Trip Report, Day One, Part 1

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Banks
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Trip Report, Day One, Part 1

Postby Banks » Mon Jun 23, 4:46 pm

Friday, 06Jun, 2003/ Saturday, 07Jun, 2003
Day One, Part One

Alarm snaps me awake at the usual 5:30AM… it was a Chelsea morning. The sun is beginning to come up, and the sky is blue. Great start to a day I’ve only had to anticipate for just over a week. I was able to take advantage of the Singapore Airlines special to Amsterdam out of Newark for $178. It’s great to be in your own business and can make plans like this quickly. I will be flying out of Newark, 9:40PM this evening… and I’d like to be on the road to Newark, six hours drive time, by 9:00AM. Singapore Air said to be there 3 hours early… what the fuck… don’t they know it will take me six hours to get to the airport? And who knows what I’ll find on the turnpike…
Coffee, breakfast, newspaper, shower and I’m more than ready to get this little trip rolling. Have I finished the paperwork in the office this morning, and did I set the computers? Done. What watch am I bringing? Hamilton. Did I pack the running gear? Yes. Check the suitcase, again… Time to run down the checklist… passport, Palm, camera, lenses, film… pack suit, good clothing, top off the suitcase… jam it all in the car, and head on out to Newark. This is going to be one long day… but the destination!!!
Lot’s of traffic, most of it trucks… everybody’s delivery must be for today. After playing Dale Earnhart, Jr. to and around Newark Airport, I park in what seems like Beirut and take the shuttle bus into Newark Airport… the shuttle driver is wearing a beret and looking suspiciously like Idi Amin. My friend Sherri is accompanying me on this trip, and has taken the train from DC. She is waiting inside at the Singapore Air check-in. Sherri has never been to Europe and is all a bundle of nerves… especially after I told her she would have to take the train herself from DC, since I had to be back home the following Wednesday and therefore I needed to drive directly to Newark Airport. A newbie in Amsterdam… hmmm. She even alleges that she will partake of the kind bud, under the rationale “…when in Rome…” It’s good to have that kind of exuberance along for the tour… it pays off in so many ways! Anyway, we find that the Singapore Airlines check-in counter won’t be open for about 2 hours. After only a few beers, some people-watching, and conversation about Amsterdam, we’re checked in and now heading to wait at the bar near our gate. A twenty-three year old Polish foreign student is our bartender, and it’s his first day… and he’s surrounded by his fellow staff members, all black women who I suspect have been there for a while together. This should be good… I ask for a Jack Daniels on ice… he asks me what goes in it. Sherri asks for a Grey Goose martini… what goes in that? Really nice kid, though. Kept us laughing for a bit during the wait… can’t ask for much more in an airport bar.
Wonderful flight over except for the movies… very comfortable seats… 150 choices or something on your individual screen… which can’t be seen when the person in front of you reclines unless you slide so far down into your seat you are like the Hunchback. However, excellent service with beer and wine served to everyone makes the flight quite enjoyable… who wants to watch Colin Farrell anyways… loved the stewardesses… perfect little Oriental women… in perfect little dresses, with perfect little faces. They never stop moving for the entire flight! Maybe 40 minutes of total napper time, two crunched up movies, and, hard to believe it, at 9:45AM, we have touched down at Schiphol… it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, Fred!
Sixty-eight degrees with cotton ball patches of clouds in a sunny sky! They look like big fluffy Blueberry buds!!! We grab our luggage, release some money from our banks, and I buy two tram tickets to Centraal… Sherri is wide eyed with awe… and a bit speechless. This is a good thing. How long can I keep her from talking, I wonder? The train trip is quickly over… Jerry Garcia and Sid Vicious are sitting across the aisle from us (damn, haven’t even smoked anything yet, and these guys are already showing up!). Okay, grabbing our luggage (I’ve nicknamed Sherri’s suitcase the “Deathbag” because its so big, and weighs about 5000 pounds… this fucking bag is going to kill somebody, I just know it…) we almost kill Sid when the bag falls down the steps, but luckily he dodges out of the way at the last second. I think I now have a hernia from pulling the Deathbag up the steps of the train, and out onto the platform. Thank god this fucker has wheels… I wish it had an engine too. Anyway, through the morass of