Channeling X

A forum where you can read the great
adventures of the visitors to Amsterdam.

slither
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Channeling X

Postby slither » Sat Jul 31, 8:35 pm

From the Channels Archives

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The jet touches down and begins that slow taxi across the overpass and into Schiphol. Typical drizzle outside. Familiar butterflies inside as the seatbelt light goes off and the masses scurry for their overhead baggage. Later, walking down the jetport the familiar green hues of the interior of Schiphol come into view. Walking along the interior I begin to pick up the familiar 'Mind your step' announcement. I come into the Immigration area and notice the same familiar Agent. Brown hair slicked back, he greets me as I walk up.

"Goede morgen..."
"Can I see your passport,' he says, grinning at my Dutch greeting.
"Vhat ees de purpose of your veesit to Amsterdam?"
"Vacation," I state. Perversion, I wanted to say.

He stamps my passport and wishes me a good day.

A few steps later and I am down the stairs and in the baggage area. I find my bag, change a fifty just to have some Euros for the trip in to town, and walk right through the Nothing to Declare aisle and into the great atrium proper of Schiphol airport. It is always so beautiful here; one of my favorite airports in the world. Always so dark at this early hour, it is beautifully well-lit during the day. I head over to the big window where the train tickets are sold, buy an enkele reis into town, and head downstairs to the platform.

That first blast of cool air hits me, as does a whiff of a familiar odor.

I look around at the people, the yellow train schedule, and the clock overhead. It is now 7:10 a.m. Perfect. Into town, a stop at Central, some strudel, and then to the hotel. The train pulls in and I note the Amsterdam Centraal in lights on the side of the train. The doors open and I am inside. I head up the stairs and take a seat. I notice a couple from the plane. The train heads away into the tunnel and momentarily appears in the grey early morning light.

It is always a comforting site to head out into the grey light, looking out at the city waking up and watching the people heading off to start their day. I see the same trees, the graffiti, the same apartment buildings and office buildings and then it begins to sink in...I am here once more...and the whole day lies ahead. I see my reflection on the inside of the train window and it comes home to me that I am now on my way.

I hear the announcement for Lelylaan, then 'Amsterdam Sloterdijk,' and then finally 'Amsterdam Centraal.'

The train slows to a quiet stop. The doors open and I step out onto the concrete platform and follow the crowd down the stairs. Cold air and the Dutch language all at once, with the sound of high heels. I head out the door of Centraal and veer left past the VVV. The same smells and sounds engulf me; I am always pleasantly reawakened to Amsterdam once I step out into the smell of water and rain, the scent of old brownstone, the sounds of trams, bicycles and luggage wheels...and Dutch...and was that a seagull? I cross the bus lane and follow the sidewalk out toward Prins Hendrikkade toward a classic landmark. Crossing at the light I notice that the shop is empty save for one guy seated in a stool to the left by the wall. The bud tender is reading the morning paper while smoking a very resinated cone. I sigh just a little bit and walk through the door.

Loud music deadens the nerves and in a few seconds I am looking into that wooden box and making my first selection of the trip.

"K2?"

"Ja?"

"Eets very nice dees one..."

"Dankuwel.."

"One koffee verkeerd...please...bedankt"

"Astublieft..."

I thank him, and grabbing a filter tip to go with the papers he has kindly given me I head over to that favored spot in the front window. No one else now but me and the dealer, and he quickly returns to his reading and his smoking. I stop for a second and stare out the window and across to the station. I take in another slow breath, smile to myself, and begin to examine this first purchase. Green, crystally and with a scent of lavender and citrus-pine, it breaks up readily.

I break up the smoke, roll a respectable cone--not too big, but certainly enough to get me where I want to go at this early hour--and I sit back to enjoy my coffee and smoke. After resting and fully preparing myself for the adventures to come, I slip away quietly, giving a smile and a wave to the the bud dealer as I head out the door. It is just after 8:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning in Amsterdam, the grey sky is finally beginning to lighten, and I am on my for some strudel before heading to the hotel.

The cool air fills my lungs as I walk along and pleasant thoughts fill my head...another unforgettable first impression of a trip yet to unfold.

My heartbeat quickens with my pace...

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Walking left around the corner I head up Warmoesstraat to Oudebrugsteeg, then take a right and cut across to Damrak and the little pastry shop in front of de Kuil. Always open early and late, they make a great little strudel, and they make this other thing that looks like an upside-down bran muffin which is topped in walnuts and very sticky. I order one of each and another coffee. The pretty blonde girl gives me the change and I grab the pastries and take a seat. She next brings the little cup of coffee and I get up to grab this too, then return to my seat. I look over to de Kuil; much too early for it to be open, but later at noon I will be back.

