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Amsterday Day One – The Night is Young

It’s Not Over Till The Fat Lady Sings

DSC02656_Kevin_Ball_TjugofyraFaust received an ecstatic ten minute standing ovation, which it was a privilege to take part in. I’m glad my hands can take it – it’s the closest to exercise my shoulders have had since knackering my right wrist. A huge cast – the opera, not my arm, and entirely deserving of applause. It was also nice to see the director and get some sense of the cast as a group of people wavering into bows and clearly pleased with themselves.

On leaving the opera, mind-blown and delighted with the visual and auditory feast, I took the opportunity to call my other half and bumble back towards my apartment. I did go slight awry, since I was talking and looking for a place to get some food. Indecision lead to me reaching home without actually having eaten. I recalled that I’d passed a bunch of cafes and restaurants down Spuistraat, which joins my street, so I went that way.

Shwarma was my only choice left… a vast pitta filled with spicy meat strips and salad. It wasn’t amazing but it certainly filled a hole and went down very well with the Dutch IPA I’d picked up earlier. That gave me a chance to Skype back to the UK, though we somehow bollixed the cameras and couldn’t properly see each other. Never mind!

It’s Cultural, Right?

Almost next to the kebab house I’d seen a closed shuttered building Mellow Yellow, naught but minutes from my place. It was only midnight… so it was time to go out again. I haven’t smoked weed for years, not properly like back in the olden days. I’ve sort of missed it, yet prize my ability to feel things and remember stuff more. But it’s Amsterdam man…

Mellow Yellow

Apparently Mellow Yellow is one of the original coffeeshops (mind you, this seems to be a common claim, a bit like oldest pubs in Nottingham), although under different management now. I’d considered going to a whole bunch of cool coffeeshops, but faced with the opportunity, I find that I’d rather be quiet and relaxed at home, than in a bar full of smoke and gawping tourists.

The reggae labelled the place as neatly as anything could, though it’s clientele was a curious mix of locals and (presumably) tourists staying nearby. It’s quite a way out of the centre, so I doubt many would be seeking it out specifically. The guys were friendly and open to offering recommendations to someone who “wants to relax, but not get fucked”. Blueberry it is then.


I realise that one of the things I missed the most about casual cannabis use is the meditative joy of skinning up. I’ve always enjoyed it, and my fingers clearly remember the task. I found a nice seat overlooking the ground floor, where I could see the customers amble in and out as well as watch Mel Gibson’s Payback on the TV. Satisfyingly I caught it from about half way, which is where I stopped watching it in England a couple of weeks ago. With Kindle in one hand, and spliff in the other I was perfectly content.

I stayed just for that one, and took the rest of my gramme home. There followed more reading, of Steven Erikson’s third Malazan Book Of The Fallen – Memories of Ice, another spleef and alcohol free Weistephanen. I must be getting old… but it’s been a pretty good first evening in Amsterdam.

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