9.45a.m. Monday 2021
Amsterdam? You want "not rowdy" tourists who would appreciate your city? Well, you have just scared 2 away. What a pity for the Netherlands and a waste for us.
I tried to defy all odds in order to go but itz not Covid that stopped us. Itz anti-Chinese reports coming out of Amsterdam, Europe and the USA.
At this point in time, my brother and I should be in the hotel room in Amsterdam planning on going somewhere already planned last night. Today this Monday, the Albert Cuyp Market will be open. So that will be the first thing we will be going to. Landing at 6.50am at Schiphol airport yesterday Sunday, we would have missed Albert Cuyp Market since it's closed on Sundays. What is after Albert market today? I don't know. I don't plan until I get to Amsterdam. Will there be time enough for Philips museum at Eindhoven and get back to our Amsterdam hotel by evening? Probably not if we spend too much time at the market.
We would have spent some Euros on food and maybe bought some interesting vintage items or anything. We would be strolling and enjoying the canals and beautiful summer scenery and trying out their coffees that bloggers have been raving about. This morning, we would have just woken up in a nice quality bed with crisp white sheets in the expensive (yet the cheapest for its quality in all the accommodation listings) hotel room, showering and thinking of where to go for the rest of the day.
Would we have completed our 9 nights and 10 days enjoyably without Anti-Chinese or Anti-Asian incident? We will never know.
Because we didn't go. I paid for the flights from Singapore to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Bucharest, Romania, plus 9 nights of an Amsterdam hotel room, but we didn't board the 777-300 plane on Saturday 11.55pm.
We will never know if all of that happened as imagined. Whether we succeeded in finding the hotel on Saturday morning after landing, whether we were happy.
We will never know whether we got from Schiphol airport to the hotel intact, safe from Anti-Chinese hate attacks . Whether we got a taxi or took the tram to the hotel. Whether we boarded the tram without incident if we had chosen that mode of public transportation.
We will never know what it was like taking the tram. Or how difficult, or easy, it was to use their OV chip cards.
We will never know what the food at Albert Cuyp taste like. Or what it would have been like to browse the stalls while walking through this "largest" street market in Europe.
We intended to visit Philips museum in Eindhoven because my brother is a fan of their lightbulbs. My plan was to stay at Amsterdam the whole time and explore other regions of the Netherlands via trains and trams. For Eindhoven, I planned to take train from Amsterdam to Eindhoven and return to Amsterdam by evening because it's said that Eindhoven at night is not safe.
Bro has been looking up to Philips as an inspiration. But now we won't know what it feels like inside the museum or what we would have seen. The museum gave us more of a reason to visit the Netherlands since we know nothing of the country.
I certainly wasn't aware of "slanted-eyes" bullying that has been practised in the Netherlands for years, to the extent of tormenting Asian children throughout their childhood, or that Asian hate has now progressed to "gratuitous violence"---spike in reports due to Corona/Covid blaming China.
I have been so desperate to leave Singapore that although I read of the Anti-Chinese rally in Amsterdam, I presumed it happened to Dutch-Chinese living there and not to tourists. I assumed that as tourists, we would be spared. Though an Anti-Asian rally happened just 2 months ago, I thought the unrest had perhaps cooled and it should be fine to travel there. Besides, thus far, I haven't read of a report where tourists were targeted.
I didn't want to check up on Amsterdam or Romania because they are only 2 out of 3 countries that we can go to without tests or quarantine (Romania is also cheaper overall than Amsterdam.). The other country--Albania--is difficult or impossible to access without going through horrible European airlines from Amsterdam, and no direct flight from Singapore to Albania.
Croatia that used to allow free entry for Singaporeans, is off-limits without tests and vaccination. Same for Turkey (I assume it's due to the discovery of UK/Delta variant in Singapore that Singapore was taken out of their list for green entry without restrictions).
I didn't want to know (even though there was a nagging feeling to check). I didn't want to see any negative reports about Amsterdam or Romania because there was no other choice besides Amsterdam and Romania. I had to assume they are safe. That's how much I needed to leave Singapore.