The strudel is a thick cross-slice about three inches tall, by six inches wide and two inches thick. Bursting with diced apples, raisins, nuts and covered in powdered sugar, the strudel is incredible. Then I take a bite of the sticky bran muffin; another instant hit. The bakery is well-lit at this hour, but the half-light lingers in the narrow street. The air inside smells of cinnamon, oil and spices. The rain has stopped and the air outside is moist and fresh. Looks like Manhattan Pizza Slice is now closed for remodeling. Looking again at the front window of de Kuil I think about the Nepalese Temple Ball hasj I will buy later. Ten Euros a gram, and always decent. A middle-eastern looking man pops in to the bakery, says something in Dutch, and exits with a bag of fresh rolls. More and more people milling about now, and more passersby.

I finish the last bites of the strudel and concentrate on the muffin. Soon it too is gone, and I finish up the last of the coffee. Where to now? I sit back and consider the possibilities: I could walk to Picasso and get some of La Cream, or I could cross back over to the RLD and get some Primera at The Coin. I need to get a lighter and papers, perhaps even a pipe, and then I can get my tram pass and head to the hotel. Later, I can maybe head over to the Scheepvaartmuseum--or maybe I can just worry about later...later...

I waive and say a quiet 'Dankuwel' as I exit out onto Oudebrugsteeg and head back across Damrak towards the RLD and The Coin. I had read about the Primera before coming over, and it sounded too good to pass up. I find the place, walk in, walk over to the dealer counter and ask if they currently have the Primera.

'Ja,' he says, and proudly pulls out a chunk that must weigh three grams.

'Zmell...'

'Ja,' I say...'very nice.'

'So how much you want?'

I realize at that moment that I should have changed more money, so I mention this and the guy offers to sell me a nice half-gram for seven Euros. I take the piece and notice immediately how soft and pliable it is.

Classic Moroccan smell and taste, but a definite high grade; it is sticky, not hard, and it looks like it will be wonderful to smoke.

I then head outside, back down Warmoesstraat towards Oudebrugsteeg and then cut across the Damrak to The Dam Hotel. I walk up to the change window and introduce myself, telling the lady behind the glass that I have a reservation. She tells me that housekeeping is not quite finished, but that I could go up nonetheless. I tell her yes, and thank her. I change more money, noticing that at .84 the rates were quite good. I take the money and also take the form she has given me to fill out. I complete this, allow her to write down my passport number, then take the key and head upstairs. I get to the third floor up blue-carpeted stairs so steep I could literally reach out and touch them as I walked up them. I find my room, open the door, and I enter. Except for the unmade bed and a candy bar wrapper on the floor by the wastebasket, the room is otherwise great. I pull back the curtains and open the double window. The air is still cool, but not as cold as earlier this morning. It is now almost ten, and I realize I need something to drink, and some papers and a lighter. I head one more time for the street, going to Centraal Station and the VVV.

Walking up Damrak, I stop at the first souvenir shop I come to. I look at the colored scarves, the Bob Marley Tee shirts and the rows of wooden shoes as I pass inside the shop. I come to a tall glass case with bongs and pipes of various types. I look at the pipes and select a long-stemmed model with which I could smoke the Primera. I also grab a lighter, papers, a can of soda, and a bag of potato chips before leaving.

I next go to Centraal Station and look for the little photo booths where I can get a passport photo taken to use for my tram pass. I spot the booths just inside the doorway of the station, and I enter one and close the curtain. Four euros for four little passport-size photos. It only takes a couple of minutes, and then I am headed back outside and over to the VVV where I get my season pass for the first week of my trip. Going up the wooden stairs and entering the white building, I notice that there are few people waiting in line. In just a moment, a man behind the counter calls me over and asks me what I want. I tell him that I want a season pass for one week and for one zone. He cuts a photo, laminates it to a plastic ID card, and slips the ID card and the week pass into a little plastic case. In five minutes I am done. Now what? It is still only about ten-thirty, so there really isn't anything more pressing at the moment than to head to the room, wait for the housekeeping to finish and then clean up.

Upon opening the door to my room, I realize housekeeping has already come and gone. The bed is made, there are fresh towels in the bathroom. I turn of the TV to BBC and break out my wares. I take the pipe, the papers, and the lighter and set them out. I pull out the bag of K2 and the little nugget of Primera. I open my Sprite and take a sip. Nothing to do now but indulge a little, then clean up and unpack a bit. I open the Primera. The rich peppery aroma emerges from the tiny bag, and I shake out the little piece to take a closer look. It is brown like gingerbread, so soft and sticky that it sort of reminds me of the muffin I had earlier, and easily pliable into long, thin strands. I break off a piece and drop it into the pipe. I take a long slow draw and wait...holding the smoke. Expansion, sweet and spicy taste, nice on the throat...beautiful. I take another hit. I break up some K2 and break off a little of the Primera. I begin rolling the hasj into a long thin strand that will run the length of the cone, then I set it aside and break up the wietje a little more. I take out a Smoking Blue, layer in some K2, snuggle up the filter, and then lay the strand of Moroccan onto the layer of wietje with one end just inside the roll of the filter tip and the other end just sticking out the end of the paper. I then cover this with the remaining wietje and carefully begin rolling it all up into a cone. It takes a little coaxing, but the cone finally comes together and it is a thing of beauty. I lay it down on the table and take another drink of the soda. I look at the joint, about five inches long and about three eighths of an inch in diameter, and I know I will never be able to solo the entire thing. I laugh, thinking I would be asleep in a heartbeat if I tried. I dry hit the spliff, and note that the rich taste of the Moroccan mixed with the sweet piney citrus of the K2 made a great combination. I light the end and slowly turn the cone as I inhale. It goes out and I relight it, taking another hit. Big cough...my lungs protest violently, and I take a smaller hit next time. Very nice smoke, and the odor is very pleasant. I keep smoking for a bit, as I change the cannels and look at what is on Dutch TV. Pretty soon I get a little sleepy, and I begin to nod. I look at my watch and see that it is almost noon. De Kuil will be open shortly. I stub out the spliff and go to the restroom to wash up a bit.

