dear amsterdam


amsterdamim writing you from your airport which is mellow and quiet and bright and clean. i miss you already.

last nacht you showed me whose boss. you led me to your bars and you sat me down and made me drink 130 of the 150 dutch beers that are worth a taste. they were all delicious.

then you introduced me to two people who knew a thing or two about the Canabis Cup and i knew i shoulda kept my mouth shut when i said that that stuff doesnt work on me any more, because these two dudes took me to a fancy club and we ordered the stuff and within 20 minutes i was spinning, and then i had to go outside to get my breath and then the cold winds slapped some sense in me but im only capable of a few seconds of sense and then im me again.

fortunately everyone was ready to go since i looked so green. so we walked. we walked down your beautiful streets. i didnt want to stop walking. i rode my free macbike over your roads and i loved each peddal and there i was walking in the middle of the night through your alleys and sidewalks and i loved each step.

i needed to hurl but i didnt want to hurl into your clean streets and adorable canals.

i tried so hard not to be the typical ugly american but there i was wasted off the herb and burping up beer. it was something the man with the camera had mixed in the joint i kept telling people but they just laughed at me and told me my Lakers ski hat was on crooked. one day i’ll have to tell you about the local who wanted to fight me over that hat.

you can diss kobe in compton but outside the 310 you better give respect to my man or i’ll teach you what 81 points feels like.

but the dutch are like me, lovers and jokers, not fighters. the worst they’ll do is jingle their bike bell at you telling you to get off the road.

or they’ll take pictures as youre totally trying to keep it together as you wait for your hotel to spin by.

buzznet stickerjustagirl and i waved goodbye to the 5 to 9 people who had joined us for drinks at the successful buzznet meetup. i wish i could remember what had happened there but all i remember were handing out stickers and buttons and drinking everything they put in front of me and loving all of it.

how do you do it amsterdam.

i got a cot so my guest could have my bed but before the dude had rolled it to my room my dinner was being flushed my desert was being drained and every puff i inhaled was being exhaled and i was embarrassed cuz justagirl had recently called me her bloggod. oh the emperor has no game. i walked out of the room just in time to tip the bellboy and hunt for water water everywhere but so little in the two liter jug.

she laid on my bed taller and younger than in her blog. i laid on the cot next to the awaiting toilet and we talked all night. as in all night. as in we only got one hour sleep cuz we were talking so long. then she woke me up, i packed, and we took the train to the airport and she said she hadnt lost all respect for me for not being mr superstar totally cool dude, and instead, mr average and typical american joe.

and her train rolled on to rotterdam and here i am in the airport and im trying to spend all my dutch coins but how much water does a man need to rehydrate?

and amsterdam you beat me this time, but next time im bringing my skateboard, im bringing a scarf, and im sticking to only drinking.

i seriously cant believe that i got to come here for free. a week wasnt long enough, which is odd to say for a small city, but theres so much to do here, theres so much to experience. i do hope i can return when its warmer, but after the first day the weather was no longer shocking, if anything it helped make the nacht stay longer.

i will miss you amsterdam, i will buy your flag from ebay, and i hope to get a tshirt before i get outta this airport.

all my love,


bicyclemark was the mvp of the week

miss amsterdam kept me up till 9:30 in the morning

amsterdamwhich was fine with me except i had to be over at led zeppelin square at 4:20p. its murphys law that no matter what time you commit to being somewhere somebody or something will do something to make you have to set your alarm to wake up.

and although im in a room right off a busy alleyway where people love to honk and yell at each other and ringing their bicycle bells, i can pretty much sleep through anything. especially if im in a hotel room with those thick drapes i love so much.

i woke up at 14:30 and it took me until 14:32 to realize i wasnt late, that indeed i had two hours to crawl off the bed, shower, eat something, and make it across town. fortunately my man bicycle mark was downstairs waiting for me and we went across the street to rent me a bicycle.

