Monday, November 06, 2006

Dam Day 1 and Picture Dump

I met up with Nicky at Newark Airport in front of the Garden State Diner. Her flight from LAX got in an hour before I arrived. I would have been there earlier, but I had two hold ups. The security line was backed up and I got stuck behind about a dozen people who acted like they've never traveled in the post 9.11 era. But before that, I fucked up trying to check in. I attempted a shortcut by going to self-help kiosk since I traveled light and had two small bags including my laptop. I couldn't figure out how to scan my passport so I could verify my existence. I eventually figured it out fifteen minutes later and at exactly 4:20pm, I logged into the system. Fitting, I thought, considering I was embarking on a journey to Amsterdam.

KLM is a superior airline (which I flew last year) to Continental Airlines which I just flew. Our flight was ten minutes early and I was shocked to discover Continental offered dinner service and free movies. I skipped the movies and watched three episodes of Heroes that I downloaded to my iPod at the recommendation of my brother, Grubby, and BG.

Nicky popped a Xanax just before takeoff and passed out while I slept for less than an hour. The train from the airport to Central Station in Amsterdam took eleven minutes. The Victoria Hotel was located a block and a half from the train station and we didn't have to walk far. Our room wasn't ready yet, so we dropped off our luggage and went in search for a coffee shop and hash bar that was open at 9:30am.

We found one named Kroon ran by these sketchy Iranian dudes who let their cat lounge away on the counter. The entire time we were there, the cat slept or had passed out from all the smoke because the tiny cafe was packed with early morning stoners and travelers with lots of luggage smoking up one last time before they leave Amsterdam.

Nicky bought a couple of grams of NYC Diesel and I rolled two joints before we wandered around and stopped at a French style bakery. We sat in Dam Square and ate chocolate croissants as the Sunday morning city scene unfolded. Locals were heading out to go shopping while tourists were scurrying past us on their way home.

We stopped off La Canna, a coffee shop with pool tables. By 11am, I had bought 20 euros worth of Himalayan hash and downed a Heineken as we sat next to two female German teenagers getting smashed before their train left. By noon, I scored Mexican Happy shrooms for 15 euros.

Our room at the Victoria Hotel was ready around 2pm and my exhausted body fell out for a nap. I jumped out of bed two hours later when I heard pounding on the door. By accident the genius at the front desk assigned our room to an old Italian man with a cane who had been knocking on the door with said cane. Security came up and demanded to see my passport. The guard called downstairs and eventually the mess was cleared up.

First rip off of the trip? Having to pay 88 Euros for unlimited wifi in the hotel area (my room, lobby, bar, and cafe). But that's a business expense, so it's being written off.

We ate dinner at an Italian joint on Haarlemmerstraat Street for 19 euros for the both of us. I ate a bowl of pasta with Bolognese sauce and although the serving size was small, the sauce was surprisingly tasty. After dinner, we walked two blocks down the street to the Pink Floyd Coffee Shop. It's a sorta famous three story hash bar that happens to sell the highly recommended "Mother's Finest" for 10 euros a gram. Nicky noticed a strain called "Hot Tits."

"I named that after my wife," the Dutch grower behind the counter said as he took out a huge knife and cut off a chunk of hashish for a German guy in front of us. "She hated that name. She's now my ex-wife. But my brothers-in-law still come in about once a week and laugh whenever they see it."

We sat down at a table in the back. A middle-aged couple at a nearby table played chess while they smoked cigarettes spiked with hash. The stereo blasted music that was not Pink Floyd, and I heard The Killers hit Mr. Brightside before a block of Lenny Kravtiz songs came on such as Mr. Cab Driver and Are You Gonna Go My Way.

Nicky and I began a series of heads up Chinese Poker matches. We were playing 10 euros a point and would keep a running tally for the remainder of the week. After the first round of action, I opened up a 15 point lead over everyone's favorite Hollyweird blonde. You can stop by the Tao of Poker to monitor our Chinese Poker progress.

We left Pink Floyd's around 10pm and I took Nicky over to the Red Light District. She had never before seen the infamous hookers as they stood in the doorways with pink and red neon lights.

"They weren't scary. I'm glad they get to stand indoors and not have to hook out in the cold," she said about her first glimpse of the Red Light District.

I bought a chocolate covered waffle at dessert shop a few blocks from the hookers and we wandered into another hash bar. I spent a lot of time at the 420 Cafe last year when I visited Amsterdam. They serve cheep Amstel for 1.90 euros a glass and have a sizzling hot blonde bartender. I bought a gram of Neville's Haze for 11 euros and it ended up tasting better than the Mother's Finest and gave me a headier high. So far, the best stuff I smoked was the NYC Diesel. I'll have to pick up some more this morning before I head over to the museums.

Here are some photos I took on Sunday:

McBacon for Daddy

Mural at La Canna Coffeeshop

TC's Dutch HQ

Frites with Mayo

For Ryan...

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