I was very excited about having my first visitor in Holland. Since I had only been in the country for a short while myself I had not had much time do a lot of the more touristy things yet. Showing someone else around seemed like a great opportunity to do so. It was also great because the visitor was Neil, my best friend from College who was also very excited about visiting Holland.
Museums, art galleries, canal trips; There were so many cultural things that we could experience. Neil even suggested that we see a show which I thought was a brilliant idea. However, when I suggested that I knew where we could get our hands on a couple of discount tickets for a wonderful Dutch musical… he seemed slightly disappointed. Neil had something else in mind.
And so one summer evening, after only three months of living in Holland, I found myself standing in front of a box office window asking a man who was wearing more fake gold then seemed advisable for two tickets to a show where the main cast had a much more ‘limited’ wardrobe.
Visiting The Banana Bar
As we entered the slightly seedy looking auditorium of The Banana Bar and took our seats on the edge of the center aisle I continued to wonder how I had let myself be talked into this situation. Apparently visiting the Red Light District is one of those things you, “have to do when visiting/living in Amsterdam.”
The first act we witnessed involved a young lady inviting various audience members up on to the stage to eat a banana. This in itself might sound quite innocent. In fact, it probably sounds very considerate of the young lady to take a personal interest in the audience’s daily vitamin A intake. Sort of like when they used to have milk breaks in British primary schools to insure that the children grew up with healthy bones. It was an invaluable service.
However, I had to question the way in which she chose to feed said banana to her group of male volunteers. It was very questionable from a nutritionist point of view. For starters she was lacking in any clothes and was ‘holding’ the banana in such a way that I believe any qualified gynecologist would highlight as ‘medically ill advised’ despite any healthy properties the food item claimed to have. Most of the volunteer men on stage didn’t seem to mind though. I took it upon myself to feel embarrassed for them and sank deeper into my seat. At least I now knew why the place was called The Banana Bar.
Return of The Naked Lady
This was followed by several other acts I will never be able to remove from my brain no matter how hard I try and after a while it was time for the young ‘nutritionist’ to do her act once again.
She’d obviously not had much luck locating her clothes yet because she was still naked as she stepped off the stage, started to walk down the center aisle and began her search for a new group of volunteers. It was just as I was starting to wonder which poor souls would be embarrassed on stage this time that she suddenly locked eyes with me. Oh no! Then she was not only looking at me but she was walking towards me too… and smiling. Oh no! Oh no!
I tried to sink even lower into my seat hoping that I would suddenly become hidden from view. It didn’t work. She was still coming towards me. I started to panic. No way did I want to go on stage and I didn’t think she would accept, “No thank you. I just ate,” as a good excuse. As if in slow motion I saw her hand reaching out towards mine. She stepped closer and closer.
Panic At The Banana Bar
I had no idea what to do. Fear gripped me. I was nervous about talking to girls at the best of time. What the hell was I supposed to do when a naked one approached me with a suggestive fruit? My only hope was that Neil knew what to do. He always knew what to do in these kind of situations. Anyway, he got me into this bloody mess. It was really up to him to get me out of it. He should be the one being dragged up on stage. Not me.
A quick look at Neil told me he didn’t have a clue what to do either. The same look of fear was looking back at me as I looked into his eyes. More and more people were starting to look at us. Then suddenly, through our shared fear, it became clear what Neil and I had to do. There was only one thing we could do really. We ran like hell!
Unfortunately we couldn’t simply run out via the central aisle. That route of escape was already blocked to us by the naked woman holding the banana (who was now standing right next to us). No. We were forced to run in the opposite direction, through the audience. We tripped and stumbled our way passed the other people in our row as we scrambled over them with wild determination for escape. I can’t remember at what point we stopped running from The Banana Bar. I’m sure we were outside, across several canals and far from The Red Light District before we did.
I don’t care how bloody important fruit is as part of a balanced diet.
Read about the time a tourist mistook me for a pimp in:
Tales From the Red Light District – Mistaken For A Pimp