Everywhere I go in Amsterdam I keep running into the same kind of bad Tourist. I never actually see them, but I hear about them. They are just ahead of me. They left last week, or last year. They were from America or the UK or Germany. And they acted the way we all remember people acting in College, in the heady moments just before the police arrived.
I mean, we recognize this behavior. We have seen it. We behaved this way ourselves once. We WERE these people, but most of us were lucky enough to young and dumb in our own countries, (and some of us, thankfully, before Facebook.)
To the Partying World, the Dam is like a Pilgrimage Site. You can buy marijuana and magic mushrooms right in shops! Everyone wants to come here and do that, myself included. The locals see it over and over again, heads from abroad coming in, being totally blown away by what has been business as usual here for as long as anyone can remember.
The center of town clatters with wheeled luggage of the young couples (pot tourists) and slightly older men as singles or 3s, (sex tourists,) and pairs of men (usually gay.) Tourists cannot tell the pedestrian walking lanes from the bicycle lanes, the car lanes, or the tram-line lanes. And even if they stay out of the way of bikes, scooters, and cars, they will suddenly stop without warning in the walking lanes to stare at something. The tolerant Dammers stop and go around without honking, profanity, or lewd gestures. Maybe it’s partly because these wasted foreigners are paying someone’s bills, but it is also because in Amsterdam, people do not go around enraged, looking for fights, expecting to be mugged. Women are not yelled at or threatened.