Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Amsterdam, the Road to Perdition

Triceratops trip done by the Triceratops Trio and Two Twats.

Discovered hat in fridge.

Breakfast at Garfunkles, 2 for 10 pounds special. Omlet 'cooked to order' - with no ingredients. As opposed to being pre-cooked.

Tea pots

Walked by the scene of the crime - Indian restaurant. Turns out everyone but Jana and Richard suffered to some degree - not just Logan. Guy at indian restaurant upselling the shit out of us.

Matt dressed as a pirate hooker ninja pelvic thrusting saying 'Where's my hookers?'
Christiana the Canadian was hassled. She seemed to have worked for the last 74 hours. She still cheerful.

Logan lost oyster card. Pete asked to hold stuff while I rooted in bag. Oyster card in stuff I handed him.

Dr Who experience

3D experience very good.
Dr Who said you the bald gentlemen might turn into a chicken - and pete was the only one there.

Lift attendant: I said you run the lift all day, i heard the lift business has it's up and downs. She said 'wait a moment' - when the bell rang and the door open she looked at me and said 'get out'.

Other tourists keep asking for help. The government should consider employing pensioners like they do in Australia to wear uniforms and give directions.

Everyone's one sentence impression of the doctor who experience:

Richard: Fun, but not enough redheads.
Matt: I wanted to dry hump the daleks, five stars. The tour guide who must have seen it hundreds of times still laughed at the jokes - must be good. Best part - i crashed the TARDIS.
Pete: Very much enjoyed it; some of the effects of the walk through experience (especially the 3D) very nicely done, a few laughs. i liked the fact that they acknowledge the contribution of Delia Derbyshire.
Jana: I learned lots of new words and I liked the interactive stuff. (Matt note, she is now converted.) I will steal the episodes from someone.
Logan: I really enjoyed (well worth the 20 pounds) it though I felt we got hustled through the 'experience' part to try to make the half hour time despite no one else waiting to get in.

I got approached by a nice looking lady who wanted me to take her picture. She was there by herself. I felt a bit bad for her and was thinking about inviting her to hang out with our group but I didn't because I didn't want her to feel weird though.

Despite searching, Matt has been unable to locate Pop Tarts in England.

We visited the giant tunnel where the Wombles and CHUD's live. The CHUD's eat people and the Wombles collect rubbish. It is a symbotic relationship.

The Science Museum - Not enough interactive fun stuff according to Jana who stole a piece of purest science out of boredom.


Richard: Why start with me? I enjoyed crawling on the floor to get to an empty safe.
Matt: Me and Logan humped science into submission, see photos, 3 stars. The basement is where the retards are sent.
Pete: Hit and miss. There was some interesting stuff and there was some stuff that was meh. It could have done with more interesting interactive stuff that you didn't have to pay for.
Jana: The most interesting moment was when I was standing on a bench for two seconds. The kids areas were the most fun.
Logan: It made me want to hurt small animals.

I took a photo of a lady who was lying on a bench and commented loudly how realistic the exhibits are here. When she sat up, I faked being startled.

Also, when I was lying on a bench Matt couldn't bring himself to dry hump my leg long enough for Pete to get an unblocked photo, despite having just minutes ago dry humped a steam engine, Holmes lightning generator, a gypsy cart and miscellaneous exhibits.

After that, we went to see a triceratops which that Jana was very excited about.
The security man who searched my bag told me he was searching for scissors, weapons and bombs - all things he was immune from. I took his picture.

She wanted to hump it but it was behind thick glass. She says she was very sad about that. When we were moving off she asked a stranger to be nice to it. He said 'OK'. He may have been a bit freaked out about. She was horrified about a triceratops that was missing a horn. She couldn't believe someone would take the horn.

On the way out, I told one of the gate guards thanks and he had a lovely triceratops. He thanked me and off we went.

After that, Pete treated us to a ritzy dinner of tapas. That's Spanish food. She was Spanish and had no idea what the heck we were ordering. She couldn't understand the words "Black Russian" (drink). Matt thinks she believes Pete was ordering a prostitute. Richard says you've got to be careful what you order.

Matt said I had an epic fail talking to two Lithuanians. I don't think it's really funny or interesting enough to talk about much in this blog, but I wanted to point out my chatting to people ability can sometimes not work. See Matt's commet below for all of the details.