MacBikes is giving all the blogger in amsterdam bloggers free rentals on bicycles. theyre not mountain bikes and theyre not ten speeds. in fact the dude asked me “would you like hand brakes or man brakes?”

man brakes, apparently, is when you brake by the old reverse pedal, like my first bike ever.

why arent there man brakes in america on mountain bikes?

america blogso me and bicycle mark rode through amsterdam and it was awesome but very cold. yes i have a jacket but i have no gloves. its three degrees out there. people dont have gloves or hats on. miss amsterdam had a skirt on and stockings. people are out at all hours. the weather doesnt effect them.

made it to the american cafe which isnt really a place id want to go to if i saw it in a brouchure, but its actually a super classy like super dooper classy bar. you feel like youre at the holland country club.

huge windows. people in suits drinking and cutting croissants with a knife. hot women looking for young bloggers to domesticate. huge glasses of beer.

we drank with john aravosis from the americablog, the one that broke the jeff gannon story because he had proof that gannon/guckert had posted onto gay websites that he was indeed a male prostitute.

now the americablog is in the Technorati Top 40 and with elections down the road, more success is in its future.

after drinks mark walked us across the square to a little italian place where all the pasta dishes were super cheap. in fact six of us ate and drank for 46 euro. i had a very rich lasagne that didnt skimp on sauce or cheese.

people can smoke at the table. i like that.

i dont smoke but i like it when people have freedoms to do things.

likewise i dont go to hookers, but i feel jealous of those who do go because it seems like fun. when i got here i decided that if i was going to have a hooker id get two of them because anyone can get one girl, but for most of us it will take money to get two girls at the same time. so save up. to pay for just one girl, thats just laziness and lack of creativity.

have i mentioned that its butt cold here? riding the bike even with my laker knit cap, my ears were absolutely freezing. as were my hands before i got some gloves at a convenience store slash head shop.

amsterdami asked mark if it was okay to smoke pot at the table and he said no its considered rude. that people smoke cigarettes at the table but not pipes or cigars or weed. for that he says people walk outside.

the place was packed, mostly with young people.

everyone at drinks and at dinner were democrats living abroad who knew everything about politics all around the world. and all the political bloggers, and all the columns, and all the news shows. conversations darted to one international topic to the next with ease and agreement and wonder and expertise. everyone knew all the characters, leaders, history, and fuckup.

and some of the attendees had no televisions.

john is funny, knowledgeable, polite, and alot like people i knew in chicago, where it just so happens he grew up outside of. he had no idea i was even a blogger until hours into the night, which is why i laugh any time anyone thinks im wellknown within the blogosphere.

bicyclemark is portugese who was either born or grew up in brooklyn has been here in amsterdam for five years. he speaks perfect dutch. lots of these nondutchies spoke perfect dutch. how do i know its perfect? never you mind.

i rode home in the cold but now i had gloves so it was so nice, except for the freezing ears, and stopped off to get a sandwich at the cafe slash head shop. got a two liter and a small can of ruffles. 10 euro. how a snack costs more than a sitdown dinner isnt something that i spend too much time thinking about.

mostly i think about how it is that i can sit in my room and watch the olympics in dutch in total satisfaction. it makes you feel like youre really watching the real olympics because its not so USA-centric. i sat through an hour and a half tonight and i havent seen one american.

apparently we’re not the only ones in the games.

got home and my room was a mess.

so i turned off the lights

and wrote this to you drew barrymore.

happy birthday yesterday.

drewseum + bicyclemark + americablog

im in a five star hotel in amsterdam

planets aligned

and ive already broken some shit.

first thing i broke was my power converter that i got at radio shack in hollywood. this is a fancy hotel and the plugs are sorta in the wall a little and the converter is this huge block thing with little prongs so it wouldnt fit in there, so i had these adapters so i put the adapter in the plug and then the converter in the adapter and then plugged my computer into that.

i smelled a sweet plasticly aroma but the battery was charging so i thanked God and checked my email, etc.

