Archive for the 'Holland' Category

Educational, and inspirational. Coke? X?! Whatchoo need? I AM THE LIZARD KING!

The Wandering Nerd September 15th, 2007

Jeez, where’ve you guys been? I’ve been looking all over for you. You were out with that bad crowd again weren’t you? They’ll lead you down a bad path, it’ll end in tears.

I suppose you’ll want a post, eh? So needy all the time you are. Learn to control your needs you must. While I’m breezing along this Star Wars theme, let’s use it as a convenient sequitur shall we?

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”
-Obi Wan Kenobi

The three main endeavors that people go to Amsterdam for are, weed/hash, prostitution, and mushrooms - usually in that order. I’m not in the right time or state to be interested in any of the three, so I expected to have something of a shit time while I was there for the two nights. For clarification, I should point out that I had intended to only spend two nights. The astute amongst you will notice a small discrepancy as it relates to the date.

I ended up staying in a couple hostels smack dab in the middle of the Red Light District, which is the belly of the beast. I felt that after the first couple of days, that Amsterdam need more careful study. Like a new breed of butterfly, but one that gets you high and has sex with you for money. Stretched that metaphor a bit too far, didn’t I? In any event I stayed three more nights. Here’s what I got:

Coffee shops are the vendors of the simple weed, in a staggering variety of names and apparent effects. There are smaller head shops that have the magic mushrooms, also in a startling range of properties - there were even charts and graphs explaining them. The coffee bars are pretty much just like what you’d envision, little tables and couches scattered about a room, a dull haze in the room, Hendrix playing quietly in the background and people staring away, lost in the THC. They don’t serve alcohol in the coffee shops, but they do make damn fine milkshakes and have more types of weed on the menu than drinks or food. You can also just buy at the head shop or, for your convenience, there are vending machines that sell it. It comes in baggies, mixed with mushrooms, in brownies, or cookies, and even prerolled. I don’t know what the value is in the states but from what I saw, one of the prerolls were like 2€50, which is about four dollars. Or a small baggie ranged from 10€ to 20€, depending on the attributes. I know the terms ‘Christil’ and ‘White Widow’ were thrown around so if that means anything to you, uhm, well, good I guess.

Then there are the hookers. Before anyone gets their hopes too elevated - Indianapolis, I’m looking at you - there are no pictures of the hookers, or of the sex shops. Primarily because it’s really a faux pas to take pictures of the hookers, but also I don’t really want to have a gallery dotted with hookers and sex toys. Besides, this is a “Family Friendly” web log. It is, stop laughing.

They rent these single roomed glass - and curtain - fronted booths that are scattered along various alleyways in the district. Then they, uhm, tout their wares as it were. No actual nudity from my somewhat thorough wanderings of the area - the things I put myself through for you dear reader…just for you. How to put this delicately…there is a ‘wide’ selection on the proverbial menu. That’s like a quadruple entendre, isn’t that a double word score or something? I saw girls that could have been models, to…well lets just be kind and call them ‘economy’ models. The uhm, more homely…hell with it, the ugly or fat ones did have the best lines though. You’d walk past and this girth would emerge from the doorway and rumble in broken English with a very Slavick accent, ‘Excuse me, I vant you.’

There were also girls that weren’t all girl. One of my mates told me about a horror story inflicted on him as he was walking past a shop in the district that involved a ’she-male,’ a pane of glass, ‘pressing of certain parts’, and then the ’she-male’ howling like an enraged gibbon at him. Yeah, I wish they made Visene for the mind’s eye. After one walk around the district though it all sorta’ becomes just more background fluff, pardon the pun.

If there was anything I was even remotely interested in trying would have been the ’shrooms. I mean if they work for Mario, they must be good right? The idea of actually seeing some of the things that my brain would conjure up is really near the top of the ‘Things G Shouldn’t Do’ List. I don’t know the quantity but the price ranged from 12€ to 18€, again with the more potent, the more pricey. No one I was hanging around with actually ever got any, so I don’t have much more for you there.

