After spending the afternoon in billowing clouds of smoke we decided it was time to explore the Red Light District. The culture shock only increased as we headed down alley after alley with beautiful, sexy girls in underwear, smiling as you passed by. The only problem I saw was how to pick just one? After a thorough search, I decided on a petite, brunette, Spanish girl and we agreed on 50 Guilders (about 20 dollars). This would be my first time with a prostitute so I was a bit uneasy and unsure what to expect. I was not impressed. It was cold and impersonal with no sense of intimacy at all, I shouldn’t have expected anything more as these girls deal with a variety of drunks and stoner’s on a daily basis but all-in-all the experience left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. As we continued our travels through the Red Light District a street dealer approached us and offered us some ecstasy. We were a bit unsure but after having such a good outcome in France with a street dealer, we decided to go for it. We popped the pills and went to a bar to wait for it to take effect. After about an hour we were feeling nothing and we slowly realized that we had been scammed, we felt a bit silly but had learned a lesson and it only cost a few guilders. We decided to spend the rest of the night just drinking and smoking so we left the Red Light and headed towards Dam Square. While on the way a guy approached us and gave us a flyer for an all night dance club. We said thanks but we had just been ripped off by someone for drugs and we were not up for an all night thing. He then says he will give us each a real ecstasy pill if we agree to go to the club he is promoting. There was no hesitation in either of us and we made a new plan for the night. We took the pills and headed for the club. Within fifteen minutes of being there the pills started to take effect, the rest of the night was dancing blur and before we knew it, they were turning up the lights and telling us it was time to go. We returned to the hotel with the morning light starting to break and only got 3 hours sleep before the front desk was calling to say it was time to check out. The hotel turned out to be a big waste of money but what a great first night in my new city.
We spent a few hours searching for a more reasonable accommodation and settled on a hotel/hostel in the Red Light called the Globe. We got a room for two nights as Mike was planning on returning to France for some late season skiing and would then leave out from Paris again. The one thing Mike wanted to do before we hit the party train was to go to the Rijks Museum, I wasn’t too keen on the idea but when he insisted and said he would pay for it, I felt it rude to say no. It actually was a very cool experience and I was glad he insisted but with the lack of sleep we were going on, it got very tiring walking at a snail’s pace through the place. So after about four hours we were beat and decided to head back for a much-needed nap. We woke in the early evening completely refreshed and ready for another night of craziness. As we walked through the area we came upon a place called a ‘smart shop’, I asked Mike what it was and he just smiled and led the way inside. I was blown away! He had not told me about this kind of place… they sold all kinds of psychedelic drugs from magic mushrooms to peyote and all kinds of herbal and synthetic pills. It was a pyschonaut’s dream come true! Being a veteran tripper, I chose the most powerful mushrooms they had and got ready for a night in the outer limits. It was a warped and twisted ride of delight, I was laughing all night, Mike was likewise having a blast and we bounced from one place to another all night long, finally calling it a night somewhere around four. On Mike’s final day in town we spent the whole afternoon just smoking weed and hash, it was great. Once nightfall came around Mike said he would like to do some cocaine for his final night. I tried to talk him out of it saying that we did not know where to get it and would probably get ripped off. He told me I was probably right and said he was going to go get some more hash. When he returned a half-hour later he smiled and produced two rocks of crack cocaine and said “let’s party”. I was hesitant for about five seconds and then temptation over took me and I said ‘sure’. Needless to say it was a depraved and costly night that only ended when Mike could no longer find anyone to get it from. While tossing and turning in bed I realized that I had to release the tension. I convinced myself that the first time had maybe been the girl and not the practice itself so I got dressed and headed over to the red light girls. I chose a Nubian beauty from Ghana and once again agreed on 50 guilders and once again it felt cold and impersonal. It was then I decided that prostitutes were not my thing and this would be my last time but I had accomplished my goal as the tension was now gone and when I returned to the hotel, I drifted off within minutes.
In the morning I went down to the front desk and secured a hostel bed for the next two nights. After paying for that and with the money I had spent the previous night, I was now down to less than 200 guilders with no job and no connections yet, I had to get busy. Mike packed up his stuff and we headed to a coffee shop for one final smoke together. I told him how thankful I was to him for all he had done for me and that I hoped that someday I might be in a position to do the same. We then headed for the station to say good-bye. After a big hug, he boarded the train and was gone, when I exited Central Station this time, I had a completely different feeling overtake me…One of trepidation and anxiety as the realization hit me that I was now all alone in a city that I had no friends, no connections, and very little money. I returned to the Globe and prepared for a day of searching for work and a more affordable place to stay. After a few hours, I happened upon a hostel called the AVC. It was a beat up dive but what drew me in was their sign that said beds were half the price of the Globe. I promptly went in and secured a bed starting in two days, it just happened to be happy hour there so I ordered a beer and started working on a plan to find work. It was then that a young guy and a big Bertha came from another room and sat at the table near me, Within minutes the volume of their conversation escalated to the point that everyone in the bar could hear the big Bertha say “get your shit and get out of here you’re fired”! It was quite the scene and I couldn’t help but stare at them, when the young guy retreats to pack up, she looks at me and says in a mean tone “do you want a job here”! I couldn’t believe my ears so I said ‘pardon’? She repeats herself and a wave of relief overtakes me and I answered with an enthusiastic ‘yes’! I knew at that moment with the attitude of the lady ( whose name was not Bertha but Anna ), that it would not take long for me to be in the same position as the young man and sooner probably than later. I had never done well with bosses who were assholes and I figured this time would be no different but at least I had a job and it would give me time to find something more suitable. She said she wanted me to start the following day and that I would get free lodging and 75 guilders per week, not very much but it was something. I returned to the Globe to see if I could get my money back for the following day and they were happy to oblige, I took the money and headed down the street to a place that my cousin John had recommended called the Green House to buy a gram of their top of the line bud called Super Silver Haze. It was amazing! A great taste with an uplifting all over body high that had me laughing the night away. I was feeling like I was living in a dream and couldn’t believe how easy things were. On only my third day in town and the first that I even tried, I had a place to stay and a job, Amsterdam was truly feeling like the paradise city I had hoped for.
A Continuing Story About Life On The Run