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04 March 2008 @ 09:23 am
Icelandic Saga IV: Amsterdam  
Thursday, we flew into Amsterdam. It was crazy going from all the ice and snow to barely needing a jacket in Amsterdam (not to mention getting a far superior selection of beer for half the price). Our apartment in our bed and breakfast was huge, but it was little too far from downtown. We were on the southwest end of Vondelpark (a narrow, pleasantly waterscaped park), about a thirty minute walk to the city center. Worrying about our flight, K. hadn't slept well the night before, so she napped while I did a bit of exploring. When I got back, we hit a little neighborhood bar for burgers, frites, and beer.

Friday morning, K. and I had went to the Rijksmuseum, where we saw lots of Rembrandts and Vermeers. It was a bit stunning how crowded the place was even off-season. We got a great lunch at this Thai place, but had a hard time getting the check because our waitress had been stolen away by an old British guy who wanted her to talk to his future mail order bride for him since neither spoke the other's language. I don't know much Thai but I'd like to think they were talking about what an asshole he was.

After lunch, I walked K. to the Anne Frank House and then went off to have adventures. In need of a drink and a bathroom, I stumbled into a bar that was playing some excellent glam rock. After ordering, I noticed that the walls were covered in photographs of penises. It was pretty funny. I smoked a nice, fully legal hashish joint at the Ben Cafe on Kolsteeg, then wandered down to the famous Red Light District. It's basically two or three narrow alleys filled with glass doors behind which fully legal prostitutes beckon, tease, and otherwise struggle not to look completely bored while standing around in their underwear. With all the just gawking, non-buying tour groups walking through, there was something oddly zoo-like about the whole affair. Or maybe it's more like an automat, except that after you make your selection, you actually crawl in to the slot with your sandwich. A couple of the ladies opened their doors to try and entice me in, but just the sauna-like heat that was pouring out of their boothes was enough to make me sweat. I can't even imagine how uncomfortably warm I'd be inside one. Still feeling a little high, I wandered through the shops in the Jordaan, eating an qxquisite, chocolate-covered cream puff and lingering for a quite a while at a bookstore that specialized in conspiracy theories and paranormal science. Then K. and I met up for some Indian food and stroopwafel ice cream.

Saturday, I ingested some apparently legal magic mushrooms I'd bought the day before and headed off to trip my head off in a foreign city. The effects were strong to keep me pinned down to the park for an hour or two, then I made my way to a little Irish bar to scribble insane ramblings in my notebook and tried my best not to scare the waitresses while I was putting my head back together. After coming down, I grabbed some mediocre Mexican food, cruised back through the Jordaan, and inevitably ended up back at Cafe Ben to smoke some absolutely legal marijuana. What can I say? When in Amsterdam.... Afterwards, K. and I met up for a big Indonesian feast and our vacation was pretty much over.

Sunday morning, we flew back to Reykjavik, then to Boston, where we arrived too late to make our final flight home, and so got put up at the airport Hilton for the night, which was nice, but wasn't the home we were craving. We got a red eye home monday morning and finally pullled up to the house about 36 hours after starting our journey.

Current Mood: 235
Listening to: Yo La Tengo - "Tiny Birds"
eeeoeeeo on March 4th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Amsterdam is a fun town. Did you find that Amstel and Heineken are completely different beers there? They're actually.......good?

At least you were put up in a hotel, so you could get some sleep.
lipbylipbylipby on March 4th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
I stuck with the Duvel.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: fishingassmonkeydiary on March 5th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
I think I only drank Heineken at one place, but it was decent. The original brewery is now a museum there.
everybody hates a tourist.dynamine on March 4th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
i quite like the idea of being able to climb into the automat with my preferred sammich! then again, i'm clearly a gal who digs her sammiches.

today's girl is adorable, but i feel like she's sorta jailbait-y...

we're glad you guys are back!
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: blue statueassmonkeydiary on March 4th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks. We're happy to be back.
Jumpo Kinkytailmonkey on March 4th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
welcome home, missed your ass(es)
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: red cameraassmonkeydiary on March 4th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
Gorilla Body Robot Braininfrarad on March 4th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
It seems like it would be very hard to get anything done in Amsterdam. Then again, it's probably like living in Vegas: distracting for a very short time, and then eminently ignorable.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: ass monkeyassmonkeydiary on March 4th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I reckon it's got to be a little annoying for some of the locals. At least, Vegas was created to be a wild party tourist trap, whereas Amsterdam seems to be careening into year-round spring break whether they want it or not.
theballadofyoko on March 4th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you had an awesome time all around. Welcome back.

Speaking of automats (not the sex kind), there are a few in Amsterdam (called FEBO)-- did you see them?
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: blue bottleassmonkeydiary on March 4th, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, it was probably the FEBOs that led to that connection in my mind. I kept thinking I'd try something from one of them, but there are just so many, many food options at every turn there.
theballadofyoko on March 4th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
You probably did better with the cafes that you went to! Lipby got a croquette from FEBO, and it wasn't bad.
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zuluoddharmonic on March 4th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Automats: another reason to go to Amsterdam.

My husband would complain, but he's partaken (partook) of the Hamburg red-light district and I haven't gotten to see one yet. Or eat at an automat.

Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: purple paisleyassmonkeydiary on March 4th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
There was a modern automat on St. Mark's Place in NYC last time I was up there. And it was purple!
lipbylipbylipby on March 4th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
The mushrooms just made me scare Yoko.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: ape in icelandassmonkeydiary on March 5th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't even tell K. until we met up later. Dangerous, but at least she didn't have to worry.
lipbylipbylipby on March 7th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
You know, of all drugs I've ever tried, the only one I really like is mushrooms. Like Frosted Flakes, they're greeaattt! And to wander around an old city like Amsterdam on 'shrooms. That was fun.

By the way, the "city leaders" in Amsterdam are working very hard to shut down the coffeeshops and prostitutes. They're trying to clean the city up. Last I heard, they had-- or were about to-- ban the sale of 'shrooms.

Looks like we visited at the right time.

alsnowgrrlalsnowgrrl on March 5th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
Reading of your travels has inspired me so much for my next chapter of my life! I'm hoping to have some interesting tales to tell soon myself. Glad to have you back home.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: silhouetteassmonkeydiary on March 5th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Nice! Good luck!
Tinelithtinelith on March 5th, 2008 08:39 am (UTC)
Your posts make me hungry! You seem to be thoroughly good at enjoying yourself, it's such fun to read about :)