I was studying abroad in Paris my junior year of college when my friends and I decided to take a weekend getaway to Amsterdam. This involved getting on an overnight bus from Paris to Amsterdam and staying at a place called the Botel, a boat converted into a hotel and permanently docked in one of the canals.
Rushing to catch the bus and starving, I decided to stop at a vending machine and grab not one but two brie sandwiches, (yes these things were actually sold in French vending machines). I scarfed them down on the way and made it to the bus just in the nick of time. After we exhausted ourselves from chatting, we all began to fall asleep around midnight. Unfortunately my stomach wasn't ready to go to bed quite yet. I felt the familiar pangs of nausea as I tried fruitlessly to go to sleep. I knew those cheese sandwiches wanted out big time.
Around 3 a.m., they were finally ready to come hurling out. Not wanting to stop the bus and disturb everyone while I yakked, I took my sweatshirt off and threw up into it. I tied it up into a little ball and put it neatly under my seat. Crisis averted! When we stopped at a rest stop an hour later, I was able to wash it out in the sink. My friend Carey looked at me strangely wondering what on earth I was doing laundry in a sink at 4 a.m., but I managed to shoo her off with a cockamamie excuse about needing to get rid of a stain.
The next morning we finally arrived at Amsterdam. First stop on the agenda? A coffeeshop.
The Grasshopper was a dark, dank bar. Every other bar in Amsterdam was oozing with the smell of grass, weed and skunk or whatever. What could seem seedy in any other country seemed perfectly normal in Amsterdam. The coffeeshops attracted a random eclectic crowd from dirty hippies and derelict pot heads to Eurotrash and frat boys. Everyone wanted a toke.
My friend Tina and I decided to go for the gold and try a space cake. FYI, this was nothing like a pot brownie. Space cakes were basically hash with a little bit of cake mixed in. I had been warned to be careful eating space cakes, but without doubt I had to eat one before I left. I ate cheese in France didn't I? I drank beer in England! It was my duty as a good traveler to savor the finest Dutch delicacies.
We decided to purchase one space cake and split it three ways to start off. As I swallowed my first bite, I could literally taste the grass. I wondered if this is what my dog Sparky tasted when he used to eat the grass in our backyard. After I'm guessing what was an hour, (although your guess is as good as mine) I started to feel a little funny. I began to feel as if the walls were closing in on me. Like in those Looney Tunes cartoons, when Bugs Bunny is trying to escape the room with the walls that close in. I started to totally freak out. I decided I just need to get the hell out of that dumb coffee shop.
"We need to go RIGHT NOW." I stammered, "I need some air."
Katy and Tina were pretty high at this point too, so they were too mellow to bother arguing. I went outside and immediately asked them what country we were in.
"Amsterdam, duh." Katy said.
"You mean we're not in America?" I asked, somewhat puzzled.
"Nope we're not" Tina chimed.
I wasn't sure how I ended up in Amsterdam, but I figured they knew what they were talking about. We then proceeded to wander the streets of Amsterdam, like dumb, dumber and dumbest. The last time I got this high was when the dentist overdosed me on laughing gas causing me to start drooling and almost roll off the chair. I wanted to sue the dentist for sexual molestation while under, but she was a 30-year-old blonde so chances were slim that I would win that case.
In any case, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Perhaps it was an acid cake and not a hash cake? And why weren't those two bitches as high as I was? They seemed to be in that happy mellow place unlike me. I felt like a homeless, schizophrenic, derelict. Like Janis Joplin without the talent or money. My heart was racing, my mind was spinning and I could barely speak.
The next thing I remember was staring at myself in a bathroom mirror realizing how red my eyes were. I looked like something out of Night of the Living Dead. I was sure everyone around me was looking at me and laughing. I hated all of them.
"It's not my fault!" I screamed at no one in particular. Those space cakes tricked me. Where am I anyway? God this is so confusing.
Tina bought me some M&Ms in the hopes that would calm me down. I lamely attempted to eat the little bag of peanut balls. But I began to feel suspicious as I eyed the red M&Ms. I feared that if I ate them my eyes would become redder. I was terrified of the red M&Ms. I could feel them teasing and taunting me.
