The first time I ever went to Amsterdam, I decided to do a social experiment. I flew with our usual airline, KLM, where one of the desserts they served during the flight was a yummy fudgy brownie. As we were waiting for our connecting flight to Norway, I took a picture of said brownie and posted it on Facebook with the caption, “Touchdown Amsterdam.” In a matter of hours (because time difference), people were liking and commenting on the picture with their reactions.
“Aww yeahhh time to go up in space.”
“Post a picture of the hash instead of the view. Nice one. :))”
“Oooohhhh yeahhh dope!”
“Space cake! Badass!”
The comments were all pretty much of the same nature. I posted a brownie from Amsterdam and BAM, everyone instantly thinks it’s loaded with drugs. But really, Amsterdam is more than just drugs, sex, and drugs and more sex. They’re actually working real hard to change their image. I’ll be one of the people to tell you that Amsterdam is so beautiful. It has picturesque scenery, very nice people, pretty canals and a relaxing environment. It’s the biking capital of the world and there are more bikes than cars! Amsterdam is a pretty place to be in, but let’s forget about that for a while. Cause this post is all about Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Let me tell you about the time I accidentally got high….
My 2nd time in the Netherlands, I had a 9 hour layover at Amsterdam and I figured it’ll be better spent getting lost around the city rather than at Schiphol Airport. So I jumped onto a train from the airport and went to the city center. I didn’t have any concrete plan other than walk around with my backpack and look around. I’m not going to lie. I’ve always wanted to visit the red light district and I wanted to see for myself if all the things I heard was true. All the nasty, naughty, sinful things? I must see it with my curious eyes!! SEE, people, NOT try. I’m just going to get it out of there. I am such a goody two shoes, I do not have a drinking or drug abuse vice. Just so we’re clear. Haha.
I rode the Hop On, Hop Off bus for one entire round just so I can say I at least saw everything. Have to keep up with my wholesomeness, pretend to be cultured and all that. HAHA. Afterwards, I was walking around aimlessly just exploring and looking at everything. Taking in the sights and sounds was already so wonderful for me! I was so amused by everything that I saw. But as amused as I was, I had to fulfill my lifelong dream of seeing the red light district. So I asked around and eventually found myself crossing to a dark alley that according to strangers, would lead me to the infamous district.
There were SO MANY SHOPS that would make my very Christian grandmother red with shame. During this time, I was travelling alone (yet again haha), so imagine how twisted I looked like! Looking at everything and trying my best not to laugh out loud made me end up looking more ridiculous than I already did. :)) I mean, COME ON. A shop dedicated to a wide, WIDE range of dildos? I mean I saw the HUGEST dildo I’ve ever laid my eyes on and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud. You can see which dildo I was referring to when you watch the video at the end of this post!
Everyone knows that weed is legal in Amsterdam. I didn’t realize that that would mean everyone would be frigging smoking it on the street. I have friends from Amsterdam so I mean no disrespect when I say that! #Defensive. Every shop I walked in to was firing up their weed samples. At this time, it was summer, so lots of people were out and about. A lot of foreigners were also lighting up and without realizing it, I was slowly engulfed in this accidental hotbox that I got myself into.
People might call out “Bullsh*t!” when I say what I’m about to.. And that is.. I never knew what weed smelled like… :/ So here I was, the idiot wide-eyed wanderer, going about in circles, without even resting for a bit. All the while unknowingly inhaling 2nd hand marijuana here and there.
May I also mention that during this time, I was going about on an EMPTY stomach? How was I to know that that would hit me faster?! Looking back at that time, no wonder I found myself laughing more and feeling so light and happy. Here I was thinking, “I’m finally going around Amsterdam Red Light District. I’m sooo happy. Another dream come true!” when apparently, the truth of it was, marijuana was getting the best of my “low-tolerance of vices” body.
