Amsterdam – More on Drugs

It’s interesting, reading about marijuana profits in the States—multiple billions of dollars that will go to local governments instead of drug cartels. This was old news in Amsterdam a long time ago. There are now only two places (that I know of) selling pot in the Red Light District. Two of the first were Hunter’s and The Bulldog.  Hunter’s was a wonderful coffee house, great space, and music, smoothies—as good as it got. The original Hunter’s was an astounding success.

Drug Bar at Hunters 2013Hunter’s 2013 – Last of the Good Years

The owner used profits to buy other places. Their license to sell pot was not renewed when it expired a few years ago. It is now a bar, one of two on Warmoesstraat. One is a sports bar. Still other Hunter’s are scattered out through the city, one in Rembrantsplien, and a couple other places.

The Bulldog claims to be the oldest coffee house in the Red Light, and has been busy creating more of itself along the Oudezijds Canal. The growth seem to increase exponentially each year. These four are within a hundred meters from each other on the same sidewalk, selling booze, coffee, souvenirs, seeds, pastries and whatever else they can think of. The original is still licensed to sell pot—a dingy, crowded sort of place with drug bar in the basement.

Billions of Dollars

There was a time not long ago when it was not uncommon to stumble on someone’s description of what a billion dollars was, so that we common people could understand. There were graphic examples — like hundred dollar bills stretched to the moon in back. Now we are talking trillions, which is far beyond most of our comprehensions, even the billionaires who play with money—Trump cards. It becomes unreal, a Ponzi, pyramid of promises on paper. Where are the minds of those trapped in these Winchester mansions, gilded rooms, five cars, a boat and Lear Jet, fountains, and elaborate swimming pools? What is that like? I can’t imagine.

We look up to these people— a hidden injury of class. A lot of us think they are better, smarter, know what they are doing. My dad was one of these. He was a welder at Shell oil. Put me though six years of college, had good cars and bought a modest, almost new, two bedroom house. Mom never had a job, God knows she wanted one, but was content to lead a 1940’s housewife’s life in a small town. These things seem almost impossible for the children of the working class now. Those of us who get up early, put in eight hour days, five days a week, and more, at jobs more than one of us is not in love with.

My dad came home from work sooty, clothes spotted with small holes burned by sparks from electric welding. He was a staunch Republican—Amazing. I never really thought about is back then— the early forties. He believed those things I’ve said above. Republicans were ‘better’ people, upper class.

Angelo, an Italian immigrant who lived across the street, was a Democrat. Ange built his own house, the basement first. They lived in the basement of two years, while he finished the house. The basement wasn’t bad. A furnace that would heat the house when built had been installed. The concrete blocks painted white. There was kitchen area and dining table, chairs, a wardrobe, beds, curtained partitions.

The finished product was all brick, laid with a help of two sons. A detached garage was also brick, beside a large and always abundant garden. The wife never worked at a job other than housewife and mother, which was more than enough to keep her busy. How did they do it? Ange worked at a large fruit stand along the highway—an established location on the main street of Alton, Illinois. His two sons joined the marines, married, and came back to live not far away from home.

We were friends with the Italians, but thought of them as lower class, common labor, ditch diggers fruit vendors and such. Nice guys, but not the best . . . and they were Catholics. That was a big deal back then. You old ones might remember, or not. This was a small town, Southern Illinois—late forties. I was a republican too. Because my dad was and I never really thought about it—never really interested in politics. Years later I have long since disconnected with both parties, and politicians in general. The more we see, the more unreal it becomes.

Still more on drugs – Next Post

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About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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