eventually the computer stopped charging and i knew i was in trouble so real quick i searched “ibook european charger power adapter” and said that most american products didnt need power converters that all they needed were power adapters. so i put the little adapter in the wall socket and plugged my compter in it and viola alls good in the hood.

because i was a boyscout im always prepared so i had a second adapter. i plugged that into a different wall and plugged my iHome ipod alarm clock radio into it. instantly i smelled burning plastic and zap. so my ipod doesnt have a charger now and i am stuck listening to the Dutch version of The Box which means bad reggae, r&b, and hip hop.

so now im thinking i try to find a Mac store and get a european charger for my ipod and leave it behind when i return to LA.

how was my flight over? KLM is a great airline, but the people who fly it arent so great. i was in a row that had three seats. because im always prepared i made sure that i had a window seat. some mafia dude with a huge leather coat got the middle seat and this old lady had the aisle.

the mafia dude established that he was going to have Both arm rests and i sorta leaned away from him, popped in my ipod earphones and lowered my cap over my eyes and pretended to fall asleep. soon i was asleep. when we got to cruising altitude he asked the stewardess if it was ok if he found a new seat. she said yes.

SO FOR SOME REASON this was the signal to the old lady to sit in the middle seat next to me. i was all sorts of WTF. i swear to God that when im in a public place i am the most attractive person in the galaxy EVERYONE wants to be as close to me as humanly possible.

so when it became obvious that she had found her new seat i pulled out my computer and intentionally elbowed her as much as possible. eventually i just said, excuse me, would you mind moving back to your seat so i can work? she looked at me like i was the one who was insane and leaned two inches away from me.

amsterdamevery now and then i saw her reading what i was writing so i decided i was going to write the dirtiest most pornographic sex drugs and murder story of all time titled “The First Time I Got AIDS and Murdered People”

sadly i dont think she knew english as that didnt frighten her in the slightest. then a movie came on so she put her feet on the aisle seat and then she had the nerve to lean on me a little. i just elbowed her a few more times and finally sighed. she huffed and moved back to her seat and everything was cool.

until it was time to eat. and then that fucking whore moved back right next to me!!!

was she lonely? did i look like her long lost son? did she think i was going to fall in love with her and take her into the rest room and grant her membership into the mile high club? i swear i would have done it if it would have guaranteed that she would move back to her seat and allow me my personal space.

but no, she stayed there and laughed at the movie – The Were Rabbit- and i steamed. i had remembered what some of the other Bloggers in Amsterdam had advised regarding fighting jet lag. they said dont sleep in the day. i knew i was going to arrive in Holland at 11am so i figured if there was only 5 hours left in the flight, those were going to be the 5 hours i was to sleep even though it was barely 6:30pm LA time.

so i lowered my cap, i lifted my blanket and i put that horseshoe shaped airplane cushion around my neck and i dozed off. but before i did i made sure to fart a few times for good luck.

when i awoke she was back in her seat.

we landed smoothly in holland. it was rainy and crappy but it didnt bother me. im in freaking Europe! i got through customs in like 5 minutes. my bags arrived. i changed $60 and got 42 euros (fuck you george bush) bought a ticket for the train (3.40 euro) and arrived at Centraal Station a few hours ago.

i found my hotel within minutes. its right by the station and i pooped immediately after reading how Dooce had problems with that, uh, duty, and now that ive posted its time to hit the road, get a coke, a sandwich and take some pics for you.

yes i feel like a lucky man. and as i leave you i have a dilema… im here as a guest of the Dutch Tourism Board. theyre paying for the hotel and the airfare. i dont know if they get the bill for the mini bar or if i do.

so the question is, is it bad form to make them have to pay for the mini bar charges? a can of apple juice is 4 euros in this place ($6.66). i remember hearing a story about when Larry Bird was being courted by the Boston Celtics that he had no room charges because he was a gentleman. am i under the same coolness rules?

before i dip into the bar i await your suggestions. until them may i say that im very grateful to be here. and im feeling more than a tad unworthy.

basart, your lens is amazing, thanks for letting me borrow it