By: Mike Marino
Tinkerbell, pixie dust and pirates made Peter Pans day as he flew around in tights in the fictional paradise lost of Neverland. Today, you too can have a fairy tale journey as a Bohemian Lost Boy or a Lost Goth Girl in the underground and undercurrent sub-culture of the Netherlands. Lets face it, those, daring, dauntless Dutch have given us more than delf, dikes, wooden shoes and windmills. Amsterdam is a steaming, compost rich in history, art, culture, and a William Burroughs subterranean narco nightlife to die for.
Amsterdam is also the penultimate Euro-industrial showcase and mecca for the severely perverse sub-culture vulture. It's a narcissistic syringe laced with enough creativity to induce a paralyzing and fatal art attack in the truly art addicted! Galaxies of galleries orbit in perfect harmony around its solar system, planets of art, of all types and tastes circle it's sun and proliferate like tulips on steroids. One gallery alone is devoted to over 500 works of the invincible Vincent Van Gogh.
History is kept alive with museums highlighting Hollands colorful and sometimes somber past, including the Anne Frank Museum. Anne was the young girl who not only kept a diary of her families trials and tribulations under German occupation, but who also fell victim to Nazi atrocities in Hitlers drive for world domination. Virulently anti-Nazi, it was the brave Dutch who used to toss wooden shoes, called sabots into the industrial machinery of the Third and thankfully final Reich, and gave us the word..sabotage! On the lighter side of the fence is a museum for devotees of the history of red light district sex, a museum of torture, and what would hemp happy Holland be without it's museum of Hemp and Cannabis.
This beautiful old world city of Hans Brinker fame is graced by a geometric, winding labyrinth of canals where you can enjoy a pleasurable cruise while enjoying a massive urban architectural bricks and mortar orgasm. The Dutch, always eco-minded, have provided an array of public transportation alternatives to renting a car, but the best way to enjoy and absorb all Amsterdam has to offer is by bicycle, and they can be rented at any number of conveyance establishments.
Amsterdam is also the most hemp tolerant city in the world, and although not completely legal by any means, the cannabis culture of cabal is alive and well at numerous "coffeshops" where you can get more bang for your bong. If the Indy 500 is one of the pre-eminent auto events in the world, then Amsterdam can lay claim as the home of the the Grand Prix of Cannabis, as it plays host to the annual International Cannabis Cup Competition. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!
Prostitution, on the other hand, is legal in Amsterdam and the Red Light District is a fertile ground for the sexual imagination. Walk down the streets and the windows attractively display flesh and fantasy in equal amounts.You can find everyting from a menage a trois to a giddyup session with a ponygirl, and all can be had for the price a right sound spanking by a Dutch Dom to make your bottom tingle with delight.
The city of bikes and dikes pushes the cultural envelope and has something for everyone, proving that life is indeed a cannabis and carnal cabaret old chum. More than that, it is truly a delicious and somewhat delightfully decadent garden of history, art, cannabis culture and a cornucopia of consentual sex. So, hop aboard the Canna-Bus Tourbus, grab your Zig Zags and your Trojans, and lets Amsterdam it!
SEEDS AND STEMS
Those damn Amsterdam coffeeshops kick some highly serious grass glass! Dutch doobies have been firing up since Dutch society started lightening up, and stopped bashing the hash in the 1970's. Prior to that, the 1960's were a time of societal upheaveal and reefer revolution, and the Dutch Provo's were in the avant vanguard for all the other guerilla street politico's to come. This melting pot of protest, led to the eventual relaxation of restrictive smoking pot penalization.
As the Sixties began to wither on the vine, the great global ganja culture of "wasted" youth began to bloom, bud and blossom in the Garden of Hedon. The Age of Aquarius made room for the Age of Cannabis, and the Dutch coffeehouse culture had finally reached a full climax and officially, unofficially came of age.
The Acid Tests of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and the Digger free feed, free store culture of Haight Ashbury in the Psychedelic Sixites, can directly trace their DNA to the result of the social intercourse already banging away full tilt boogie in the humping hempster bedrooms of Holland. One by one, the first coffeeshops began to open their experimental doors of perception. Names like "Mellow Yellow" and others, are living monuments to Mary Jane and Co. that still exists to this day. To put it into pop culture perspective, they are the Lincoln Memorials of Marijuana! Four Scored and Seven Joints Ago!
