The truth about the weed pass, it's about time!
The city, the train station, even just saying the name itself carries with it a certain high. A visit to Amsterdam is its own kind of drug, one that millions of people are dosing themselves with annually. And what a rush it is. Tripping on "AmDa" (a street nickname for the city that I made up for the purposes of this article) will hit you hard, leaving you breathless and wanting more. It's euphoric.
However, like any good drug, there's a media smear campaign against it. A conservative idea has surfaced that's trying to sully the image of the beautifully sinful city we all know and love. Sure, maybe the purchase of a ticket to Amsterdam should come with a disclaimer, but it should be something along the lines of:
That's a message I can get on board with because those are the side effects of a trip to Amsterdam that people need to know about. What I can't go along with is this new idea that all tourists heading to Amsterdam and entering coffee shops are gun-loving, baby-eating, mafia-like members of the underworld…when at worst we are fun-loving, experience-eating, child-like members of the outer world.
The rumour mills are spitting out a lot of hype about the coffee shops in Amsterdam requiring Dutch ID's and only selling to residents, some claiming that this rule is already in effect. However, don't believe everything you read. It may be true that legislation has been implemented in other Dutch cities, and even proposed for Amsterdam, but don't worry your clouded little head. That nightmare is far from coming true in the Venice of the North.
The Dutch Tolerance Policy that provides the laws under which the coffee shops can operate was renewed in July 2011 and it will be gloriously valid until 2015. This is a local issue, and since the Amsterdam city council, the mayor, and a fair amount of the residents oppose the whole scheme it won't be happening in Amsterdam for at least the next three years.
The Amsterdam you've grown so fond of, or the one that exists in your imagination if you've never been, still exists. You can still go and be wild, and free. The food, the permissiveness, and the collective lust for excitement are alive and well. On any given night you can find yourself in the company of some delightfully strange substances, strange experiences, or strangers. Or maybe all three. One of the latest discoveries I made upon entering the realm of the weird and sinful in Amsterdam, is the now infamous supperclub. Eating dinner in beds or out of doggy bowls followed by leathery fetish shows and sweaty dancing is a recipe for an unusual evening. As the owner describes it: "Freedom is the keyword at supperclub. It's a mix of food, music, performances, art, our staff and ... you. An evening at supperclub has been successful when all of your five senses have been tickled. So to speak, supperclub is a free state of sensual experiences. It's hard to explain exactly what that is: you have to experience it yourself."
The coffee shops and smart shops are in no danger of running out of supplies, and will be quite happy to book you on a trip to the moon, and back, should you decide to take your visit in that direction. The pub crawls, late night venues and most importantly the throngs of like-minded people wanting to lose their inhibitions, are aplenty. There's always an opportunity to find yourself, or rather lose yourself in a good vibe, an enlightening show, or another person's hostel room.
The Red Light District still glows brightly with the electric hum of those perfect red lights. Of course, the women, with their scanty lingerie and seductive smiles make a significant contribution to the luminance of the area. They beckon you from behind a thin sheath of clear glass, trying to convince you to indulge your more carnal desires. If the mood, or curiosity, strikes you, feel free to take a tour of all the pleasures the city has to offer. Make sure however that you stop by the information booth and educate yourself on the etiquette of the process.
So while the word is out that a conservative force is attempting to tidy up the city, the sterling reputation of Amsterdam as a garden of iniquity is in no danger. So venture out into the wilderness and discover some of the other wild animals crawling around the city. Feel free to ingest the high-octane stimulant that is a trip to Amsterdam. If treating myself to a trip there is wrong, I don't wanna' be right.
- Matt Smith
Music Reviews From The Flying Pig
This E-zine's Top Album Suggestions
In this edition of the e-zine the Flying Pig’s very own Joone reviews Tales of Mozambique by Count Ossie and The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, the self-titled album from French songstress Zaz and MU.ZZ.LE – the third album from yoga instructor DJ, Gonjasufi.
Band: Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari
Album: Tales of Mozambique
Count Ossie, born Oswald Williams (1926, St. Thomas, Jamaica - 18 October 1976) grew up in a rasta community where he learned his chanting and drumming techniques. In the early 1960s he formed a group called Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari and recorded two albums. His masterpiece was Tales Of Mozambique, issued by Dynamic in 1975 - continuing the legacy of the first album Grounation. Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari are probably one of the most original groups in reggae music. They are primarily known for their rock solid niyabinghi style drumming and chanting, but they also have a heavy jazz orientation. Varying between instrumentals and spoken word poems, their music is a nice mix of two heavily African influenced musical genres: reggae and jazz. Tales of Mozambique is more structured and less disjointed than Grounation. This album has a lot of nice saxophone instrumentation - solidly backed up by the trancelike drumming. my favorites are:
Winner of the 2011 French award - Victoires de la Musique for her song Je Veux, Zaz is one of the best selling artists in France and has reached international fame with fans all over the world. Isabelle Geffroy (born 1980 in Tours, France), better known by the nickname Zaz, is a French singer who mixes jazz, soul and acoustic guitar riffs. She studied music from the age of five and plays the violin, the piano, and the guitar. In 1994 she moved to Bordeaux where she took singing lessons and joined the local school of modern music. Her musical influence varies include Vivaldi, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby McFerrin and Richard Bona as well as African, Latin, and Cuban rhythms. In November 2010, the debut album Zaz went double platinum and Zaz was awarded the Revelation Song award by the Academy Charles Cros. Zaz also won the European Border Breakers Award and was named the French artist most played abroad in 2010. According to a survey published by L'Internaute, Zaz was the most popular French singer in the 2010 ranking. The album received mixed reviews in the press. Editors described her vocal style as soft yet raw. Her roots as a jazz singer mixed well with warm instrumentals. The critics deemed her hit Je veux to be a song with: "anti-consumerism lyrics … immediately catching tothe ear." Le Parisien sid her: "lyrics are realistic and a true reflection of the youth of today; a bit tortured but full of hope". L'Humanité praised her ability to create a: "very direct contact" with her audience. "
For those of you who don't know him Gonjasufi (born Sumach Ecks, aka Sumach Valentine, in 1978) is a rapper, singer, disc jockey and yoga teacher from Chula Vista, California. The brilliant new album MU.ZZ.LE released in January 2012, is the new creation of the genius that is Gonjasufi. This album goes further than the three previous albums conducted by the Las Vegas born producer, and is a real diamond in the rough. From start to finish this album promises a range of tasty beats, psychedelic overtones and dark - distorted vocals, giving it a rich yet raw vibe that Gonjasufi is so famous for. It's also a rare album that feels meditative and cathartic all at once. You should definitely check out the songs - Nikels and Dimes on his official website: (w) www.sufisays.com
The Pig Goes Mobile
Up in the air...the Flying Pig mobile site is now live! Never a dull moment anymore when you are waiting for a flight or accidentally made the choice for a, God forbid, boring hostel. Now you can read our e-zine or check out pig photos, on the go.
