Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Crazy European Adventure Part 4: Raving Outside of Amsterdam...

It was time to leave Amsterdam. We made our way to the huge train station at the city center. More interesting than the train station, though, was the parking deck...
When I said that there were a lot of bikes in Amsterdam, this is what I meant. How does one find their generic ten speed among eighty thousand other generic ten speeds? I think I'll never know...

We bought train tickets and boarded a train to Dordrecht, a small town in southern Holland. The plan was to go to a rave there all night (a free place to stay), then take a train to Breda and sleep for a day. We arrived in Dordrecht at 8 PM and went to a supermarket to get some pre-rave foodstuffs (Some bread and jam). While walking around, I found a curious advertisement stuck to the wall...
Okay, so we have some balls of clay that vaguely resemble human beings dancing. Presumably, they are dancing because they love some product. This ball of clay, however, takes it a step further. I don't know why hard clay nipples would be necessary in this particular advertisement, or any even, but it is Holland, so who knows. At least they aren't as bad as the French who take sexy anthropomorphizations to a whole new level of creepy...

After some walking around and searching, we found the location of the rave, an old abandoned building that was being used for a squat. For those that don't know, a squat is a place where a bunch of hippies live for free thanks to a loophole in the law called "Squatter's Rights". What happens is, the owner of a building falls on hard times and leaves the place in disrepair for a long period of time. At some point, the building is officially abandoned. Once this happens, people can move into the abandoned building and live there for free. They stick a note on the door with the words "Squatter's Rights", which means that the owner of the building can't kick them out until it goes through due process, which takes upwards of a month. During that time, the squatters maintain an open door policy. This means that anybody is allowed to come and live there, provided that they contribute to the restoration or general well being of the place. Most squats throw underground parties, raves, and shows to help raise money to fix it up a bit and make it more livable. The squat in which this rave took place was in pretty decent condition. It had running water and electricity, separate rooms for parties and living space, and a population of about 20 squatters. When we showed up, the party was just getting started...

Raves are an interesting experience. A series of DJs play loud ambient electronica music while people consume copious amounts of drugs and dance for upwards of twelve hours. You can usually figure out which drug somebody has taken by the way they are dancing. People on MDMA or Ecstasy Pills will be doing the "rave dance", which is moving your arms really fast with glow sticks and generally looking really acrobatic and cool. People on Ketamine stay much more still, but sway back and forth to the music while staring at the lights. My favorite, the people on LSD, generally stand next to the speakers and hold their arms out like zombies, shuffling their feet in place. People also take various combinations of these drugs and their dancing style reflects it. All in all, really fun to watch when sober, but even more fun to dance along. Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I suck at dancing, but everybody is so off their face that it doesn't matter. Raves are all about acceptance...

Outside of the main dancing room is the chill out room. This place consists of tables, chairs, and couches where people go to stop dancing and focus on the trippy affects that the drugs are giving them. Lots of cool stuff was painted on the walls and there was some interesting lighting effects that probably contributed to the experience. I spent a lot of my time here talking to randomers and learning people's life stories...

At one point, I met a Couchsurfer. His name was Mark and he was a frequent raver. We talked for a bit and he learned of our lack of a place to stay and offered up his couch. I talked it over with Flower and Simon and they were happy to hear it, so, after the rave started winding down at 8 AM, we left with Mark and rode a train (for free) to Schiedam and stayed at his house until 2 PM. At that point, he had to leave for work, so he brought us to the train station giving us knowledge of how to ride trains for free, then departed. Both he and his roommate were cool people who gave us a place to stay and very valuable information. If they are ever in the UK or the US, I'd be glad to let them stay wherever I'm staying...

Next entry is the one where we travel for free. Promise..:-)

More to come..:-)

-Matt

1 comment:

meloogal said...

Don't lie.

The raves at my house were the best.