"You're so hungry. Just eat one of us," one of the red M&Ms said.
"No, they're going to find out," I hissed. "They're going to find out I'm HIGH."
The M&Ms started laughing at me. Damn bastards. I resisted the urge to eat them and hurled the bag of M&Ms angrily into the nearest trash can.
Next stop was apparently McDonald's. The moderately less high Katy and Tina decided since the M&Ms didn't work I needed to eat something more substantial. We sat down at a table while I stared at the menu. Unable to figure out what I wanted, Tina gave me money and told me to order French fries. The two of them put their heads down on the table and proceeded to nap. I got in line and patiently waited behind another customer.
Apparently I was a little too patient, because the customer had long ordered their food and gone and yet I was still standing there. The McDonald's employee started yelling out to me in Dutch and then realizing I was clearly an idiotic tourist, in English.
"HELLOOOOOOO, can I help you?"
I snapped out of it and walked to the counter. I weakly managed to spit out "French fries".
"That will be 4 trillion euros."
What did he say? Even with all of my dad's tutelage, I was still horrible at math. What's he going to ask me to do next, quantum physics? I handed him the money Tina had given me, grabbed the fries and walked away without even waiting for the change.
I began to feel as there was no hope. I was pretty sure I was going to have a heart attack, I was so sleepy, I could barely move or speak, everyone was staring at me, the M&Ms were evil, and the walls were trying to eat me. I was totally bugging out.
Tina and I decided we had to get back to the hotel. Although she wasn't as high as I was, she was still pretty high. She started to cry uncontrollably. When I saw her crying like a baby, I lost it too. Katy apparently couldn't take our crying and decided to leave us there to wander off and explore Amsterdam. Tina and I walked around hoping to come across our Botel.
Thankfully Amsterdam isn't big and we weren't far from the Botel. We kept going up to people saying "Botel?" and allowing people to point us in the right direction. After harassing enough people, we finally got there. But we had already checked out so we were in a bit of a conundrum. We walked up to the front desk and started bawling all over again.
"I'm... really... sick." Keep in mind it took me 10 minutes to say that.
"Oh, did you girls eat space cakes?" the receptionist asked us.
We nodded in unison.
"You'll be OK. I can't give you a room because you checked out already, but you can sleep in the lower lobby downstairs. There's a sofa there."
We hung our heads in shame and walked down the stairs.
"I... think.. I'm... going... to... die," Tina said.
"My... parents... will... kill... me... if... I... die," I responded. I pictured my body being flown back to the States where my parents would argue about whose fault it was for raising such a moron. They would then concoct a cockamamie story about how I died, since they wouldn't want any of their friends to know I had kicked the bucket in such an illicit manner. Since I'm Hindu I would be cremated. But first I would have a viewing like Evita. I would be in a glass case surrounded by all of my fans. It would be glamorous.
We passed out for ages on the sofa downstairs. I would occasionally wake up from my stupor to catch people staring at us, while drool dripped down the side of my mouth forming a crust on my left cheek. This was more embarrassing that the time I slipped and fell in mud right before a party and everyone thought I shit myself.
After what seemed like years later, Tina and I woke up. Somehow we were able to surmise that we had to take the bus back to Paris soon, so we figured we had better wait upstairs. We were feeling much more sober albeit still very groggy and still slightly confused about what took place. I wondered if this is what it felt like to be roofied and wake up in some random guy's apartment. We were abruptly shaken out of our stupor by the French bus driver screaming at us from the bar's entrance to get on the bus.
Dere day arrr! Zees stupeed Amereecans! Come on girlz, we go now."
"Omigod, shit, sorry!!" I squeaked.
Tina and I gathered our bags from the front desk and ran out to the bus, only to see rows full of people including all of our friends (and Katy, how did she get there before us?), staring at us. I heard whispers of "Are you OK?" from our friends, along with a few French assholes calling us stupid Americans.
"Asians aren't stupid!" I yelled back. I might be American, but I'm still Indian after all.