But after booking and paying, it occurred to me that I should just have a look online. Googled "Asians and Covid and Amsterdam". And did the same for Romania.
All the ugliness came up. Amsterdam's anti-Asian discrimination, Romania's pickpockets, stray dogs, snatch thieves, child beggars and old buildings that are the verge of collapse due to government policy that don't incentivize them being torn down.
It was a moment of revelation completely different from the romanticized bloggings.
The more I read of the anti-Chinese situation in Amsterdam, and the attacks in Europe and the USA, the more fearful I got. Oh my God moment.
This was serious news. They have started physical violence against Chinese or Chinese-looking persons. They don't care where you are from. They attack before you can even explain.
And I had just paid for the Amsterdam hotel and Bucharest flight. The booking platforms state no refunds in the event of cancellation or no-show.
It was either forfeit the money or forfeit our lives if we fly there.
I so much wanted to go. I already booked and paid, and for weeks, prepared things to bring. I even had a hard time with my brother in opening a new global multi-currency account with OCBC bank (don't do that unless you need the cards over the counter on the spot).
Took an hour or more just to open the account linked to a savings account which I also had to open to get the global multi-currency account.
I put total $9500 ($5930 euros) combined into the 2 accounts. Was prepared to put more if not enough during travel.
I planned to stay longer in the Netherlands but too expensive. So based on cheapest airfare days, it became reduced to just 9 nights. We would then leave for Romania and stay there for 1 month or 2 and see how.
I paid total $3073.15 ($1918 euros) inclusive of OCBC's expensive exchange rates back and forth, but we didn't go to Amsterdam or Bucharest. Flight 777-300 left Singapore at 11.55p.m. for Amsterdam on Saturday with 2 empty seats that I had chosen and Paid for with care.
All because of anti-Asian hate attacks now across Europe and the USA.
Stupid Europe say they want tourists. Actually, they want only Caucasian tourists.
If as Europe says, their economies are dying due to lack of tourist cash, then I say for Amsterdam, penis-suit-wearing tourists is all you are going to get since Netherlands and the rest of Europe are cutting out a big chunk of Asian money.
Amsterdam pretends to be prim and proper by announcing they only want tourists who respect their "beautiful" city. Well, my brother and myself have respect but after reading online reports of attacks, Amsterdam and the rest of Europe won't be getting our money. The downside is that we don't get to see any beautiful European sceneries either. Lose-lose situation.
What is so beautiful about a country that has been tormenting other people since childhood?
All the online posts about travel destinations and how many European countries are open for travel are for Europeans and Americans. All the positive reviews are from European/Caucasian bloggers. Their experiences are unsurprisingly positive. What about experiences of Asian tourists?
Europe makes travel difficult by wanting the digital travel pass which I already blogged is big mistake. Plus they haven't controlled the Covid numbers low enough yet they are opening to tourists. Plus there's anti-Chinese or anti-Asian discrimination. Now is not the time for such discrimination if you want money.
As tourists entering your country, we run the risk of bumping into Covid and its more contagious variant Delta. Plus the amount of money spent just planning a trip to your country. Just to see...
Discrimination and racist treatment against us who are not even from China? Just to see old architecture and canals?
Do we even have time to explain that we are from Singapore before we get attacked?
Europe needs to do better for tourist dollars.
At first and even now, I regret spending that money without checking the countries more factually first instead of just reading travel blogs. My defence is that it is a reflection of how badly I want to leave Singapore.
Yet I cannot regret not going because the latest news is that Europe is unable to control Delta virus.
While booking, I also considered that there's a risk of virus exploding. Airports may close, stranding us in Amsterdam whereby we don't have so much money for long stay . We cannot return to Singapore even if we are not stranded because returning means $2000 quarantine in hotel room for 14 days.
So we'll be floating around outside.
Europe wants tourists but European countries also need to consider how hard it is for travellers from Asia to get there. If you want European or Caucasian or American tourists only, then say so.
I still want to go to Europe. Even though I see online that Amsterdam has toilets problem. But I don't know when, if ever, I am going.