We Could Get Another Drink …. Orrrrrrrrr.

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Aug 17th, 2006
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As the next Amsterdam trip draws ever nearer I feel it is my obligation to talk about my first trip to this holy place.

It was 1993 and I was but a lad of 24. I had made some very interesting international friends during my travels with Infinite Technologies, but none more interesting than Lance. Lance, or the “World’s Horniest Oompa Loompa” as we are fond of recalling him, was a chirpy British fellow of demure stature with an intense voyeuristic urge.

We discovered early on that we both shared of love of music. As it turns out, his parent’s lived in Redding, a mere stones throw from where the Redding Music Festival is held each year. It was agreed that my first trip to Europe should be to see this festival and to spend some quality time hanging out in England. Well, Redding Festival was great fun. I saw Green Day when no one cared about them, Soundgarden when people were just starting to care, and even Neil Young with Pearl Jam as his back-up band. I also saw local bands like CUSM (Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine) who I have a fondness for, and the now Drinking Team favorite Reef who you should go check out RIGHT NOW. Ah, but this tale isn’t about rock n roll … at least, not anymore.

During this ten day trip we had exhausted London, seen all of Redding, and still had a long weekend to kill. Lance suggested we take a drive over to Amsterdam for a few days or relaxation and recreation. “Amsterdam?” I said, naively. “Where the Hell is Amsterdam?” and he quickly pointed out that this historic city in Holland was quite the tourist destination. Being eager and pretty much open to anything not involving prison rape, I agreed and we were off.

I don’t remember much about that first trip other than I now dream of the place and wish to return there every chance I get. All I know is that we parked the car, walked into the center of town, and I immediately went into party overload. I felt like the brothers from Night At The Roxbury when they are first allowed into Mr. Zadir’s nightclub. “Pace yourself!” I cried inside … but to no avail. We arrived at 5pm and I was flat on my back, at the hotel, staring at the ceiling and trying to “make it stop” by 8pm.

The next day I awoke at the crack of noon and Lance, ever the goer, was ready to start fresh. I felt like the inside of a bus station urinal, but Lance knowingly suggested that a delicious Belgian beer would set everything “right as rain”, as he put it. There was wisdom in that little fella. I don’t remember the rest of the evening, but I remember that next beer … it was Duvel, and I love it to this day. The first sip was hell and the next forty were heaven. I was BACK!

Our two day trip ended up lasting four, and we slept on two inch foam pads in the scariest youth hostel on earth. We drank all day, smoked all night, and even explored Lance’s fondness for “Watchin’ a bloke shag some bird” … a quote that would later define him.

I’ve had more fun in Amsterdam since … it’s always more fun once you are a seasoned vet … and I’ve forgotten a good many trips there. Ah, but I’ll never forget that first trip. Like entering Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for the first time, or what it must’ve felt like to step onto the moon. Yes, I took a good many years off my life that weekend, but hell, I wasn’t using them anyway.

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