Scan the code or open this link in your mobile m.flyingpig.nl
News From the Beach
Think hundreds of colours, think the scent of thousands of flowers, think about the best decision you made this trip! That’s your visit to the Keukenhof is all about, according to CNN who named the spot as one of the world’s top destinations for 2012.
The theme selected for this year is Poland - Heart of Europe. Classical music and romance will form an excellent combination with the flowers, at this fantastic display – only minutes away from the Flying Pig Beach Hostel.
Keukenhof has fantastic flower shows and for nine weeks, hundreds of different growers, and product groups in various product shows will put their best foot forward to present visitors with a high quality flower exhibition. There are also more than 20 indoor flower shows, including the famous Lily Show and the Orchid Show.
In 2012 Keukenhof will be open from March 22 until May 20, 2012, daily from 08.00 to 19.30 (including Sundays and Holidays). The ticket office is open until 18.00 and the admission price is €14,50 per person.
New in 2012: The Gardens at Keukenhof Castle
Looking out on the magnificent Keukenhof Castle, several exhibitions will be organised in the grounds of the castle gardens. The exhibition Hof van Appel will be the absolute highlight, with never before exhibited sculptures of Karel Appel. The admission price for visitors to the Keukenhof Castle Gardens will be €4.00 per person.
Things to see in Copenhagen - Denmark
Home to the world’s best restaurant and an epicentre for cool design - the Danish capital is a mixture of Scandinavian tradition, and modern urban living. The city is famous for ground-breaking art and design, and in addition to a host of world class galleries with exhibitions throughout the year, the city teams with smaller galleries and artist studios. Sample modern Nordic cuisine at one of the many restaurants or take in the view at one of the cafés along the harbour – particularly in summer when the quayside is most lively.
Copenhagen is a great city to explore. Take a stroll down the world’s longest pedestrianised street through the old town and shops, wonder along the canals and islands, or take advantage of the free city bikes and discover Copenhagen like a local. Home to the Carlsberg Brewery, the Royal family in the Amalienborg Palace, the 17th Century Rosenborg Castle, Europe’s oldest observatory and the famous Little Mermaid sculpture - there are plenty of things to see and do.
Opened in 1843, Tivoli is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks and best known for the beautiful landscapes in the centre of Copenhagen, along with the 28 ride funfair. There’s also an aquarium, concert hall, open air stages, the famous Christmas Market and places to eat, and drink. (w) www.tivoli.dk
Nyhavn - New Haven
Originally a busy commercial port when Copenhagen was a world famous shipping centre, the sea side is now full of cafés, bars and restaurants – all set in the tradition colourful port front buildings. The prices aren’t backpacker friendly but you can buys drinks nearby and enjoy the views like the locals do.
The Little Mermaid
Denmark’s most famous author, Hans Christian Andersen, created the fairytale that inspired the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries, Carl Jacobsen, to dedicate a statue to The Little Mermaid in 1909. A sculpture was commissioned and the Mermaid was presented as a gift to the city in her home on the seafront. Her birthday is celebrated every year!
Strolling in the Strøget area
In the heart of the city centre lies the world’s longest pedestrianised street, flowing through the city’s shopping area - from the City Hall Square all the way to Kongens Nytorv. Take a stroll down this street from the main square and check out the shops, including some of Denmark’s famous designers, and restaurants along the way. It stretches for 1.1km and affords views of the sea from Kongens Nytorv.
Famous for being a self-proclaimed and autonomous area on an island within Copenhagen, the community of Christiania is unique in that the 850 residents have formed their own laws, including the legalization of cannabis. The area is great for exploring the alternative culture in Copenhagen and the community is popular with artists, activists and those interested in New Age lifestyles. Look out for the political graffiti but be warned, photography is not allowed.
A haven for modern art lovers, this outstanding gallery is a short train ride from Copenhagen and set in a unique, beach-front location. With over 3,000 permanent artworks and rotating exhibitions from world famous artists, this really is a great place to soak up some culture. In the summer you can picnic on the beach and in the winter, you can walk amongst the sculptures in the snow. On a clear day you can even see across the Øresund to Sweden! www.louisiana.dk/dk
Where to stay: Copenhagen Downtown Hostel Vandkunsten 5, 1467 København K, Denmark
More info and free booking at www.famoushostels.com