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.