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Amsterdam is like this place, and there are like people living there and stuff. Well, enough of the valley girl talk.
There are only a few reasons why people go to Amsterdam. One is the wide range of art museums which feature heavily on the various Dutch artists that lived there in times past. Another is to absorb the culture of tulips and windmills (incidentally, I never saw any tulips or windmills during my whole stay in Amsterdam. Maybe they were hiding). And the real reason most people go to Amsterdam is the nature of the drug laws, and the proliferation of prostitutes around the city. The reason behind this is that they are legal, or de- criminalized as the law would actually have it. Basically you can happily smoke as much dope as you like so long as you are in your own home or in a coffeeshop which allows smoking. On a side note, the cafes in Amsterdam are for coffee and the coffeeshops are for dope. One of those odd word things. And as most of the prostitutes are centralized in the Red Light district of the city it is easily controllable. Also known originally as the 'city of the little walls' the Red Light district is probably the most famous part of the city, apart from the canals. It basically consists of one part of a canal, with a road on either side. Each road becomes a pedestrian only zone after about midnight-ish at which point large crowds of tourists, dodgy blokes wearing trenchcoats, pimps, pushers, muggers and other general scum turn up looking for trouble. The buildings on either side of the canal are basically glass doors behind which a dazzling array of girls, seemingly a myriad of different colours, styles, states of undress and activities, perform in order to entice a passing person to come in and give them money. It's easy to tell the best ones; a crowd will soon gather around any windows which hold something particularly pleasing to the eye. One such crowd I recall cheering on two girls as they played with other. Basically you just choose a window and go in, and inside there will be a room of some description where you do your stuff. Or so I've been reliably informed. One thing you really do have to worry about is being mugged. On my one and only visit to the area I had a knife prodded in my back after being asked to give him all my money. Oddly enough I complied to his wishes. Well, I gave him some of my money but luckily I wasn't carrying that much. I would recommend travelling with several friends all of whom are quite large and don't look the sort who would appreciate being threatened. As far as I can determine a rough price is around 300-400 guilders. Frankly it's cheaper just to go to a club and buy drinks for a girl until you can talk her into going home with you.

The other reason for Amsterdam is drugs. These are in free and easy supply, and the prices are very reasonable compared to countries where drugs are illegal. If you just pop into any pub, cafe or coffeeshop which has a symbol of a leaf in the window then it is okay to smoke joints in there, and you can probably also buy. When you find a place that is suitable to your needs, simply go up to the bar and ask for the menu. There will usually be a list of five or six types of skunk, weed, blow and so forth, and occasionally space cake is also available. Prices vary according to variety, but what usually costs 10 pounds in England costs 3-4 pounds in Amsterdam.

The city is generally formed into a circle, with the port at the top, the canals going in concentric circles and roads radiating from the centre. You can hire bikes, canal-bikes and canal-taxis all over the place, but the most fun is the canal-bikes. These are reasonably inexpensive, although there is a standard 50 guilder security deposit, returnable on return. You get charged a certain amount for the first hour, and then extra for each ten minutes afterwards. The second and each consecutive hour works out cheaper than the first, and we worked out that if you spent about 4 hours in the canal-bike it would be cheaper just to dump it somewhere and climb up the side of the canal, which isn't that high. Good if you fancy a day trip on the canals.
One thing to really look out for is getting ripped off. This really does happen, especially in bars and cafes. If you can't speak Dutch, (and lets face it, who can) then you are liable to be charged extra, because you don't know how much it should cost. The first night I got there we went to a bar, and got charged increasingly large amounts for the same round of beers. Not good.

About beer: When you decide to order something to drink, make sure you say 'large beer'. You don't need to specify a brand, because no- one over there seems to know there are actually beers that aren't Heineken. Ridiculous. I must admit, I went right off Heineken after going to Amsterdam. And the standard beer glasses are about half pint size, which is just stupid. You go up to the bar, ask for a beer, and they give you some kind of miniature drink. I thought he was taking the piss the first time, then realised everyone else was drinking from half pint glasses. So, either ask for a large beer or a stein. This is a litre glass, and is much more like it. Unfortunately, there is usually only about two of them in a pub at any one time, so you probably won't be able to get one each.

For the best time in Amsterdam, I highly recommend a place called 'The Doors cafe'. This is a theme cafe, completely revolving around the brilliant band 'The Doors'. I spent a very enjoyable afternoon listening to good music, drinking out of a pint glass (rare for Amsterdam) and chilling out to the smell of the seriously large amount of grass being smoked in there. I spent about four hours in there, didn't touch an ounce and I was stoned. Cool.






people are going to Amsterdam.