Bob's Amsterdam Report

Hi Bart,

This is Bob, the queer in Amsterdam. We've corresponded a couple times. I still read your site,
but Iíve been busy registering American voters over here so I've not had much time to put my two cents in.

Registering Americans to vote?

At the risk of sounding like a Mr. know-it-all, if thereís one thing Iím an expert on, itís Amsterdam.
I fell in love with his place when I came for a visit 8 years ago, and Itís now my permanent home.
The Netherlands (you can just say Holland if you find the official name too difficult) is the land of the free.
They take all of the highest ideals of Democracy, justice, and freedom for ALL and actually put them into
practice over here instead of using them as a bunch of pretty phrases.

Iíd like to address some things your ďAmsterdam LadyĒ wrote, and then answer your questions in order
to give your readers a more accurate picture of this place.

First let me congratulate her on finding the Resistance Museum, my personal favorite, but off the beaten path
of the many more popular tourist attractions.  The parallels that exist between Bush and Hitler are minor compared
to the parallels between the German people of the 30ís and the Americans today.  Modern Fascism, called
compassionate conservatism, is alive and well in America, and anyone who visits Amsterdam needs to visit this museum.
(The Anne Frank house/museum has a great exhibition about Nationalism as well, but that's usually a long wait in line)

One minor correction. You are allowed to smoke joints on the street. Personal amounts of pot are completely legal.
Technically, the selling of it is not, but thatís a long Dutch thing we donít have time for. Some of the nice caféís will
ask you nicely not to smoke pot if you light up, but a police officer will never ask you to put your joint out on the street.

Itís also legal to grow your own. Six plants per person is considered personal amount. (Attached photo is this yearís crop
which is just about to flower and should be ready for harvest in November).

As far as the prostitutes, it must be pointed out that the ladies in the windows are running their own respected
businesses rather than being abused by pimps and a society which condemns them while demanding their services
at the same time. They have health insurance and a mandatory months vacation and get monthly check ups for free.

You might be surprised at how much you would enjoy the Gay Pride Parade, Bart.  Iíd say at least half of the throngs
lining the canals and bridges are straight, including old folks and kids. A few years back, a TV crew was asking straights
why they came out to see this parade. The funniest answers came from old ladies who loved the naked bodies, but one
couple typified the Amsterdam/Dutch attitude.  They had their two toddlers with them, and the wife said that they enjoy
the music and spectacle,  -ďand besides, for all we know, one of these two may be dancing on these floats someday.
We want them to know that thereís nothing wrong with that.Ē  What a country! I love this place!

Bart, you askÖ.

If I moved to Amsterdam, how much Chinaco could I get thru customs?

    Four bottles, and duty free.  However, I hope that you would not try and create a little piece of Oklahoma over here.
Unless youíre willing to try new European things and assimilate into the Dutch culture a bit, perhaps Canada is a better choice.

I doubt Amsterdam has anything as fine as Chinaco Anejo.

Thatís if you have enough money to immigrate, or you dump Mrs Bart and marry a Dutch bombshell (Xaviera Hollander?
I know where she lives).   (Ms Hollander is a friend of Marc Perkel's) Is she related to you?
 

Did you see a McDonalds and a Burger King?

    Sad to report. Being a hub of international trade for six Centuries, every country in the world is represented with a restaurant.
Americaís contribution? -ÖMicky Ds and Burger Crap.  Indonesian is a must while youíre here, and along the restraint rows
you can peruse the world menus posted out side each place. For a hot, cheap, and quick burger, try Febos.

RE: Amsterdam TV?

    I have to tell you.  Dutch (and in general European) news is why there are about 9 Democrats abroad for every 1
Republican abroad. The Monica Lewinski story was not so much about what Clinton had done, but more about how
the silly Americans were reacting.

It would be so odd to live where the news contained the truth.

We knew all along over here that Sadam posed no threat. Comparing Dutch and Belgian news to CNN is what has been
most pull-my-hair-out frustrating deterioration of America to observe. Safe Sex  commercials are unashamed and effective.
Half hour shows like The Simpsons are only 20 minutes without commercials, and 24 is only 40 minutes (though six months
later than you see them. I have to be careful not to read your reviews on those, almost spoiled the plot once.)

If TV has no commercials, who pays for the shows?
 

Did you catch any soccer games?

    Called Voetbal (prn -Futball).

 
How are their hotels different, besides older?

    You mean older than America itself?
    Most are very small compared to our standards. Conservation of old buildings is more important than business advantages.
There are a handful of newer buildings in the city, but youíd be missing the Dutch experience. The Ambessade hotel, where your
reader stayed, is one of the best at combining the historic authenticity of the building, while offering modern and slightly larger rooms.

Did you see any Americans with t-shirts that said, "Sorry our dictator invaded Iraq?"

    Mine says ďsorry my presidentís an Idiot. I didnít vote for himĒ in seven different languages

ha ha
 

Was it clean?
They say Paris has sewage in the streets and the women don't shave - yuck!.

    They say that men in Oklahoma beat their wives and take their guns to the bar every night too.  (That's true)
Donít believe everything they say. Itís not as clean here as Vancouver, and not as dirty as New York.

What are the people called - Amsterdamaniacs?

    Amsterdamers
    ďNiemand kun zich beter wensen dan een Amsterdamer te zijnĒ
    (ďno one can wish better for themselves than an Amsterdamer to beĒ)

Cheers
Bob Hollander
 

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