Monday, November 5, 2007

My mate in Amsterdam

My mate in Amsterdam

Just to give you a short story about my mate Anton, who is an I.T. Consultant, based out in Amsterdam for six months. Anton actually lives in France with his family but resides in Amsterdam during the week. I decided to get in touch and find out what Anton has been up to these past few weeks. Anton wrote this for my blog as a personal appreciative gesture Hi this is Anton. You already know why I'm out here, so no need to elaborate and dwell. I've been out in Holland, suffering with the cold and the rain, for the best part of two months and have yet to visit one of the museum’s or taken in the wonderful sights of Rembrandt's fine art-work. I’ve not even visited the famous and fabulous Diamond factories stores they have over in Dam Square. What I can tell you is that there at least 34 good coffee-shops situated around the City Centre. (I've listed my top ten below if any one is interested) I can tell you which shop has the best Hash or Weed. Who supplies the best morning, evening, night-time, Afternoon-in-the-park to going-to-the-airport-weed. Which places have the friendliest staff or even the nicest barmaid’s (research purposes only) to those who supply the cheapest and frothy cappuccino to who plays the best music for a Tuesday evening.I know the alternative guide to Amsterdam the frustration of trying to access the porno channels on the Dutch cable channels. But once you get channel 405 - 409, hold left, twice right then up arrow, you can see why the Dutch are so sexually liberated. Again research purposes only....Yes there can be moments when all is not well and I become tongue-tied in my fruitless attempt to master the language, but I remind myself, I'm here to get paid not to apply for citizenship. My favourite words are: doi, hoi, ashspliff, gooden middag and tankerwell.

I can read the trains and metro maps and when in doubt I just ask someone. In English! As for the transport (bus, metro and train) are excellent, always on time, clean and inexpensive. I work next to the Amsterdam Arena and what an impressive stadium it is. Only a shame that Ajax (who play football here) are not representing Holland in this year's Champions League. The atmosphere would have been electric.

I have a favourite coffee shop, close to Dam Square, where they sell a pre-rolled for 2 euros. Don't laugh, we've all had those moments when you can't be bothered to roll one. You're out at a party or need something to go with that night of passion you been planning for 3 days. Or you're just plain old lazy like moi. What could be better than a bag of 5 pre-roll's for 10euros?
Another thing I noticed is the dress sense of the Dutch. It's a mixture of 1980's Pet Shop Boys and modern day Ali G. Basically there is no dress sense, although they do have designer shops, good sports shops and markets for the odd bit of rough, it is the way that it is thrown together, with the trousers swinging around the ankles, revealing a whitish-grey sock or the women with Eskimo fur boots riding a bike with short denim skirts in the middle of a cold October. I put it down to me being blessed, having been born in the heart of ‘Fashion–Land’, South London. Right from an early age we possessed high standards and tastes when it comes to clothes. Even in prison.

There are many places to eat, although I'm a sucker for 'Wok to Work', a Chinese take away over in Heidelberg Strasse. The Indonesian over by Dam Square is great food and taste. A bit pricy, but hey we’re consultants so we can find a way to claim it back. The best times to go are Monday evening and Friday’s and avoid like the plague when the place is heaving with students or Thursday late night shoppers. There are quite a few traditional Dutch restaurants over in the RAI, Zuid-Holland, which doesn't appeal to me. I visited the Hercules, a traditional Dutch Restaurant, with a work colleague, after I had been here for around three weeks. Whilst scanning the menu I noticed nearly every dish contained ham in some way shape form or manor. Now people who know me, know it’s hard for me to sit next to someone at the NEXT table who is eating the swine, much less looking at a menu where 85% of the meals contain it. Needless to say my mind was quickly made up. Burger King on Lieder Straase. I could be there in ten. Fifteen tops. Suffice to say it would be wrong of me to comment on Dutch cuisine, but a staple diet where by it appears there's more pig trotter than saffron rice, I have my doubts.

As for the red-light district, I can hand on heart say I have not ventured down that route. Don't get me wrong, I know exactly where it is, just off the turning from China Town, across the road from Centraal Station. However as stated I have no need or desire to go and spend my easily earned money on some prostitute, by the name of Betina. Knowing my miss-fortune I'd go there, only to buck up on one old time friend and have to start answer some funny questions. Black people are not easy and delicate moments like this, can ruin one's reputation that has been built up over the past 20 odd years. Again one would like to add for the record that one is very happy and content at home. And all you men out there reading, who are wondering, "You're crazy Anton...go and do a ting…." Well y├íll need to stop with that foolishness. You need to be concentrating more on your Baby-Love & children before you do something stupid and end up like my friend Jeff; who now resides over a kebab shop, washing his own briefs. No big man chat can save you when those days reach, so allow the red-light district, find a nice coffee shop and chill.

Before I forget here's my top ten (well 9 or is it 11)

Blue Dolphin - Warmostraat - 25 tram to Dam Sq. - white widow, 2.5g bag
Blues Brothers - Maasstraat - sky sports - 2 screens, German Lager and smoke only
Butch Cassidy - Warmostraat - sky sports - 4 big screens, house special is wicked
Lions Den - Wicked music. Nice Moroccan hash. tip: mix with the orange-bud
Huckleberry's - The breakfast and Sunday newspaper place. Also do a good Diesel
Nice Place - Where I use the internet and grab a bag!!
Oceans - Handoverstraase - sky sports, orange-bud, French coffee and croissants
Golden Smoke - Leidsieplein
High Times - Warmostraat.


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