Now good and relaxed and rejuvenated after the long flight, I head down those vertical blue stairs once again and head out the door and into the street. From the hotel, the walk to de Kuil takes about two minutes; I go right up Damrak and hang a right at Oudebrugsteeg, and the green Cafe 420 sign is hanging there to your left as you walk into the alleyway. I go in, and I notice that the place has yet to fill up, as it is only ten after twelve. I walk up to the dealer counter and a nice young man asks what I would prefer. I notice that I have never seen him working here before. I ask about the Blueberry and the Shiva, to which the young man informs me that he has both as he pulls out a large plastic Tupper Ware container in each hand and lays them out on the counter.

"This is the Shiva."

"Nice," I say. An old favorite.

"...and this is the Blueberry."

"The Blueberry is very fruity, while the Shiva is more citrus-smelling"

I note that both are excellent, so I ask for a gram of each.

I inquire about the Temple Ball and he pulls out yet another large plastic container. Inside is half of a dark brownish-black sphere about five inches in diameter. He cross cuts this and holds it up for me to smell. The dark exterior gives way to a lighter brown interior from which a rich scent of spice and mint emanates. I buy two grams of the Temple Ball and take the seat in the corner at the front window. The young waitress asks if I would like something to drink, so I order a Diet Coke and she brings this momentarily. I take the pipe out of my pocket and open the hasj. I break off a chunk of the Temple Ball and light it, drawing deep and slowly. The dark hasj has a richer, mintier taste than the Moroccan, and the high is quick and strong. Almost dreamlike, it is perect for quiet contemplation while Kashmir comes on the radio and the gentle rain begins again outside.

This time I am staying put. I pace myself with the smoke, and allow my thoughts to return again to the possibilities presented by a trip to Amsterdam as Kashmir continues on the house stereo and the wreaths of hasj smoke play about in front of me. After about an hour, my head begins to nod again, so I put everything away and think about maybe walking over to Albert Heijn before going back to the room.

Albert Heijn has this great mango-orange juice that is so good...and maybe a little of the krab salad...

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I awake to the sound of laughing. I open tired eyes to see a beautiful sunset like none other. A vermillion carpet stretches back across the tops of the neighboring canal houses. In moments the laughing starts again. From my open window, looking across the courtyard to the next tall building across the way, I notice 3 or 4 young girls looking at me through the window of their room and laughing. I had fallen asleep for a few hours with the window open, and these cute young ladies have obviously noticed me lying on the bed. Thankfully, I had fallen asleep with my clothes on, lol. I sit up and wave to the girls, then close the window and curtain just a bit.

It is the rush of jet lag coming home, and I am too damned tired to want more than another hit or two and a Grolsch. I gather my change and my room key and head down to the street once again. Crossing Damrak I quickly walk up toward Langeneizel and the Chinese grocery store that is around the corner from the video cabins. It begins to sprinkle rain.

Greeting the owner as I walk to the cold cabinet, I grab a bottle of Grolsch. The same classic porcelain stopper, with the rubber seal and the wire clasp. This is going to go real good with some instant soup and fresh bread from Albert Heijn for dinner back at the room.

I had decided earlier to wander just a bit and headed all the way from de Kuil to the sporting goods store off Overtoom for some Primus fuel. Then on the way back it was a quick hop over to Tweedy for some of the Moroccan Super Polm. Killer buy at 7.50 euros per gram. Twenty Euros got me a chunk weighing nearly three grams. After smoking about a gram of this back at the room, I forgot all about the fresh bread and soup. Now I am ravenous. I fire up the stove and grab the gear. Turning on the tube I look up to see a naked dancing Dutch babe, with long honey-blonde locks that started out straight but ended up in braids. She is like Brunhilde, only better.

Oh that Dutch TV.

Fairly quickly the soup and bread are gone, more of the Super Polm Moroccan is gone, the Grolsch is gone, I am gone and then there is a knock at the door. Fuck. I open the door and see the manager, who smiles and says to me 'Oh; never mind.'

What the fuck??!?

I waive and smile and close the door. Weird shit. Who knows what he wanted.

