Friday, March 5, 2010

NPB presents: Fuzzy Fridays: A Trip Thru Europe by Fuzzy Badfeet

For those that don’t know:

These are the photos and stories of my recent trip overseas after Ollie and I parted ways in New York. Chances are quite good that I have misrepresented some of this information either from my own ignorance, a drunken stupor, or a combination of both. Either way, enjoy the adventures of Young Fuzz. What a long, strange trip it was…

…After consuming a Xanax bar in Brooklyn, I fetched a car service to JFK International. I don’t know what it is about security checkpoints, but these assholes are incessantly looking through my bags. Even with the anti-anxiety meds flowing through my system, I could feel the rage welling up in the pit of my stomach. “What the fuck? Is that how you treat your stuff?”

These assholes have no respect for your personal belongings, and ultimately unpacked everything in my suitcase. And if you know Young Fuzz, then you know I’m crazy OCD and spent hours making sure my bag was packed perfectly. Boxed my sneakers, arranged my caps, had crisp folds on my button-ups, the whole nine. Nonetheless, I have to yell at dude about messing up my shit, and in the process, end up getting so irate that I leave that very bag at the checkpoint. Mind you, I don’t do drugs, just weed, so these meds had me spinning loops in that airport.

Trying to calm down but realizing my stupid ass left my bag, I kind of went into to panic mode (you know, the “oh shit!” feeling). But, just as I start to head back to the checkpoint, here comes Ol’ Boy I was just yelling at with my bag. I guess I got my point across to this poor guy because he comes up on some “Sorry for the inconvenience back there, but it’s a part of protocol. Here’s the luggage you left behind,” type-shit. Glossy eyed, dazed, but extremely thankful, I give dude a $20 bill and a Nickel Plated sticker and head towards my gate (Side note: it was these stickers that created the problem at security in the first place. Anthrax tests and all kinds of weird stuff. Big Ollie remembers ha-ha)

Now, its about a 6 or 7 hour flight to Belgium, the one stop I had before Amsterdam, but I don’t even remember taking my seat on the plane, much less the flight itself. However, I woke up to a flight attendant shaking my arm exclaiming “You’re in Brussels.” Perfect, thanks Xanax. Even better, my favorite beer Stella Artois is brewed in Belgium so there was a Stella Café in the airport.

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Thus, I got annihilated immediately!! I mean, 5 hours of Stella pints on draft? Whew, they call it “Wife Beater Beer” in Ireland for a reason. I smashed like 8 pints and was feeling wide open when it came time to board my plane to Amsterdam. Luckily, I was able to behave myself and start the trek to Holland.

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Above the clouds of Amsterdam

After dealing with more checkpoints to board my flight to Amsterdam, I finally arrive at Schirpol Airport, but still have to catch a train to Amsterdam Central to find my hostel. The building that houses the train station is massive and is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.

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And even though all I need to find is an Exit, I get lost and end up asking some Italian dude directions to the Flying Pig Hostel. I don’t think this Italian dude was feeling me too much because he glanced at his watch, muttered something in Italian, and then pointed to the sign directly above me. Low-and-behold, I was standing directly in front of the exit all along. Brilliant, I know. Even better, some English dude overheard my “conversation” with the Italian and told me my hostel was only a five minute walk up the street. Stoked that I didn’t need to find another train, bus, or plane, I thanked the Englishman for eavesdropping and started trekking down the street towards my bed.

Now, walking down the streets of Amsterdam is pretty strange because you can smell herb everywhere. So, after I find the hostel, I immediately take a walk down an alley to find one of the notorious ‘coffee shops’ and was in luck. Fire tree everywhere, so I picked up some kill and headed back to the hostel to meet up with the other travelers. Flying Pig has this really chill smoking room, so I decided to take some bong hits with the other travelers and drink my face off. Drank like 30 Jupiter’s, a fairly popular beer in Amsterdam, and ended up meeting a bunch of travelers from all parts of the world. Spain, Australia, England, Brazil, Ireland, etc.

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These Spanish dudes were funny as hell. Homie lighting that shit is Harry from London, dude was cool as fuck, so I gave him a NPB sticker. Spanish dudes I roomed with are in the background. Side note: This mask was brutal, put many a user right to sleep (peep next photo for evidence).

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Exhibit 1: My man got annihilated, especially after he smashed a Xanax that I let him hold. Shit was classic, I don’t think he even make it to his room after hitting the mask.

