Person: “Travel Blog, huh? So, where have you traveled?”
Me: “Here and there, mostly domestic, some of Europe, Mexico, Russia, but adding to the list slowly.”
People Person: “What’s your favorite city?”
Me: “So far…Amsterdam.”
“Uh-huh.” Person, sardonically.
I always get the look – never fails – eyebrow raised, judging eyes, a slight smirk to say: “Sure you love Amsterdam, Pervy McPotsmoker”.
Part of the assumptive generalization is true, as I humbly admit (in the most redactable way possible) to smoking pot in Amsterdam back in ’07, posting it on a blog in ‘12, and, by law (moral or judicial, still unclear on this) officially ending my 2016 presidential bid – terminating the slick campaign slogan ‘Aim Low, Expect Less’ under the platform of No Bullshit Independent Logician.
Marijuana is not technically legal in Amsterdam, but tolerated in modest doses for personal usage, and sold at the Coffeeshops where you can pick your brand from a menu, sit, have a ‘schmoke anda pankaake’. Under Dutch law, it would take an extraordinary event to get arrested or fined as coffeeshops are everywhere in city (Rotterdam as well), though officials are currently sealing off the ubiquity valve, and passing legislature to allow only Dutch citizens access to ‘soft drugs’ (counterproductive to the reasonings for “legalization”, in my opinion).
I don’t really have an epic glorifying pot story; just walked into a seedy (no pun), smoky subbasement coffee shop on Marxinstraat, sheepishly selected a kind, paid ten euros, cradled the joint in my front jacket pocket like Sacajawea’s papoosed baby whilst crossing the street, closed the door to my hotel room, looked through the peephole for narcs, and relaxed..
Coughing fit – relaxed too much as the THC content in Dutch pot is quite potent – COMPLETELY blanked out for a couple of hours….
‘I’m sorry, Mike isn’t here right now, he’s traversing the space/time continuum of misfiring-synapses. Please leave a message, and a sugary snack at the beeeeeeeeeep.’
Later that night, gently floating back down from the stratosphere, I remember trying to cross the street like the videogame Frogger, avoiding bicycles, trams, cars, and people. My prize: a panenkoeken (crepe/pancake) covered in chocolate, bananas, sprinkled with bacon, and washed down with a crisp Heineken.
This was the extent of my Amsterdam pot adventure. Goodbye political career; good riddance.
Charlotte the harlot plays trumpet for strumpets
The word ‘whore’ comes from the Old English ‘hore’ originally the Germanic ‘khoron’ or ‘one who desires’ see also ‘of the Kardashians’ SOURCE . If you glean anything from today’s adventure, hopefully it’s the origin of a pejorative term for ‘prostitute’. Tell your coworkers!
If you’ve never been to Amsterdam, you’ve at least heard of the Red Light District, or the grating song “Roxanne” by the Police, where a whining Sting wails about not ‘turning on the red light’ to a hooker over, and over, and over again.
But I digress, walking along a cobblestoned street one late afternoon in Amsterdam, I didn’t even realize I was in the Red Light District until I turned to see a scantily clad lady – who kind of looked like Jim Carey with braces – beckoning me from a dimly lit window.
Contrary to the sketchy imagery conjured by tales of lore, the Red Light district is as safe as any part of Amsterdam, or any European city – long as you don’t take pictures of the girls (here’s a comprehensive website about Prostitution in the Red Light District http://www.pic-amsterdam.com). I did happen to witness a brazen young Brit attempting a quick pic to the dismay of his friends. Said gentleman was violently warned by a large, shorn-headed henchman not to do so again.
Sorry to disappoint those expecting a sexy tale – the Red Light or De Wallen, is not my scene- as the great standup Chris Rock once said in a totally different context but applies to everything in life – “…but I understand”.
The thinking behind legalizing prostitution is – and perhaps some of my Dutch readers can chime in – if it were illegal, it would cause more problems; disease, violence, and court tie-ups . Legal prostitution means control, responsibility, monitoring, safety and protection.
Same goes for soft drugs – and whether this relationship works is the opinion of the working women selling the…product, the proprietors of the coffeeshops, and the Dutch government/people. Recent legislature bent on washing away the sex tourist industry, and the aforementioned ‘pot squelch’ is a new direction for Amsterdam. But is it for the better?
Hookers and pot on the table, been happening in Amsterdam for centuries – take it, smoke it, fuck it, leave it.
Oh How I Love Thee…
Truth is, I have an unexplainable heart/soul connection with Amsterdam. Whenever I’m strolling the city I get the feeling I died there in a past life, drown in a freak houseboat explosion, or something more romantic. Amsterdam is the Demi Moore to my Swayze, forever making sexy clay things together ala ‘Ghost’. Or maybe I’m Demi Moore…hmm.
The people are liberal-minded, forward thinking, amazing and beautiful; they love good beer/food, and graciously ride bikes for the rest of the gas-guzzling Earthlings. Even in chilly Autumnal weather, everyone rides a bike – three-piece suits/dresses and all, probably to exercise off all the pancakes and Amstel.
In 2010, I was in Amsterdam during World-Cup. Netherlands was doing really well in the tournament, and the place was alive in celebratory orange vibrancy.
To accommodate all the World Cup revelers, this ingenious idea was implemented: outdoor pissers. Weird!
Amsterdam is one of the most aesthetically pleasing places I’ve been. This may sound weird, but I am a huge fan of symmetry in architecture/design, yet, the converse asymmetry of the buildings in/around Amsterdam adds an odd imperfective charm.
Fun fact: when Amsterdam was in it’s growing stages, people were taxed by the width of their townhouse, hence the skinny, tall apartments/houses. Take that, Tax Man! Now help me catapult this sofa to the second floor.
And the canals…oh the canals.
I’m not much of a biker, preferring the joys of aimless bipedal wandering. Whether it’s perusing the beautiful floating Blomeonmarkt, getting lost in the residential Jordaan, shoe shopping, visiting the many options in Museumplein, exploring Vondelpark or visiting a church (Kerk) while bell tolls echo endlessly on the hour, there’s always a sensory stimulation to soak up in Amsterdam.
The original Amsterdam post blathered on for hours in ode fashion blah blah blah.
I do have a crush on Amsterdam; its inviting environment conducive for ‘get lost’ exploration’; its one of the few cities I have a difficult time leaving. – Mike
Favorite restaurant in Amsterdam: The Pantry Try the Hutspot – it’ll blow your mind.
Favorite Beer: The vending machines with Heineken inside. Seriously, the Heineken is freaking delicious – doesn’t have that skunky taste from traveling overseas.
Favorite Food: Street Frites with spicy Mayo. Now, if someone would invent a crepe with frites and spicy mayo on it….
Favorite Museum: Van Gogh
1a. The Dutch are the tallest people on average in the world
1b. They are also the world’s greatest exporter of beers. Coincidence? Nope. Beer = height.