Saturday, April 19, 2008

Crazy European Adventure Part 2: Amsterdam, the World's Biggest Tourist Trap...

Once the bus debacle was over, we had a choice to make. We could go straight to our cabin and rest up for the next day, or go to the city center and gallivant for hours. I think the choice we made was obvious. Amsterdam is exactly what I expected. We took the Metro from the bus station to the city center and, upon walking up to the street, I was met with a stunning view of the streets of Amsterdam. Narrow cobbled streets, three story brick buildings crammed together, canals splitting the streets every couple of blocks, countless bicycles, and an eerie silence that only a European city can have at 8 PM on a Tuesday. This was really it. I was backpacking in mainland Europe for real...
The first order of business in the city center was to sit in a coffee shop so that Flower and Simon could legally smoke weed. Our entire time spent in Holland felt just slightly odd, what with Flower walking around with a huge joint in his mouth, walking past little kids, old ladies, and police officers alike. Once we started hitting the coffee shops, Flower and I noticed two things-

1. Amsterdam is the most effective tourist trap for stoners in the world. It's perfect in its ability to make you spend all of your money and be 100% content with that. Every street in Amsterdam looks something like this...
You have the largest concentration of coffee shops in the entire country. There are at least two on every street. So, stoners go into the coffee shops, buy weed that is more expensive than in other cities in Holland, then smoke until they can't see straight. They stumble out of the coffee shop only to be met with a bakery with smells of chocolate waffles and pancakes wafting into the street. Of course they are going in to appease their munchies with a 6 Euro dessert. Scarfing all of that food has left them in a food coma, but, low and behold, across the street is an erotic massage parlor, so they can lay on a table and be massaged until they are broke. After the first day, Flower and I realized that we needed to be careful with our spending, but that brings me to number two...

2. Simon. It was a mistake to bring Simon to Europe with us. I won't get in to all of the things that made him a huge burden quite yet, but the first things that pissed us off happened on the first night. Simon is 17, and the legal smoking age in Holland is 18. Most coffee shops are pretty lax about the law if you walk in and buy something before sitting down. The most logical thing to do was have me or Flower walk up to the bar to order something while Simon sat at a table to avoid his ID being checked. Instead, most of the time, he'd walk right up to the bar despite our telling him not to. He'd inevitably be asked for his passport, at which point he would just walk straight out of the coffee shop, leaving Flower and I to chase after him.

On the first night, as we were prowling around the city center, we decided to find a supermarket to buy some food for the cabin. Walking around with a map and rucksacks makes it pretty obvious that we were tourists. Therefore, it's always a good idea for local drug dealers to scam people like us. A guy approached us while we were walking around, he OBVIOUSLY was a dubious character, what with his washed out complexion, saggy eye sockets and burning desire to help us find a supermarket. Flower and I immediately started walking away while Simon started talking to him and walking in the opposite direction. Good. Now we are following a smack head (most likely wielding a knife or something) down the street, probably into some back alley to be stabbed and robbed. Eventually, the guy and Simon drop back to do some sort of dealing and then he runs off.

"What'd you get Simon?"

"I gave him 30 Euros, he said he had some really good pills."

"Um..we don't need pills, but let's see them..."

Oh look, Simon just spent 30 of his 115 Euros on a used piece of tissue. Good. Nice going Simon...

After this, we decided to head back to the cabin and rest up for the next day. Our cabin was pretty cool. Located just outside the city, it was on a campsite that had an explorable forest attached. For only 8 Euros each a night, who could complain..?

After a cold and uncomfortable night's sleep (we had no blankets or sleeping bags, and the heat was pretty shoddy), we headed back into town to explore some more. We spent most of the day in coffee shops and at a really cool outdoor market...
Of course, now that we had a full day ahead of us and nowhere to be, it was a perfect opportunity for Flower and Simon to eat some magic mushrooms which are also legal in Holland. We walked into the shop and bought them, then they decided to eat them at our train stop in full view of the public, which was pretty hilarious. We walked back to the cabin, which took twenty minutes. A bit later, they started to come up. While they were tripping, we met the people staying at the cabin across from us, a group of Australians who had run out of money and needed to get a job in Amsterdam to raise funds to return home. They were a bunch of really cool people who had been traveling for months. Suddenly, Flower and Simon thought it'd be an awesome idea to explore the forest, which we then did. We spent about an hour out there before returning to the cabin for warmth. By this time, the Australians had made a fire, so we all sat outside with them as Flower and Simon came down. Overall, they said it was an awesome experience, one that I know all too well...

After the trip, there was some more talking and then everybody went off to bed. We were halfway through the Amsterdam portion of our journey, and already we had tons of stories to tell when we returned...

More to come..:-)

-Matt

3 comments:

meloogal said...

blah blah blah weed...

blah blah blah shrooms...

WHERE IS VAN GOGH IN THIS ENTRY.

WHERE IS HE?!

<3.

BurningSky said...

No worries, I went to the Van Gogh Museum and I have some pixorlies to prove it..:-P

Simon said...

huge burden?!?! thanks! lol, :)