Nomadic Diary-Amsterdamto Utrecht-Just BuskingThrough August 2, 2010Posted by onyxashanti in Uncategorized.
no video collage this post. Just a “proof of life” to let you know that i havent been
eaten or abducted by aliens (yet). This post is coming from Holland.
Last week, after the Northsea Jazz Festival, I had planned to the bike from Rotterdam to
Amsterdam,but it rained HARD that monday. I want to be official-ish with this whole bike-touring-nomadic
thing,but damn that…i’m not riding in pouring rain ifi dont have to ESPECIALLY with so much electronic
gear. Egberth, one half of ‘da Sole Collective’ drove me and all my shit to Amsterdam, along
with his girlfriend and mutual friend, Garth, from London, in a 2 door hatchback…Thats an experience
that everyone should try at least once,but afolding bike fits nicely between 2 people,so it worked.
Once in Amsterdam, I decided to stay with my old friend Philip. Philip has the
distinction of being the exact FIRST person i met in europe,literally. It’s always good hanging out
with him so we made a week of it. I had wanted to play more than i did while i was in Amsterdam, but
it rained quite a bit during the week, so I decided to take in the sites a bit and absorb the city.
Amsterdam is a fresh city, but may i suggest
that they not fret so much about immigrants and work on figuring out the tourist problem. SO MANY
TOURISTS!! and not the cool ones, but the ones that rent a bike but dont know how to ride it, or walk
out in traffic because they are too busy staring at architecture. there really should be a manual for
them. and they converge on very specific areas en masse, which makes the center of the city a
headache to go to. Luckily for me, i have 2 advantages; 1. philip is a local, and 2. google maps on my
iphone allows me to find places that arent overrun with tourists, so, for instance, if i want to go to a
“coffee” shop, with wifi, google maps shows me many locations that the swarms wont go to because
its more than 200m from their hotel.
a side note that almost affected my ability to enjoy my time here was finding out about the
characterisations portrayed during their Dec 5th celebration. I wont go into a lengthy description
here,but i suggest, if you are curious, google “Holland, dec 5th, black face”…and to quote
Forrest Gump,”that’s all i have to say about that…”
towards the weekend, the sun re-emerged and i was able to get back down to business. i went to Damm
Sq and met a few of the local buskers and got the real 411of the legalities and politics of busking
the city, as opposed to the out of date crap you get online on the subject (I’m working on a solution to
that…stay tuned…). there are licenses, and rulesand no amps, but they arent enforced until there
isa problem,so i was able to do my thing for a bit (thanks vince[busker-guitarist])
On saturday,I made my way to Vondel Park.
this park is gorgeous! loads of space and the landscaping is amazing (although I still prefer Mauer
Parks “open lot full of weirdo’s”) I found a bridge (the acoustics are great under bridges) and
met this kid playing guitar and we traded stories and information about places we had both been and
busked. he gave me quite a bit of neccessary information for going forward into cities like paris,
Barcelona, ibiza, lisbon,oslo…I played after him but it was sunday that turned out to be more
advantageous. I played until my show was interrupted by a bike accident right in front of me resulting
in a woman getting a bike-pedal sized gash in her shin…yeah…it looked like it hurt,especiallywhen
the blood started dripping….time to go…(she was ok and rode away on her bike)
So Amsterdam was cool and relaxing,but they aredefinitely going to have to design a tourist-flow system
because the overwhelmingly large clumps of dumbfounded people made it a bit of a headache to get
around. but a great time to chill and catch up with friends nonetheless.
Monday, I inched up my biking mileage to 50km
when i biked from Amsterdam to Utrecht. the route is stunning. thewhole country has integrated
bike paths along side highways, train lines and canals. it was definitely worth the extra 2 1/2-3 hrs
it took to get here. I biked to a camp ground i found online, Fort Aan De Klop. there is
actually a MOAT around this place! and about 1km down the canal is Utrechts Red Light district with
Hookers in HOuseboats! hahahaha!!! that is some seriously funny shit! there is a
round-about at both ends of the stretch of road so guys can go to the end and just turn around and drive
back! well designed and everyone wasvery well behaved.
I will do a full Utrecht report once i’ve attempted to play and decided where i am going next but my
“ride around” vibe of theplace is that it has thebalance of culture and tourism that amsterdam
needs to strive for. and they have very interesting dual level canal bars that are actually “in”
the canal about 20cm above the water. pictures forthcoming.
tommorrow, I will head for parts unknown,but
more than likely, Paris, as i head further south by next week. I do not know what to expect,but at
very least, I have a bike,a tent,and a stove,so everything “should” be cool #famouslastwords.
sothats it for now. I must go find somewhere to play. live long and prosper.