Thursday, October 9, 2008

I AM.....stoned?


There really isn't a whole lot to say about Amsterdam other than it is a twisted, lust filled, intoxicating little world that easily sucks in even the more prudish tourists. One minute you're walking down the streets scoping out wooden shoes and frites smothered in mayonnaise (wtf?) the next you have a perfectly nice stranger on the street offering you 'shrooms (wtf?)

I AM STERDAM, their famous sign makes even more sense after you've been there....through my visit I was able to say at various times; I AM insane, I AM in love with this place, I AM an artist, I AM brave, I AM making out with a Dutch boy? I AM aware, I AM so lost, I AM a bad ass I AM anonymous and naturally.....I AM....stoned.

When in Rome, when in Amsterdam? When in...wherever, do as they do, otherwise what's the point in traveling all the way around the world to stick to your stale ways. The whole concept of being able to walk up to a counter and discuss joint size and strength was so amusing to me I looked like Pollyanna at a weed convention. I'm no stranger to this natural little gift from nature by any means, but when I sat down, legal joint in hand, clearly looking like a newbie, a group of hippies befriended me, lent me their lighter and bought me a cappucino. Ah, I feel the stoner love. Let's chill and chill we did listening to soul and blues music on comfy couches and sipping large leafy tea's and extra strong coffee.

The few days I was in Amsterdam I drowned myself in it's culture. The quaint canal alleys and the crowded streets of every ethnic cuisine you could possibly think of, I wanted to sample something strange and foreign at every place. If I didn't know how to pronounce it, that's what I wanted to order. I cruised down the river and got lost on purpose, I marveled at the height of Dutch people and managed to only get hit by a bicycle once.

After visiting the Anne Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum (who is now one of my very favorite artists, I have an even deeper respect for him after visiting the museum) I decided....alright, it's TIME to buy some souvenirs. If you're going to go to any country and buy souvenirs, what better place that Amsterdam? Everyone wants wooden shoes, obviously.

After picking out a few wooden shoe keychains, the man at the counter struck up conversation when he noticed I was amused that he was reading Bill Bryson essays and laughing out loud while reading them to his coworker (who I found out later was his Mother) we chatted for a bit and then, since this is the way it works in Europe, we decided to meet up for drinks when he was off work.

Sitting in front of The Bulldog Coffee shop, waiting, I hear a ZOOOOOM and there he is, on his little Vespa in all his Dutch glory, coming to meet me for a drink. Ah, I have such a newfound love for meeting foreign men and flirting my face off....::sigh:: so wonderful, vampiness if a fun quality to have in the bag and whip out when necessary; foreignly, anonymously or exclusively. He was even more handsome than I'd noticed while consumed with the overstimuli of tiny things and shot glasses.

We shared a couple Heiniken's and proceeded to get closer and closer to each other until , OOPS! we're making out!

NOTE: This sort of behavior is VERY, VERY, VERY unlike me. I would like to point out that, which you know if you've been reading, I do NOT date, I do not make out with strangers, it's like pulling teeth for a man to get my phone number and I NEVER ever....have one night stands...........usually. Funny, that when I DID stop looking, men were flocking like herds of wild boars. If there is such a thing.

I hopped on the back of his Vespa and clutched to his chest while we zipped through tiny streets and quickly approached large groups of people, but managed to part right through them, Moses style. He showed me what the canals looked like at night with the lights lit around them, he explained Dutch culture and held my hands and asked about all of my rings. The night was followed up with an "unofficial" tour of the Redlight District which made me feel like a whore for being so amused with such licentiousness, I wanted to shake off the American way of shunning sexual things and embrace is. Sex, sex. sex.
That's the thing; Amsterdam, is crazy but completely sane and full of all types of people; turn on's and turn off's, dealers and tourists.... yet, nothing about the city feels dirty or "wrong."

There isn't a sense of judgment or guilt...it is what it is. Could have something to do with the fact that there are over 300 nationalities living in Amsterdam alone. Literally, every next person you meet is from somewhere new and the only way to live in harmony with people from such different cultures is to; accept them. What a concept, one that we as American's have a bit of a hard time grasping.

