Monday, January 31, 2011

唐人街: Amsterdam's Chinatown

If you have been following my blog for a while, you must know by now that I love traveling to Amsterdam.  The city is one of my favorite spots in all of Europe, and the atmosphere is very open and welcoming. Since I have been to the city before and have visited all of the typical tourist attractions, like the heineken factory, Anne Frank house, and Van Gogh museum, it was nice to find a new part of the city that I absolutely fell in love with the moment I entered. 

Did you know that Amsterdam has a china town? I know, not what you would typically think of when you hear the word Amsterdam. The last time I was in the city, I spent sometime meandering around and stumbled upon this little gem. I did a little research and the china town in Amsterdam was founded in the 1980's in the red light district. I guess nothing goes better with prostitutes than some peking duck? They have them hanging in the windows in many authentic restaurants. 

The street signs in this neighborhood are in Dutch and in Chinese.

Amsterdam's Chinatown also has the first and biggest buddhist temple built in Chinese style in the Netherlands. It is named Fo Guang Shan He Hua temple which translates to Buddha's Light Mountain. 

You can spend time inside the temple and light candles for good luck. I spoke with the man who was tending to the temple, and he said it is tradition to either write the name of someone you want to honor on the candle, or write your own name for luck. I must say, I felt so positive when I was in the temple. It brought me back to my days in Thailand. I really admire the Buddhist religion and would like to learn more about it. In fact I think I am adding it on as a last item on my new years resolution list since today is the last day of January. 

Another guilty pleasure I love to enjoy is massage.  This Chinatown offers many different types of chinese massage, so I had to take time to get off of my feet and enjoy a head, neck, shoulder, and foot massage. It was so relaxing I even dosed off a few times. I love getting massage on vacations because I feel as though I get a recharge boost and can enter a state of total relaxation.  My advice is that if you are ever in Amsterdam, make sure to check out China Town for massage, good food, or just a new experience. Until next time, I'll see you on the internet. 

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