I grab the rest of the cone from earlier, and upon drawing the first hit I am greeting with a strong urge to cough. I cannot hold the churning tickling smoke, and I must exhale. It is a losing battle at this moment. I smoke a bit more, then smoke some of the Moroccan I had purchased. Wow. Not as good as the Primera, of course, but a definite winner nonetheless. I stop and grab all my wares and take stock: half a bag of K2, about half a gram each of blueberry and Shiva, about a half of a gram of Nepalese Temple Ball, and this sweet biscuit of Moroccan Super Polm.

I begin trying the different samples, and before long I am asleep.

I am reawakened to the sound of the TV. Five forty-five a.m.

Zain Vergee on CNN International...mmm. I finish unpacking and hit the shower. Hot steam and spikes of hot water pour over my skin. Then cold water. I take a long shower, relaxing and dreaming of the days events. The Rijks? The Van Gogh? Haarlem? After a while of the alternating hot and cold water, I get ready to head over to Centraal. I fire up the stove to make a cup of tea, throw back the curtain and open the window to see...snow. Falling hard and about an inch already on the ground.

Truly amazing. It isn't so cold, but the rain has apparently lead to this overnight. To see it falling makes me double-time it and hit the street. I finally make it outside at six forty-five and it is still falling. The streets have become covered in slush. I slowly trek over to Coffeeshop Central and notice that the lights just come on as I round the corner.

This is an absolutely perfect morning. Dark predawn hours, no one in the shop but me and the dealer--again--and the snow falling outside. I order a koffee verkeerd and look over the wooden box. I ask about some sativas.

"Sateevaas...ja..we have some..."

"Like dees one heere."

Red Hair, it says on the bag. I ask for a smell. He opens the bag and the sweetest fruity-citrus smell emanates from within the small 2.5 gram bag. He also points out another, but quickly returns to the Red Hair telling me that it is the better of the two. I buy the bag and grab a paper and filter while he makes the koffee. As an afterthought, I order a glass of orange juice.

These are served and I head over to my corner. I sit there, transfixed, slowly breaking up the smoke and stopping every so often to sip my koffee and all the while taking in the sight of heavy snowflakes falling on Prins Hendrikkade. I sit and smoke until the sky lightens to grey and my thoughts start to turn to breakfast back at the hotel.

Checking my watch I see that it is almost eight-thirty, I decide to head back to the room. I down the rest of the orange juice, stand and return my empty cup and glass to the dealer. He smiles and thanks me. This is just the beginning of another day in paradise.

I step out to a colder breeze than earlier, but the snow has now abated. I cut left and turn up through the little maze of streets which will eventually bring me out onto Oudezijds Voorburgwaal. I head up past the little corner pub and take a right at Langeneizel. I zigzag along and come out at Damrak where the canal tour boats lie. The city is starting to come alive. I head over to the restaurant where the hotel breakfast is served and take a seat in the atrium area up front. The young man smiles and brings me koffee. A perfect little Dutch koffee with all the trimmings: koffeemelk, little spoon, two lumps of suger and of course, the kookje.

I add the sugar and begin to stir, but before I can even finish this the breakfast arrives. He tells me he will refill my coffee whenever I like. I look down at the ham, gouda cheese, boiled egg and croissant. There is even a tin of jam and a similar tin of the ubiquitous Nutella. Yea, but there is something about croissant with Nutella that makes one feel really good when stoned on sativa.

My thoughts turn to Haarlem.

I finish up the breakfast and petition the waiter for the refill on the coffee. He kindly obliges and I settle down to enjoy my second coffee and my second kookje. Afterward, I head over to the hotel and dash up to the room and grab what I will need for a trip to Haarlem: camera, water, snack and...change for the gvb ticket machine just inside Centraal.

The skies have begun to part, patches of blue start to appear. The rain and snow have gone, and the slush has all but dissipated.

Throwing everything I need into a little shoulder pack, I head over to the station.

Carefully navigating the various buses, trams, bicycles and pedestrians, I enter Centraal and walk up to the little ticket machine. The next train leaves in six minutes. I push the buttons and grab the paper ticket. Haarlem here we come.

Entering the station and heading up to the platforms, I find my spot and begin watching for the train. It finally appears. I enter with everyone else, head up the steps and find a seat. Pretty soon the train glides into motion and emerges into the grey morning light. This is the second grey morning I have witnessed from the seat of a Dutch train in as many days.

The skies are clearing and it will be a beautiful day in Haarlem.

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I feel the cold wind blow in through the open window of room number five. Bitter cold down on the street and along the canals, it is nice and cozy here leaning across the radiator and taking a morning bongload of Buddha. I have always loved the winter weather in Amsterdam, and for me the great treat is the early morning calm. The light is fantastic: cold grey mixed with streetlamps, the illuminated windows of the canal houses and the color of brownstone. Amsterdam in winter has an old feel that you just do not get in the summer months. The eerie half-light and the quiet of the morning punctuated by the first-run trams and the sound of Dutch women in high heels. Brown and grey and cold wind and fresh moist air.

