Welcome to jdenparis.com.  I'm jd, and I just graduated from college.  For one year before med school, I'll be working and living in Paris, and traveling the world with my job.  Below are my stories, photos, and videos.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm Notsterdam, He Is-sterdam

Well, if you've never been to Amsterdam, you must make the trip. What a city. Go quickly though, cause the things you may have heard are starting to change. First of all, apparently there are fewer registered prostitutes in the Red Light District. Fortunately for us, when we walked through, there were plenty: skinny, fat, old, young, black, white, brown, purple, anything you could want. Damian's pretty similar to me though, and so we did just walk through, neither of us even wanted to look in, lest we make eye contact and our skulls explode.

A change of greater significance to me and my line of work, the city has gone Smoke Free! What a victory! This, of course, refers only to tobacco, and so a new job has come into existence. In Holland, and well, most of Europe I guess, a type of marijuana, hash, is rolled into joints mixed with tobacco. They don't smoke weed joints like I imagine the hoodlums do in the United States. However, with the passage of SF laws, there are now enforcement agents whose job is to enter coffee shops (the standard euphemism for a place where you get marijuana) and smell for tobacco! If they smell weed, all is fine. Tobacco, big trouble! What a great country :)

Another change is well underway: the outlawing of Psilocybin mushrooms aka'd as shrooms or magic mushrooms. Now I was talking about this with Damian (my Dutch friend, a native of Amsterdam). He said that at first they only outlawed the dried mushrooms because they are more potent and more difficult to detect (no odor). That left the wet kind which were, yes, less potent and EASIER to detect. Well, evidently they too are on their way out now. Damian told me that although there have been deaths attributed to mushroom use, the argument against their illegalization is that there are way more deaths attributable to alcohol! This was most shocking to me, however, because of the fact that in the Dutch legislative body, there exist elected officials and lobbyists fighting for 'shrooms!

Thankfully, Amsterdam isn't only about prosties and drugs. We dedicated a full day to museums there! First up was the Anne Frank House. Contrary to our expectations, we didn't wait forever to get in or go through. We did the whole thing from arrival to departure in an hour. Not bad. The house was really interesting and I'm glad I went. There's not a lot to see, as Otto Frank, Anne's father and the only Frank to survive the Holocaust wanted the Annex to remain unfurnished, since the Nazis stole all of the furniture shortly after imprisoning the occupants. It was definitely a moving experience and I'm glad I went. Next up was Van Gogh.

Lots of art at Van Gogh. My favorite was his painting of a skeleton smoking a cigarette. I bought postcards for the people at The Union. Didn't see starry night :/ Did see the famous self portraits, bedroom, and landscapes. They are nice. Lastly we went to the Heineken Experience / Brewery.

Heini was great! Loved the museum. I learned a lot about the branding and the awards they've won. My favorite was their claim about how Heineken makes the world just a little greener :) Also, I never knew before, the the 3 "e" letters in the branded name are smiling! Look closely next time. The best part of the museum was the ride that made me feel like a piece of barley goin through the beer-making process. Of course, the tasting stations were nice too, but as I would learn soon, were no match for the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen. Heini also had some cool Surface-esque tables. Lame implementation. It was also pretty funny when one of the brewmasters went to use a grinding machine which I had broken just moments before. I tried to tell him at first, but he was presenting to another group and I didn't want to interrupt! Then it was just too embarrassing to 'fess up to that in front of our whole group... Plus there were 2 cute girls following us.

One day Damian took me to a port town in Holland (forgive me for not remembering the name every time... Fullendam? **Volendam - Home of the annual Herring festival - Thanks Lori!!**). This place was really cool. And by cool I just mean freezing!! The boats and sea were really picturesque. On the way back, we stopped by one of the dikes. Here you can really see why in French, Holland is called Pays-Bas (Low Country). It's way lower than the sea! (see pics).

The best thing about Amsterdam may have been Damian's family. They took me in as one of their own. First of all, his mom's boyfriend let us stay the whole two weeks for free at his place, conveniently located right near the city and on a pretty canal (see pics). Then, his brother and sister-in-law had me over for not one, but two christmas dinners! Again, see pics. Lastly, both of Damina's Omas (grandmas - same as in German, Dad's side of the family!) had me over for lunch! So sweet. His Indonesian grandmother made a fantastic noodle stir fry, and we had some good pastries with the Dutch one. Good times, thanks Damian's family for making me feel like one of your own!

Enjoy les photos.

A bientot,

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

i like the dolce vita pic...

bring me a buffalo pie next weekend