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Monday, November 15, 2010


Amsterdam is certainly the most tolerant city regarding soft drugs and prostitution.  Coffee shops sell marijuana (and variations like hashish), while smart shops now focus on magic truffles and assorted other related items.  Here are two shops next to each other:

The coffee shops are mostly dingy and play Robert Marley type music.  A joint costs $5 or so.  The smart shops are spiffier.  Ten grams of a magic truffle go for about $10.

There is a red light district that you can't find anywhere else.  Generally, you almost can't tell the difference from any other part of town, but there are those alleys reveaiing certain details.
However, tourists walk by this area like any old museum location, and, come to think of it, I never saw a beggar or homeless.  Oslo, for example, has a person with a cup every couple of blocks.  Everyone here also wears jeans.

The menus are pretty specific:

One Euro is about $1.36.

The fact of the matter is that the Netherlands has a lower crime rate (murders, rapes, etc.) than the U.S. or U.K.  The the prison population per capita is one-sixth that of America.  I feel a lot more comfortable walking around at night than in any large American city.

So will God destroy Amsterdam with fire and brimstone?  Nah.  Something is working here.  Some colors of the city:

Ending with perhaps the best hotel in the city, the Amstel Intercontinental:

Tomorrow, ROME.


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