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November 21, 2003


Soooooo, have found a coffee shop (or three), and wandered the streets of Amsterdam with a very likley guide...An american who has taken to the A-dam life and decided to stay.

i'm currently sitting in the hostel common room at Bob's Youth Hostel on one of the main drags here. It's a decent sort of place with very friendly people running it, and mostly groups of travelers from Spain and France. Terrible techno music is pounding the air and a thick haze of blue-gray smoke hangs heavily in here.
Earlier this evening I had decided to talk a walk about town and see where I ended up--this tactic has been a beneficial one in the past, to just pick a direction and go, and it was no different this time. I fist found myself in the "Abraxas" coffee shop, and was not too surprised by the clientele, mostly younger travelers with a dazed and confused expression, and very cemented smiles. I sampled their "ice", which was decent though not any better than anything I had found in Northern CA, and moved quickly on to another part of town. I was most impressed with the quiet and slow paced feeling of the city, and amazed by how pretty it is here. The little cobblestone walkways and alleys, and interestingly designed brick and stone houses seperated here and there by a sparkling canal.
After walking for some time (or so it seemed) along a street I found a coffee shop called "the grey area." I thought it fitting with my travel-site name being Greycat, and thought I'd stop in and see what they had to offer. Inside i met Nate, from Reno, and Superdude. I coulnd't make out where superdude was from, but he was amiable enough, and we were soon chatting away, mostly in our own conversations with ourselves.
Nate turned out to be a very nice fellow and offered to show me around Amsterdam, as he had been living there for a while at that point. I bought a gram of "yellow cab," which was extraordinary, rolled it up and we went walking about.
Nate took me through most of downtown Amsterdam, showing me the palace, and many other sights i don't remember at the moment--the least notable of which was the red light district. I had thought that it would be a den of sin with beautiful women everywhere enticing me as i walked by, which I had to admit i felt guilty about, being as commited as I am to my girlfriend. however, with a little promting from Nate "you have to see it while you're here, dude," I wandered in. Not even a turn on, really. Just a bunch of windows with semi-attractive, scantily clad women on cell phones or just staring blankly at you. The tour was over in about 15 minutes and it was just as well as i was starting to get a bit uncomfortable seeing all the grossly masogonistic panting old men pawing at the windows. Plus, Nate, being the comedian that he is, kept shouting "Godzirra, Godzirra" at all the oriental tourists (of which there were plenty), which didn't help me feel any better.
Luckily, we ran into some friends of his, and we all said "what?" and went on our seperate ways.
So aside from being a very pretty place, and a fun place to hang out in, i'm not sure this is really the "party spot" that it's cracked up to be. I would reccommend Bob's hostel to anyone who isn't too worried about sleep, though it's a safe place, and you can get very cheap food and drink there, and it's very close to all the sights.
Of course I took in the Riijksmuseum, and it was a delightful experience. Most interesting were the basement, with it's extensive collection of Dutch history and artifacts, and the Van Gogh collection, including his self-portrait.
the rest of my time in A-dam consisted of hanging out and wandering the streets in a mild daze, which i appreciated greatly considering i still haven't slept more than a couple hours since i left LA.

Posted by Colin on November 21, 2003 06:11 AM
Category: November

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