Where to go today? What to do? Shall I make for the shower to warm the bones and then descend to the street? Shall I simply linger here in the room for a while? My view friom this third floor perch is fantastic; I can see across the Ij to the Chinese restaurant, to the left as far as the curve where Prins Hendrikkade approaches Centraal, and to the right all the way to the Sheepvaartmuseum. No trams run along here, but the sound of high heels, tires of the passing automobiles on wet pavement and a smattering of Dutch from somewhere down below all blend perfectly. I smoke more of the Buddha.

At times, I am perfectly happy to let the morning unfold, sitting barefoot in the room, dressed only in a tee shirt and thermal bottoms. Other times, I cannot wait to get out and move around in the cold darkness before breakfast. Sometimes restless, other times snug and warm in the little Dutch hotel room.

This time of year one will see the beginning of activity at the Dam when the winter carnival begins, and then there is Museum Night, the apple pastry stands, the black coats and scarves adorning the beautiful Dutch women and the occasional snow flurry. Concertgebouw is even more beautiful, and the avenues seem to beckon, encouraging a long walk.

Fewer tourists, and more locals in the cafes and koffeeshops. An easier vibe in the air. Less hustle and bustle as people move along in long coats and scarves around the neck, with the ever-present umbrella. The wind is calm in the morning hours, but like clockwork it will become merciless and biting as the day moves toward night.

I linger until the grey light begins to stabilize into what sunlight there is, and I head to the bathroom for a quick shower before going down for breakfast. After breakfast I check my watch: 9:35; I decide to walk over to Bluebird and have a look at their Book of Dreams. I head left out the hotel entrance, and the familiar wet cold embraces me. It is not a dry cold, but damp and penetrating. No wind at this time, and I am only wearing a windbreaker over my fleece pullover. At the first alleyway I cut left, and then left again along Binnenkant. I continue up Binnenkant past the Kromme Waal and recall the plight of the missing Englishman whose body was discovered floating along here after many days of searching. At the end of Binnenkant I turn right along Oude Schans, heading over to St. Antoniesbreestraat. I move down to the Bluebird, passing the bakery and ducking in the door and climbing those famous stairs. Not a soul is here but the girls working the bar and the bud tender, who stands reading his paper and only looks up when I approach the counter. I smile, say 'Goede Morgen," and grab the Book of Dreams. I leaf through the samples and my eyes pass from photo to photo and from sample to sample. The bud tender comes over and asks what I would like. I select the black Afghani and some of their Thai weed for a mixer. I pay for these, head over to the bar and order a cappuccino. I have written about this before, but for me it is part of a pilgrimage I always make. Everyone has their favorite shops, all of the shops are good and no one leaves without hitting their favorites.

I head downstairs and take a seat in the corner by the window. Outside a man is playing guitar, and the sound wafts in through the open downstairs window while I prepare a mixed joint. The Thai is not the stuff of legends (sorry, DB), but it does have a hint of the familiar earthy odor--definitely not Mexican weed. I roll the biggest cone so far, using easily a gram of the weed and almost the same amount of the Afghani. I finish the roll, lightly rolled the sealed cone between my fingers to loosen the contents just a little and then I tap it a few times to get a good pack. I put fire to it, and inhale deeply. It has a bit of an old school flavor, mixed with the sweet dark hasj. Just right for a late-morning toke. I wish I had a newspaper. I take out my little journal and begin to note impressions of the morning. Outside the feeble sunlight illuminates the passing crowd; there are Dutch women shopping, walking past Zuider Kerk with their shoulders bundled tight and their shopping bags clasped in gloved hands. An eclectic mix of Dutch, Moroccan, Jewish and the occasional two or three tourists. I drink the koffee dry, and let the smoke linger around me as I write. The rush of the buzz encompasses me and I am lost in the moment.

Some two hours later, I realize that not a single soul has come into the shop, nor has anyone descended from above to check on this lone patron. I head back up the stairs with the empty cup, then descend right back after a quick 'Dankuwel.'

I eye the guitar player as I walk by; I toss a five euro coin into his open case, and continue down to Nieuwmarkt.

The sun continues to struggle overhead, lasting until two or three, before finally succumbing to the marching clouds. I cross over to Kloveniersburgwal and the wind picks up as I continue to walk...out to Leidseplein, over to the Rijksmuseum, down Weteringschans and the Kade. I retrace my steps and arrive at Cafe Berkhout. A beautiful local spot on the corner, with all hardwood interior, warm ambience and those inviting leather chairs near the entrance. I go inside just as it starts to sprinkle, up to the counter, and I order a koffee verkeerd. A sizeable one this; two euros (isn't everything two euros in Amsterdam when it comes to drink?), and I take the warm glass over to a chair, where I sit and stare at the world outside. Across the way, and older Dutch couple absentmindedly sip their koffees while sharing a newspaper. The lady looks up at me, smiles, and says something in Dutch which I did not quite understand, I nod slightly and she smiles back at me before returning to her reading. At the bar, the dark haired Dutch girl never stops smiling while she talks to a girlfriend in Dutch. I finish the koffee, close my notebook and look out to see perfect darkness. Still no rain beyond light intermittent drizzle. I waive to the girls at the bar, smile at the older lady and step out into the cold night air. It is nearly six now, and I feel the pangs of hunger and the call of another smoke. Where to go?

