May 16, 2016
Currently sitting in Amsterdam Airport Shiphol. My flight to Cairo is in a little under three hours. I had a wonderful day in Amsterdam and I’ve been meeting really nice people. I met an old couple at JFK who borrowed my cellphone, then watched my bags for me when I went to the bathroom and Jamba Juice. They didn’t really speak English well but they were still very sweet. We sat in the same row but opposite sides on the flight and waved to each other as if we had known each other for years. I got the window seat and sat next to a cool German girl who was visiting New York for work. She was a geologist of some sort, and also didn’t speak much English but we got along well regardless. Delta fed us so much on the flight which was great because I unfortunately didn’t sleep much. What better way to pass the time than to eat?
My uber driver on the way to JFK also didn’t speak much English but was very kind. He was originally from Pakistan but lived in Dubai and had friends in Dubai whom he told me would show me around if I decided to visit. He also showed me pictures of his family. He definitely foreshadowed the language barriers I continued to encounter throughout the trip.
When I got to Amsterdam, hardly anyone spoke English but eventually I found a transportation worker who told me where to go.
I did, however, meet a women from Chicago while waiting for our TSA check in Amsterdam. She had gone to Egypt in 2010 and was in Amsterdam to give a tour for her job. She told me all good things about her trip to Egypt and said Abu Simbel was her favorite place.
I didn’t really meet many people walking through the city, but I kind of expected that. It was kind of nice being alone and just doing my own thing on my own time, wandering freely and not feeling responsible for anyone else. The only times I ever felt just a little lonely was when I struggled to finish smoking the joints I bought or when I wanted a picture of myself in front of the I amsterdam landmark (Of course I forgot to pack my selfie stick).
I caught the train to Amsterdam Centraal and as soon as I stepped off the train I fell in love with this quaint little village with canals all over and well-dressed city-dwellers. I went into the first coffeeshop I found and bought five pre-rolled joints because I knew I had no time (or money) to waste experimenting, but I was fascinated by the dozens of strains and magic mushies sold indiscreetly.
I smoked one J while walking around and felt on top of the world. Literally, I felt like I was floating. I chatted with one of the salesmen at a souvenir shop for a bit. He straight away knew I was American which I thought was pretty funny. He was a cool guy and I wanted to go back there but couldn’t remember where it was. #TooHighGuy.
I walked to the Rijksmuseum and explored a bit. Coat checking my backpack was a struggle because again, #2HG. I enjoyed the Still Life exhibits because I’m fascinated by the way the lighting and the shadows can bring a piece to life. I also chilled by the I amsterdam letters for quite a bit and just relaxed, taking in my surroundings, appreciating where I was at that exact moment in time. My heart was happy to be here. I felt like I belonged.
Next I went to Sarah’s Pancakes and holy sh*t it was an orgasm in my mouth (Thank you Katie for the recommendation)! I had strawberry banana pancakes with whipped cream and a chocolate milk. I think I found some chairs and tables and smoked joint number two. Surprisingly I found that while walking and smoking, I got some funny looks. Maybe because it still wasn’t even noon and I was already high as a kite. Maybe I was just paranoid. I mean, it’s Amsterdam, right? But regardless, I decided to be a little classier about it.
Next I walked past the Anne Frank House, but the line was really long so I didn’t bother going in. I went to Abraxas coffeeshop and smoked another joint outside. I forget if it was Abraxas or another coffeeshop before it but they wouldn’t let me smoke inside unless I was going to buy something. And I still had to finish the rest of my joints before my flight so I just kept to myself outside.
Then I walked through the Red Light District which was interesting to say the least. I saw one too many tits and decided not to stay much longer. I went back to Amsterdam Centraal but realized I still had some time to wander before I needed to head back to the airport. I decided to go back to the first coffeeshop I started at and there was a guy sitting on a bench outside so I sat next to him. I asked him if I could smoke there and he handed me a lighter, which I took as a yes. (And another language barrier perhaps.) He was really chill but again, barely spoke English. I shared my last two joints with him because he seemed like a genuine, kind person. He gave off a nice vibe, and he had shared his rolling papers with some strangers in need. We didn’t really talk much because of the whole language barrier thing but we enjoyed each other’s company. I could tell he really appreciated the joints and I appreciated having someone to share them with. I had to leave to get to get back to the airport because my paranoid self was worried I’d get lost or something, but I made it back in fairly decent time. I only wish I had longer to roam around this lovely city.
Everything was so precious and romantic. At one point a biker stopped to let me cross the street, he smiled and said “After you, Madam.” My heart melted. The city was very quiet otherwise, which came as a surprise to me. I felt very touristy with my camera around my neck and I got a little lost at times, but that was all part of the adventure. I stumbled upon some graffiti on a wall that read “Love Me” and I admired it for probably longer than necessary but what felt like the perfect amount of time. I got to see everything I needed to see. Next time I’m here, I want to try magic mushrooms and take a canal cruise tour. Those are my only two Amsterdam bucket list things I didn’t get to check off yet. I’d also like to visit and spend more time at the museums and shopping. I bought two beanies and four lighters. I finally heard from Mike that he and Jo are in Germany. I’ll be seeing them soon. Next destination — Cairo.