The last night in Amsterdam. Dan has a friend that’s been here for several weeks and hanging out with some touring crew. We meet up with them by the hotel they’re staying at, the bar is closing down so we down one bear. They talk about the head shops and I tell them about the edibles we had taken, the guys graciously offer me the magic truffles they purchased, a handful of which I throw in my mouth. Tastes like dirt.
We then roam around to find a local bar that’s still open, finds a place in the alley that seems hoppin' and walk in. It looks kinda like that Circus Circus scene from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Acid vibe is further enhanced with the music selection by a DJ that stands 10ft above everyone on this tiny booth, swapping vinyls and putting up the "Now Playing" in a methodical manner. Seems serious. Then comes a round of shots, followed "Waiting For An Alibi" by Thin Lizzy blasting off the speakers like an alarm that shit's about to go the fuck down. Of course me and Danimal proceed to go berserk. Then I turn around and find a tall lanky air-guitarist with a Slayer T-shirt on, just going off three times as hard as we are. Danimal proceed to air-guitar battle with him for a few sec, we chuckle and raise our glasses.
He says his name is Thomas and is literally from this neighborhood, a rare breed that's becoming even rarer as I'm sure in any major city you can think of. He's been coming to this bar, which he calls "The Drain" (because all the drunks that close out the nearby bars end up in here) listening to this particular DJ for all his adult life. Says I'm the first Asian person that he got to talk to, then proceeds to basically tell me how Amsterdamers do; like he might not walk straight when he's piss drunk but can ride a bicycle better even when he passes out on the handle. Or that when you go up to a bartender in a place like this, don't bother asking for a specific brand, just tell them "get me a beer," they'll figure out what to do. Or, how they don't really care what others do; if I don't dig what you do I just walk away and go about my day. No need to get upset. If you dig what I do, come join me and have a beer.
Nothing special, anything that any decent humans would do. Yet, many drunkards fail to stick to it, especially visitors.
This could be said about all the cities I’ve visited; if you see a dumb drunk, most likely s/he’s a tourist. Especially in Amsterdam, most locals (that I could tell) enjoy their drinks without being douchey, probably because the reputation and stereotype of the city brings in those who come for escapism and ignore that these places are homes to many, and just trash. Thinking we're only here for a week. Japanese, used to be known for their misbehavours back in 80s when they started to explore the world, have the phrase "Drop your shame when traveling" which basically is their What Happens in Vegas... quote. If you know anything about Japanese and their shame, this hits hard. #zerofucksgiven in its worst form.
Back to Thomas. Just when we establish this, "my" group decides to change scenery. We ask Thomas to come along, so we stroll onto the late night streets. Mostly quiet, until we run into some commotion; an ambulance, big crowd and a few motorbikes storm out of the scene. Girls in short skirts yelling in English. Keep walking, then we see a club with a Hollywood-style huge line. I hear that bass. Might be Despacito or Tiesto, I don't remember. Guess we were trying to get in here but of course at this point no one wants to engage in something that looks and sounds too familiar, so we decide to head back to the hotel and hang there. Thomas grabs me and asks if we, as in me and Dan want to come to his place where he has a bottle of vodka. Alas, by then Danimal is already inside the fancy hotel lobby chatting up with the crew ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
We add each other on the Book of Faces, and bid farewell.
Once inside the hotel room, tight but nice and with a window out to the alley, they put on some tunes and start rolling joints. Probably too loud for the neighborhood at 5am, especially with the windows open, and just when I pop my head out, the employees down in the alley look up. They ask not only to turn down, but also not to smoke inside the room. I pass the message but the crew proceeds. Then the phone rings. One of the girls answers and, very politely, deny that we have been smoking. She promises we will not. Never. Hangs up, proceeds to puff away.
Soundchaser/two-time Independent Music Awards finalist. Currently travelblogging at #beatvagabond and working on new material.