Saturday travelers, we are finally out of Centraal… it’s now 11:35 AM and we bebop in the direction of the Renaissance, just a few blocks away. Crossing the Prins Hendrikade I think Sherri has been hit en-masse by a MacBikes tour group… a trend that will continue, as those of you know all too well about ‘bike-dancing’ while in Amsterdam. No, here she comes, all big-eyed, but just fine. I have to remind her that the bikes have their own lanes, and to try to stop looking all around until we have unloaded the suitcases at the hotel. You know how that goes… impossible to do on your first trip into Mecca. We pass by the Old Style, which is packed at their patio tables. No wonder LastHamlet makes this his little hideaway… looks excellent, and I make the mental note to get back here soon. The Renaissance, too, looks very nice from the outside. The lobby is certainly very nice also. However, our request for an early check-in on the Club Level as Platinum members was obviously just that… a request. The ‘Man from Uncle’ at the front desk just smiled when Sherri asked about early check-in. Being Platinum Members at The Renaissance in Amsterdam evidently ain’t worth dick! ‘Ilya Kuriyakin’ says it will be about 3:00PM before we can get our room… but to check back earlier just in case. He gives us our key to the Club Level lounge, and says we can start Happy Hour early. Well, I wasn’t up for anything other than some coffee or an espresso, and since I planned on making “AnyDay” my first stop for some of their highly regarded “Stella Blue” bud, I figured now would be a good time for ‘Exit, Stage Left’… and off we bounced down the Spuistraat for a couple of blocks to “AnyDay”… Sherri’s first time in a coffeeshop!
Situated on a corner a couple of blocks on the left side down the Spuistraat in the direction of Vondelpark from the Renaissance, “AnyDay” is very small, with a lot of windows. You’ll pass one of the more appealing “Bulldog” shops along the way (actually this one is a nice place for a drink on the sidewalk patio; I’m guessing this place was exactly that not long ago, a little café, until the Bulldog chain bought them out. Who knows? I just liked this one. Blasphemy…) Anyway, upstairs at AnyDay is a small room, up a tight iron stairway at the end of the bar… I just took a look in as there was a group of six, pretty 20-something, lassies from England choking and laughing hysterically with their legs in the air. A show already!!! But it is nice and comfortable for a group of that size. Back down at the bar, I take a look at the menu, and inquire about a nice sativa… and in particular, the “Stella Blue” I’d heard so much about. Our man likes the choice, and brings out a two-quart Tupperware container of “Stella Blue.” Very nice selection of buds in there… what I wouldn’t do to have this container back home… and I pick out a sweet fat bud, which weighs 1.65gm, at 8E per. Sherri just looks awestruck and speechless. Again, how long can I keep this going, I ask myself? We grab two bottles of Spa Blue along with the bud, and sit at the long counter along the windows of the side street. It’s been a little while since I rolled one and this stuff is so nice and fresh, along with being perfectly cured, that I proceed to fuck up the first joint… way too tight. I work the bud a bit more for some airiness, and the second one twists up just fine. Sherri asks if now is the time for her to try this for the first time. I convince her that she should wait until we are back in the room. She agrees since it’s her first time. I then proceed to smoke about 1/3 of the joint, and all of a sudden,!!!BAMMO#$%!!! my very, very long day just got a whole lot shorter. You all know well exactly what I mean. I was a new man! As a matter of fact, when Sherri asked me how it was, I told her exactly that. And since we had a few hours to kill until the room was ready, it was time for a quick spin into the ‘Dam!!! Down the Spuistraat we go!
We take a left on Molsteeg from the Spuistraat, leading to the Nieuwe Kerk. Just beautiful… the church is all lit up by the sun, as is the Palace a little further down, all the way to Dam Square. We grab a table at the patio in front of the Krasnapolsky in the Square… its 12:45pm and I’ve decided the bar is now officially open. I sit facing the building, as to give Sherri the good views. A beautiful tall, blonde girl with her hair in a braid comes by, wipes the table, and asks so pleasantly in Dutch what we would like. Of course, stunned as I am by the Stella bud, I can only fantasize about what I “think” she’s saying… until she repeats herself three times, and I finally order two Duvel’s for us. Can it get any better than this? Amsterdam, sun, outdoor café, Duvel, gorgeous women, and primo bud… all in less than an hour from walking out of Centraal Station? Does it get better than this? I’m betting it does, as I have reservations at 6:30pm for two at Kantjil en de Tijger!
