Tag Archives: hard drugs

Sex & Drugs in Amsterdam

Red Light District & the church: The women are viewed as entrepreneurs and not as common prostitutes.  They are self-employed, practice safe sex and are tested regularly just in case of mishaps.  They are even protected by the government.  Pimps are illegal and apparently part of the job of cops in Amsterdam is to question women of the district to try to snuff out any potentials for them being forced to be there.  The women are even paid for their time of questioning (50 Euro for 15 minutes- That’s the going rate).  Every woman is there on her own free will.  Sex is not something to be ashamed of or to be banished behind closed doors and never talked about.  Everything is out in the open.  I adore that kind of freedom and commend the government for being so accepting and ensuring the women are safe instead of turning a blind eye and creating dangerous situations.   The picture below is of a statue of sorts planted in the street in the Red Light District that pays homage to the women of the District.

Embracing Love
Embracing Love

 

The church just outside of the district just made me chuckle:)  Amsterdam was a port town and many of the men who worked abroad the ships had been away from land for a year or more.   So once they landed in Amsterdam and stumbled into the Red Light District, they of course had a lot of pent-up energy to get rid of.  So they would spend their weekend blowing all their money with the women, then stumble out of the district and directly into the church, very conveniently located, to repent all the naughty things they just engaged in… LOL!!!  Love it!

Church outside Red Light District
Church outside Red Light District

 

Coffeeshops & drugs: if you are looking for a cup of coffee while visiting Amsterdam, you won’t find any in any of the coffeshops around town.  For real coffee, go to the Kaffe shops:)  If you would like to partake in smoking a bit of an illegal substance, well then the coffeeshop is for you!  Here again is an example of how the people coexist peacefully.  It is actually ILLEGAL to smoke marijuana in Amsterdam.  Yes, it is.

However the government turns its eye from those smoking in coffee shops.  Because they are just sitting in coffee shops.  They aren’t bothering anyone or doing anything wrong.  They are just hanging out.  In fact, the guide even said that you could walk up to a cop, tell them that there are people smoking marijuana in that shop over there and they would simply say “what are you talking about? They are just having coffee” and walk away.  Again, I love the acceptance and tolerance.  Even though the law is technically being broken they recognize that the people in the shops aren’t bothering anyone.  They are simply enjoying something they enjoy!  Sure does make our view on marijuana in the States seem so petty, especially knowing that people are sitting in jail for smoking/growing/selling/possessing marijuana while murderers are out on parole!!

I wish more countries would take a lesson from the way that the government in Amsterdam views drugs and addicts.  At one point in their history, not that long ago, Amsterdam was plagued by heroin addicts.  They were violent, damaged themselves and others, and even cops were not really willing to deal with them because they were so dangerous.  So the government took on a different view on drugs.  They divided drugs into hard and soft drugs.

People who were addicted to hard drugs (heroin) were viewed as sick people who needed help.  Not as criminals.  They provided places where heroin addicts could go to get their fix and they would allow the addicts to use heroine in these places where they provided clean needles and were under the watchful eye of a medical professional to make sure they didn’t O.D.  The addicts were then allowed to come and go as they pleased.  The addicts always had a safe place where they could go to take their drugs.  If they got in trouble with the law however, after the third strike they would be sent (mandatory) to a rehab center to get them clean.  If they wanted to voluntarily go at any point, they were allowed at no cost to them.  Now that’s the kind of mentality that makes me believe that the government ACTUALLY CARES about their people… Does Amsterdam have a drug problem today with crimes and cartels running rampant?  No they don’t!

Soft drugs (marijuana) on the other hand are allowed a “free” pass.  Or in other words are simply overlooked as long as they are occurring in coffee shops:) Mind you that even though there are probably more drugs and varieties of drugs per square inch in Amsterdam than in any other place, I was never once stopped on the street or harassed in any way about buying drugs as I was when in Costa Rica and Berlin.  I wonder why…???