For the first night, I was having too much fun at the hostel to really want to go anywhere else. So, I just drank my face off w a few of my fellow travelers. However, I learned a very valuable lesson the first night in Europe. When it comes to services being available at all hours of the night, don’t count on it. For most of us, it is very common to find a late night meal after a long night of drinking. This is definitely not the case in Europe, especially Amsterdam. Not knowing this was the case, I stumbled around the city in vain for over two hours searching for something to eat. Not happening—not even a supermarket, vending machine, nothing. Drunk, enraged, and starving, I stumbled back to the hostel and passed out in my room for a couple of hours. Long day one…

After my first drunken night, I decided to do some sight seeing the next day. Amsterdam is really dope because they have canals that run everywhere through the town. Hopefully, some of these flicks will give you an idea.

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Really fresh tower in the background, in a residential area of Amsterdam. Canals separate a lot of the streets.

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Most of the streets were designed like this; old buildings line the sides with a canal separating sidewalks and roads from one another.

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Bicycle riders fucking everywhere. Amsterdam is pretty small so this is definitely the way to get around. Just be careful, bicycle theft is a huge problem out here. Funny story, I “borrowed” a bike the second day. It was just sitting against this alley wall w no chain, so I swooped it up and smashed around town for a couple of hours. I later told an Amsterdam local that I lifted a cycle to tour the city and returned it to the same spot a few hours later and he complimented me on being polite enough to return it. Ha, the fucking Dutch!

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Canal tours offer some great info on the city and take you to some dope spots. Too bad I was getting wasted and just walked around or stole a bike.

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Street View.

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Heineken factory in the distance where that shit was first made. Heineken on draft was tasty.

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This building was massive. Believe it or not, I’m a block away and still can’t fit it all in the frame.

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Another view of the canal from the bridge. I was fascinated with these things running through the city.

On the second night, some girl from Rio talked me into going on a pub crawl with her. It was pretty dope, free beers until about 9:00 (referred to 2100 over there). But, after the clock struck nine, all they were delivering was Jagermeister. I hate that shit with a passion but figured it was a necessary evil. About 6 Jaeger bombs later I pulled out my dancing shoes and was two-stepping like a mother fucker in these joints. These people couldn’t get enough of some white kid from California that could cut a rug. Met some strange ass people on the pub crawl but had a blast!! I see ya’ll, hold those NPB stickers high! Unfortunately, the battery on my camera decided to die on me right as we started the crawl, so no flicks from that night. My bad..

Now the Brazilian broad was this bad ass bird from Rio. I think she was feeling Young Fuzz but she was fronting like her man wasn’t with her. Umm, not buying that sweetheart. That little South American has been eyeing me all night and I know it’s not because he’s feeling my swag. “Who the fuck is that dude staring at me every time you talk to me if that’s not your man?” She tried to keep that shit up for a while then ended up telling me some story about how they were just friends. Uh-huhhh!! I’m from a planet called Bitch Please and we don’t play that shit. Was going to make you famous and post your picture honey, but that move got you exnayed, ya dig? I’m still coming down for Carnival though, believe that. Got drunk as shit, peeped some hookers on the walk home, then hit the gas mask and called it a night…

Now, I only booked my hostel at the Flying Pig for two nights. Obviously, that was not a good idea because all the hostels in Amsterdam fill up really quickly on the weekends. As such, the Staff woke me up at 10:00 to “check-out” but I wasn’t having it. After I slept until 12:00, I stumbled downstairs to try and book another night. Nope, all booked up. Fuck!!!! So, on day three I had to drag my ass down the street to find a different hostel as hung-over as I could possible be. Got turned away from two hostels but finally found one with a vacancy called Hotel Tamara. This place was tiny, I mean really fucking small. Even worse though, they didn’t have any elevators and I was staying on the 5th floor. That walk up was brutal sober but got worse when I was drunk or had luggage with me.

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30 Euros for this little ass room, not even exaggerating. No TV, shared bathroom, and the worst mattress I have ever attempted to sleep on in my entire life. I’m not very big but shit… I was still too tall and my feet were hanging off the end.

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Pictures don’t do these stairs justice, would get to my room wheezing like an 80 year old Marlboro Red smoker. Was even more difficult when I’d come back all fucked up and had to stumble up those flights of stairs.

Staying on the “When in Rome” motto, decided to tour the red light district on day three and peep the hookers. Shit was wild because on one side of the alley would be sexy ass Asians, blondes, black women, etc. But, on the other side you’d see 60 year old prostitutes with saggy old titties and no teeth. Straight ancient hookers, could be my grandma. What kind of shit is that? Shit was bugging me out but you’re not allowed to take flicks of the whores so I caught some other strange shit instead.

