Amsterdam Birthday

I'm going to Madagascar for 3 weeks and I'm leaving in a day. I have a lot to do still, but I just wanted to write something quick because otherwise I won't write anything until June.

My 30th birthday was May 2. I am old. To celebrate, Stefanie took me to Amsterdam for the weekend. We had a pretty good time.

Last Friday was Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) in the Netherlands. This is supposed to a day to celebrate the queen of the Netherlands, but really it's just a day to have a big party. Well, we missed the party, but you could definitely see the remnants on the day after. When we first saw all the trash in the streets we just assumed that someone decided to throw some garbage bags at cars or something. But there was just too much of it and it was all over the city. It must have been some party. There were also lots of outdoor public urinals with no privacy walls (see picture, because I know you're interested), something I've never seen before.

Well, nothing too exciting happened on the trip. We had good weather and bad weather, ate pancakes, walked all over the place, and drove out in the countryside to see some tulip fields. Amsterdam is a pretty cool city. It's very liberal and has lots of "coffee shops" where you can buy marijuana. Marijuana isn't actually legal there, according to a tour guide, it's just "tolerated" and de-criminalized. Which basically means it's legal, but there are a few rules of course. Stores can't actually advertise that they have it, but they can still sell it and nobody is going to arrest you if you smoke it. Also, you can buy a marijuana plant in a can from an old lady selling this and other plants.

Ok, next post will be from or after I get back from Madagascar. The main plan is to check out the natural parks in the North, West and South. It is sure to be an adventure. I will be just me and my backpack for the next 3 weeks.

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