Tuesday, 4 December 2012

downtown high

We were pretty excited to get off the red eye flight from Kuala Lumpur.  Screaming babies were in every direction within a two metre radius of us for the duration of the 13hr overnight flight. I told Mai that that seems to be the norm for me lately and she was pretty determined to blame me  and my bad luck for the lack of sleep.

It was surprisingly easy to get from the airport to Amsterdam central. Just a short train ride and a five  minute walk in the darkness of the winter morning and bam! Our first destination. We arrived at the Flying Pig downtown hostel at about 8am and since we couldn’t get into our room until later we set out to explore. What does one ‘explore’ in Amsterdam exactly?  The infamous Coffee Shops of course!

Now in Amsterdam, the Coffee Shops sell weed and the cafés sell coffee, however you can get coffee from a Coffee Shop too. Got it? We wander from downtown into uptown and come across a well-established joint (excuse the pun) called, Barney’s. Much to my disappointment Barney and the crew from How I Met Your Mother weren’t there sinking their usual pints.  My disappointment was brief and soon replaced with anticipation. We were aware of the hype around the whole Amsterdam scene, but I must admit it was pretty surprising waltzing up to the bar, looking at the menu and ordering some buds like you would a drink. There’s so many to choose from it’s a little overwhelming.  We go with the ‘Laughing Buddha’; easy smoking and relaxing, with a bit of giggles on the side. I roll a somewhat smokable joint, and in what seemed like a moment of pure genius (moments like these often accompany smoking pot), I vowed to master the art of rolling while in town. As expected, I wasn’t in the best state to even practise properly. But that’s another story.

The first night was what I thought, pretty laid back. Well, until Mai got a little drunk some young Australian girls from Adelaide and I decided to do some shrooms. As you do. We sat in our dorm room and ate the ‘truffles’ by methods suggested by the supplier; chewing  each mouthful for two minutes without swallowing until finished. That wasn’t very fun. I was told to just put them on a pizza but apparently the more you chew the better the effect. Mushrooms were off limits for Mai who was pretty much passed out by this stage. The other girls and I went upstairs to the hostels smoking room to ride it out. These mushrooms were pretty visual, not vey giggly or social so we kind of sat there just watching everything, completely fascinated. There were sparkles coming off everyone, the books were bouncing out of the shelves and I swear I could see the energy of the room interacting.  Pretty good night and the best of all, no hangover.

The days were still wet and snowy. We went for a walk and Mai’s boots kind of flooded so we had to dry them with the hair dryer and get some waterproof spray. We sat in the smoking room and met a guy who became a fairly familiar face, we have no idea of his name still and he was always referred to as, Finnish Guy (his name was difficult to remember ok?).  He travelled from Finland to work around Europe and after being at the hostel for three weeks, was hoping to get a job there. As we all walked over to the pool table for a friendly match, the sun came out. Score! Sorry Finnish Guy, we have to go take photos. We run around the cobbled streets and charming canals like two kids in a theme park (or two stoners in a coffee shop?).  It was such a beautiful afternoon. When we came back, Finnish guy was still there (he became part of the furniture really) playing pool with some other highly entertaining lads. An Australian and a Canadian who we later named Princess and Andy Pandy. They weren’t travelling together or anything, but just met and seemed to be pretty rowdy already. We had a few drinks and went out to dinner. We lost Finnish Guy to the pool table.  The whole night’s conversation was pretty much based around pronunciation of different words and Andy was convinced Mai wasn’t Japanese because of her Australian accent. Later on, the lads went to explore the red light district and it’s dodgey alleys of decadent  dealers. Mai and I passed on that scene.

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