Back on the patio, an older couple has taken the table next to ours. They are from the Isle of Man. For those of you who don’t know where that is, the Isle of Man lies off the coast of England, and is home to some of the most famous motorcycle races in the entire world, notably the Isle of Man TT. The race is run on the public roads of the tiny island, and speed is king. Some of the world’s best racers have won here, and some have lost their lives. It’s literally a legend in motorcycling. Anyway, these two have lived 35 years on a road that is part of the course, and for the past 15 years they have rented out their home and taken a two-week vacation from all the madness of the races back home. This trip is a tour of Europe using the canals and rivers. They are a wonderful pair, Charles being 76 and Katherine being 68, and had that easiness together that comes from 34 years of a good marriage. They were impressed that I knew all about the races. Lord knows I should, as I’ve had 17 motorcycles, and my favorite racer was Mike “The Bike” Hailwood, who is a true legend at the Isle of Man. Charles is attempting to show Sherri how to work her Canon digital… and is doing a fine job. Katherine and I talked about Amsterdam, and what brings them there. It seems these two are a bit wilder than I first imagined. In addition to the canals, these two enjoy smoking a bit of the bud!!! While Charles instructs Sherri, Katherine tells me her favorite coffeeshop is the “Noon!!!” HA!!! Unbelievable!!! She tells me that the two of them enjoy the museums very much, and that since the Noon is so nice and close to the Museumplein, they take advantage of the “special” and roll up, and smoke, a joint of Blueberry for each of them before heading to the Rijksmuseum!!! Jesus, this trip is starting out crazy! A bit of conversation about my favorites, the “Grey Area” and “de Dampkring,” Charles’ favorite hashes, two more Duvel’s and it’s time we’re on our way out of Dam Square. Sherri thinks they must have the room ready. How would she know? We say our goodbyes to Charles and Katherine, they wish us well, and off we go. I convince Sherri that the Puccini Chocolates I’ve told her about aren’t far away and it’s on the way back to the hotel… knowing full well where there’s Puccini Chocolates, there’s Grey Area’s finest selections right across the way. Just mention chocolates to a woman, and well… Its 1:30 now and we’ll be at Grey Area by 1:45… down past the Palace, past the Magna Plaza, and onto the Raadhuisstrat… take a right at the Singel Canal, and voila, there’s Puccini and Grey Area!!! I open the door for Sherri at Puccini’s, and show her in. What a smell! By her reaction, I think Sherri is having an orgasm right there! HA!!! I’m going across the street, and we’ll meet one place or the other. I dash off to Grey Area faster than a speeding bullet… its 1:45, just as I predicted. One guy at the bar, all the tables taken, and John’s working… it’s my day! Nice. Real nice. I take a few moments to look over the menu… damn, it all looks great… AK47, 4077, Yellow Cab, Greyberry, Grey Haze, and Grey Mist… crystals… I ask John about the bud. He likes the Greyberry… says I won’t be disappointed. I nab another big fat bud, this time 2.0gm for 15E. Smells like a blueberry pie! How about a hash recommendation? How about those "Soles" I keep reading about? Sorry, no Soles, but they could be here anytime. John suggests the Nepalese… like a jelly, but still made the old fashioned way. Okay, 1gm of that will work. Looks like a squirt of black toothpaste inside the bag… really nice and shiny and flexible. I sit at a miraculously open table at the window so I can see Sherri coming… and proceed to roll up another joint, this time of the Greyberry… damn, this bud TASTES like pie!!! North Carolina wild blueberry pie!!! Where the fuck is Sherri with those chocolates??? I’m fucking dying over here!!! I’ve smoked about ¼ of the Greyberry joint, and out she comes. Woman + Chocolates = Happy Man… I get up and meet her on the street. She has her chocolates, and I have my Greyberry. It’s a wonderful world!!! It is now just past 2:00pm, and we are off to the Renaissance. Remember how I felt after the Stella? Well, I’m yet another new man after that Greyberry! Really smooth, with such an uplifting buzz. What a great walk in the sun up the Singel to the hotel. And damn, she was right. The room was ready. Its 2:15pm, Saturday 07June, 2003. Two and a half hours in Amsterdam… really, can it get any better than this???
Last edited by Banks on Mon Jun 23, 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby BlueBerry » Mon Jun 23, 5:14 pm