I head back over to Leidseplein where I hit FEBO for kaasoufle. A couple of these, then it is over to the bakery across the street for apple beignet. Not the best, but satisfying enough for now. I smile as I think of OHD and the legend of the FEBO burger. I slowly make my way up Leidseplein, and the skies begin to unload the rain that has been trying to fall all day. I hop a tram at Koeningsplein, and I ride all the way to Centraal. Exiting the tram I work my way from awning to awning, storefront to storefront and cover to cover all the way along Prins Hendrikkade until I arrive back at the hotel. As I walk into the hotel the rain suddenly stops. What luck.

I head up the stairs, waiving at the counter as I pass. The guy behind the counter barely acknowledges me as I pass. I head up the second level of stairs and enter my room for the first time since leaving this morning. The bed is made, the bathroom clean, and the radiator is on low. Perfect. I waste no time deciding on another course of action. I quickly change, wash up briefly, don my over coat, grab my scarf and head back out into the night.

This evening I want to stroll the red light district and take it all in. It is very very slow tonight, but the kamers are as full as ever... I am charmed by it all; the women are from all corners of the globe, and they each have a unique beauty. Some I have seen before on other trips, like the Asian lady who stands topless behind the glass and the blond Dutch babe who smokes a cone and smiles at you from within. I walk along Oudezijdsvoorburgwal and Oudezijdsacterbugwal for a while, cutting back and forth across the alleyways between the two and around Oude Kerk, and then move straight over to Oudenieuwstraat for a look before cutting back across Nieuwzijds Kolk to Betty Boop for two grams of the blueberry and a sit down at the bar. I order the smoke and a koffee, then sit just long enough to smoke one before moving on to de Kuil for some Temple Ball. By now it is pushing eleven, and I am starting to wane. I head back outside and move towards Prins Hendrikkade. The wind has picked up outside and when I leave the narrow warren of streets around de Kuil and cut over towards the hotel, it really starts to bite. Although I have the long wool coat and scarf, it cuts deeply. I move along Prins Hendrikkade and finally enter the hotel where I go up to the room, break out my wares and smoke 'til I fall asleep. Another day awaits, and I have nothing but time.

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Hammered. Glued to the chair in classic couchlock. Biggest afternoon smoke of the entire trip so far. A two-gram Shiva monster-cone laced with Temple Ball, both from de Kuil. Before that a pinner of Power Plant from the rasta man at Tweedy. Must walk...must get moving. No whiteydom here, just pure thc lethargy. Fuck that was a good smoke. I am literally so damned stoned I wonder what will happen when I try to walk. Maybe the cold air will do me some good. It has been a long time since I have been so stoned. I grin just at the thought of it. Where the hell can I go now?

Just up from de Kuil I hit Manhattan Pizza for two slices and a Coke. Better now. I stagger out, biting my lip against the cold. Very sunny this afternoon, but the precious little warmth of two hours ago has faded, and I can feel the difference. Think I will head back over to the Vijaya for a nap. As I cross Damrak and dodge the bicycles and tram no. 5, I have a better idea: let's check out the Redlight by day.

Now that my legs are moving it gets better.

I stop and look into Cafe Heffer for a moment, then decide the last thing I want is to sit and drink after that massive smoke. I continue on along Lange Niezel, passing Warmoesstraat, finally arriving at Oudezijds Voorburgwal I do not turn left. Instead, I hear those familiar church bells and decide to hang a right instead. I cruise along, looking at the canal, the people and wondering how many Amsterdammers have put their car into the canal while trying to park. Just a thought. I arrive very quickly at the church itself. As I round the corner and head along the right side of Oude Kerk, I see the lights and dark glass of Koffeeshop Oude Kerk across the way. No matter how much I try to reason with myself, that little voice inside tells me 'So what, stop in and check it out for a bit.' I resign myself to do so after making the rounds. The girls to my right start to open the doors to their kamers and make their play.

"Hey you...I vanna talk to you," one says.

I stumble over and she opens up right away, grabbing me by the wrist before I can pull myself back, and she actually smirks once I do.

"What, you doan vahn to play wees me? Dees ees Amstahdahm baby."

I laugh and look away just in time to see the next kamer open up and a very worn-looking latina says something very similar.

"Que onda corazon?," I say, and she too makes her play.

I keep walking, up around past the movie theater and deeper into the warren of streets which surround Oude Kerk.

I keep walking and turning deeper into the maze of streets, when all at once I think I have taken a wrong turn. What is this? A construction zone? The tiniest easement in the world? A narrow walkway constricts down to almost shoulder width. I hesitate, but I enter and suddenly I run headon into a crowd of guys coming right at me. We turn sideways and pass, and in that fortuitous moment I see her: a tall, lithe Dutch woman maybe in her late twenties, who pops open her kamer door as I stop and stand agape. (you know they get this all the time; it must be that 'stop in your tracks' look that lets them know they've got a potential score) She comes and opens the door, I close in a bit, and suddenly here I am talking to the most beautiful kamer girl I have ever seen.