Once disco died it's polyester death, the tied dyed times were ripe for fans of cannabis to borrow from the Blue Grass State, and planted the seed to hold the first of the Kentucky Derby of green grass competitions in Amsterdam. By the late 1980's, it was time to harvest the idea, and the first Cannabis Cup Competition was held, and has been growing like a weed ever since. Over the years the tokers and smokers have stoked the pop culture bowls with theme competitions and institued the dubious doobie Counter Culture Hall of Fame. The first inductee was the Godfather of Ganja, Bob Marley, during the 10th Cannabis Cup and subsequent inductees include beatniks Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, along with peaceniks Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez. Then, to really jazz it up one year, Ann Arbor's power to the people poet, weed warrior, vagabond emeritus and rainbow colored white panther, John Sinclair, inducted the one and only...Louis Armstrong into the hallowed halls of hemp. Hello, Doobie!
Most of Amsterdams psychedelic and colorful emporiums of euphoria are within walking distance of Centraal Station and Dam Square, and convieniently located on top of the Red Light District. You can get a drink and a smoke at most shops, listen to marijuana music, reefer regaee, and rock n' roll, so if your 18 years of age or older, stoners can socialize in a convivial carnival of cannabis with one another without Big Brother's heavy handed retribution. Hash and pot are sold over the counter or at windows, and some offer free rolling papers and cardboard to fashion filters. A few shops offer bongs, pipes and vaporizers so if you don't carry your own you can count on the the house to pass the glass.
Seeds n' stems rules of social etiquette apply in Amsterdam, and will go a long way in keeping your trip flying high, and not go up in smoke! First, leave the mask of the Ugly American at home. Americans have an overseas reputation as being embarassingly brash and overbearing to some Europeans, so the red, white and rude act won't win you any brownie points. Patience is also a virtue here, so pace yourself and slow down and smell the tulips.
Remember you are a tourist and a guest in their country, and not a member of the George Bushocracy searching for phantom WMD's. You just want to find some Bongs of Mass Dilerium and smoke a little dope!
THE RED THREAD TOUR
Cobblestones and cannabis may pave the counter cultural streets of Amsterdam, but there's also a lively panoramic pavement of prostitution in a vibratory marketplace chock full of sex and goodies. The Red Light District is symbolic of "de rode draad" or the red thread of prostitution that runs rampant through society. Prostitution is not only legal in Holland, but a highly respected profession in this erotic enclave of Dutch dildo's and delightful decadence. In addition to the promiscuous leg spreading vicariousness of the area, there are numerous merchants of mastabatoria that will salivate with capitalistic glee, as the cash register rings while catering to any and all of your machinations and fascinations. They will go the extra mile when it comes to putting a collar and leash on your wildest leather fetish fantasies.
Sex clubs are as abundant as a hardon in a harem, and offer a diverse menu of exotic and gender bending entertainment. Big buxom female beauties and tantalizing tranny teasers, parade and strut thier stuff au natural to please the patrons of heterosexual persuasion. If, however, you are heterophobic, the deliriously gay and luciously lesbian crowd can also have their sexual palates and panties pleased at numerous clubs and cabarets that feature shows and dancing that resembles a close contact sport.
Shops sell everything from bottom pleasing riding crops to bridles and saddles to harness that ponygirl in training, as well as forced maid costuming and a dazzling array of bondage and discipline and they are everywhere. Absolute Danny is a orgasmic must see on your genital tour of Amsterdam. It's the Fort Knox of vaginal weaponry and includes the atomic bomb of self gratification, the amazing Tarzan Dildo. Condomerie, one of the oldest and largest erection emporiums in town has every concievable size, shape and style of penis wear finery to be found in Europe. They have an explosive rainbow selection of colors and hues, and when it comes to varietals of condom flavors it's the Baskin Robbins of Latex. The artsy fartsy crowd can also get their rocks off as they stare in amazement at a concrete example of erectus eroticus art in the form and shape of a giant penis fountain with spinning balls and all, and a water flow to qualify it as Viagra Falls! The "soiled doves" of America's Wild West were the Queens of the raggedy frontier cowboy kingdom and were adored by robber baron and train robber alike. Today, the prostitutes of Amsterdam command more respect from their society, and deservedly so, than do most politicians in the numerous Bush-ocracy's around the globe. Amsterdams Red Light District is not just an area set aside as a garden of Eden for sexual nirvana, but also a refined cathedral of worship of this, the oldest of professions...and yes, you can get laid! Every color of the racial rainbow, and dialect of the United Nations is available in an assortment of sizes from slim to ample. As you walk down the streets you'll pass the soft red glow of windows filled with female flesh on display with the promise of fantasies fullfilled for a price. Top or bottom, soft or hard, sub or dom, you choose the dream and she'll drive the train to it's final destination. Make no mistake, these are not mannequins, these are man eaters and man pleasers.
