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Saturday, 14 August 2010

Utopian Amsterdam

I'll give an update on my visit to BedZED later - the only visit I made to any place having to do with my "sustainable building design research" excuse for a Euro trip. But first I'll continue to share my journeys and perceptions of the amazing places I'm falling in love with.

Amsterdam seems near Utopia to me. Despite the fact that it rained a significant percentage of the time I visited, the one full day I did have was beautiful and perfect. Even during the rainy drab weather it's such a charming place - the small row houses lining the canals are one of the most picturesque images I've ever encountered. Looking inside their windows, the Dutch clearly have the concept of beautiful simplicity down pat. Few living spaces are over the top or cluttered; rather they are clean, cozy, crisp and inviting. I hate to compare them to an IKEA catalog, but it's the easiest connection for me to make. They helped me do away with my dreams of living in an oversized mansion with six guest rooms, an infinity pool, and a flying unicorn landing pad. Okay, maybe that wouldn't kill me but I would be very satisfied with a modern and simple living space.

Infamously known for the legal use of marijuana - something I have no problem partaking in locations where it's not legal - Greg and I sat down to have a joint at Stone's Cafe (how long did it take them to come up with that clever title?), a strain known as "New York Diesel." Fun stuff followed by more fun stuff.... followed by copious amounts of imbibing copious amounts of booze (surprise!)... followed by being lost with no map, helplessly wandering the soaking wet streets of Amsterdam (which all look the same to add to the confusion).

The following morning hurt, but our hostel's free breakfast and a spacious shower helped. I rate all the hostels I stay at on hostelworld.com, but to let you know - Durty Nelly's Inn is fun, clean, and has a friendly staff who second as bar and restaurant help downstairs. Aside from the fat men farts serving as my alarm clark each morning and the ridiculously narrow death trap of a staircase, the place was great.

My first visit to Vondel Park was stunning. Mushrooms are no longer legal in Amsterdam, but "truffles" are. Honestly, I don't think there's a difference aside from legal terminology loopholes. Without truffles the park is what helped me decide to label this city as utopian - everything seems to go here, everyone's enjoying themselves and minding their own business, and the scenery is stellar. Although the truffles may have had something to do with the clouds spelling out words to me (in Dutch, of course) and what seemed to be a rainbow that refused to disappear, despite the weather being flawlessly beautiful. I also wouldn't normally want to shit my pants and jump in a pond to swim away at the sight of a man simply trying to sell us beer, but... hey. In the end it was an experience I wouldn't want to forget.

Trying to keep this G-rated is relatively impossible. If you're reading this, chances are you know me and know that nothing that comes out of (or goes into) my mouth is G-rated. So I'll try to PG-13 it down: some of the gay bars/clubs in this city are very... straight to the point. There are dark rooms where anything goes and Dutch men are not shy or ashamed to reveal the gifts that nature bestowed upon them. So if you're a size queen or like to get down and dirty then Amsterdam is the place for you. And if you're gay and say you're neither of those, you're probably a liar and need to come out of your slut closet in addition to the gay closet you once hid in :)

This has dragged on but I hope you share my joy and love for Amsterdam whether or not you've been. I suppose ending on a note about gay sex isn't appropriate, but hey... it's my blog and "I do what I want!"

Oh, I can end by saying I visited a floating cat hostel. Quite literally a boat where homeless and injured cats go to be rescued, looked after, and hopefully adopted. They have a capacity of 50 kitties and it was a really fun treat to visit. Although I've decided the pheromone I seen to give off to makes American cats go into heat (yes, I'm serious - I do)... does the opposite in Holland, as they all ran in fear when I tried to touch them.

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