Though sex and drugs may be abounding in Amsterdam, it is a lovely city and I believe it's because everyone is living harmoniously, the way they desire. Even if their desires aren't akin to that of their neighbors, they still live their "right" way and that's just fine with those around them.

Almost everywhere I went I talked with the people next to me; people from Ireland, Bosnia, Holland, South Africa, Poland, and the list goes on. We shared drinks and cheers' in different languages, PROST! We talked about politics and travel, sex and food (two of my favorite things.)

Then, at a very brave moment I struck up conversation with the keyboard player at a packed jazz/blues bar. Then when he asked me to get up and sing with them, without hesitation I got on stage and took the mic.

I soaked in the energy of the people and pinched myself when my inner voice said, "Yeah Chels, you're singing with a JAM BAND IN AMSTERDAM, people are loving it and You. Are. Radical."

Amsterdam kicked my inhibitions straight out the window. My usually waning confidence was at a steady HIGH for four days straight. Amsterdam made me feel like I was pulsating with lust, passion, fervent energy and unabashed self assuredness. The way I felt in Amsterdam is the way I hope to feel most of the time in the states.

I wondered as I walked down the street, if I walked this confident, felt this "awake" everyday....what would change in my day-to-day life? I'm guessing quit a bit.

So in all of my "debauchery", Amsterdam was surely a highlight; the one night, the spliffs and the microphone. Dutch men, wooden shoes and other "wooden things"......Amsterdam made me think;

I AM MARVELOUS.

Your turn: I AM ______________________

36 comments:

Camels & Chocolate said...

I'm so proud of you, Chels, for doing this all on your own! Not many people, aside from you and me, would have the balls!

And though I hated actually living in Holland (for many reasons), you've just made me miss it in an extraordinary way.

I AM NOSTALGIC...(and leaving for 2.5 weeks in Central America tomorrow!)

Valley Girl said...

Re-opened my blog by invite-only. Let me know if you want an invite: valley_girl71@yahoo.com.

jaime. said...

i am THRILLED.

I'm originally from NY and I'm living in Haarlem (15 minutes from Amsterdam) for a year. At first, I thought, "what the HELL am I DOING?! I have a(n almost) perfect life in the states and I'm WILLINGLY leaving that all behind?! Now that I've been here for a few months, I'm absolutely enthralled by Amsterdam and this post reminds me of that. When you live here, you realize that all of the stereotypes of it being a heathenish place full of non-stop debauchery are exaggerated; I love that I can by a joint that will knock me on my ass after one hit, but Amsterdam charms the pants off of me for so many other reasons. As a matter of fact, my undergrad university may have even been more of a devil's playground! Best ;)

morphidea said...

Awwww, good post. Brought back some good fierce feelings of when I was last in Italy. And Greece. What is it about travel that just makes ya instantly grow a pair huh? Wish it was easier to take that invincible feeling home with you.

Ben said...

I am.. surprised you only managed to get hit by a bicycle once. Negotiating the streets of Amsterdam is a tough task when you are trying to take in the scenery and are used to clearly defined pavements (sidewalks). While I have luckily managed to avoid bicycle impacts when I have been there, I did come perilously close on a number of occasions.

It's great that you are befriending so many people on your travels (maybe being an attractive young woman has something to do with it?). Take that attitude with you and thing will continue to go well, I'm sure.

transienttravels said...

Again, I hate that the music stops when I comment :)

You are a great writer and I am both jealous and full of admiration for you. My Amsterdam experience was a bit different, but I know what you mean- there is something about it that makes you lose your insecurities and doubt.

Keep meeting new people!

Rebekah said...

I AM... JEALOUS!

A Bill Bryson-reading man and a Vespa and a Jam Band? And EVERYTHING ELSE?

Sounds so much better than going to Amsterdam on a school trip when 14 and chaperoned 2:1.

Never come home so I can continue to live vicariously through you.

sequined said...