There are also people constantly approaching you on the street trying to sell you cocaine or ecstasy or a myriad of other shit. Though it’s pretty easy to say no when the next guy happens to be a meth head that’s disintegrating as he asks you for money. I guess the police - and there are a goodly number around that area - don’t do anything about that as long as it doesn’t muck with the tourist trade too much or the sellers don’t get pushy.

So you have a city that essentially allows anything, inevitably you’re going to get some sort of crime. Mostly pickpocketing and mugging of the ‘hey give me your wallet, this is a mugging’-variety. A group of us were walking around and one of the blokes got pick pocketed by some dude who was also trying to sell him coke. He just reached in the guys shirt pocket and pulled out whatever was in there, but still it was pretty slick as he just walked into a big sex shop and vanished. Gotta’ love a town like that.

I did the “Heineken Experience.” Which is sort of a halfass knockoff of a brewery tour. The brewery isn’t there any longer, and there’s no real ‘tour.’ You just give them money, they let you loose inside and you wander around and read plaques. The highlight is you ‘get to be a bottle of Heineken.’ I don’t know about you, but when I heard that I was just glad I wasn’t on the ’shrooms. They corral you into this little theatre with a ‘moving’ floor i.e., it jerks back and forth while you watch a over produced film made from the perspective of the bottle. Meh. You do get free Heineken out of it, three drinks in fact, and a little Heineken bottle opener souvenir.

I met back up with Rohan, the bloke from Melbourne who I met in Paris. One of his mates came into Amsterdam as well on a music tour and I ended up spending most of my time hanging out with the Aussies. I’m noticing the vernacular slipping into my speech as well as the writing. They also can teach a class on effective swearing, and have some strange affection for being as offhandedly offensive as possible. I fit in pretty well I think.

The music tour is the XOXOtour celebrating and showcasing Australian Women in Music and the people I met that were putting it on were really chill and the headlining band in the tour: Konqistador. They were playing a free show with five bands, four from Australia, and one local band from wherever they are doing the show at the time. The music is varied, some not really my bag, but definitely a good time. After the show last night a big group of us went out looking for food/weed/beer/milkshakes. I was the one for the milkshake… What?! They were really good.

So the plan dissolved shortly after everyone made it out to the street and wandered drunkenly or stonely off in different directions. The group I was in ended up in the hotel of one of the bands, and we found a way out onto the roof. *grin* I practically had to go out there. Yes, I did end up standing on the edge and yelling, ‘I am the Lizard King!’ So that’s covered. I ended up sitting out there talking to one of the members a band called Asleep in the Park which are cool and you should check them out. They are all creative commons so you can go grab their stuff and see if you like it. Go do it now, I’ll wait.

I tried my best to explain how the idiot boy king and his dark cadre of handlers were able to hijack the country to Marty, the one guy in the band. So we just ended up talking politics all night, and closed down 3 bars in the process. The sun was coming up when I finally dropped, only to have to turn around and get right back up to catch the train to Berlin.

Oh, don’t ever go to Utrecht, for any reason. It sucks and I hate it. Actually I only hate the train station and the information desk woman who got all snippy with me because ‘I need to listen to the announcements, they are in three languages, including English and tell you where you were supposed to get your connection.’ Which I had just missed because they move the platform it was coming in on. I wouldn’t hold such loathing and irrational contempt for the woman, if she hadn’t been yelling it at me. She was yelling because a train was roaring past, drowning out the announcements. My Aussie friends have a good set of terms for her I bet.

So what was supposed to be a 5 hour ‘direct’ train to Berlin, ended up being a…well going on a 12 hour, 3 change ordeal. So between Rotterdam’s lukewarm rating, Utrecht, and whatever other little burg I went through, the only shiny jewel I’m seeing in Holland is Amsterdam. But I think we’ve covered it’s not all that shiny. Still and all, I liked it. I had moments when I wanted to wash all my clothes - or my eyes - with bleach, but it’s a funky cool city. I’d go back. Anyone heading that way, let me know.

Hokay, enough words for you, now pictures:

we’re the renegades we’re the people
with our own philosophies
we change the course of history
everyday people like you and me
-rage against the machine

I’m a bad person, and you’re about to be, what the hell does one call horse meat, and lots going on, but nothing really there.

