500 Word Stories - Amsterdam - Worth $1.00 ??

in #writing2 years ago (edited)

“If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. And what can this tell you about American culture? Well, look at the drugs we use. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in." - Bill Hicks


Flying with a stand-by ticket, on the basis I board the plane only if there’s an empty seat, I checked in at the ticket counter.

“Hello, any seats available?” I asked the agent.
“Unfortunately, this flight to Paris is full,” the agent replied.
“Where is the flight next to us headed? Any seats?”
“Headed to Amsterdam, wide open. Can I re-book your ticket?”
“Let’s do it!”

With my brand new Frommer’s “Paris 2010” book, I headed to Amsterdam. I had two and a half days before returning to Florida, and I wanted to make it special.


Shortly after landing and walking off the flight, I found myself on a 20 minute train ride into the city.

My first aim was to find a hostel bed for the night. I delighted in the fact I was in a different country, knowing I’m only a plane ride away from experiencing a different life.

I checked in and then walked around town. The scent of legal marijuana wafted through the air, seeping through the cracks of the facades of the Bakery's and lounges that lined the streets. I was not interested in that. Instead, I found a specialty head shop, and legally bought myself some truffles.

Two years prior, the government outlawed magic mushrooms. Truffles are a certain variety of mushroom that grows underground, without a fruiting mushroom body appearing above ground. These little mycelium growths contain the magic ingredient, and are perfectly legal in every way.

“Be safe and have fun. Enjoy the journey!” The shopkeeper said to me. I had no idea what was to come.


50 minutes after eating these wet walnut type things, I felt quite magical the rest of the evening and night. I explored the beautiful parks and neighborhoods, watching all sorts of locals and foreigners mingling about the tourist square. Making my way back to the hostel, I drank a few glasses of orange juice at the bar, walked to my bed, and fell asleep listening to music.


I woke up feeling quite normal. Everything was fine, and I lived to talk about it.

On the flight home, I had much to think about.


“Part of what psychedelics do is they de-condition you from cultural values. This is what makes it such a political hot potato. Since all culture is a kind of con game, the most dangerous candy you can hand out is one which causes people to start questioning the rules of the game.” - Terence McKenna