Amsterdamn You Dirty Apes!

by chris cunningham


For a day that was supposed to be a nice trip out to the country and back it seriously turned into the most problematic day of the trip. See, there’s this monkey zoo, and they let monkey’s roam free and interact with you if the monkey choses too. So I looked up the webpage and voila, the stop on the train is Amersfoort. Oh, I know where that is because we stopped at the station on the way in and I even wrote about it. Here’s a little problem, we rented the bikes for two days from Mac Bikes which has three locations in the city, but our flight out of Amsterdam is early in the morning before the bike shop opens. So we have to return the bikes before closing tonight. No problem, we’re leaving early enough and should be back by maybe 1pm or 2pm. We ride the bikes to Amsterdam Central Station, lock them up and buy the tickets for the train. We wait for about 1/2 and hour and finally the train arrives and we’re whisked off to Amersfoort. 45 minutes later, which is weird because it was supposed to be about an hour and 15 minutes, we arrive and get of the train and I’m kinda expecting to see a little sign or something that says Monkey Zoo this way or take this bus to this place, yadda yadda yadda… Nope nothing. I go back in ask the Information desk guy, who was really really nice and he says “Oh yeah the Zoo is down that road make a right, cross the train tracks, make a left and you’ll come across on the left hand side. You can’t get lost it’s easy. 15 minute walk!” Then he says, “It’s small but it’s the most beautiful Zoo we have, at least we think so!” Oh cool, that’s sounds great I’m thinking.

It’s kinda hot is what I’m also thinking. I have my backpack and a few cameras so I’m a little loaded down for walking but head out. The walk really wasn’t that bad but when you don’t know where you’re headed you question how far you’re going. So we finally arrive and it looks like a little zoo, lots of pictures of elephants, and zebras, and birds but not a single picture of a monkey. Hmmm… maybe the monkey part of the zoo is just incorporated into the main zoo. Something certainly doesn’t seem right. Anyway, finally go ask the girl standing out front, “Is this the Monkey Zoo?” Which coming out of your mouth sounds really stupid. Long story shortened, it’s not the freakin’ Monkey Zoo!! CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!!!! Where the hell is the freakin’ Monkey Zoo?!? She says the Monkey Zoo is in Apeldoorn. Ugh, what?! That means we have to get back on the train and go farther. First I’m not walking back to the train station so we waited for a bus to go by and picked it up. Then once back at the station we had to wait again for the SAME TRAIN WE WERE ON AND PAY THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY to go another 1/2 an hour into the country. It’s no longer a cheap day return at this point so this monkey zoo better be good. What are they odds that we would get off at a station that also has a zoo? Apparently pretty good.

We finally get to Apeldoorn and no sign of the monkey zoo. Crap. Something be easy today, please. I asked one guy and he says oh yeah the Monkey Zoo is about an hour walk or quick by bus or cab. Ugh, I’m soooo not walking. Anyway, asked a few bus drivers which bus to get on and they kept saying number 3 to Apenheul. Well the only one that looked close was labeled Ahuel. Which is not Apenheul if you ask me. But it was short for Apenheul and the driver confirmed it so we hopped on that and in about 15 minutes we arrived at the damn Monkey Zoo.

To be continued when my blood pressure lowers…

Ok, so where was I… We finally get to the Monkey Zoo and get our tickets. There’s a beautiful arboretum that surrounds the zoo and was really nice to walk through. Got to the gate and you have to remove everything out of your pockets and leave behind any bags because the monkeys will steal almost anything. I’ll keep it short. The Monkey Zoo is pretty cool. Look at the video.

