Who says you can’t have random adventures at home?
I am sitting by the door of fancy People’s Place in Amsterdam, doing a door shift for the swing dance party I’m attending. Two guys walk in: French, attractive and wondering what kind of party is going on here? One of them coincidentally knows how to swing dance. We do a little dance in the lobby, his tipsy friend takes a turn, but what a shame: they don’t stay for more. I get a good vibe and give my phone number, the deal: if they find a better party they invite me.
And so at two in the morning I find myself walking, still in my fancy dress, to the Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam to meet up with two French guys whose names I don’t know. They want to go dancing and say: “we are with a local now! Where shall we go?!” I look at them expectantly. Then it hits me: the local, that’s me. They expect me to know where to go. I start to stammer, my mind goes blank: what’s good on a Saturday night in Amsterdam, a city where I haven’t been out in the past 17 months? (Oh the pressure!) I try to buy time by asking for musical preferences: “Nothing commercial. Funky maybe, electronic. No Rihanna”. I love dancing to Rihanna. Oh dear.
Studio 80 pops into my head. Score: they tell me it’s the place they tried to find the other night but couldn’t. It then all goes rather quickly: a taxi appears, luckily the driver knows where Studio 80 is because I don’t, the French guys and I exchange names. Let the games begin. The taxi ride is about long enough for me to tell them I got home from a world trip and now want to hang on to some of that adventurous spirit of travelling (for how long can you get away with saying you just got home from travelling?) . Their conclusion is pretty accurate: “You are Yes-man!”. Yes man.
Studio 80 is in a pedestrian area, Rembrandt plein to be exact, so the taxi drops us a bit further up. So..where is this place? I Google, we walk up and down the square, I ask people: I start to lose face as a local. Then, the advice (from a true local?) to go to where the line is longest: bingo! No name, just a door in between two huge dance venues, and a long line. The two men in front of us are refused entry by “the door bitch” which helps my reputation: we get in and the French guys think it must be because I’m local. I hold my tongue and look cool. Studio 80 does exactly what it needs to do: play good music, fill the dance floor with moving bodies. Me and the French guys compete in silly dances; we share one drink with three straws; they give me money to go to the loo (I spent all my money on the entry fee). We have a genuinely good time.
As I walk home at 5:00 in the morning, past Amsterdam’s canals, I realise: I love it here. What luck that I’m a local.