May 4th, 2008

My favorite moment of Zen in Amsterdam is realizing I have “Rokery ass”, a condition caused by sitting on the woven barrels of what appears to be bamboo that are low to the ground to accommodate the height of the very cool tables that dot the southside wall of the Rokery at #8 Singel. If you want to stop by and say hello when I’m in Amsterdam, there’s a 100% chance you’ll find me there with my friends Jeremy, Tamer, Tarek, Neil, Marko, and Aiicha.

Soon I’ll know whether the city plans to ban smoking inside the coffeeshops on July 1st, a really idiotic idea proposed by a Mayor held captiive by special interest groups……including monied real estate interests who wish to transform portions of the classic Red Light district into featherweight boutiques of artsy design and overpriced rentals for trendy goofiness that’ll be in and out of business quicker than art thieves with a box cutter and a rolled up van Gogh under one arm.

My friend Tamer will e-mail me if and when this assault on smoking inside coffeeshops occurs. There are ways around this predicament, one of them being lifetime private membership cards to coffeeshops for just 10 Euros. Fill out a form, sign it, receive your membership card, and smoke inside that particular shop for the rest of your life if you wish.

And while I think of it, a recent issue of Cannabis Culture took a tour of Amsterdam coffeeshops. Not one of those shops, except for the Rookies is worth a shit. Who are these writers and what the fuck are they doing featuring shops like Free Adam whose menu offers some of the worst ditch weed on the planet. Overdried, imported, freezer reefer.

I’ve sampled every shop, and every product, and have blistered scars on my heels to prove it. The best service and product is The Rokery at Singel #8. Ask Aiicha for “The Charles Big Double Coffee in a Glass Mug”. Fresh, hot, and delicious. If you wish to lessen the impact of Amsterdams rock and rolling brick walkways, and avoid crippling blisters from “walking shoes”, wear arch supported PF Flyers sneakers available on-line at Zappos.com. “Chucks” work well, but not as good as PF Flyers. A soft sneaker handles hiking the city much better than those lumpy, cross training, bright white kicks tourists wear. Even Ed Hardy’s work well.

And don’t get ripped off by the headshops lining the Nieuwendijk. Rent is high and so are the prices. Restaurants along this mall, though, are reasonable and very good as are most of the convenience stores. The Soup Kitchen and La Madonna are two that come to mind. And don’t forget to ask Tamer about the small Surinamese take out place on Spuistraat.

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