So… now that we wasted all this time getting to the place and actually spending a few hours there we have to make our way back to Amsterdam. Which is now an hour and half away. It’s 3:00 and we have to turn the bikes in at 5:00pm. That’s according to Jill. I was thinking it was 5:45pm but wasn’t positive. So we come out of the park and grab a quick bite and I’m keeping an eye on the road for the bus. We go out to the street and the bus finally comes and we take it back to the main station in Apeldoorn. The bus of course is on a loop route so it takes its sweet time meandering through the little town. We get back to the station and people get off the bus and start running. Hmmmm… Over at the station is a train but we have no idea which one it is. As we get over to the crossing we have to wait for that very train to leave and go by before crossing to the station. We get up on the platform and realize that was the 3:28pm train we HAD to be on! Uh oh. Ok, when’s the next train. Half an hour, no problem I’m wishfully thinking. Half an hour goes by and still no train with Amsterdam Central written on it. Hmmm, checked the board again and really find out the train is another half an hour away. SHIT! We’re screwed! our flight leaves at 9:30am tomorrow, which is before the bike place opens, and we’re going to miss turning in the bikes tonight so we have to figure something out. FINALLY the train arrives and I’m not anywhere near Jill at the moment but I see her get on farther down the platform. I mistakenly got on a 1st class car and had to get off to walk down to a 2nd class car. Then the train pulled away and I walked through about 4 cars before coming to a dead end and I never saw Jill. More uh oh. About a half an hour later we stopped back at Amersfoort and I’m at one of the doors and a women starts detatching the train car I’m on. What? I ask her quickly and she says the part I’m on is going to Schipol, the airport. Ha ha ha this is nuts! OK, I hurry off and jump ahead one car and we start rolling. I walk through a couple cars and find Jill reading a book. She had no idea where I was either.

At this point at least we’re only 45 minutes from Amsterdam. That puts us at the station at 5:30, well past the bike rental place’s 5:00pm closing time. I’m still hoping I saw 5:45 correctly. That would only leave us 15 minutes to get the bikes unlocked and jam across town. We arrive at the station and knowing we don’t even have time to get the bikes I suggest we run over to the Mac Bike place that’s right near the station first to see if they’re open then to see if we can return the bikes there instead of the other one where we rented them. They are open so we go in and run up to the counter and we’re huffing and puffing trying to ask the guy behind the counter if we can bring the bikes there because we missed our train, our early flight in the morning, the other one’s too far away, blah blah blah… He gives us the look over and unfortunately takes a shine to me. Ya see, he’s what you call, gay. So he starts to mess with us by asking questions. He asks where we’re from. Then he asks Jill if her favorite color is pink. She says no, and he says, “Wrong answer!” Shit, he’s gonna be a dick. Then he asks if we live near West Hollywood. Jill says well in the area and then he asks her what her favorite city is. She answers something and he says, “Wrong answer!” Shit, Jill, get a clue he’s queer as the day is long! Answer his questions! I blurt out, “My favorite color is pink and my favorite city is West Hollywood!” He smiles and says “Correct!” We plead with him again about the bikes and he looks at me and says, “Well, he is kinda cute.” (Oh for God’s sake this is getting uncomfortable but I’m still playing along) He finally relents and says “Go get the bikes!” So we run back to the bikes, get them unlocked and haul ass through the traffic and maze of trams going by. Just as we arrive back they’re shutting the doors.

We bring the bikes in and there’s some guy who lets us in and doesn’t get that we just talked to this guy that said it was OK to bring the bikes there. Frick, this is getting out of control. We wave down the guy and he says yeah, it’s no problem and comes over and starts totally checking me out. I mean like just staring at me for like 20 secs and smiling away. I’m actually kinda freaked out at this point. Like, is he really thinking something is going to become of this? Anyway, he’s having a hell of a good time making me uncomfortable and knowing it. So we go back to the counter and he says, “no she can’t bring her bike back, she didn’t answer the questions right”. WYF!?!? You’re kidding me! Right then I almost blurted out “Screw you dude, I’ll deal with this some other way!” But I think he saw me get agitated and said it’s fine he’ll take care of it. After that things went smoothly and he really lightened up and was very nice. He was always nice he just finally stopped messing with us. So Jill paid with her credit card and then he asked if we were married and we said “No, we’re just friends, we work together.” Oh man, he smiled really big and looked over at me and said “Even better…” Oh man, this guy just won’t let it go. So after we’re done doing the paper work and finally ready to get out of there he says, “Hang on I have something for you.” Oh no, now what? He reaches into a box on the counter and gives me a bell for my bike. Ha ha ha… really all I can do is laugh and thank him. I guess today was all about a gay angel hoping to get his wings. I took my newly earned bell and as we made our way to the door he sincerely told us to have a nice night and enjoy our stay in Amsterdam. Whew, glad that’s over. So thank you gay bike fellow for helping us out of a jam. Now we can catch our flight out in the morning without having to deal with these stupid bikes. And that was the very long winded description of the hectic day.

Then we ate at an Italian restaurant and went back to the hotel and packed. Crazy day but he Monkey’s kicked ass.