Today was my third and final day on the idyllic Moondance beach, and it was no different from the days before it. More of relaxing, more of occasionally taking a dip, and more of doing very little. I found Robert in his usual nesting-spot, sprawled on the sand next to a big rock; and in the afternoon, we were joined by a friend of Robert's, who's just arrived direct from Austria (and who's not gay — although he does run a bar in Graz), as well as by Iris and Andrea.
He was with me omnipresently, during my sojourns in hippie-thronged Mexico and South America. He abandoned me in North America and in Europe, where nobody can fit so much as a pony-tail into their hectic modern lives, let alone a daily dose of stoned inner peace. But now that I'm in Thailand, I can most definitely say that my old friend Bob Marley is back, and that he's bigger than ever. Bob is, of course, the undisputed king of all Reggae, the mascot of all hippies, and the master of all chill-out music. His red-yellow-green, dreadlock-infused banner flies tall and proud, everywhere you may go in Thailand.
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.
I was up for a nice, quiet day of relaxing and reading today, after yesterday's adventure on the volcano. So I'm walking down the street in Pucón, heading to the lakeside with a good book, when this guy comes up to me and invites me to join his friends on the grass. His name was Francisco, or "Chisco": and like his friends hanging out on the grass, he was completely trashed. It was the middle of the day, and they were all downing beers and smoking weed. "Do you wanna be boring, or do you wanna have fun, maaan?" Chisco demanded.