Friday, January 9, 2009

Amsterdam's oddities

I didn't get quite everything I wanted to in today's story about the 3 months Jake Delhomme and Kurt Warner spent together with the Amsterdam Admirals in the spring of 1998.

Have you ever been to Amsterdam yourself? I've been, and it's a fascinating place. Canals, great museums and... well... a lot of unique scenery.

If you have, you probably know that marijuana is sold there openly in coffee shops and that prostitution is regulated by the government and legalized. In fact, prostitutes in the red-light district literally sit or stand in windows, giving clients a chance to "window shop" before making their purchase.

Even for a guy who has Bourbon Street practically emblazoned in his DNA, as Delhomme does due to growing up in Louisiana and playing for years in New Orleans, Amsterdam blew Delhomme's mind a bit. Not that he partook of the drugs or sex available there; he didn't. He was just surprised, like most every American is, how open the culture was to both.

"I was in an internet cafĂ©," Delhomme remembered of Amsterdam. "Somebody lit up something [that would be illegal in America] right next to me and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ This is unbelievable."

Delhomme's future wife Keri Melancon visited him for a week in Amsterdam and he took her to the red-light district. This is a common thing to do -- tourists often walk by the prostitution windows and gawk a little. I did that, too, when I was there.

"Keri and I, we walked through it just to show her," Delhomme said. "You just have to laugh. I mean, the red-light district there is really a red-light district! They're in the windows. It's funny."

Delhomme did say it bothered him some that, because he was American, people kept trying to sell him drugs on the street. Warner, who has always been very public about his religious faith, said it was an odd place for him to live, too.

"It was weird for me," Warner said, "because of my faith and beliefs being in a place like that was so crazy."

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