22 August 2007

Day Two: August 20th Amsterdam, Netherlands

I Swear It's Not Because I'm High...

This is one stellar town. I don't know if everyone has a contact high or what, but the people here are so nice. No smirks or sneers or attitude. And I love that Amsterdam is dominated by bicycles. You really have to see it to believe it. There are bicycles everywhere I tell ya! Everywhere!! I felt like I was in Pee Wee's Big Adventure when I first started walking around today.
The sights are outstanding as well. I walked around for hours today shooting photographs. It was then that I realized that captioning my photos is not really feasible because I simply don't have the time to find out what it is I'm shooting most of the time. Sorry if that takes some of the pleasure out of seeing the shots. When I was in Brussels I didn't take that many photos because I didn't want to make it obvious that I was a tourist for fear of being victimized. It was that kind of town. It made me very uneasy.

I didn't want to condemn Brussels outright yesterday. I still won't. I was only there for a day and I only saw a small part of it so I can't judge. But from what I experienced, it was like the ghetto compared to Amsterdam. I got the impression there's a lot of crime there. There were so many businesses with their windows smashed, lots of run down homes and what looked to be like projects...Euro-style. It had an "icky" vibe to be honest. Shady.

Anyway, I walked around for a few hours today before I finally stopped into one of the *ahem* coffee shops. It was a very small place called Extase. I tried finding a couple of places that friends recommended, but after hours of walking/looking I just gave up. Or rather gave in.
I sat down at the counter and indulged. It was very nice, indeed, but I'm pretty spoiled so it wasn't really mind-blowing. But right on time, that's for sure. I was bullshitting with a couple of guys who worked there. They were very cool and friendly.
There were like 20 different kinds of both MJ and hash on the menu. I asked the guy if I could see the "Jamaican" variety and he said, "Yeah, sure..." as he reluctantly pulled it out of the drawer "...they compact it. It's...it's..."
"Oh yeah. I know what this is. It's what we call 'brick weed'." And we both had a good laugh. I didn't think they had brick weed in Amsterdam. I mean, what's the point? It's like going to Italy and eating at McDonald's.

Somehow I found my way back to the hotel. That made me happy because it was a long walk back. At least 40 minutes. I was amazed that I managed it. On the way back, I stopped off at the grocery store, which I always love doing in foreign cities. Picked up some wine and something called "metworst" (which was very tasty). Come to think of it, that's all I ate so far today (plus some olives), and it's nearly 11pm. Oopsie! Kinda shocking...considering. Tee hee hee...

I saw a something really cute today. There was this couple riding their bikes up this little incline and the guy had his hand on the small of her back to help her get up the hill. That was so adorable. I know, I'm a dork.

I got back to my hotel and opened my purse. It was like being punched in the face with a stinky fist. (the good kind of stinky) It's raining outside now, and that's fine because I'd like to get an early start tomorrow. I want to see more of this lovely city before I set off to Mülheim (just outside of Düsseldorf) to pick up the RV. Plus, this hotel room is like a womb compared to last night's. Four-star my ass! It was more like a twisted psychological experiment!
For one thing, the windows opened out to the lobby (one story up), so I couldn't really have them open. I felt like I was sealed up in a box. And I really, really hate that. That's why I always opt for old school hotels; because you can open the windows! So that sucked. The sound of the toilet filling was loud enough to wake me up...like Niagara Falls in my lavatory. Plus, every door in the joint slammed loudly, I could hear the bell at the front desk because it was outside of my window, and the heat...my god the heat! The a/c was all the way up but it was so warm that I left the mini-fridge open to cool the room. It was a real bummer. But that's behind me.

Honestly, the only people who bugged me were the stupid Americans. Seriously, I could always spot them. Boorish American fuckers lumbering down the streets talking about "massages" and getting stoned. Man, Amsterdam is so much more than coffee shops and prostitutes. I only wish I had more time to experience it all for myself. There's always next time. And believe me, I will be back!

Sorry, I'm a day or two behind posting the of my journal. But the weather is crappy today so I'll have plenty of time to fill you in on the past couple of days. I'm uploading the photos now.