When in Rome… Gathered up in a group of Canadians, I’m hanging on the back side of a bicycle, tootling around the canals in search of night life. The difficulty of getting people motivated goes up geometrically as the number of people goes up arithmetically, so indecision was reigning and my ass was getting sorer so I made an executive decision for ‘Kelim’, a Turkish restaurant.

After patliçan and lamb, we slide over the road to a ‘coffeeshop’.

Having not been in Amsterdam for nearly 40 years, how could I expect it to be the same? There’s a menu of various kinds of weed and hash, along with papers, tobacco, and raspberry leaf for those allergic to tobacco. They even sell perfectly rolled joints for those with fumbly fingers. One of my companions is an expert, and negotiates our way through the various choices of afghani or moroccan or these crystals or that White Widow whiff.

One or two hits later I am floored by this strong European stuff and have to quit this hole in the wall dive with its loser patrons and stale air to walk it off on the streets. Predictably, my companion and I got lost and ended up on a several hour walk through Amsterdam – catching up, solving the problems of the world, gossiping, and laughing our heads off but shaking them at the poor sad women who sit in the windows overlooking the canals until a man comes in and they close the curtain,

We finally make it back through the winding park to the hotel, on the ground again. Once was great, but now let’s refocus on the task at hand.


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