After going back to the usual pub - and bitching that Christian the Canadian - our favorite member of the staff wasn't there to serve us, we decided we didn't have enough alchol and bought yet more. This, despite having many in the fridge, so we could come back to the room and write this blog. Then, pass out in an alcoholic haze. Well, Matt anyway. PS: Matt will soon be protecting Britain.

It's the first night we're spending in Amsterdam. I'm sitting in the lobby of the hostel. Aside from two other guys who work here, there is nobody else about at two AM on a weeknight. I had been talking to them and discovered they lock the door at night to 'keep the crazies out'. People who come begging for money or cigarettes or just want to come in here and hang out. I wanted to put some thoughts down on what has proven to be a surreal experience for me thus far. I'm drinking orange Fantas out of the can at two Euros each - they are that or three Euros from various vendors.

Where are the pictures fat boy? Check here. Because of the strange way in which Photobucket stores them, they're not in any specific order.

Lets start with the wrap up of London...


The back story: Once upon a time, Matt lived in America. He was constantly bombarded with questions about England due to his accent. They would ask him questions about what things they had there as people assumed the English were backward and didn't have many of the essentials of (American) life.

One day, I was talking to him and asked about Kellogs brand Pop Tarts. This is a prepackaged American pastry. Pretty well known here but I didn't know if it had made it to England.

Unfortunately, this was the last straw for Matt. He yelled, "No we don't have fucking anything there. No Pop Tarts! We don't even have electricity there. When we want it, we bang two rocks together!"

After that, we called him 'rock banger'. In the fantasy LARP he was playing, he had a character that got two rocks during an adventure that when banged together produced a lightning bolt. British electricity at it's finest.

We were fucking merciless.

Eventually, he did admit, of course England had Pop Tarts. They weren't complete barbarians, were they?

So when I went to London, I wanted to see Pop Tarts. Not really to eat - I just wanted to discover, were the Englanders complete and utter barbarians?

We couldn't find them. We went into several stores. Absolutely couldn't find them.

I mocked Matt until my throat was sore from mocking. I then got a beer or cider from our numerous pubs we lived in an started over on the mocking.

So, as we were getting ready to leave London for the last time, I was feeling pretty secure in my mocking. Matt had had enough and we visited three stores. After each store, the Pop Tart jibing increased and I thought I had the world on a string.

Until the last fucking store.

Matt wasn't finding shit but Pete has sharp eyes. They have to in Australia because everything is so fucking poisonous.

Pete found a box of strawberry Pop Tarts.

My mocking jibes clattered down like pigeons that had all been force fed Alka Seltzer. The birds were unable to fart, exploded, died and fell at my feet.


So, we got pictures of Matt's victory - see the ones with Pop Tarts in for details.


If you're not thrilled about beer, London has a whole bunch of different ciders that cost approximately the same as a pint/bottle of beer. In particular, there was a Strawberry cider we found very good. You could taste the seeds on the outside of the strawberry! Crisp and fresh tasting. Very nice indeed. Should I travel back to London, that is my drink of choice.


Sadly, Richard's physical (as well possibly mental and spiritual too but I'm not sure) condition was bad when he initially awoke and continued down throughout the day until he announced he was going to head home to try to catch a nap before seeing us off. After the group had taken a look at him, we knew he was going to be too bad off to make it back so we said our goodbyes there.

We went to three last places in London on the day we were leaving: London Dungeons, London Bridge and a part of London's wall. The wall was pretty much what you'd expect from any of the less interesting parts of a city wall - a vertical pile of stones. Meh. London bridge also not too interesting actually. It was just a fairly modern bridge with a lot of blue metal. London Dungeons looked like a very good place if I was a lot younger. They did have several automated mini-rides, a maze of mirrors (which I got to use to give Jana a really good scare in) and a gravity drop.

I wanted to give warning for any of my obese brothers and sisters out there - Europe is NOT made along our scale. Even Bert (who is built along the lines of a tree trunk and made of toughness) would have a rough time with a lot of these narrow assed passageways, chairs, doors, etc. I'm not sure what Europe will do when McDonald's hooks them up with a whole lot of extra body fat. They might not be able to use their own houses!

After London Dungeons, we realized we didn't have time for London Tower (or is it the Tower of London?), so we went - guess where? That's right - out to more pubs while we waited for the time our train would depart.