"You vahnt to come een for a veesit?"

Suddenly I know I am in the lair of the wolf.

"Vhat kost?"

She laughs sweetly at my Dutch.

Where there was a crowd just moments ago, now we are literally alone and she continues to talk to me in that sweet voice and with that sexy sexy accent. She asks again.

"Feefty euro for sock n fock," she continues.

Yes?

"Ja...ees very nice..."

I stand there dumbfounded; instantly sober, my buzz left me the moment I saw her.

So here I am, standing star struck in what Bolls once referred to as the 'infamous two-foot concrete crevasse.' When I read this in his report I was not sure if he was drunk, stoned, raving or simply unhinged...now I know.

I stand barely eighteen inches away from her; she is so close that I can smell her skin, her breath, and see deeply into those clear eyes. She smiles at me, knowing I am absolutely entranced. The stunning thing is, she is not flirty, she is not coy, she is not teasing me in any way. She is simply letting me know that she is available to me, that it is okay, and that I would love it. My heartbeat quickens

('Don't stand so...Close to me...')

I look both ways and there is not a soul in sight. It is dark inside and a soft red light flows out from within. I can hear a radio playing softly, and I can make out the bed in the back of the kamer. She is statuesque, beauty personified: easily five feet eleven inches tall, lithe, very well put-together (GOD!), with auburn hair laying softly around her shoulders, a gentle easy manner and those eyes: clear fire burning within, offset by that sharp little nose and those high cheekbones. My pulse pounds. Dressed in panty bottoms and one of those light strap tee-shirts. The panties are a light blue, and the shirt is white with some design on the front which I cannot quite distinguish. What is clear to me is the fact she is braless underneath that thin tank; those perky nipples push out from underneath and her full breasts sway gently. Dare I?

"Eets okay, babee...," she purrs.

I stammer out something about whether I could stay for an hour. My mind races. I know what this is about, but part of me just wants to be alone with her even without sex. I know I could pass the fastest hour of my life just listening to her. Just standing here, so close to her, talking quietly in almost whispered tones, I am dying inside little by little.

"Ja...of course...I geeve you one hour for one hondred feefty euro..."

Now that is one hell of an offer.

I am shell-shocked and she knows it. She knows the look. But I tell you there is no push, no pull, no cajoling. We stand there just inches apart and time stands still. I want to study every line on her face, the curve of her breasts, the shape of those long long legs. My thoughts are the farthest thing from lecherous. It is a cruel God indeed who would never place such a woman before me but here, in this narrow quiet space, and at the inside of the kamer, only to drive me insane. I am torn; my shyness evaporates and there is only beauty. Her beauty.

She smiles one last time before telling me to think about it, that she will only be here until eight, and she repeats again...

"Eets very nice..."

"Until eight?"

"Ja babee..."

Then just like that she fades back into the darkened kamer, her silhouette slowly disappearing in the dim light until she is gone.

I am in love. I slowly turn and work my way back out of the crevasse, coming out into the square around Oude Kerk, where the vixens await. I walk right past them all without so much as a glance. I have seen true beauty now, and I know the difference. These other girls are like so many hangers-on, without compare.

"Roxanne," I begin to song softly...

"..you don't have to put on the red light...those days are over, you don't have to sell your body to the night. "

"I loved you since I knew ya...I wanna talk down to ya..."

"I have to tell you just how I feel I won't share you with another boy."

My spirits are soaring, but the bittersweet slowly engulfs me. I cannot believe what I have seen. Amsterdam has a face, and she is there for me should I so desire. I walk past Oude Kerk, hang a left and head back down to the Vijaya. I head up to the room and begin to write. I stare out the window for a long time. I break out the hasj and just sit quietly, writing, smoking...dreaming.

I doze off briefly, and wake suddenly. I wash up, grab my coat and head downstairs fast. What am I about to do? What the hell? I am not exactly certain what I am about, but I tear out of the hotel and head straight back to her. It takes a moment of searching, but in what seems like less than five minutes I am back at the same spot. Heartbreak strikes me and leaves me cold.

The kamer is dark.

She is gone.

Back in the hotel room I do battle with myself over marriage, love, beauty, conformity and freedom. I sigh...I did not even ask her name. Doesn't matter. I will always have her, and she will always be a part of me. Sleep overcomes me. I awake later to find I have been crying in my sleep. The bells of Oude Kerk ring out softly and the night carries the sound.

All that night I dreamed of her; not sex mind you, just of the encounter: her soft features, her allure, that sweet voice. I think she was even barefoot as she stood before me. The next day, and the next, and every day for the rest of the trip I return. It feels like the return to the scene of a crime but I have done nothing wrong. I silently anguish over the promise of things forbidden; things which nonetheless might have been.

Possibilities lost.

Paradise lost.

Sadness.

Dejection.

