Monday, October 5, 2009

Amsterdam, why I love you so...

There is something very interesting about arriving in a foreign place and feeling like you have come home. Not the home where you physically live, but the home that you have idealistically constructed in your mind’s eye. It is like awakening in a dream. Vivid.

First off, it is super cool that one of the main forms of transportation here is cycling. Everyone, but tourists of course, cycle here. It is amazing. Streets with no cars but just bikes. Bikes line the streets; shimmering chromium bike fenders reflecting streetlight shine until the twilight of dawn. Beautiful.

Second - beer, gouda, and smoking. Three of my favourite things to digest and here they are reasonably priced. It is almost like the government is allowing me free will to decide what to ingest.

Third - harm reduction. Okay seriously Canada, get over the bandwagon jumping that was the American propagandist favourite: war on drugs. Best way for Canada to get over this recession, make marihuana legal, model the taxation system after the Netherlands. The influx in American tourism alone, will swing us out of this possible depression we are headed towards. [Note of disclaimer: if you didn’t understand the tangent that was point three...read a book, get educated, and then you shall be able to understand the intelligent musings of my genius.]

Fourth - it is comfortable I’m sitting here in the flat I rented, typing away on my MAC. And the weirdest feeling I am perceiving right now is, “How could I not have been born here?” The energy in this city is one of overwhelming familiarness.

Tonight we visited the Jordaan neighbourhood, where we wandered friendly brick-laden streets, hung out in bars with reasonably priced drinks, and met locals that were friendly without being overbearing. After the drinking, we mosey across the street to a coffee shop called “The Spirt”, named after the comic book hero. Coffee shops are a place in the Netherlands, where you can order caffeinated beverages made properly (strong!) and where one can purchase and engage in smoking. This particular shop also identified itself as a games room--video games, pool, air hockey, and poker. After our few games of pool we hang out with the server watching bike racing. And sharing a bonding moment over the ridiculousness of the Pope blessing the Italian biking team. We laugh over the fact that if you broke your neck bike racing you would get an automatic fast track to heaven pass because the Pope blessed your team. Then we leave and head back home, but not before stopping off at the karaoke bar, where I and the humongous titted bartender engage in a duet performance of the classics (Frank Sinatra & Tom Jones). And back home we arrive, and before headed to bed, place the garbage on the street, in piles that adorn the corners of every street. Piles of garbage for Monday,removed early Tuesday morning.

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