Frites, truffles and canals are awesome. Also doner kebab.
I was meeting two US based criminal defense attorneys in Dublin for a couple days of slacking off. My objectives were to see Kilmainham Gaol, walk on a seawall, and enjoy a full Irish breakfast with a pot of Barry's. My traveling companions agreed to meet me in Dublin if I'd continue on with them to Amsterdam. I like waffles, I was in.
The two defenders of justice had been discussing "truffles" on occasion, but it wasn't until the night before we flew to Amsterdam that it registered: these were psychedelic mushrooms, not chocolate covered truffles. For some reason I kept thinking there were gonna be amazeballs confection-stuff in ye olde Amsterdam. Life in a free marijuana state had largely blanked the long standing "Vegas or New Orleans, but the party is four hundred years old" reputation that lives alongside the canals. I had forgotten all the varieties of fun the Dutch capitol provides. All of them.
We discussed the prospect of spending significant time out of our heads. I gave my emotional and physical states a good once over. My experience with psychedelic mushrooms was fairly extensive in the late 90s and early 2000s, and always inside the confines of the United States. I have kept up enough to know quality and variety have not changed from the awful tasting, dried up and barf-tastic 'shrooms Generation X is familiar with.
I was tired, I didn't want to spend a lot of time puking, but I also love psychedelics and 'shrooms were always my favorite trip. I felt comfortable enough with my friends and their ability to maintain when shit got weird. I was in.
After had a lovely chat on the flight over to the Netherlands with an Irish Crüe fan about the Tedeschi Trucks Band, it was merely a short train ride to a hotel on the Singel canal. We dropped off our bags and took a walk. The composition of street front vendors in this neighborhood is pretty much bars, waffles, and dildos. There are occasional frites shops, plus an unhealthy obsession with the American hamburger. It took us no time to find some really good pre-rolled marijuana joints, a bar that would let us drink while we smoked, and some entertaining folk to chat with.
There was at least a shop on every block selling truffles and "space cakes." I assumed that anything psychedelic being sold to the public was probably pretty weak and I — an experienced US mushroom consumer — would have nothing to worry about. One of my companions pulled me into a bodega to procure our psylocibine.
There are 5 or so varieties commonly for sale! The Dutch have naturally gotten this down to a science and my assumption about potency was completely wrong. You can select strains based on which type of mushroom high you'd like to accentuate or perhaps avoid. My friend wanted as much visual punch as he could get, with as little brain or body high as he could manage. We bought a 20g package of Atlantis truffles with the idea the two juris doctors would take 5g a piece and I'd eat what I wanted from the remaining 10g. I ended up eating about 8g.
The street party raged on all Thursday night, and we wandered around a bit. Largely we were too stoned and tired to get very far. We all went to bed early, anticipating a big day tomorrow.
Waking up the next morning to see the locals putting the place back together was impressive! One dude endlessly polished a lovely metal statue of Ganesh with a toothbrush, and the streets were clean by 9am. Only a few whip-it canisters were laying in the cobblestones left proof of the insane party that raged up and down the street last night.
I took a short walk around the canals, had a coffee and met my friends. We smoked a joint and split up the mushrooms. I was running on an empty stomach. I hoped I wouldn't want to puke too terribly.
The Atlantis mushrooms are not dried out! They are still wet, also slightly firmer and more crunchy than handling them would imply.The Atlantis did not taste nearly as disgusting as dried American psychedelic 'shrooms. These went down easily, I chewed the hell out of them. Happily, I didn't need to swig Pepto-bismal immediately after…
"Oh well, now we wait."
We did not have to wait long, however. I'd had a lot of Guinness and Jameson over the last week, but aside from some amazing Fish and Chips on Fishamble Street (I thought it appropriate to enjoy them there,) I had perhaps made a mistake if I intended to gobble a handful of psychedelics. In a mere 30 minutes in I was scrunching my toes and wiggling my fingers in a very, very familiar way. Legal counsel indicated we should walk.
It was around 10am. We headed to Vondlepark.
Vondlepark is a fairly large park to have in the middle of a canal ridden city. It is lovely, displays Amsterdam's vibrant and friendly community, and was one hell of a long damn walk while coming on, and being buzz bombed by grandmothers on pedal bikes. 3 miles or so of trusting Apple Maps and my watch to just tell me where to go, I was marveling at some pretty amazing-to-a-Californian architecture and the color-shifting sky behind it.
Then I realized all the buildings were leaning in, like they wanted to fall on me. It appeared that somewhere near 1/3rd the buildings were falling into the street. I assumed the other buildings were likely just leaning in another direction, maybe they didn't like the street. Then I wondered if I was just tripping. Then, I blamed the very idea of canals.
