In Amsterdam, the purchase and sale of drugs is quite legal. So too is prostitution. But God forbid you should dare to fall asleep outside.
After successfully starting our big bicycle / raft adventure, we (myself, the Monkey, and the Slovakian) have managed to cycle from Castle Acre, a little village in the UK, all the way to Germany. The old bicycles are still holding up and everyone has been lovely.
Except for one person. A policewoman.
During summer in Amsterdam, the parks are filled with tens of thousands of people, hundreds of whom are asleep at any given time. We met up with a friend of the Monkey and slept in the day under the sunshine as we took our first rest day on our journey. Then we slept through the night.
I was awoken to the demand of “Passport, now.” Immediately I knew that there was a problem. The motorbike- mounted policewoman then took the passports of the three of us who were sleeping (ignoring the one who was awake when she arrived) and took us too the police station.
At the police station, I was informed how very stupid I am (I quote “I think you are very stupid”) to travel without money and to try to cycle across a continent. Despite all the support people have given me, I stand corrected. Everything that has happened in the last couple of years of my life has been down to “50-50 luck.” We were very lucky to be found by the policewoman and not “the addicts who would rob you [us] and do bad things to you [us].”
I secretly recorded the audio of the conversation and will soon post highlights.
We were then issued a fine of €390 which we were unable to pay. Offered two choices, prison or paying the fine, we chose prison. After spending a couple of hours trying to scare us into paying, we still chose prison, citing lack of money as our reasoning. So she gave us court dates in December and January that we told her we could not make.
In hindsight, I realise now that everything that happened was motivated by money. She wanted us to pay and disappear. Because we would not / could not pay, the fine will now be increased. The woman wouldn’t even offer us help of how to pay the fine from abroad, telling us only that we would be hunted internationally for not attending the court date. With all her bluffing / scaremongering, I no longer know what to believe and when I have reviewed the audio, I will seek advice.
So now, I am a criminal. Thank-you to the police woman who made Amsterdam a safer place by fining such dangerous people as ourselves and ensuring that when we are unable to make our court dates, our fines will be further increased to even greater levels that we cannot pay. Some people really make the world great.