GREAT start!!! So much detail, I just love it:))

Anxiously waiting on rest......

BlueBerry

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Postby DedBud » Mon Jun 23, 6:01 pm

Haha....yer report puts me right back out on the streets there. Sounds like yer off to a great start. I might have to check on deals to Newark if I want to get a good deal from Singapore Airlines again since their short experiment with flights from Chicago to Amsterdam ended around the 9/11 tragedy. Hopefully they'll resume them some day.

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Postby Bohannon » Mon Jun 23, 6:30 pm

Fantastic report. I just hope that all of that bud doesn't interfer with your future reports! LOL. Only one question: a suit? what do you bring a suit for?
Pax

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Postby Banks » Mon Jun 23, 6:59 pm

BOhannon wrote:Fantastic report. I just hope that all of that bud doesn't interfer with your future reports! LOL. Only one question: a suit? what do you bring a suit for?
Pax


Thank you for the compliment. As for the suit, I believe it's always better to be overdressed than underdressed. I had reservations at some very nice restaurants, and planned on a club or two, so having a suit instead of having a couple of pairs of dress pants and jackets allowed me to pack lighter. I grew up having to wear a tie to school beginning at age 5, so wearing a suit is really easy for me. And it was blue, which I could wear with the jeans and khakis.

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Postby ScoobieSnack » Mon Jun 23, 7:26 pm

Funny about it being easy to wear a suit because you had to since age 5. I myself went the other way. I had to wear one all throgh my school years and now I dispise putting one on. My wife MADE me wear one for our wedding. I wanted to go with the Tuxedo T-shirt !!

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Postby dred » Mon Jun 23, 7:56 pm

Banks,
Love your detailed report. Keep 'em coming!
Dred

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Postby Bohannon » Mon Jun 23, 10:47 pm

Having gone through parochial school untill I got tossesd out in year 10 (so I tooled around the parking lot in the school bus a bit, I didn't hurt anything!) and a series of corporate jobs, I have worn a neck restricting device most of my life. Now that I am self employed I rarely do. That said I am hoping to be able to make a couple of business appointments when I am there in the fall. I am assuming that a suit and tie is de riguer(sic?). It would be great to actually develop some business in Europe, for the money, the tax write off and the reason to go more often!
Pax

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re: My Amsterdam Novel

Postby a bollocks » Mon Jun 23, 11:34 pm

Banks wrote:
Sixty-eight degrees with cotton ball patches of clouds in a sunny sky! They look like big fluffy Blueberry buds!!!


okay you had me at "Trip report, Day one, part 1... but this is like a first chapter to a novel. Great writing and wonderful imagery. I can't wait for Sherri's first taste.


p.s. "Illya Kuryakin" produced spit-up.


WOOPT!

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Postby TrekknHil » Tue Jun 24, 12:26 am

For the record...from a chick...there's nothing quite like a guy in a suit.

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re: Accomadations

Postby a bollocks » Tue Jun 24, 12:29 am

TrekknHil wrote:For the record...from a chick...there's nothing quite like a guy in a suit.


GET A ROOM YOU TWO!!!!


p.s. there's nothing quite like a gal out of a suit.



WOOPT!

