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Jun 13, 2012

A Cloud of Smoke: The Amsterdam Mishap

Funny story. 

The Netherlands is a place of full of cultural delights. Dutch cheese and tulips, windmills and wooden shoes...all of which are things I undoubtedly adore. But when I think of Amsterdam, Holland's largest, most prominent city, I don't think of tulips and windmills. 

Quite frankly, I think of weed. Prostitutes and weed. 

What? You're a liar if you say your mind doesn't go straight there, too. I blame America and its fascination with all things taboo and illegal, so naturally it would be the place Americans go to freely do what has been banned in their own country for years (although apparently not for long...check out this article...guess you can take your business elsewhere people!). Now just for the record, neither D nor I have ever partaken in such a substance (or prostitution, just for the sake of being clear). Call me a prude, but it's not our cup of tea. Wine...now wine's my cup of tea...but that's for another story. All that being said, there was still no way in hell I was going to miss out on visiting Amsterdam. Weed or no weed, a trip was to be planned. Now, on to the story.

Before leaving for Amsterdam, D's commander politely reminded him that he's an Officer in the United States Air Force and certain organic substances...ahem...were to remain untouched by his hands...or mouth, rather. It's a total career killer (and a brain cell killer), mind you. He also mentioned that these "organic substances" were normally found in coffee shops. So, basically, "STAY AWAY FROM THE COFFEE SHOPS." Sounds easy enough, right?

Heh yeah, one would think.

So, we're walking and talking, enjoying the sights and sounds of Amsterdam. We'd just finished our Heineken Brewery tour and tasting (photos to come) and we were making our way towards the Anne Frank House to explore one of the most historic gems of the city. Now, if you've never been to Amsterdam, you wouldn't know that the city is like a crazy labyrinth of row houses and canals...but I'm here to tell you it is. It's a crazy labyrinth of row houses and canals. It's the only city I've ever traveled to that I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to orient myself on a map. You were hard pressed to find a street sign (if they were there, they were cleverly hidden on the side wall of a building) and everywhere I turned, all the canals looked the same. A canal, a row house. A canal, a row house. A true and embarrassing story. Because of our disorientation, we somehow ended up in a less than desirable part of town. And of course, without fail, this is when I decided that I wanted...NAY, needed...a hot cup of coffee.

Why is it that the moment you need a Starbucks to be on every street corner, there just isn't one Starbucks to be had? It's some messed up coffee phenomenon I'll never understand. Every coffee shop we passed did not exude the sweet smell of cinnamon and coffee beans. Nope, not coffee beans...but the pungent, off-putting aroma of reefer, weed, Mary Jane, POT...oh yeah...was everywhere. Seriously. I couldn't believe my nose. How anyone walking down that particular street avoids an uninvited contact high, I'll never know.

After a few minutes of walking and unabashedly reveling in the freeness of Amsterdamians (is that a word? I'm making it a word), we stumbled upon a coffee shop that looked harmless. It was called the Coffeeshop Rockland and it had cute little jukeboxes and records in the windows. Jukeboxes and records...very American (in my head). I blame that for drawing us in.

What we all failed to notice was the giant Bob Marley mural spray painted on the building (the chairs were in the way...it could happen). Matt, a very good friend, decided to man up, go in, and check it out. What a brave, brave man he is. Just as our boy reaches his hand for the doorknob I notice a small, yellow sign plastered to the door..."No patrons under the age of 18 allowed!" I knew what that meant. Umm, duh. Big problem. Immediately my body couldn't control itself and I lunged towards Matt to grab the back of his shirt in an attempt to pull him away. I let out a freakishly loud "NOOOOOOOOOO" as the world seemed to move in slow motion...but my squeal was in vain. It was already too late. Matt had pried open the door and was met with a thick wall of white smoke. Marijuana smoke. 

It was just like in the cartoons. The smoke left a little Matt outline in its wake as it pushed its way outside the cafe. Matt turns around with a look of terror and astonishment on his face. All I kept thinking was, "DON'T BREATHE IN, MATT...DON'T BREATHE IN!" (Granted, he totally should have. Might have been the only chance he'd get. But, I digress.) Matt, still astonished, hustled over to where we were standing, and without missing a beat and as fast as he could speak said, "Nope, not a good one. Totally called that wrong. Casey, it's your fault. That was fun. Let's keep walking!"

We all burst out laughing...tears streaming down our faces! I could have died. Right there on the street, died from laughing. The Lt. Col had put the fear of God in us about these darn coffee shops that our reactions to a person-shaped cloud of smoke, I'm sure, were a sight to behold. Ahhh, silly Americans. Needless to say, we never did get any coffee that day. Guess it's just as well. But we sure got a great memory. A very Amsterdam worthy one, at that.

{I should also mention that there is MUCH more to Amsterdam than just weed and prostitutes. Much, much more! :) So, stay tuned for more photos showing a different side of the city and our Easter Sunday visit to the Keukenhof Gardens!}

{ OH and how do you guys like the new look?! I'm kind of in love. I'm also kind of biased. ;) }


  1. I LOVE the new blog look! And this story... cracked me up! :)

  2. Oh no!! Why didn't he specify that a coffee shop is a place for cannabis and a coffee house is a place for coffee?? Poor things :-( but definitely a great story, and I am sure many other people have had similar experiences!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. As you deleted a load of comments including mine will post again:

    The only cells cannabis kills are cancer, drinking wine like tea on the other hand....

  5. please take the time to watch this educational video on cannabis –––https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgAfqy2ycVM&index=418&list=PLwm2xdzxbDmeS6bw-bA2_nXhBZqNI5lGQ

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. It become an attractive part of a blog when author uses indirect speech while writing a blog. It shows your creative mind as well as make your written essay different from others.cursus fotografie rotterdam


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