The Wandering Nerd September 10th, 2007

I would love to tell you about the roaring good time I’ve had in Rotterdam; to regale you with tales of mystery and misery, joy and jest or at least a good fight story. Sadly, short of making it up completely - not completely out of character, i.e. the “Snailboys” - I can offer no exciting tale for your salivating eyes and minds. I assume that’s salivation and you didn’t just watch Schindler’s List. While I’m on the subject of hilarious imagery, I kind of have to share with you the one good photo from this series. I’m not going to actively link it visibly here as it may be shocking for some of our younger viewers or those with weak hearts. I’m quite serious that I feel really horrible for finding this as funny as I do, as it’s taken completely out of context and the subject - as I saw after the instant of the photo - is quite okay and utterly normal in all aspects. So go ahead and take a look, if you feel up to it. If you’re feeling really brave - and I do indeed dare someone to do this - take a drink of liquid before you look. Make it water though…trust me.

Are you ready?

Have a look here.

It’s okay. Take your time, I’ll wait. I’m just glad to know that now I’m not the only one going to hell for finding that funny - and I’m still chuckling as I type this. I think that’s going to be like the insanity test or the viking kittens for me now. You can put that as your background now if you want.

Yeah, okay, so smell of brimstone aside, Rotterdam is sort of a let down. I wasn’t really expecting or wanting much to go on, but I wanted the opportunity to be obstinately removed, y’know?

There was a pretty big Maritime festival going on outside of the hostel. Well I’m pretty sure it was maritime, that or some sort of Pride festival what will all of the…nah, too easy. The were giving tours of all of the ships but it commenced to raining and I got sort of turned off by the whole thing, what with not having a clue what was going on. I did find a place selling eel sammiches. They were fan-dam-tastic, as were the herring sammiches. They are both served raw on white bread, that’s it, though the herring comes with diced white onions. I’m on some strange culinary kick lately too, eh? Least it’s no more stoopid museums or galleries, huh?

The other festival - yeah, I know I said there wasn’t much going on, but you gotta’ understand these things were kinda’ lame honestly - happened to be a cultural diversity event. Literally, one of the guys in the event said that that meant, ‘Rotterdam puts a bunch of strange objects and things on the streets and that makes it cultural.’ *shrug*

The most interesting thing about the thing was the equestrian bit. I’m walking around and some guy behind me taps me on the shoulder and waves me aside, saying what I assumed was, ‘clear the way’ either that or ‘help me I have rickets.’ I went with the former rather than the latter as I have no real formulated plan for dealing with something like that. What followed was the biggest effin’ horse I have ever seen in my life. I’m not talking like clydesdale, I’m saying the head on this thing had to be 10 feet in the air. I didn’t cover Belgian horses while I was there, because I just didn’t. They are massive not just beefy…er…horsey…uhm…chevaly…whatever, but freakishly tall. While the one wasn’t ‘Radar‘ size, he was certainly large enough looming out of the darkness at me with his crazed horse eyes. To make the situation even more surreal there was a woman, in a nightgown, standing on his withers. (I just learned what the withers were while researching all those links, don’t think I know the first thing about horses.) She was just standing up there, looking austere as this cadre of people wandered along taking pictures and video of her.

This strange procession wound through the streets, ending at a large expo center of some sort. Shortly there after, the woman and horse combo came out onto a stage and did a dance. Now before anyone gets any naughty ideas, she was sitting astride the horse. She had all of these little flashlights, one in each hand, and one on a band on her head. They were easy to overlook as she never pointed them at the audience, but the horse had been trained to follow the lights on the ground. So it would, turn or prance, or even walk sideways in time with her movements and the music. If it wasn’t damn near pitch black I would have loved to captured some on video. But I got to see it, and really that’s what’s important.

Let’s see, that’s about it really, Amsterdam is coming up. I will go ahead and suggest you don’t expect any sort of update while I’m there. So I’ll leave you with a rather unimpressive gallery, except for one shining gem.

is this me breaking free
or just breaking down