I visited the city of Amsterdam in September of 2018, so yes as many who know me personally it is no surprise I have taken until four months later to actually post my thoughts and takeaways from the trip, see I never let you down! Me and two other friends went with that youthful optimism, which to me doesn’t always come natural.
We were all very excited with sampling the natural and legal plant marijuana. Weed. Marley’s Magic etc. I’m not an experienced smoker in the slightest, living in the UK makes it not a smart choice to smoke as you don’t know what some mad bastard has mixed with it. So I knew I wasn’t on any level near enough to even pretend to be experienced.
After getting out of the airport and a taxi ride to the hotel, we settled in the rooms and hit the road. We was very determined to not waste any time. Our mission- find the nearest smoke house. Armed with google maps and the buzz of pure anticipation. The walk entered a sense of tunnel vision, not really taking in our first sights of the city just head down and following google maps. Focused.
Always do your research. One of the obvious but best tips I read was to take my time. Take it slow. Let it sink in. We arrived at our destination ‘Coffee shop Ibiza Amsterdam’ After looking at all the insane products you could purchase we settled on the most beginner sounding one (if that’s a thing) The lady at the counter proceeded to hand me and my friends a space cake each, I started to tuck in. Tasted gorgeous. Vanilla heaven. The heat of the moment took over and it was only toward the last couple of bites I decided to inspect the wrapping of the brownie and noticed it had 0.3g of THC. THC for those that aren’t aware is the actual psychoactive chemical in marijuana. I google searched ‘is 0.3g of thc too much for a space cake’ reddit was my source of information and it resulted in answers I did not want to read, with everyone pretty much confirming its way too much, especially for first timers.
So, I started to panic, breaking another tip of staying calm. I turned to my mate and he assured me they wouldn’t sell whole cakes if they was a danger. In the moment those words made so much sense and brought much needed reassurance. Just calm down Wade you’ll be fine.
Anyway, what can I do now? We all had eaten a cake, so we got on with the day. We headed for the city centre. Now I knew enough to know that it takes the edible marijuana about an hour or two to kick in, so around the hour mark I felt fine. I was able to take in the sights, what hits you quickly, nearly literally, is how Amsterdam locals love dinging around on bicycles. They pretty much have the right of way everywhere and believe me if anyone, even unexpected gathering their whereabouts tourists, got in the way they would sternly tell you, usually with a fierce disappointed look. Sorry bikers. To be fair to them they all flowed beautifully together, and not one person messed up the synchronised flow and caused any wipeouts.
After gawking at what food shops the city had to offer, one of the guys hit out with ‘I can start to feel it now’ brilliant. I couldn’t. Waste of bloody money. They spoke and giggled about the feeling of being in a ‘bubble’ and ‘walking really soft.’ When I think about it now, how is that pleasurable?
By now we’d walked and walked for miles it seemed, we decided to hit up this burrito place. Now it was a hot day but I knew something wasn’t quite right. I Said to my friend ‘man I’m sweating bad…’ ‘yeah I am too’ he quipped, no you’re not Lad… not like this! Rapidly my vision started going, orange stars everywhere then cut to black Tony Soprano style. What just hit my head? Why is Lisa Simpson singing with bleeding gums Murphy? Hey there’s my mate, illuminated as if he’d been sent down with a purpose, that of getting me up. Up from where? I put 2 and 2 together and that equalled a right fuck up.
I was lead out by my companions who placed me sat against the wall. Eventually my vision was fully restored, facial colour was coming back so no more Casper the ghost look. I remember this numbing feeling of heat waves racing round my head as blood was returning. Scary shit in all honesty. Never once fainted before. My girl and family said ‘don’t do anything stupid. You’re sensible’ and within 4hrs of being in the country I’m absolutely sparked out. Safe to say my time with weed was not what I envisioned it to be. Maybe I had too much, in fact I did have too much. I’ll just stick with the Heineken.
After weed arguably the second most known element of Amsterdam is the prostitution. The ladies of the night. I’ve been in a relationship for 5 and a half years, I like it and I trust my self-control in that department. Now obviously prostitution has been around for centuries it’s always been a part of society and whether we accept it or not, where there is desire there is a service. Honestly, I’ve always felt sorry for them, the ladies where very glammed up and looked stunning but that is just an outside shine to an industry of darkness. Obviously, I don’t know the ins and outs of that world but I can’t see many, if not all, of them women choosing that role as a career choice.
Walking down the redlight district, down those alley ways, the ladies in the windows and doorways are met with grown men who become giddy and weak at the knees once they are the recipient of their attention. I was amazed by it, truly a sight to see, but it was a subtle acknowledgement, a sort of look out the corner of your eye. As tourists we were warned that any eye contact or staring could get you in trouble, you’d be deemed as well obviously a creep but also to be wasting their time.
I can say that with the freedom of activities around you, and not really any law presence felt, especially when the sun went down, I felt safe for the most part. The main cause for my body to go on defence mode was when groups of men would just come up beside you or walk past making eye contact and repeatedly utter words such as “cocaine, ecstasy, heroin…” even something comical called ‘Pamela Anderson’. They was not pushy or aggressive, probably because they get turned down once in every 3 offers. So they take rejection well.
To say Amsterdam at night has a party atmosphere is not a stretch too far at all, a sense of freedom and a non-judgmental attitude was given off by everyone. ‘oh, sex is your thing? Fair enough.’ ‘oh, you like weed? Cool come on in.’ ‘love your drinking do ya? Awesome we got every liquor imaginable.’ That is what I found most rewarding, the way people could just be themselves, after all that’s what we should all do right? I’m not the biggest party animal you’ll ever meet, so I stayed out of the clubs and got back to the hotel at sensible times, but I’m not going to judge anyone for partying until the morning’s sun rise, especially not after my elegant visit to the burrito shop.
We will never all agree on everything, some of you reading this will think bad of me for eating the space cake, others will call me boring for not going out and raging. But at the end of the day that’s my choice, and I’m not living to please anyone else. We seem to be in an age where because someone does or says something we don’t agree with we jump on that person and label them as evil, some pathetic people even go out of their way to attack that individual. You can, believe it or not, disagree with someone and still have something else in common, not everything is so black and white. Live and let live.
Amsterdam was awesome. As far as the company I couldn’t have chosen better friends to go with, I was very appreciative of how you came together to look after me during my episode even if none of you could catch me! I missed my lady more than I anticipated, being together nearly six years I’m not used to experiencing things without her. I plan to return with her and do the couples thing, walk the canals, a few fancy restaurants and importantly real coffee shops, I’ll stick to the cappuccinos next time.
If you made it through all that, thanks for reading.