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No joke, animal and bizarre films were fucking everywhere. Nothing is taboo is Amsterdam.

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This dude wasn’t just smoking outside this place, he was a patron. “You dirty old man!” Ya’ll see the size of that glittery strap-on home girl is rocking?

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How about now? Whew, that bitch is packing son.

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To my man Zone, I think I met Bridgette from Ho Kung Fu. She worked here and kept asking me if I wanted to pay her to “rub one out” for me. No thanks honey, I’m a professional at that, you’re amateur at best. Should’ve gotten a massage though I bet she had that shit locked up.

Grew tired of hearing if I wanted to pay for a hooker so I decided to spend my money on some tree instead. Ended up chilling at this coffee shop for like 6 hours. That lemon haze had me stuck, ya dig? It was crazy though because I was the only person that ever smoked downstairs. Amsterdam recently passed an inside smoking ban which really complicates the normal method of smoking: spliffs (ie: tobacco and herb rolled together). As a result, they opened these “upstairs” rooms where patrons could smoke tobacco and side-step the new law. As a true American, though, I keep that shit separate and I was able to chill downstairs, smoke herb, and people watch. This coffee shop had the kill and I had to drink 3 Café Latte’s just to muster up enough energy to walk out this bitch. Shout to Paul for suggesting the haze, phenomenal strain.

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Fucked up thing about this day was that it was Super Bowl Sunday. But, it’s a 9 hour time difference from the States to the Netherlands. And as I said before, everything closes early in Europe especially Amsterdam. Americans stay on their grind, and sacrifice sleep for the opportunity to turn profit. Not the Dutch. The Super Bowl didn’t even start until 12:30 that night. Out-fucking-rageous!!!! Even the bars close pretty early. It wasn’t until my last day in Amsterdam that some local pointed out a few pubs that did stay open all night, but they were straight underground joints that weren’t on any maps I had. Thus, I had to familiarize myself with some European sports, a la rugby and futbol. Matter of fact, watched the France-Scotland rugby match at some Irish pub and enjoyed the hell out of it. These dudes were fucking beasts. Respect due to these boys, they hold nothing back and sacrifice their bodies like nothing I’ve ever seen. Gotta catch a match in the near future, maybe when I touch down in the UK this summer (no pun intended; get it touchdown?).

After watching the match, went on a graffiti hunt and found some pretty dope stuff. Europe is crazy because they commission these graffiti artists to bomb the walls of the city. Unlike the states where throw-ups and tags dominate most of the walls, these people do tons of wheat pastes and true pieces. Caught a couple of them and even through up some NPB stickers to get Europe ready for the Nickel Plated takeover.

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Yup, they had “Drug Free Zones” in Amsterdam too. Matter of fact, you can only smoke herb and drink beers inside of the pubs or coffee shops. Pretty weird for a city where “anything goes.”

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Side busted a few pieces, fuck it though.

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This shit was bugging me out because they were all over Amsterdam. Asked some local what it was about and he said that the artist liked using photographs and adding weird shit to it. Eyelashes were on some Clockwork Orange shit, mad feminine.

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These sticker collages were all over the place so I decided I needed to contribute. Nickel Plated Everything…

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This building was fresh, the whole Outside was a giant piece done by some local artist. I’m definitely not a professional photographer so this flick does not do it justice. Hope you can get a sense though. It was a 5-story building and dude bombed the whole front side of it. It was dope to say the least.

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Was feeling the skull, especially with the white and red contrast to the NPB stickers. Most of these pieces were in the alleys of Amsterdam so you couldn’t back up far enough to get decent photos. Tried my best.

After the graffiti hunt, I found a nice little pub across the street from my hostel. It was really chill, decently priced beers, good atmosphere, American sports (basketball) was on, and I could smoke herb inside. So, I ultimately spent the rest of the night at the bar. Met some cool ass dudes from Turkey and proceeded to get wasted with them until about 1:00 or so, then slipped up the stairs and tried to sleep. Nope. I don’t know what it was about Europe but I didn’t sleep at all. Even having access to as much herb as I wanted in Amsterdam, shit was just not happening. Fuck it, sleep when I die, I guess..

