This evening I arrived in Amsterdam, Europe's most infamous city and one of its backpacker favourites. The train from Brussels was a quick 3 hours: it was pretty boring (Belgium is green and flat, Holland is green and even flatter), and I slept most of the way, tired after all my walking around Brussels in the morning. My first impression, upon walking into my hostel here (Bob's), is that this is a city of serious weed junkies. Everyone here is totally stoned! Further exploration of the city — going into the many nearby "cafés" — revealed that the stoned-ness is not limited to the basement of my hostel, either: it's absolutely everywhere. Since I don't smoke (anything), I might be hard-pressed finding something to do around here. Amsterdam is a junkies' and layabouts' paradise.
Now that G-d has (hopefully) inscribed me in the Book of Life for the New Year, it's time to get back to sinful business as usual, and to hit that awesome BA party scene! Tonight, after finishing up with day two of Rosh Hashanah (and with Erev Shabbat), I returned to The Clan, and went straight up to the bar (as one does, when one is at The Clan). We the Clan crowd chilled in the bar over (more than) a few drinks, for a while; then, at about 2am, a group of 6 of us headed to the huge disco club of La Diosa (lit: "The Goddess"). I'd say we were just in time for it to open and to start seriously pumping. And seriously pump is exactly what this place did.
Even more than the massive dunes and the sandboarding, there's one thing that Huacachina is very, very famous for. I believe that its official name is Casa de Avinoam (lit: "House of Avinoam") — that's what the blackboard-scrawled sign out the front says, anyway. Most people refer to it simply as "The Israeli place". However, I think the most appropriate name for it would be Beit marijuana, because that's where it gets its fame from: at the end of every meal, the waiters at this bizarre restaurant will give you a small complimentary plate of not-particularly-legal herbs, and some paper to roll it up in. The cuisine is great here — but let's just say that most people don't come here for the food.