A few rules of decorum for the uninitiated. Treat the prostitutes with all the respect you would your own sister or your own mother. Also, you're not allowed to take any photographs of them. These are not Polaroid Prosititutes, so keep the digitals out of reach. They are working girls and at the same time, they are ladies and are to be treated as such. One more word, these girls are also members of a union called De Rode Draad and take their profession and art seriously.
The redlight district is host to happy hookers and hempy hookahs, but it's also a repository of some of the finest damned architecture in Amsterdam. Walk down the winding streets and you'll swear you've stumbled into a fairy tale realm and the buildings will remind you of times and ages long gone in the forgotten ghost shoud of time. The District is also home to a bustling and mysterious Chinatown, a Jewish quarter with the some of the best pastrami this side of the Wailing Wall, and a daily flea market that is a must for the rummager and collector of trash as treasure. Got Sex? Amsterdam does!
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
Amsterdam is also the Netherlands never ending haven for art and antiquities. The country has over 400 museums that delve into a variety of cultural corners of the Dutch. The glutton for art galleries will certainly satiate his or her hunger at a myriad of reknown art enclaves highlighting the works of Van Gogh and Rembrandt to lesser known painters and other artists and art forms, including photography and film.
Among the the museums of the more sedate and serious nature you'll find the Anne Frank House and Museum and also the Dutch Resistance Museum. Both focus on a dark period of world history and the bravery it evoked in a whole populace as well as the heart of one young girl who found her inner strength through her beliefs. There is also a Jewish Museum, Dutch History Museum and a variety of science and natural history museums, including a childrens hands on experience to explore the mysteries of the world of science.
Nautical and tropical themed museums exist, and in addition to a Dutch Shipping Museum there's even a small Houseboat Museum. The Brew Happy Lager Heads will be overjoyed to learn there is a Heineken Experience and brewry tour that gets up a full head of steam, and you can even get a peek under Marilyn Monroe's skirt at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
The more macabre sensibilities will be tickled pink with a jaunt through the world of torture and pain at the famed Torture Museum. All the tools for extracting a witches confession are on hand along with a variety of restraints and cages. The cannabis cannibal crowd will enjoy a tokin' tour through the Hemp Marijuana Museum and find it a truly enlightening experience. There is also a Tatoo Museum for the tat crowd and from tat's to tit's, its the Sex Museum and also the Erotic Museum in the heart of the Red Light District. Like a matching pair of breasts, the museums hightlight the history of the district as well as including erotic art, paintings and objects from around the world. The Erotic Museum is five full floors of fantasy. If you're on the art and culture side of the coin and want to maximize your museum clout, you can purchase a Museum Card that for a small price allows you unlimited access to over 400 museums in the Netherlands with 30 of them in Amsterdam alone. The pass is good for a year, so if your kickin' off your shoes for awhile or expating it...it's a bargain!
Amsterdam has it all. Houseboats, canal cruises, pedal boat tours, bikes and dikes, cannabis and sex, culture and counter culture. No matter what your looking for, the Dutch do it right. So when you're trying to figure out where to go off the beaten path...just do what I do...and Amsterdam It, damn it!
Classic Cars, Rock n' Roll, Elvis, Drivein Movies & Route 66! Kerouac, The Beats, Haight Ashbury, Easy Rider & Vietnam!
The Roadhead Chronicles goes from the Cold War Fifties Pop Culture of classic cars and rock n' roll to the spaced out Spare Change Sixties of Vietnam and Hells Angels. Not the usual look at the era, instead It's written by someone who lived it and spent a life of being on the road from his beach bum days in Honolulu to the glitz and dangers of the Sunset Strip in LA, and his purple hazed and double dazed days in North Beach and the Haight Ashbury in San Francisco. The Roadhead Chronicles also looks at the history of Route 66, Roadside Neon Culture and old diners and dives!
Mike Marino writes in an offbeat and irreverant style with a beat and a cadence that is all his own. His writing style has been compared to John Dos Passos, John Steinbeck and Terry Southern and one reviewer likened him to Frederick Lewis Allen on acid! Readers and critics call the book "wickedly wonderful", "delightfully weird" and "automotively sexy."!!