As a side note, I did think "Hey, I'd like to label the photos and such from the trip thus far." With London getting 491 photos, I'm not sure if that will happen.


Whenever you're working on crossing borders, my motto is always be really early. The people you see running along to try to catch transport at the last minute are always idiots. Well, you might say, something unexpected may have come up. I'd counter that by saying 'That means you didn't allot enough time to account for that - idiot.' Mind you, I'm not saying I've never done that. I call myself an idiot too, when the situation necessitates. Sadly, it is more often than I'd like.

So, it turns out that Pete, Jana and I needed to catch the train out and decided to catch the train that was an hour before the one we were suppose to catch. We reasoned that we could hang out and wait for the other train or there would be another train to get us on the boat, whatever. To be clear it was train, switch tracks for another train, boat then the same (2 trains) on the other side for the 'Rail and Sail' I've talked so much about previously.

For full disclosure, for three people in a five person cabin it was sixty pounds sterling each. I had thought the rate was forty but I guess I was wrong.

Turns out that we were glad we took an early train out of England. Someone got hit by a train that ended up severely delaying the one we were suppose to be on. Had we taken that train, we would have missed the boat.

On British trains in general, fucking confusing. Trains get delayed all the time. Different trains to different places and switching to different rails all show up at the same platform. It will be a pain in the ass to find the right train you want without native guides. I suppose that you might be able to hire Richard for tour guiding you around London. Contact him for rates today!

As far as the train rides to get to the boat, it was fairly uneventful. We met a few friendly and joking train conductors which Pete and Jana told me in their native countries (Australia and Czech Republic) having friendly, helpful and good natured train workers was not a normal thing.

We also met up with some older retired gentlemen on the train that had brought along several bottles of wine. They were sitting around drinking, eating and chatting. They got Pete into their conversation and we didn't think they'd ever let him go.

We also taught Jana how to play 'Go Fish'. She said, "I feel like I had my American childhood." I reasoned it was a nice, simple game which could be quickly picked up. In retrospect, I wish I'd gotten an Uno deck instead. Also, Australia 'Go Fish' is different than American! But we got our fishing poles sorted out and both managed to defeat Jana who was new to the game and less able to defend herself.


Boat Mutherfucker photos can be found here.

Eventually, we got dropped off at the long maze of empty corridors - long empty corridors my fellow fatties - that led to the boat. The boat was absolutely huge. Just the corridors containing the rooms were startling. It was difficult to see the other end.


The room and bar area were pretty opulent. I felt distinctly out of place - I'm not used to such ritzy surroundings. A round of three drinks cost around twenty pounds.

Hell yes, I sang the "On a Boat" song while I was on there and danced around some. The others watched me politely and thought I was quite insane. I get that a lot.

Part way through the boat ride, Pete asked if Jana and I had the other tickets for the train after. We told him we had no other tickets, several times.

Much mucking about with the ticket office (not the one who actually issued us the tickets but a different one entirely) ensued. Eventually, we got passed all the way up to the ticket office supervisor. She said she wasn't sure what she could do, if anything. I assured her that she, as a supervisor, had super powers. In the end, she showed that indeed she did and we were on our way.

Pete did get to mightily face palm later when both Jana and I found, to our surprise, tickets already in our pockets. We are silly people. If you travel with Pete, just let him hold the fucking tickets.

If and when you get a train ride from the 'rail and sail' up to Amsterdam, be advised it is a pretty long (hour?) train ride. You want to score some seats. It won't be easy. Also, the train schedules are pretty straight forward once you get to the correct track but aside from asking someone which is the right track, I'm not sure how you're meant to find that information out if you can't read Dutch.


The Amsterdam photos can be found here - more will be added to the same album as they become available. As anyone can tell, I am a photo-taking-whore. About one hundred photos per day. Believe me, if I had my way, we'd have a team following us around with three cameras, a boom mic or two and a producer. Unfortunately, people would think several of the things that happened were just set up for the camera. Not so. Weird shit covers me like a shroud.

After getting off in Amsterdam's main train station, we wandered in until we found a hostel that looked ok - it is the 'Aroza Hostel'. When we first got here, I was a bit concerned due to the loud music and bar in the downstairs but they seem to shut everything like that down after eleven to get on with the serious business of sleeping.