The first 4 days of Amsterdam were pretty much a blur because I was just getting annihilated at all times. Routine typically consisted of coffee, pastry, herb, beer, a lot of walking, then a pub for the rest of the night. So, I decided to take it easy on my last day and go check out the Anne Frank house. For the uninformed, The Frank’s were a Jewish family from Germany that fled to Amsterdam in hopes of escaping persecution from the Nazi regime. Despite the efforts of the Frank family, the Germans eventually invaded the Netherlands and the same series of atrocities continued with Jews in the Netherlands. As such, the Frank family (in addition to the Van Pels family) were forced to go into secret hiding to escape this violent persecution. For the next two years these families successfully avoided capture from the Nazi regime and the youngest Frank daughter (Anne) kept a journal the entire time.

It’s really hard to describe the eerie feeling you get as you climb the steep and narrow stairs of the Frank hideout. The only choice these people had was to hide or else they would be arrested and slaughtered by the German police. To my surprise, however, the secret annex was much bigger than I had anticipated. You aren’t allowed to take photos of the annex but I tried to catch a view of the front side.

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Hard to get a good photo because of the museum store built directly next to the museum entrance, obviously the place has changed. But, still very strange to think that they were able to hide “in plain sight” for that length of time.

The really chilling aspect of the Frank tour is definitely the infamous Anne Frank Diary. I mean, this girl was about 13 years old and had such a grim outlook on her surroundings. Obviously, hiding to avoid systematic slaughter hardly seems like a choice, but it was insane to view her feelings on the matter firsthand. For instance, one quote in particular stuck out in my mind. I was going to paraphrase, but it was such a powerful emotion that I was obligated to find the exact quote.

“I saw two Jews through the curtains today, it was a horrible feeling. Just as if I had betrayed them and was now watching them in their misery.”

How fucked up is that? This thirteen year old girl is helpless in the situation and something as simple as seeing two of her own people was the equivalent of betraying them. Wow!! Very articulate way to convey some of our most basic emotions, pity and shame. It shocks me that someone so young could identify the ambiguity of her simple observation. On one hand, feeling simple pity for people in a situation similar to her own tragedy is normal. On the other hand, feeling helpless in knowing that there is nothing she can do but feel pity for these people is frightening. This observation really hit me as I started the descent back down the annex stairs and stayed with me the rest of the day.

After two years of living in utter secrecy in the secret annex in Amsterdam, an anonymous caller phoned the police to inform the Germans that “Jews were hiding at 263 Prinsengracht.” In less than 24 hours, the entire Frank and Van Pels families were sent to concentration camps to meet their ultimate demise. Sadly, only Otto Frank, Anne’s father, survived the torturous conditions of these brutal prisons. The rest, as they say, is history. Yet, Anne Frank’s words are still used today as a symbol of human rights worldwide, echoing the same sentiment today as 70 years ago.

Now, to really bring this story full circle, I’m going to conclude this edition of Fuzzy Fridays with a crazy twist in this plot. After visiting the Anne Frank house, and experiencing the desperation of this family to escape persecution, I immediately had to catch a train to Hamburg, Germany to hit the next spot on my trip. Thus, after smoking one final joint and packing all my things I slid off to the train station.

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Trains in Amsterdam weren’t as nice as some other trains I was riding, but they certainly were fast.

The train ride to Hamburg wasn’t very long, maybe 4 or 5 hours at most. But, the eerie thing about the trip is that less than 3 hours after visiting the Frank hiding place, I was riding past the same areas where these families were slaughtered in Nazi concentration camps. How is that for a history lesson? The irony of visiting these places almost simultaneously still gives me the chills. The funny thing is, I had no intention of getting that type of history lesson but that’s what happens when you travel on a whim. Priceless. Let’s hope that we learn more about our history to possibly avoid some of its downfalls . Or else, were doomed to make the same mistakes over and really personify the true ‘ignorance’ of man. I’d prefer not…

Well kids, that concludes volume one of Fuzzy Fridays. Hope you enjoyed reading about my travels as much as I enjoyed trying to remember them. Amsterdam is quite a place to visit and I would recommend it to anyone. I look forward to rehashing the events of my German excursion next Friday so stay tuned for that. Shout to Big Ollie for giving me a platform to share my story, he’s an incredible dude. Love…

P.S. Feel free to contribute to the discussion through the comments section. This small write-up barely scratches the surface on this amazing experience, and I would be honored to answer any questions, comments, or feedback you may have.

Ciao,

Fuzzy Badfeet

3 comments:

oliver wrist said...

Very well written little brother. Thoroughly impressed over here. Part 2 should be amazing. Good work.

JMACK said...

great write-up, felt like i was there. great way to come back and redeem ollie for slacking for like a month.

looking forward to pt. II

119 said...

Better say nothing than nothing to the purpose. ........................................