Our flight left at 7 am so we were up by 5. A short cab ride took us to a surprisingly small airport. We navigated the maze like areas of security. I noticed they had an orange and strawberry juice option at a coffee shop and it was the best thing I’ve drank on this trip. They had a machine out front and there was guy chucking oranges and strawberries into it, which filled plastic bottles with their juices. I savored this beverage as long as I could during the flight.
We took brief naps during the hour flight. Groggy we boarded the train and I forgot which stop to get out at. All I remembered was Centraal but there are several. I picked the one in the next town south so we had to get out and buy another ticket back. It was about an hour detour but we saw a lot more of the Netherlands.
When we did arrive to Centraal Amsterdam, I recognized it and knew where to go. We still had over two hours before checking so I suggested we pop into a coffee shop. I figured they would partake as it was legal but only I went in while they waited. I had to consume on the premise he said, even though I bought two spliffs. I drank a tea and smoked half of one whilst Marley played on the speakers. On my way out I got directions for a public wash.
We took in the sites as we walked down the street and over canals. I am still amazed we found it, we had to make several turns. We put all of our dirty clothes, basically everything we weren’t wearing to create a load and then had to wait while it went through its cycles. This time they did join me in a coffee shop as it was closest, best option, Plus we could still see our clothes. I seem to recall it rained on us while we washed so it was the best thing we could do at that moment.
I watched as tables of guys methodically created spliffs that they called ‘an Amsterdam’ in other countries. They took a cigarette and slowly rolled it under their fingers until all the tobacco was on the table. They took hash or grass and mixed it in with the tobacco. They used the empty cigarette and moved the mixture inside, and twisted the tip. Some tore the filter off, some left it on but that is how I saw it done this day,
I told my friends we should get a Go Amsterdam pass after laundry. This card gave you discounts on meals and shopping, plus you can get tram passes for as many days as you want. They gave away city maps here too, always good to have. It is right by the main train station so it’s easy to find and should be the first stop in the city, before a coffee shop anyway.
We followed the Amstel River south and found our hotel right in view of it, perfect spot! I took a shower and while everyone else was cleaning up, I hunted for the closest coffee shop. I had solid directions or so I thought and wound up getting lost. So lost I remembered where I was and stopped into the hotel Thom and I stayed at the last time. No one saw me as I walked straight to the restroom. Back again, out of site. I found the hotel’s WI–FI. Since I had been there before I was able to log in as a guest. I soon located another place to get spliffs. Look for the Green Cross, there you’ll find what you seek. I then walked through the park next to the hotel and reminisced about the great experience I had there a couple of years previously.
I got back to the hotel and we talked about what we wanted to do that evening. The Red Light district was the winner so we tramed up. We walked through the streets, down narrow alleys where girls knocked on their glass doors to their 1 bed room to get your attention. Women of all shapes, sizes, races, quite literally any woman that may interest a man is an option for the right price. I’d heard that the experience wasn’t worth it or I should say the ladies tried to make it more difficult. The story I have heard is that they place an egg timer on a desk so the whole time you hear this tick tick. Clothes stay on but do come off if the price is right. It seemed like quite an ordeal to try, plus there is a strange vibe I picked up every time we were in the area.
We found a smoky bar who didn’t mind if I smoked a spliff too. A few beers, half a spliff and lots of people watching. The bar turned on a baseball game, west coast too, so the time difference meant we could see a live baseball game in the middle of night. Baseball in Amsterdam, most excellent!
A long walk back to our hotel just following the river was the end of our night. The District closed around midnight. I am still not sure why the tram couldn’t run this late, too seeing as how there were lots of tourists who could’ve used the help getting back to their part of town. Its about the only thing they didn’t do perfectly here it seemed.