All of the buildings in Amsterdam seem to be very old. I'm not sure if too many people have seen 'old timey stairs' in their lives. If you think 'ladder' more so than stairs - or a sadistic cross between the two, you've got it. I'm not sure how all of the people that are drunk or high aren't breaking their necks on these. The stairs are narrow, maze like and challenging. It makes you concerned that you will fall. Or, if you are small like Jana, that someone like Logan may fall on YOU. Game over! I must say that Jana does seem in a hurry to get out of my way when I am trundling down the stairs.

Again, no elevators (not sure I'd trust them in a building this old) and our room seems to be on either the second or third floor. I'm really not sure with the maze like environment. I found out from Jimshed the Pakistan night clerk that this building - like many in Amsterdam - is one or two hundred years old.

Our room is not what I'd call spacious but it is clean. It has some hand made pictures on the wall including one of a woman in a red dress. Given it's position, the lighting, human size and such, I thought it was alive (or at least a ghost) several times. The cold water in the shower has a trick knob that you have to push in when turning to get cold water. Otherwise, it just spins uselessly. Also, when the floor gets wet, it is more slippery than an ice rink. To get up into the bathroom you have to climb a short ladder they call 'stairs'...


If you've never watched "How I Met Your Mother", a TV show, this next part won't make a great deal of sense. Sorry. Watch the show - you'll like it. It will make the next part more clear. I'm sorry that I won't, but much of what happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam.

I was pondering whether I should put this story in. It is very personally embarrassing for me. In the interest of 'keeping it real', I decided to go ahead with it. I wanted to write a travel blog where there is full disclosure and by gods I'm going to do just that.

So, we went on a 'sandwich' run. When we got to a place called The Doors, I announced that this was the place. They wouldn't let me take a picture of the 'sandwich' menu because Amsterdam had gotten some bad press on it. In order to buy 'sandwiches', you have to ask directly for them. The menu was encased in dark glass that you couldn't see through unless you pushed a red button that caused the case to light up. I wanted to get you the pricing on it but lets say that enough to make two 'sandwiches' (of 100%, not cut with anything) you're looking at around fifteen Euros. The person working there even expertly made them for us.

In general, there are three grades - low, medium and high. I made the mistake of asking for the medium. Here's a travel tip from Logan! If you go to Amsterdam you always ask for the low to start with. Period. I'm not kidding at all on this. I've had sandwiches I've heard were powerful in the USA. I've had quite a few sandwiches in the USA. Their powerful is nothing. Start with the low - you can always get a medium or high 'sandwich' later.

The short story is "I freaked out". It wasn't good at all. A very bad 'sandwich' experience. Perhaps my natural paranoia, the medicines I was on, where I was, Jana being mean to me and hiding my hat in the refrigerator - I don't know. But it was the worst 'sandwich' experience I'd ever had. Others seemed unfazed by their experience but it was one of my worst. I had to be led back to the hostel room to have a lie down that turned into a four hour nap. I think that's why I'm still up at three in the morning typing down my thoughts. I think I'm done with sandwiches. The loss of control - and realizing you've lost control - along with the stream of consciousness thought just freaked me right the hell out.

After locking Logan into his room (we only have one key - ten euro deposit for it) Pete and Jana wandered around Amsterdam getting lost and finding their way alternately. They said "We walked around for an hour." (And I missed that? Ah, shucks.)

When I woke up, I got cleaned up and slowly came to my senses (the 'sandwich' was still doing a number on me) slowly thinking I was trapped in a room with only Life Savers for food and stuck with a ghost of a girl in a red dress. I was still pretty freaked out. Thoughts of crawling out a window to break into someone else's room and be trapped in there (as their room was also locked) tempted me but the Life Savers helped keep me in my own room.

Eventually, the 'Logan saving heroes' returned triumphant from their wanderings of Amsterdam. They then took the Logan to graze and get more cigarettes.

After this, we went window shopping. Window shopping was one of the few times I didn't seem to need fairly frequent rest breaks. I do feel sorry for my companions as my legs start twinging up real good (read as 'oh my god someone shoved several hot skewers into my leg' type of pain. Being a cripply bitch has it's drawbacks).


I felt bad for Jana because there were no guys in the windows anywhere for her to look at. Just women. All shapes, colors and varieties. Some were fat, some thin, some attempting to lure customers, others bored out of their mind and others talking on ever present cell phones.

