Day 19: Amsterdam – Not build for the World Rickshaw Taxi

The day started early having woken up with the day light and the increasing noise of traffic from the nearby road. Amsterdam wasn’t too far away but I would be having. It would be a fairly gentle ride, but I had the wind against me. It wasn’t fair but Iad to cope. I had been searching for a place to stay in Amsterdam, but had no luck. Most hostels were fully booked or they were ridiculously expensive.

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The journey there had noting in particular to highlight and reaching the Amsterdam sign I managed to feel again slightly excite what may await me. I took an opportunity to go into Lidls and buy some food, I was not guaranteed a place to stay that night and camping seemed an option. I was frustrated that they didn’t accept a mastercard, and having to carry around aot of change in my pocket only enfuriate me when they attempted to rush me through the till.

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I got to the center of Amsterdam, outside the station, it’s a pleasant city with a lot of grandeur, but heaving with pedestrians – mostly tourists anticipating to get their legal high or enjoy the other niceties of this city. I sat and ate some lunch. I was bothered twice by two tourists who asked me for directions. Afterwards I decided to write “I’m British and I’m cycling around the world by rickshaw” to make things clear to everyone thats I’m not local. I was deeply annoyed at how expensive the town ma was and how unhelpful their tourist information representatives were.

I took a tour around the city, but it was especially difficult. Bicycles impatiently passed and required full concentration just so you didn’t crash into them. At a blind crossing I nearly got run over by a tram, which was obscured by traffic – it had to brake sharply. I pulled my hat down in embarassment and pedalled off. Around the city there were other rickshaw taxis – I noticed all of them had the electric assist – it felt like they were cheating, considering how flat Amsterdam is except the odd bridge over the canal.

It was difficult to find anywhere to park and walk around the streets even as a pedestrian. I was getting fed up by hour and I had no interest except for being asked for directions. When I paid for a coffee at Mc Donalds and the Wifi didn’t work, my spirits were increasingly low. I decided to retreat to the Library that I knew had good internet. Having tried to park outside the entrance, I was told to move the rickshaw quite rudely by a guard – although there were no signs and a moped was parked there…

Shortly after I met two really nice Moroccans ho came to ask about my world trip after I let the guy borrow my bicycle pump. They could sympathise why I had been disappointed with the response in Holland, but wished me well – “An open heart and a smile” and you’ll get that in return.

I went inside and enquired about the Wifi and was told it wasn’t free and neither where the computers – a change from two years ago. It was annoying, but luckily someone had forgot to take their voucher reciept so effectively I got free wifi.

I tried to skype my parents but the internet kept cutting out and when it did work I was told I couldn’t use it – as it was considered calling. Pissed off, I uploaded the remainder of my videos for the documentary and got on my way. I simply had enough with this place and just wanted somewhere quiet. I set off quite late into the evening and the signs were sometimes misleading and lead me in the wrong direction.

On my way I bumped into one of the rickshaw drivers who did it part time. He explained how things worked and did it part over summer, but illegal taxis had been making it difficult and sometimes there was alot of hustling between drivers. It was interesting to hear how they operate in cities like this.

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I got on my way and went through a variety of areas along the canals. I went through some outer suburbs – large blocks of flats were islands in a large open park area. I was fortunate to meet some children who were really excited to see my rickshaw. They wanted to have a go and they all jumped on, and even a little guy drove it which made me laugh. It was full of smiles and it picked me up after a terrible day. It’s these reactions every now and then what I want to see. I just wish it hadn’t been so late that made me anxious to find a place to sleep.

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Eventually I stoped, tired, and found a place next to the railway line. It was tookedaway which I appreciated and could get some reasonable sleep with some ear plugs!

An exciting day spiralled into frustration that led to disappointment. The whole exploration of a rickshaw is meeting people, and so far Holland has proved to be disappointing. I didn’t intend to sightsee but what can you do, when nobody will come up to you and ask questions?