Engineering projects like "canals" are something every Californian is trained to fear. Build your city on boxed in mud and stuff will move around, buddy! The shifting walls and foundations probably require a lot of fixing. I was not scared, however, I assumed these guys were on their game. I saw no buildings laying across a street. Good work, Hague guys.
I was happy to get into Vondlepark. It is very nice. There was a huge field where locals clearly bring their dogs, to let their dogs run and play. It is wonderful to sit and watch dogs run around even when you aren't tripping. When you are tripping, happy dogs are awesome. I also enjoyed their small water features, ponds and whatnot, but for fucks sake do I hate the little bridges in that park. There is something able the angle of each one of those bridges that makes me feel like I am going to slide straight into hell. Every one of them. Straight to hell.
But I did not slide straight to hell! Instead I was knocked in the gut by wave after wave of nausea. The feeling like I needed to vomit was pretty god damn strong, and would likely have overwhelmed me had I sat down for very long. I also felt like I had to pee very badly, and finding a public urinal was not proving to be easy. I did not realize that the Dutch have public, open air pissours. Evidently enough folks die by falling into a canal while pissing that the Dutch decided to put in phone booths you can pee in. Regardless, I had no idea these existed, was tripping pretty damn hard and had to pee.
I paid E.50 to enter a stark white tiled room. Once I walked in, there was a toilet for me to pee in and magically my stomach calmed instantly down. Then the tiles started to dance. As soon as I finished peeing I got the hell out of there. I was worried I'd get distracted, and lose my legal counsel.
Everyone was having a good time, but one of the guys wanted to return to our hotel, take whatever legal sleeping pill his doctor prescribes to help him deal with a life in criminal defense, and turn his trip off. We set out to find our hotel. We were about 2 hours into our trip and things were still getting weirder for me. We stumbled in a direction we hoped was right.
With the tummy-troubles on the wane I was now having medium strength visuals and feeling kinda sped up. I was buzzing like I'd drank a pot of coffee. Any time I'd stop moving, pause or enjoy my surroundings, they'd be altered by shifting shapes, changing colors, and the occasional dude in a plague mask wandering the street.
I think Amsterdites find plague masks fashionable.
After dropping our pal off, we crossed a canal in a new direction. There were women standing behind glass doors like they were in a display case. Holy shit! Amsterdam has a famous red light district, and I had completely forgotten! Those women were in a display case! This was one hell of a place to wander into tripping balls.
Clearly the folks working in the red light district were familiar with the look in my eyes. It didn't take very long for someone to open a door and ask me "Truffles? What kind sweetie?" I stopped to discuss what I thought she was interested in, but when it became clear I was not shopping — just blissfully wandering around staring at things, my new friend abandoned me to my meandering. I was amazed.
The red light district was polite, happy and clean. The number of mothers out on a Saturday afternoon, strolling with their young sons through the red light district was impressive. In my county we are still arguing that ANYWHERE is too close to a children's school to sell weed. In Amsterdam, you march your kids past the red light windows. I saw absolutely no bad behavior, and was just entertained as all get out.
There is clearly someone for everyone.
Mistakes were made: At some point we passed a sexy lingerie shop that had an amazing "sugar skull" style skeleton hoodie. It was a skeleton with all the bones done up for Dia de los Muertos and I knew my daughter would love it. Asking the store minder in a sexy lingerie shop if they have anything in 11-year-old sizes while tripping balls is a mistake. The shop keeper wanted me to leave. I'll check Amazon for the hoodie later.
After about an hour of this, and about 4 hours into the trip, I saw a frites restaurant.
Thank you Chipsy King.
I stood on a bridge over a canal and really, really enjoyed a large cone of frites with peanut satay sauce. This bridge was my friend and I didn't feel bad at all, just like I was the luckiest dude on earth.
I started to come down, the visuals slowed, I smoked a joint. The remaining tripping lawyer, however, was still really going. Evidently he had gulped down the mushrooms hoping not to taste them and become overcome with nausea. His assumption was that this slowed absorption and he felt like he'd taken a second dose about the same time I started to come down. We wandered.
Hours later: I was exhausted. The drugs were largely worn off and now I was just tired, maybe mildly stoned. My friend was coming down, he surprised me with a doner wrap. Doner kebab is the best thing coming down food I've experienced this side of a Brazilian churrascaria.
I'd say the truffles lived up to their advertising. They were 'shrooms. The visuals were strong, the rest of the high wasn't very intrusive minus the short bought of wanting to puke all over Vondlepark's bridges, and Amsterdam was a super chill place to trip. I certainly saw quite a few other people in the park, and in the red light district, clearly doing what we were.
Later we met a pretty cool Canadian national, hanging by himself at a bar and planning to eat mushrooms the next day. He over heard us discussing the days trip and asked a few questions. We ended up hanging out and drinking with our Canadian pal for a few hours! Wonderful guy and I hope his trip went as well as ours.
Chipsy King, I love you.