Weed wasn’t also sold in the usual form. People know that they come in brownies too, but did you know that they also come in coconut cookies, lollipops, candies, and other forms? I didn’t! But I was amused and decided to buy a pack of hash lollipops for my “happy high” friends back home…
After going around being the “mature” adult that I was, stumbling and laughing about all the things I saw. I started to get hit with a huge craving for getting insane amounts of food in my stomach… Now, children.. I am going to share with you a very VERY important lesson that I only learned at that point. When in Amsterdam, and in hungry mode, ask around for a CAFE, NOT a COFFEE SHOP.
There was a kind old man standing in front of the shop I just came into, smoking his joint, when I asked for directions to the nearest coffee shop. I grew up in a country where coffee shop means coffee, frappe, food, relax. Apparently, this country would teach me that it could also mean something else. :))
Old man: “Go straight, and turn right at the very first intersection you see. There’s a coffee shop there.”
Me: “Do you know the name of the coffee shop, sir?”
Old man: “I’m not sure but you can see the face of Bob Marley at the front!”
Me: “OK, thank you so much! Have a nice day!”
Old man: “You too, beautiful girl!”
OK, sorry, had to include that last part. Because cats.
Now. Here comes the tricky part. I enter the place and the smell of marijuana exploded in my face. Literally wafting about the place. I see a bunch of guys and girls scattered throughout the COFFEE SHOP, but I was wondering why there wasn’t any food. I was no longer questioning the rolls of marijuana on their lips, but I was worried about the slow service of serving food in this place. So I come up to the girl behind the counter….
Me: Hello miss! May I please see a menu?
Amster-girl: Of course! Here it is!
I look at the “menu” she gave me and I had to double check if I was seeing things correctly. Here was the menu she handed me…
It’s all frigging WEED!! :)) I turn the menu to see if something was written at the back. Nope. No such luck. So I look up to her lazy, happy smiling face and say…
Me: Uhmmm. Do you have another menu?
Amster-girl: Nope. Everything we have is on there. Unless you want to use the internet, we have a rental computer for that.
Me: Uhmmm… The man who directed me here said that this was a coffee shop.
Amster-girl: *biting her lip and nodding and smiling* Yes, this is coffee shop.
Me: Err. Coffee shop?
Amster-girl: *wiggles her eyebrows up and down mischievously* Yes. Coffee shop. You know… *arhces one eyebrow playfully with a smile* coffee shop?
Me: Uhh, don’t coffee shops serve food?
Amster-girl: *laughs and hugs me* Oh you adorable girl!! You don’t know!! In here, when you say coffee shop, those are places that serve only weed. See the people around here? They’re only enjoying weed. You go to coffee shop to enjoy that!
Me: But…. *and I must say I must have looked like a puppy* I want food…
Amster-girl: *laughs and squeezes my arm* OK. Remember what I am going to tell you, forever. OK? Coffee shop= weed. CAFE=food.
I walked out of that coffee shop with an even higher high and a new lesson learned. Haha. And now, I have shared this knowledge with you. :)) After a few more minutes, I finally found a CAFE, and I was able to eat about 20 euros worth of food. Oh, my empty stomach, be still.
Now, you must be thinking, waaaait, no way did she get high just by walking around. But here’s the thing.. The whole time it happened, I had NO idea that I was even high. I only “Found out” when I was back at the airport, online on my laptop and at a group skype call with my friends.. One look at me and they were all, “Nixxxxx, what the fuckkk! You look so high!!! What the hell did you do there?!” I laughed and said, “I’m not highhhh. I didn’t doo weeeddd.” And with more laughter, they said, “Hotboxxx! Your eyes are so squinty and you’re slurring your words! You are totally high!! HAHAHA”
Let me end this post by sharing a video of what it’s like walking around the red light district. Hope you enjoyed my story! And also.. I promise next time I go there, I am totally going to gallivant around the more cultured places. Metti, my good friend, it is your job to stray me away from that area, next time! haha. :))
SORRY FOR THE SHAKY VIDEO. Hehe. :)