I feel torn about many things. More than anything else, I would just like to see her there, alone, at once confident and seductive, yet with a softness that is almost vulnerable. I have never before felt so strong a pull to be beside another woman. I am not exactly certain what would have happened had I entered - sex, yes, and no doubt of the most memorable kind, but it was more than that. Much much more. The seduction and the easy manner were my greatest joys; the thrill of feeling my heart beat faster, imagining how she would appear as she slowly pulled that tank tee over her head and how her hair would look as it fell lazily back to her shoulders. Fleeting and unfocused images in my mind of what lay beneath that thin bodice and those thin panties. Images of her above me, around me...beside me.

She was mine for the briefest of moments and I let her go.

Yet she is always with me.




X

(Straight from my notes and to the best of my memory)

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Postby JohnnyHempseed » Mon Aug 02, 2:45 am

This has got to be right up there with LH's trip reports. I felt like I was there with you.. EXCELLENT!

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Re: Channeling X

Postby islandgurl » Mon Aug 02, 1:33 pm

slither wrote:I cruise along, looking at the canal, the people and wondering how many Amsterdammers have put their car into the canal while trying to park. Just a thought.


I have that same thought every time I'm in the dam also - very well written report, slith.

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Re: Channeling X

Postby Tall Guy » Mon Aug 02, 2:15 pm

islandgurl wrote:
slither wrote:I cruise along, looking at the canal, the people and wondering how many Amsterdammers have put their car into the canal while trying to park. Just a thought.


I have that same thought every time I'm in the dam also - very well written report, slith.


Frequently!

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Postby jerkypete49 » Tue Aug 03, 10:55 pm

WOW!!

Terrific report. Loved the Police reference.

Thanks!

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Postby Philter » Fri Aug 06, 3:39 am

Thank you really great reprt, the kind I would print and read on the way to work, Yep just like LH.

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Postby bigbird » Mon Aug 16, 2:27 am

Thank you. Your report makes me feel I am there.

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Postby mobiljenny » Mon Sep 13, 7:13 pm

I miss BrandX

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Postby wEEDmAN » Tue Dec 07, 2:17 pm

i lol'd
i cried
your report is amazing 10/10

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Postby Engineer » Mon Dec 13, 3:23 pm

Great report and very nice reading material! Keep up the good work.
Many thanks

PS This prompted me to book a flight on the 27th of Dec ;)

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Postby slither » Sun Feb 06, 5:48 pm

X was definitely one-of-a-kind.

I believe he runs a couple of blogs, and from time to time writes for the LA Times. There is a book out there as well.

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Postby Sparky » Sun Feb 06, 6:01 pm

slither wrote:X was definitely one-of-a-kind.

I believe he runs a couple of blogs, and from time to time writes for the LA Times. There is a book out there as well.


shameless self promotion. Saw Patrick do the same thing.

hmmm.

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Postby chichi123 » Sun Feb 06, 6:25 pm

Yep and I have 75% off the basement of my shop.

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Postby wEEDmAN » Tue Mar 08, 10:47 am

0rsum. I vote for more trips down the channels archive memory lane!

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Postby shezzuk1 » Sun Mar 13, 3:35 pm

Nice report Slither. Actually took the time to read it, goed gedaan!

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Postby slither » Mon Apr 07, 2:04 pm

mobiljenny wrote:I miss BrandX


I miss LastHamlet.

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Re: Channeling X

Postby slither » Sun Jun 25, 6:07 pm

You want to know about the way it used to be here on Channels.nl?
Read ....

LastHamlet and X told it like it was. That was almost fifteen years ago.
I wish LH could see what we now have here in the US, but man did he live - and those times have been memorialized by many on this website.


Cheers.

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Re: Channeling X

Postby chichi123 » Sat Jul 01, 11:06 pm

Slith are you still a dick though?

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Re: Channeling X

Postby slither » Sun Jul 09, 12:34 pm

chichi123 wrote:Slith are you still a dick though?



You have no idea.

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Re: Channeling X

Postby a bollocks » Sun Jul 09, 2:37 pm

bumping your own shit, Marlon. That qualifies as dickishness.

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Re: Channeling X

Postby Rudy » Mon Jul 10, 2:29 pm

a bollocks wrote:bumping your own shit, Marlon. That qualifies as dickishness.

Bumping your own shit.
Quite a remarkable achievement in itself.
Probably doesn`t happen much; though I hesitate to google it.
Its Monday morning here and I`m not ready to see that yet.

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Re: Channeling X

Postby Sparky » Wed Jul 12, 5:27 am

Rudy wrote:
a bollocks wrote:bumping your own shit, Marlon. That qualifies as dickishness.

Bumping your own shit.
Quite a remarkable achievement in itself.
Probably doesn`t happen much; though I hesitate to google it.
Its Monday morning here and I`m not ready to see that yet.


you naughty person.

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Re: Channeling X

Postby Rudy » Thu Jul 13, 7:02 pm

"And, boy, ..."

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Re: Channeling X

Postby slither » Sun Jul 30, 4:21 am

a bollocks wrote:bumping your own shit, Marlon. That qualifies as dickishness.


LMFAO.

I've bumped your shit a time or two, Tonio K.
Curiously, you didn't find that to be dickish.


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