That sounds like an amazing experience! Singing with a jam band, partaking in the culture (ha), enjoying the menfolk, and trying on wooden shoes? Sounds like the best trip ever.

Coconut said...

I want to go!! Now I'm planning when I can copy you and do my own adventurous trip around Europe...I am contemplative.

Kristen said...

i am soo ridiculously jealous of your Dutch man-friend. I'm going back to Europe in January (Spain and Portugal) and this better happen to me! haha..great entry(:

nicoleantoinette said...

I am... emailing you this weekend.

Be safe! Don't come home with Dutch STDs...

wanderingtex said...

i am... so wishing i was back in amsterdam. that city is just magical. you are so right about everyone living the way they want to. they dont judge there - live and let live. thats something i need to remember more often. and yes, the van gogh museum changed my life.

Meeks said...

LOVE it. Love.
I AM...a vixen.
Miss you already - so glad you had such an amazing time!!!! :)

Kyla Bea said...

Ah!! Amazing!

You're having such a Before Sunrise trip! I could drink in these stories for a very long time.

M&M said...

I am...impressed! Wow. Love your writing style. So engaging and entertaining. Adding you to my blog list now! Keep up the good work!! :]

lifeintheleftlane said...

I am...wanting to travel to Amsterdam.

Sounds like you are having an awesome adventure in Europe!

Lynn said...

Wow that sounds amazing. So well written. I am also so jealous! In addition, I am a hot mess.

Keep enjoying the European good life.

Becca said...

You are also captivating! Your blog is beautiful, and I've adored reading about your travels!

Keely said...

I am jealous too! This post made me miss travelling so much, I love having those moments where you think to yourself "Oh wow, I have no idea how I got here but I LOVE it!"

20-Something said...

I Am... also in love with Amsterdam.

Much of what you wrote, I felt when I traveled there in college and declared that I'd love to live there some day.

The city is... intoxicating and free.

Miss Marie said...

Awesome Chelsea! I'm living vicariously through your travels. :)

Greta said...

What a life-changing experience, huh? You write beautifully...and your post was wonderful!

Lindsey said...

I am desperate for a Vespa. There's something so exotic and alluring about them!

Paint-Me-Dioxazine said...

I am - ready to travel and be inspired again! what a great post!!!

That Saddity Chic said...

I am: remembering my trip to Amsterdam in 2007. Awwwe what an amazing place it is. It's like an all-inclusive adult disneyland. Everyone I came across was friendly and I love that it is a bike culture. Awwwe Chelsea you have me missing that place.

PS: Did ya try the weed brownies? Girl, I was HIGH, went to sleep and still woke up high as a kite lol.

the almost right word said...

...Fucking in love with this post.

Amsterdam is a place I have always wanted to go. Your description, your experience...inspiring, honestly. I want to pick up and leave right now.

Katelin said...

i am fabulous.

as are you. seriously i love reading about your european adventures so much. yay for dutch people!

kokostiletto said...

wow - this sounds amazing!!!!!!! hahaha it's okay to make out with strange foreign men!

A. said...

Hey,

i am EXCITED - the weekend is finally here!

Your blog is absolutely awesome, and i am seriously green of envy of your amazing trip!

I have tagged you on my blog.

inkpuddle said...

Oooh, you inspire such jealousy here. And good for you for jumping into a new place/culture with both feet!

irunwithscissors said...

I am soo wanting to go to Amsterdam now! Sounds fabulous! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

teality said...

I am loving this entry.

I am wanting to be more free.

Step Right Up said...

That's great you found another part of you in Amsterdam. Now keep it with you!

I am loving reading about your travels.

freckledk said...

...absolutely in awe of you right now. Reading your travel posts make me want to put my life as I know it on hold and get to living the life I wish I had.

The Alleged Ringleader said...

This is so great! How EXCITING! I'm going to Amsterdam on Wednesday and I hope to have as grand of a time as you did!

lightning in a bottle said...

i love amsterdam. it's been well over 10 years since i was last there. it's time to get off my tush for another visit..

 
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