I arrived at Schipol, via London, with my 18-year-old son and his buddy in tow, on the evening of June 22, landing in a driving rain/hail storm that was pelting the skylights at the terminal building.
We hit the ATMs and then bought our train tickets and headed to Centraal Station.
From Centraal I ran across the street in the downpour and bought our 7-day tram passes at the GVB office. Then we caught the No. 9 to Rembrandtplein and walked two blocks â€“ still in a downpour â€“ to the hotel.
We changed, hit the Bushdocter, then went on a quick walking tour (the rain had lightened up a little) to Dampkring and to a couple more coffeeshops and bars in the RLD, then caught a tram to Liedeseplein to meet the lovely Anne at a pub.
Unfortunately, we were nearly an hour late â€“ I had set my watch to UK time instead of Netherlands time â€“ and I was a zombie by that time, having had only six hours sleep in the previous 48 hours. That, on top of the beers I drank and the weed/hash I smoked as soon as we left the hotel, left me woozy by the time we arrived to meet Anne.
But Anne was gracious and, after we had a beer, she showed the two newbies around Leidseplein while I went back to the hotel and fell flat on my face in bed.
By the second day, the boys were in high gear. They went through twice as much money as they expected, even though they bought almost nothing all week except smokeables, food and drinks. Our planned day in Zaandvoort was scratched because of the incessant rain, but we made it to Haarlem and sampled the wares at a couple of the Willy Wortels shops and one other shop of which I cannot recall the name. As always, Nolâ€™s wares were top-notch and at good prices. Bless you Nol!
As usual, I wasnâ€™t a good Channelite during my visit. That is, I didnâ€™t write down the names of all the weeds and hashes we sampled. We got some very nice, trippy, blonde maroc at Het Ballonetje and some butt-kicking dark maroc at Dampkring, but my favorite hash was from the WW Sativa in Haarlem. I believe it was called Kashmir Maroc and it was about 10 or 11 Euros per gram.
We probably bought 24 or 25 kinds of weed, but the boys mastered rolling big cones by the second day, so they were mixing grams of everything and, pretty soon, I couldnâ€™t tell you which weed did what to our feeble brains.
The first six days we stayed in a large room on the second floor of our small hotel. When I made the reservations back in January they said we would have to move to another room for the final two days because that one was already booked. I was afraid it would be a smaller room, but it turned out to be a five-bed room, right on the street, with a front stoop and a bench on the stoop â€“ right next door to the Bushdocter. We spent a good part of the last day sitting on our porch and visiting with everyone that walked past along the Herengracht or on Thorbeckeplein, we swapped gear with a couple of other tourists and generally had a great time without moving more than a few steps from our front door.
The two boys were sitting out on a bench on Thorbeckeplein one evening during a lull in the rain. They sat down on a bench where a young Asian man was seated. They asked him if he knew the time, and he told them civilly.
Then, a minute or two later, he asked them â€œWhat the fuck are you staring at?â€? and began ranting and telling them â€œYou better be careful. If you knew who you were fucking with, youâ€™d realize youâ€™re in big trouble,â€? and more things like that.
They were more amused than frightened, but he demanded that they not even glance in his direction. They needled him, asking: â€œAll right now, let us get this straight. You donâ€™t want us to even look down toward your end of the bench. Is that right?â€? Then they took turns playing peek-a-boo, peering between their fingers at him, which irritated him and made him rant and rave even louder.
He made several more statements about what a dangerous guy he was and how he had connections, and how they had better not fuck with him, but he finally got up and walked away.
Guess weâ€™ll never find out who they were fucking with, but they survived the encounter anyway.
Iâ€™ve gotta say one of the highlights of my trip, as it was last year, was visiting the Chinese massage (legitimate massage, not the happy-ending variety) places on Zeedijk and near Dam Square and up near Prince Hendrikaade. Getting absolutely stoned and getting either a foot or body massage â€“ from masseuses who really worked at their tasks â€“ was even better than a visit to the kamers (not that thatâ€™s bad either). And I could admit to doing it when I get back to the office.
We left on the 29th in a driving rain, just as we had arrived. Then went to London where we enjoyed yet another week of rain. If I had it to do over, I would reverse the order. The boys enjoyed London, but it was kind of anti-climax after a week in Mokum. It was the first visit to Europe for both of them, but theyâ€™re already trying to recruit friends for a return trip to Paradise next year.
Ahh, Amsterdam. Ainâ€™t no place like it.
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