Amsterdam-Exploring Sexuality in Holland (Part 1-Getting There on airBaltic)

Amsterdam-Exploring Sexuality in Holland Part 1:

Twin Septuagenerian Prostitutes, A clinic dedicated to sex workers and the Red Light District.

Why Amsterdam?

Amsterdam was our second stop on an 11-day adventure to three countries; Latvia, Holland and Nigeria. My brother and I were filming three episodes of our video travel blog, The Globe on Call.  As physicians by day and travel junkies by night, The Globe on Call is our attempt to marry the worlds of travel and medicine. Our first episode in Latvia examined alternative Latvian medicine ranging from traditional Latvian sauna therapy to the burgeoning rapid alcohol and heroin detox industry that is drawing people from the world over because of it’s use of cutting edge implanted medications. In Holland we documented the changing Dutch perception of sex and sex workers and we even had a chance to interview the world famous Folken twins. Our last stop was Nigeria where we visited the village of Igbo-Ora which has the worlds densest  population of twins. So yeah, it was a whirlwind week and now it was time to head to Amsterdam.

If you are an aerophile like us, you will want to check out part 1 of our Latvian adventure, The Journey to Latvia, right HERE. 

If you want to check out our episode of The Globe on Call in Latvia, you can right HERE.

If you want to check out part 2 of our Latvian adventure detailing our time in Latvia, you can check it our right HERE. I think the blog is pretty cool but if you don’t want to take my word for it, click the link just to see the two headed dog!

 

Our day started with an early airBaltic flight from Riga to Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. Given the choice between flying KLM or airBaltic on the route, there was really no choice. airBaltic is a relatively rare carrier that I likely would not have the opportunity to fly again anytime soon so airBaltic it was!

 

The airBaltic check-in area at Riga was bright and alive even at this early hour of the morning. While I’m generally not a huge fan of lime green, I think airBaltic makes it work. What do you think?

 

Despite the crowds and long lines, security moved quickly and we were soon entering the departures area. Riga, like many other airports, is designed so that you have to pass through the Duty Free stores before getting to the heart of the terminal. I managed to resist the urge to partake in a little retail therapy and went straight to our gate.

 

Our flight today was leaving from gate B4. I will take some of the credit (or I guess blame) for the darkness of the photo BUT, in my defense, the terminal was  really quite dark.

 

Being pretty far north in the late fall meant that the sun rose pretty late. The still dark sky juxtaposed against the freshly fallen snow made the ramp look frigid and our snow covered Boeing 737-300 didn’t make the scene look any warmer.

 

Today we were flying on YL-BBS, a 1999 built Boeing 737-300 that spent it’s life flying with Deutsche BA and FlyGlobeSpan before joining airBaltic in 2009. Interestingly, this aircraft had a three month stint with Wings of Lebanon in 2015 before returning home to Riga. I bet she enjoyed the change of weather even if it was only for three months.

 

I think the Riga departure board was pretty impressive, especially given the early hour. Of course airBaltic dominated the board, but there was also a fair showing of other European carriers.

 

Here is my proof of life pic, my boarding pass for airBaltic flight BT617, scheduled to board at 07:05 for an 07:35 departure. You can see my mom in the background enjoying a borderline stale breakfast pastry that we bought from one of the airport shops. After carrying two of us for nine months and mustering up the strength to push us both out (and I was number two, so I greatly appreciate that!), buying her an stale breakfast pastry is the least I can do.

 

Boarding was called about ten minutes late and we were soon boarding this airBaltic Boeing 737-300. We were definitely going to need de-icing before take-off.

 

That big headed black guy with the blue glasses in front of me is none other than my brother Dr. J as we crossed the thresh-hold of our first airBaltic flight.

 

I love the classic ceiling and overhead panels, they really remind me of flying during my childhood in the 80’s and early 90’s. This was my first BT flight but I have a feeling this is probably the interior from this plane’s Deutsche BA days.

 

I checked out the scene on the tarmac as I got settled into my seat which was comfortable enough for a two hour flight. Another BT 737 was boarding next door as the sun finally started to rise on another day here in Riga.

 

The load factor was pretty good this morning, I would estimate roughly 85% if not a bit more. Our fellow passengers kicked back as the CFM engines came to life….

 

and the flight crew did their safety presentation. By the time we pushed back close to 08:00, the sun was almost completely up. I like the look of a wingleted 737 but I was glad that we were flying on a more classic looking bird.

 

As we got close to the end of the active runway, trailing behind a Wizz Air Airbus A320, we pulled off to the right to what I assumed must be the de-icing pad.

 

A company Dash 8-Q400 now took our place behind the Wizz Airbus having already been de-iced I’m assuming.

 

As the Wizz Air Airbus started it’s takeoff roll, we took our place on the de-icing pad next to…

 

another airBaltic 737 who was also being de-iced.

 

You have to feel for the poor guys up there in those utility buckets in the freezing cold with all that de-icing fluid blowing around. Must suck for them but always one to search for a silver lining it definitely made for a nice shot for me.

 

It was clear the our turn had come as I heard the de-icing fluid pummeling the aircraft while orange fluid streaked down our windows.

 

If a picture is worth a thousand words a video is worth 2,000,  so here is a video of the de-icing.

 

De-icing complete, we made our way to the active thresh-hold.

 

The engines roared to life and we were soon off, airborne over a cloud covered Riga.

 

By the time we finally broke through the dense clouds covering the countryside, we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise. Having been on the run nonstop for the last 5 days, not even the sunlight flooding the cabin could keep me awake and this was the last sight I remembered before seeing….

 

this sight, us descending over the suburbs of Amsterdam. DAMN! even as an adult, I hate missing large parts of a flight. According to my mom, who shamefully was able to stay awake when I couldn’t, the in-flight service was strictly buy on board so I didn’t miss much there. I guess I have a mean streak because I remember as a child intentionally not waking my sleeping brother up if he feel asleep before take off or landing just so that I could see his disappointed expression when he woke up to find us either leveled at 35,000 feet or on the ground taxiing to the gate. I guess turn about was Fair-play here.

 

Seeing this long canal stretching below us confirmed for me that the flight crew had not made a mistake. We indeed were in Amsterdam as advertised.

 

With a firm thud, we were officially in Holland as a small bit of mist flowed over the wing.

 

The 829 mile flight had taken just under two hours, an hour and 55 minutes to be exact. This meant that with the hour time difference we were arriving in Amsterdam at primetime. It’s always a comforting bit of home to see that globe (still wish it was a tulip but whatever, moving on) on an airplane tail in the distance.

 

Even though there was no snow on the ground, that vapor in the air let me know that it was still cold.

 

Bags claimed, we were soon outside of the terminal making our way to the taxi stand to get to our hotel, the airport Hampton Inn. In know, I know, we were real a-holes for taking that taxi driver out of the long taxi line for such a short drive but we were in a rush and we gave him a healthy tip so hopefully we made up for it. We only had a few minutes to drop our stuff off before heading to P&G292, a clinic dedicated to treating sex workers. Welcome to Amsterdam!

 

-Aerophiles like us will want to check out part 1 of our Latvian adventure, The Journey to Latvia, right HERE. 

-You check out our episode of The Globe on Call in Latvia, you can right here

-If you want to check out part 2 of our Latvian adventure detailing our time in Latvia, you can check it our right HERE. I think the blog is pretty cool but if you don’t want to take my word for it, click the link just to see the two headed dog!

-Want to know how we got to Amsterdam, check-out Part 1 of our Amsterdam series featuring the airBaltic flight from Riga right HERE

-Here is our episode of The Globe win Call in Amsterdam, you can right here