Saturday, June 11, 2005


Oh my god! I’m in Amsterdam! Again!

I don’t know where to start. It’s been pretty crazy. Our sleep schedules are already decently fucked up -- we’ve gone out dancing two nights in a row and been out past 4 AM both times. Surprisingly, Thursday is not a great night to be out in Amsterdam (I didn’t think there was ever a dead night in Amsterdam), but the girls and I found a nice gay bar with a dance floor AND A POLE. Pretty much a recipe for success.

Actually, the craziness started before that. The night we arrived in town, Laura crashed early, but Jen and I were ready to get the party started. We soon discovered that our hostel is about two blocks away from the Red Light District, which is an amazing bit of luck on my part since I chose this particular hostel based solely on price. All I can tell you and still keep this blog family-friendly (because it’s all about the children, y’all) is that Jen and I spent a lot of money and saw a lot of things we’ve never seen before. Oh my god.

Yesterday, the three of us did a basic exploration of the city on foot. I’m actually shocked at how well I remember how to get around since it’s the most confusing layout for a city I’ve ever seen. But still, I’m amazing so I may as well accept it. It was a very relaxed day, topped off with an indulgence in one of several popular substances that are legal in this country and illegal in most others. Is it a bad idea to blog about smoking a joint? It shouldn’t be. Because it was really, really good.

Like most people, I’ve heard a lot about Amsterdam and all the crazy stuff that goes on there, and one of the things I heard was to look for “coffeehouses,” which is code for “where to get marijuana.” I must admit, I had questions. Like, what if you go somewhere and it’s actually just a coffeehouse? Like, you go inside, all “Yeah! Where are the drugs at?” and they just look at you. Or, I imagined having to be discreet about it, saying something like, “’s your ‘coffee’? What’s the strongest ‘coffee’ you have? Will I have to roll it myself?” But no. You walk into a coffeehouse and there’s a menu of all the drugs. I didn’t have to use finger quotes or anything.

I absolutely love Amsterdam. It’s a gorgeous city, and it looks so different from any one I’ve visited so far. There don’t seem to be any right angles anywhere in the buildings -- they seem to be leaning against each other, or out over the street. It’s like there were a bunch of normal buildings, and someone squashed them together and they became really narrow and tall. And the canals still rock my world, as does the abundance of bicycles. There are hardly any moving cars in this city -- anywhere interesting is within walking (or biking) distance, and for once it seems like everyone in the city understands this.

Amsterdam is very happening, very alive, very exciting, but at the same time it feels so chilled out. The walking and bicycling as opposed to driving is part of that. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the people are incredibly helpful and friendly. After all, we’re talking about a city I’ve been to twice, whose language I’ve never had to study in order to feel fully capable there. Not that I wouldn’t love to, because between my knowledge of English and German, picking up Dutch is something I’m doing without putting almost any thought into it. I still can’t get over what a mishmash of the two it reads and sounds like.

Last night it was a little easier finding a place to go dancing. A lot of places were open that were closed when we tried them the night before, and we stopped inside a few of them, including a lesbian bar which I found really amusing because there were so many gay guys there dragged in by their lesbian friends, who clearly felt weird about the whole thing. There were lots of women socializing (and a few dancing) away, and off to the sides were little clusters of gay guys fidgeting around together. It reminded me of a dog park, actually. It was pretty funny.

In the end, the three of us found ourselves at the same bar as the night before. The one with the pole. Since it was a bigger party night, there were three or four other dance floors open, but after everyone had migrated to those, Jen and Laura and I hijacked the pole and made the DJ play all our favorite songs. It was actually really nice of him to play like six of our requests in a row, but I would also like to point out that he was playing crap before we got our hands on him and by the end of “Jumpin’, Jumpin’” by worldwide sensation Destiny’s Child, the dancefloor had started to fill up again. This lends credence to my theory that I should be the DJ in any club I go to, ever.


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