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hank
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Postby hank » Tue Jun 24, 8:04 am

Banks that was a superb report, because of the great detail I felt like I was with you on the streets of Amsterdam, you really made my day, thanks, I'll be looking for more...

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Postby buckofive » Tue Jun 24, 1:23 pm

I have to hand it to you Banks, this is one of the best trip reports that I have read in quite a while. Normally, I don't spend too much time reading this part of the forum while at work, but I ended up setting some time aside today just for this one. Great detail, and the fact that you are talking about stuff in my neighborhood is quite nice as well.

A couple of things that you might want to check out include the De Drie Grafjes quite nearby the Nieuwe Kerk. I believe that it is on the Gravensteeg, but don't quote me on that. It is right at the back of the Nieuwe Kerk towards the Nieuwendijk. Anyway, it is a fantastic little lunch cafe with quite possibly the best BLT in the world.

Also, right near by the Renaissance is a new nightclub called Bitterzoet. You cant get any closer, as it is literally across the (torn up) street. The address is Spui 2 and it is a great place in the evening time. If you get there early you can avoid the modest cover and hang out and smoke a bit, listen to some sweet tunes, and even enjoy a game of pool.

Oh and one other thing, suits are actually quite common here in Europe. Almost every business meeting I have attended here in over two years has been formal business attire. Plus, you'll often see men at night clubs in suits as well. After working in IT in the states for so long (our idea of dressed up was a hawaiian print shirt and sandals) it is nice to actually dress for an occasion. After all, those hairy sages from Texas assure us that "Every girl crazy about a sharp dressed man."

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Postby running wild » Wed Jun 25, 1:45 am

Excellant report and looks like an excellant adventure. Pucinni's awesome!!! You are getting my plans ready for this coming Novembers trip. Getting a list of a few primo bud's to try that I haven't tasted yet. Cann't wait till the next part of your trip report. Be interesting to see how your sidekick did with her first bud. Take care - running wild

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What a smokin' report

Postby LastHamlet » Wed Jun 25, 3:49 am

Way to go Banks, this is a whale of a report. I feel like I have already gotten on the plane and been there a while... No joke man, this is a top notch trip report, sure enough.. What incredible detail.
Best Regards Banks...

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Postby moe. » Wed Jun 25, 4:21 am

Great read man, it was a "5 bonger". I can't wait to hear what happened to the newbie either. Looking forward to much more...I gotta go clean my bong in preparation.

moe.

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Postby titus wong » Wed Jun 25, 6:16 pm

Nice report. You seem to have great organizational skills -- can't imagine my having reservations at Kantjil en de Tijger before actually landing in AMS. Keep'em coming.
Last edited by titus wong on Thu Jun 26, 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Good job Banks!!

Postby oldhippyguy » Wed Jun 25, 8:45 pm

Great report Banks!!I love the detail..it makes it all so real!! I can close my eyes and be there at the Grey Area and smell those sweet buds..ahhh..you know how to make an oldhippy drool!! Keep up the good work and give us a lot of detail on how the newbie reacts..thats great!! Have a great time!!Peace!!

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chocolate and grey area dreams

Postby capecodguy » Wed Jun 25, 10:53 pm

On my 2 trips to the Mecca Ive stopped in and bought some of Puccinis fine chocolate for my girl back home. I swear that if you feed a woman a few of those chocolates shes yours for life. Every guy should spend 20 euros there after partaking from the Grey Area....great report keep them coming

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Postby TrekknHil » Wed Jun 25, 11:04 pm

It's kind of funny...I love the Albert Heijn white chocolate bars...they are about 1.40. In March my friend, with an equal love of the milk chocolate variety hit some type of sale where it was buy one get two free. I think. All I know is I got a ton of chocolate for nothing...people at home think they are great gifts too!

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Postby the tourist » Wed Jun 25, 11:48 pm

i loved the report. i really liked that you did not skip over the anticipation of getting to dam. most people skip this part and i really hate that because whats christmas without christmas eve i say. i also liked how you left us with wanting more by ended your first report at the eve of sherri's first time. it's a cliffhanger.


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