I love going on these trips for work because my colleague and I have a knack for ending up in surreal situations, and this trip was no exception.
We arrived in Amsterdam on tuesday evening- dumped our bags at the hotel and, not wanting to stay out too late, went out searching for a local pub. The neighborhood wasn't exactly hopping, so we picked the first place that was open and which wasn't filled with Mickey Rourke types.
We walked in and our jaws dropped-- despite being smack-dab in the middle of a Protestant neighborhood this place was still decorated for carnaval. And I use the term loosely because it looked like it had been done by rogue style consultants for an elementary school lunchroom.
Orange plastic garbage bags had been flattened out and pasted on the walls; tinfoil on the ceiling; and a strange assortment of stuffed animals were suspended by wires: Teletubbies, gorrillas, mangy looking bears that looked like carnival rejects. A tattered old poster of Frank Sinatra hung at a dubious angle next to one of the prince with the queen's hair superimposed on his head.
The whole atmosphere was so overwhelming it was only possible to take it in in small increments.
The bartender was friendly and chatty, but along with the beer and nuts she also dispensed stories about her evil, dead ex-husband. She was pushing 60 but sported pink cotton candy hair and I was impressed by her savvy in handling a couple of the customers who had had a few beers too many.
At one point I was chatting with my colleague and happened to look up-- and there it was. Suspended and swinging slightly above his head hung a three foot long inflatable penis.