Getting High and Arguing with M&Ms in Amsterdam

After we had been abandoned

I was studying abroad in Paris my junior year of college when my friends and I decided to take a weekend getaway to Amsterdam. Going to Amsterdam seemed like a good idea in theory. There’s the Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank’s, canals, windmills, cheese, weed, sex museums, and it’s only an overnight bus ride away from Paris. It seemed like a utopian society as far as I was concerned. Naturally, I sought to avoid all the high brow cultural hodgepodge of Amsterdam that the majority of my friends decided to partake in. I was going for the weed.

We had to take 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. As college students, we thought the whole concept of a Botel was infinitely genius.

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., the sandwiches were finally ready to make their escape. I briefly thought about stopping the bus driver so I could do it on the side of the road, but as anyone with vomiting, experience knows you could be sitting there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. Besides I didn’t want to slow down our trip. Amsterdam was waiting!

So I took my sweatshirt off (I had a shirt underneath) and quietly yakked into it. I tied it up into a little ball and put it neatly under my seat. Of course, now I was freezing, but hey crisis averted! I looked furtively around me. No one had seemed to notice my little indiscretion. I popped a piece of gum and prayed there would be no leakage. Wait a minute, was there a bathroom on this bus? Oh shit, there was. Why hadn’t I thought to go to the bathroom? I wasn’t even high yet and I was already acting like an idiot.

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 in Amsterdam. First stop on the agenda? A sex museum. My friend Katy and I politely told our friends we had no interest in going to an art museum and we’d see them later. The sex museum was basically a collection of porn. Ancient porn, modern porn, Asian porn, European porn. There were a few sex toys on display, but nothing you hadn’t seen before. I began to wonder if I should ask for my money back when I saw it.

“Omigod, look at that!” I screamed.

Katy turned around from staring at the multiple person position Kama Sutra picture she was looking at (does that woman have two vaginas?) to see what I was screaming about.

“It’s a giant penis chair! And it fucking vibrates! I want one for my house,” I said, even though I didn’t own a house and I don’t think it would match any of the decor I already had. That is single-handedly the greatest invention I have ever seen. Except for red wine and electricity.”

The penis itself was about ten feet tall and you could sit on the balls which vibrated.

Can you believe this? I can’t either.

“Let’s sit on it!” Katy exclaimed. She ran over, plopped herself down, and flipped the on switch. She made a rather perplexed look and cocked her head to the side as though she was trying to figure out what was going on.

“Well? Do you FEEL anything?” I asked rather impatiently.

“Not really, the vibration isn’t that strong.”

“That sucks. Let me try!”

I sat on it. Nope, no dice. The vibration was clearly on LOW. Major disappointment. At least it looked cool.

We continued walking around the museum, trying to wrap our minds around all the various sexual positions all while watching all the men play with their junk (EVERY guy had their hands in their pockets, Imagine if girls could play with themselves in public? Geez.). We spent the rest of the day visiting the hash museum and wandering aimlessly around Amsterdam. We met up with our friends later that evening for dinner, get wasted, walked around the Red Light District, and finally passed out around 2 a.m.

The next day we decided to finally hit a coffee shop. Or more specifically the famed Grasshopper. Because what else do college kids do than go to the most obvious and skanky spot to smoke weed?

Except we weren’t going to smoke weed. I had smoked a bit of weed when I got to college freshman year. But it never did anything other than make me sleepy, hungry, and irritable. So of course, I reasoned I should try it again! But stronger!

Today our friend Tina decided to join Katy and I. The three of us decided to go for the gold and try a space cake. FYI, this was nothing like a pot brownie. Or even any other edible for that matter. 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 began to feel a little funny. It was as though 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. What if the walls squish me to death?! 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.

At that point, 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.

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 bishes 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. And I hated all of them for it. How dare they laugh at me? Like the rest of these girls had never gotten high.

“It’s not my fault!” I screamed at no one in particular. Those space cakes tricked me. Where am I anyway? I wondered. God, this was 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 candy, 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. A feeling of fear washed over me. 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.” I have no idea quite who “they” were, but it made perfect sense at the time.

Those bastard M&Ms started laughing at me. I resisted the urge to eat them and hurled the entire bag of M&Ms angrily into the nearest trash can. You’d think I’d have the good sense to just throw out the red ones.

The 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 above the counter. 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[1]. 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 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 for safety. Although she wasn’t as high as I was, she was still relatively fucked up. I realized that when 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. Finding your hotel when you don’t even know what country you are in is surprisingly difficult.

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 Indian friends to know I had kicked the bucket in such an illicit manner. Since our family is 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 super 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 than the time I slipped and fell in the 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 at the bar. 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.

“Zere 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.

“She’s Israeli!” I yelled back. Americans are the only idiots, damnit.

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Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on December 7, 2017.

Sex Humor Wellness Writer @ Playboy, Allure, Marie Claire, The New York Times, Cosmo, WashPo. Follow IG: @rachelkhona