Friday, October 29, 2010
Our first destination on our Netherlands extravaganza was Utrecht, an old city echoing with history dating back to the Romans. Their are still official buildings where salt; being the valuable commodity that it was, was measured for sale. Theirs a church, separated from its bell tower by about 50 meters, where a renegade tornado, lost obviously, had ripped through the town destroying half of this church. The only recorded tornado before or since in the Netherlands, if thats not enough to convert you to catholicism I don't know what is. Such a beautiful old city complete with canals, and what they call wharfs, to protect the city from the raising waters. Every building had awesome cellars, leading to even more awesome Roman underground lairs, and I love underground lairs. In one of these cellars we had some of the famous Netherlands 'Coffee', and man it was great, a little to great, just a couple of sips and wow and we were 'caffeinated' for hours, wandering around the city.
We managed to do some couch surfing there as well. We stayed with a great couple, Jeroen and Sanne, who were great hosts. They both worked during the days, but at night we ate great Netherlands food, discussed some interesting history, for instance did you know the American dollar came from the German something or others which the Dutch called Dullard which we then changed to dollar. Also we're called Yankees by the English because many Dutch living in the americas; New York previously being called New Amsterdam, named their children Jan (pronounced Yan) and Kees, hence the New York Yankees. Also we made Mexican food one day for our hosts, I think we will be doing this a lot. They took us to one of the coolest bars I have ever seen, Derat. The name literally means 'the rat' in honor of some previous residents found mummified in the basement once the bar was restored. We ended up hanging out all night with the owner Eric, who gave us tastes of some of the finest liquors and beers from that area, and being that the best beer in the world comes from Belgium, I'd venture to say it was some of the best in the world.
After Utrecht, it was a short train ride to none other than the hazy city itself, the Empire of Herb, the Kingdom of Chronic, the Galaxy of Ganja, THE MECCA OF MARIJUANA.... DON DON DON DON DON (theme of 2010 A Space Odyssey) AMSTERDAM!!!!! DA NAAAAAA.
TO SURVIVE AMSTERDAM:
1.AMSTERDAM 'COFFEE' IS STRONG
Hey their tough guy, come on you smoke all the time, you can take it, no problem. Wrong. Take it easy, its legal, its not the space race.
2.SUGAR IS YOUR FRIEND
I'm not refer-ing to the girl you just met in the red light district, drink some orange juice or perhaps an herbal tea with sugar. Theirs something scientific about it, but lets just say its the lightning to your flux capacitor. (watch Back to the Future again)
Really you have all the time in the world, don't be a hero, your not going to impress ANYONE with your massive bong hit. Its legal and they don't care, your just the guy who doesn't know which way is up.
4.BEWARE THE MUNCHI MONSTER
These business men are smart, they know exactly what you want. You stumble hazily out of the 'coffee shop' and there it is like an oasis in the desert, a storefront top to bottom with candy, donuts, cakes, pizza, hot dogs, you name it; but it comes at a price much higher than usual, keep track you stoner.
5.KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
I am speaking of the famous canals, and yes we did see an unsuspecting soul go head over heals into the unexplainably gross water. This was at midnight and it was freezing, talk about a buzz kill.
6.FORGET THE MAP
Look, your gona be to confused to understand it anyway, and your gona look like a moron staring at it upside-down, so as awkward as its gona be asking directions, the locals are use to it, just stumble in the direction their finger points.
The lines of legality are hazy, like anywhere, and the shop workers 'don't know anything' so just kick back, take a toke and enjoy.
8.THIS AIN'T THE 60'S
This ones for the older generation, ya you. I've seen the way you smoke, like your trying to suck a watermelon through a straw. You do NOT need deep penetration, and for gods sake don't hold it. We saw two grey hairs being carried out of the shops with that 'man this stuff is strong' look in their eyes. Just take it easy and don't embarrass us.
9.FIND A SHOP THAT SUITS YOU
Theirs hundreds of these shops, some play techno, some punk, some reggae, it's all about the vibe, so go in, look around and take the time to really pick a winner.
The tenth rule is perhaps the most important rule ever, forget math and really let this one sink into your cranium. Before you go TELL ME. I want to go back. And if you don't because Death himself is threatening you with well, death, then at least have the decency to bring me back a little.
OK, now that thats out of the way, where were we. Amsterdam, wright, OK. To be perfectly honest my memory is a little foggy, but heres the facts. We went to the Sex Museum, which was eye opening. These are some open minded people, I think their country motto must be 'whatever.' It was basically a history of recorded sex throughout the ages, pretty cool. On those same lines we swaggered through the Red Light District which is defiantly not a lamp store I found out. Another interesting museum would half to be the Hemp Museum. You know in that Cheech and Chong movie where they drive the van made from marijuana, well those of us who can remember it laughed at the ridiculous idea, but turns out thats totally possible. We saw an engine part made by Ducati, pretty nuts. Oh ya, the bars are nice, but again beware the spins, they can be a duzy.
Well folks really I could write about it all day, but I got traveling to tend to, so a quick bit that brings us up to date. We drove from the Netherlands to Belgium, to catch our ferry back to England. There we spent one smelly night in the car before bailing, it was time. I made it through customs again, luckily, and now we are back on Camden awaiting our tickets to Turkey, for thanksgiving of course. I hope we gave you a little insight on Europe the past few months. I love you all and before I forget, never mind, I forgot.
Posted by Matt OBannon and Nima Sinclair at 9:15 AM