On to Drug Bust en route to Paris

Back to Europe

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Glasgow

 

Goodness, there are lots of things to say here… !!  First I will start with what I have been told about Glasgow long before I ever got there from several people in the States: Beware Glasgow!!  Seriously I had one friend tell me that Scotland in general was quite dangerous and that I should keep my head down, don’t speak to anyone and I should be fine.  Statistically there is some validity in that because apparently Scotland is the #1 producer of heroine.  And where there are the super hard drugs, there is a higher volume of potential for danger and violence.  But as we all know, danger and violence exist everywhere.  So I wasn’t going to let anyone try to scare me out of visiting Scotland!!  And honestly I never ran into any violence or danger in Scotland at all!  There were a few bar fights and a fight with a convenience store clerk, but I promise I didn’t use any violence in any of those situations!!

When it comes to Glasgow specifically, yes, even the Glaswegians (Weegie’s for short) have fear of certain areas and of certain people… Beware the Bams and Neds!!  There was actually a third category of people, but I can’t recall what they were called…  If memory serves correctly Bams are more dangerous than Neds.  Bams are easily recognizable… They are usually always spotted in two or more, they always have shaved or near shaved heads, and they have at least one if not several scars on their faces from knife fights.  These people are best avoided altogether because even my friend from Glasgow says that if you get in a tangle with one of them, there is no way to escape not being stabbed.  And it doesn’t take any provocation from the individual either!  As I’ve been told by locals (and my friend) you could simply be standing around minding your business.  If a Bam spots you though and for whatever reason doesn’t like the look of you, they come over to pick fights with you.  Joy!!  Again though, while I saw several Bams about, I never saw any violence or was never harassed myself.  Bams are also generally younger guys.  I guess you could compare them to street thugs with nothing better to do than start trouble… Neds on the other hand are “grown-up” Bams… They are just an older generation who are calmer and less likely to start violence, but are still thugs in their own way.  I guess you could say Neds and Bams are like pit vipers… Pit viper babies immediately bite and inject overdoses of venom in any little thing that strikes them as being a threat whereas adult pit vipers pick and choose what is really a threat and only deals out enough venom to subdue the threat… Hmmm…

Moving along…  the East End is also known to be dodgy by locals… When I was working in Key West, I had a couple of younger kids visit from Scotland (aside from my friends from Edinburgh whom I met there) who knew Glasgow very well and I asked them to write down places to go or avoid in Glasgow… the East End made that list!  Along with other areas including Drumchapel, Priesthill, Nitshill and England, LOL!!  Places to go in Glasgow included Byres road for pubs (did that for sure!) and Lochlomond (to be talked about later).

Now that you have a little bit of an interesting introduction to Glasgow, I’m going to back up a tiny bit to getting there… I arrived via train at the rear-crack of the morning (aka 9am) from Oban to Queen’s Station.  And I was met just outside the station from my very good friend Anna!  Anna is a local born and bred Glaswegian who one day will have a book and or movie made about her life, because seriously she’s traveled over 80 countries and had some of the most amazing/crazy stuff happen to her!!  I met Anna while living in Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica.  We were neighbors, became good friends, kept in touch and when I was going to Scotland, since she just happened to be there as well, of course I had to go to see her!

Now you know why I went to Glasgow:)  Because honestly, if it wasn’t for her being there, I don’t know that I would have had any other reason to go on my own.  Glasgow is an industry town.  It’s not necessarily very pretty nor is there really a whole lot to do there from the tourist perspective.  But since I was lucky enough to have a local perspective (via Anna) I had an absolute grand time there!  Of course most the time we were intoxicated, but only had one day of a real hangover!!  So all in all, I think we did pretty well;)

In the interest of not rambling on for decades, I’m going to break down the activities once again to links so I don’t drone on too long in a single post:)  Oh, and if you are looking for Glasgow pictures… I didn’t really take any:(  I’m terrible at taking pictures in places where I’m living more than visiting… And with having a friend there, it felt like the former… But, I did take pictures at Loch Lomond and Lochgoilhead:)  So skip to those sections if you are looking for pictures of surrounding areas.

YES! Campaign

Bar Fights and Store Fights

Necropolis & Heelers

Loch Lomond (Conic Hill)

Lochgoilhead

Most Random Street Signs!!!

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