Once the sun had set, a photographic pack was assembled, and we headed out into the night of Amsterdam. As soon as we got off the train, we entertained some photography of local monuments and some abstract buildings before we wandered into the Red Light District.
The barricades that can be found guarding walkways from automobiles have a ring of red lights so there can be no mistake in where you are going. The district is a completely different animal during the night that what can be seen (and photographed) during the day. I was very careful to be a distance from anything of interest, and to never shoot directly into one of the red lined windows. There was an entourage of large men standing at a very casual attention to make sure that sort of thing didn't happen. They didn't seem to mind me shooting down the canal, and the long exposures let me indulge in some very colourful people watching.
The canal was lined with viewing windows lined in red light. Inside attractive, scantily clad women would try to grab your eye, and offer deals in fantasy. The rooms they occupied were very small, but each sported a bed and some way over covering the window once the victim was inside. We watched for a transaction to happen, and weren't disappointed. Most of the crowd were laughing tourists, ogling and mocking whatever they saw, but there were a couple people that you could tell were there for all the wrong reasons.
After we had our fill of the Red Light District we headed back to The Grasshopper to waste some time. We indulged in over priced beers and watched as the dazed patrons danced to the music. We decided that our night tour of Amsterdam was not yet complete, and we let the last Tram to Ingrid's pull away at 12:30. Once our fate was sealed in our walk home we meandered about, repeatedly waiting for the rain to stop so I could take some more photos. The perseverance in trying to get the shot was rewarded with a beautiful reflection photograph.
On the walk home, I couldn't help but notice that large canals did not have any railing on their edge. The contrast between the dense collection of bikes, and the openness of the water was hard to miss, but I did take note. Never in North America would you see a sidewalk paralleled by a meter drop into water. Like, My Lord, some idiot might fall in and sue somebody, we have to think of the safety of the public, we have to be: scared. We discussed the contrast in mindsets as we continued our walk. In Amsterdam it is more of a personal responsibility that you don't put yourself in harm's way. People need to ensure that they don't walk under people hoisting stuff into a building from the street, or walk into lengths of unprotected canal. One feels that there is less lawsuits over hot coffee, lost pants and confusing people into what's healthy. It's refreshing to know that there is a place on earth where sanity still reigns. We bantered on about such things until we returned to our little dry spot in Amsterdam some time after three in the morning.