canal side to see anne frank huis. i had visited the museum the last time i was in amsterdam 15 years ago. and it's changed since then. there weren't high def tvs in every room airing interviews with those who knew and had helped the frank family during the war. neither were there telephone handsets in different languages so you can listen along as you watch the introduction film when you enter.
similar to the rembrandt huis, there was a modern storefront built beside the actual house where customers are received and admission is charged. we then walk inside which then connects to the ground floor of the house itself. the museums windows have been blacked out or window shaded to preserve the interior.
in highschool the diary of anne frank was compulsive reading for english class. we had even watched the diary of anne frank movie. (1959) but it's something entirely different seeing it IRL. climbing the neck-breaking stairs, touching the actual wallpaper (well, maybe we weren't suppose to "touch") and walking about in the claustrophobic rooms where they hid for 25 months. otto frank, anne's father, made the decision to leave it unfurnished after the germans cleared their possessions after their arrest and deportation. but to show how the annex looked back then, scale models were made based on specific details provided by otto.
though the furniture are all gone, the pictures of actors pasted up in anne's bedroom are real and behind preservation glass. the moveable bookshelf that hid the secret doorway to the annex still have all the record books and binders from otto's business.
i wonder if the floors were as creeky then as they are now? anne and the others in hiding had to be quiet during the day when people were working downstairs for fear of being discovered. the 8 in hiding couldn't run any water nor flush the toilet, walk around or make any noise whatsoever. it boggles the mind to think that those simple things meant life or death to them.
the front attic was probably the most affecting, as you learn about the arrest, the deportation and the fates of each member of the group. on august 8 1944, all 8 inhabitants were interned in westerbork transit camp. on september 3 1944, they were all transported to auschwitz. anne's mother and sister died in the camps. anne frank died a month before the liberation. otto frank survived.
nobody has ever discovered who had betrayed them.
from left: anne frank statue, signage, shelly winters had promised otto frank that she would donate her oscar if she won best supporting actress for her role in the anne frank movie. she did.
in the diary room where you could see anne frank's red and white checkered diary (under glass) and also read some of her passages from her stories on the wall. anne's diary was first published in the netherlands in 1947. it has since been translated into more than 65 languages. in july 30, 2009 the writings of anne frank were included on the UNESCO world heritage list of documents. it was inscribed on the register as memory of the world.
taking a contemplative walk about the anne frank huis, i walked over to the jordaan district. and got myself a strawberry gelato, found myself a bench and ate it canal-side while basking in the sun. a purr-fect summer day.
the jordaan is a picturesque, colourful and laid back neighbourhood. there's interesting shops, galleries and cafes but a little too quiet for me.
i headed back over to the dam (my thighs are gonna be hard-core toned by the time i get back from all this walking!) but since most of the retail shops closed at 6pm today, i continued on to the red light district. seeing the RLD in the light of day is probably not the same as experiencing it after the sun goes down. even though it was still light out, there were scantily clad girls in windows trying to entice the men passing by, brutish bouncer thugs probably ready to kick some ass if anyone takes a picture of the women (it's a no-no) and signs luring pedestrians to come in and watch live sex shows as well as kink in the stores as far as the eye could see.
add to the mix "coffeeshops" where there are designated "smoking" rooms. you can smell the weed as soon as you hit the red light district.
and maybe it's because i was walking around in the day, but it didn't feel as pervy as it probably felt years ago. like men in trenchcoats pervy. it gave me a good chuckle to see older couples (we're talking 55+) walking through the red light district taking pictures of each other in front of the sex clubs. with a big naughty grin. such swingers! can't wait for those to show up on facebook!
and of course, chinatown would happen to be the red light district's next street over. btw, the price of chinese food is astronomical here. i can't believe some of the prices of dim sum. i'm gonna have to suppress my urge for chinese until i get back. and sushi.
speaking of tummy grumbling, as i headed back up the damrak to catch my bus at centraal station, i decided my dinner would be a falafel sandwich from maoz vegetarian on the damrak.
talk about a 'effin' taste explosion!
i've had falafels before. and sure, i tried moaz when i was in new york. i certainly was no stranger to their union square location. but today...today took the cake! i had made a note to have one when i had the french fries at mannekin pis yesterday. but hell, if i knew it was this good, forget the damn fries.
seriously. the best falafel i've ever had. nom nom NOM!
it was SO good i felt like going up to someone afterwards and just saying grrrrr! it was so good that i didn't even want to eat anything afterwards for fear it will take away the taste in my mouth. (YES, i heard what i just said)
and you can betcha i will get my fill of maoz falafels before my trip is over.
yes, i am enjoying the food here. immensely.