It's quite interesting and I hope to be able to get you some pricing tomorrow night.

The red light district is really spread out and intermixed with bars, restaurants, people's homes, locked up bikes and all of that. The people within the red light district can be anything from drunken or drugged tourists staggering around to families out for a stroll.

I have to confess I felt a bit awkward for Jana but she is a European lady. Pretty much anything I've done or said hasn't really phazed her at all. She has come to accept the fact that I am completely out of my mind and moved on from there. This has served to educate me that European girls seem very cool and have less hang ups than many of the American women I've known. Pete - well, I think he's always gathering information. He didn't pick up the nickname Sherlock Holmes for nothing!

And that brings us back to me sitting in the very small lobby of the hostel and writing to you. The others are asleep. I don't know if I'm going to get much - or any - sleep. Either way, it should keep me on the ragged edge of tired and help keep this a surreal experience.


Before they had gone to sleep, I had asked for Pete and Jana's initial impressions of Amsterdam.

Pete: "I've gotten sun burnt, no sign of any sky scrapers, has a nice feel about it. I went wandering around at night and didn't feel concerned about my safety. It just had a nice, peaceful feel about it. Jana and I went to a restaurant. I was the only man there. There were twenty other women there at the tables. I have observed Jana changes which hand she uses the knife and fork in depending on what she's eating. Noticed that at dinner. Lots of bikes. Everything in Amsterdam is within 5 meters, according to the woman at the hostel. Actually, more like 500 meters."

Jana: "It's a playground. The houses are all very small. There are lots of water canals and lots of trees around them. And it''s very calm. It's interesting that even with the drugs and the red light district, it feels safe. I would like to make a movie - the documentary of the red light district. And I would do it as though they were doing the documentaries about the animals. Talking about people from a non-human point of view. Also I didn't put your hat in the fridge. You can walk across Amsterdam in five minutes. Lots of cheese shops. (Logan note: Jana mentioned in the Czech Republic there weren't.)"

Logan: For my impressions, you don't get them in quotes as I'm typing directly to you. Amsterdam to me reminds me a bit of Disneyland. Except that Mickey has a raging hard-on and a joint. It's a bit run down, dingy and old. While Germany (when I was last there anyway) was the undisputed dog capital of Europe, cats rule here. Pigeons in London. Haven't seen many pigeons here for some reason, probably the cats. Amsterdam in some ways is a less imposing city than London. To get around in London, you have to take tons of mad, delayed seemingly random trains to get around. Here in Amsterdam you can walk. While they have bike lanes, I think you'd be crazy to use a bike to get around here - the traffic is dodgy but not as absolutely dangerous as in London. In Amsterdam, they have a lot of pedestrian only zones. After three AM when I was hanging out on the street having a smoke, a couple guys offered to sell me cocaine. I wasn't interested and they nodded and wandered on. Doubtless, they will find plenty of other buyers. It is an interesting place but I'm not really interested in staying past the three days we had originally planned. We're still in the expensive part of Europe and I'd like to move east. You can find literally anything you want here. As an example, for eight euros, you can get a load of laundry done at a laundry mat. It is interesting the way they do it - you put your wash in the washing machine. The guy there then does it, folds it or packs it in whatever you've brought. You can pick it up in an hour and a half or whenever you make it back by his shop. I've taken a picture of the guy which will be in the Amsterdam picture section.


We will be (in a couple days) making our way to Germany. Jana will not be with us for that portion of the trip (bummer) but we will rejoin her in the Czech Republic when we leave Germany.

I'll post up more when I have time. Feel free to post your comments in the common section of the blog (rather than in facebook or sending me direct e-mail) if you can.

If you have questions about the area that I'm in, post those in the comment section, I'll try to answer them.


  1. Here's a question; where's the report on the London day when we went to the Doctor Who Experience, did you delete your notes in the Sandwich enduced freak out?

  2. WHOOPS. I'll edit this post and stick them in front.

  3. BTW - I want to remind you of your near death sandwich Poptart experience. And you say this was worse? I thought you swore off sandwiches before when Poptarts almost killed you? I know...when in Amsterdam you must eat sandwiches. That'll teach 'ya! I love reading the blog Logan! I can't help to think though that we should have done this 2 years ago so I could come with you. Damn it Jim!
    I'm so happy for you Pookie!



{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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