2006: Amsterdam fun, part 2

Fantastic visit to Rijk’s Museum. Awe inspiring stuff, left me inspired and amazed.

Crazy fun dinner party at Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten’s place with Tessa, Patrick, Eric, and Aryen, and two others, Josie and ???). On Mark’s last trip to Amsterdan, he met a young, successful entrepreneur named Boris (now founder of fleck.com). So, Boris invited Mark and us to come to dinner at his house. We arrived around 6:30 pm in a nice Amsterdam neighborhood. Boris had bought the second floor of a renovated school. The ceilings were at least 16 feet high – it was a remarkable apartment, both in sheer size and extreme modern minimalism.

We met Partick (marketing guy), Eric (advisor), and Aryen (young programmer), and of course Boris. These guys are all working on Boris’s new venture, fleck.com.

I have met a few people in my life like Boris and I remember each of them quite well. These people are gifted with genuine charisma, good looks, brilliant minds, artistic talent, great personal character, and lots of ambition. He’s one of those people who are constantly smiling and having a good time. It’s as if the lights go on when he enters the room.

So, we had a great time drinking beer and wine over a delightful cheese soufflé that we dipped peasant bread into. Boris told us that this mixing of the bread and sloshing around of the cheese together is a great way for us to get to know each other. We had a wonderful time and lots of lively conversations that slowly got louder and crazier. Dinner was red peppers stuffed with seasoned ground pork and roasted potatoes—it was wonderful. During dinner, the volume increased noticeably as the wine was doing its job.

Tessa, Boris’s girlfriend, arrived with her two lovely children. The little one, Faye, stayed up with us for a little while and provided some entertainment.

Tessa came back out, after putting the child to sleep, and things started to get crazy. We entered into a fast-paced, frenetic, loud conversation about many things, ranging from the Singularity to “why is XXX the logo for Amsterdam and what does it really mean?” to Maslov’s five steps to self-actualization to tech startups. We were loud and nuts before Boris brought out the vodka.

When I started to feel that it was time to leave, I think Tessa made the joke to search Google for “dutch parties exit”. I actually did this, but found nothing useful. As we were saying goodnight, Dan somehow converted the usual European two-cheek peck into a hug, but executed it badly. It looked like he was molesting her and we jumped in to protect the dear girl. This led to much laughing and jokes. Dan was extremely embarrassed! 🙂

We stumbled (literally) out of the apartment and made our way back to the center of town. We stopped at pub on Rembrandt Plein and had a beer. At some point, Dan kinda freaked out and raced back to the hotel w/o us. He felt that we were out of control and had had enough.


2006: Amsterdam fun, part 3

Saturday, May 27th 2006

#$%^&@*#&^$%…… oh, boy….. we were sick…. Slept till 11am and met Mark downstairs, but could not convince him to go to lunch. He went back to bed. I felt very ill. We ate at a fantastic place.

I needed to sleep some more and headed back to bed. Dan took a walk. I slept til 3pm and felt better when Dan returned. We gathered our forces together and got out around 4pm.

First, we went to an area called Stui (sp?) – a nice shopping area with a really cool coffeehouse. Mark and I did not feel like sitting in the smoky atmosphere and took a walk. I went back to meet Dan and found him sitting with a man and young woman. He is Lauren, “a very successful merchant banker” and told us his story of creating a marijuana growing facility inside an abandoned mine in Saskatoon for the Canadian government. Canada has a law that if there is a treatment for a medical problem, the government has to try to provide it (detailed elided). So, Canada put out an RFP, which was won by they owner of the abandoned mine. Lauren bought the mining company and got the contract to grow for Canada. Interesting guy, but something was not right about him. The young woman, Lindsay, attends Temple University in Philadelphia and was one of the biggest stoners that I have very met. She was funny, nice, and really stoned. 🙂

Next, we walked to the Anne Frank House, but the line was too long (at 6 pm!). So, we found a restaurant nearby and had a wonderful meal with great wine. But, the AF House had closed and we were too late to get in.

So, we walked back through town and had a beer in the RLD and went back to the hotel. When I got back, Dan was ready to go for one last coffeehouse visit and we stopped in a place called Andalusian (or something close). The owner was a beautiful Spanish woman and very friendly. We sat upstairs and drank a soda as people smoked all sorts of things around us.

Day Ten – Sunday, May 27th 2006

Hopped in the taxi and flew out at 11am…

2006: Amsterdam fun, part 1

Fantastic tour of the Van Gogh Museum tour with Rembrandt-Carvaggio special exhibit. Inspiring, beautiful, and sad. I loved Caraggio’s paintings even more than Rembrandt’s.

Hiked across town to the Rockery—this is Dan’s favorite place—and hung out for some time drinking beers and planning the next few days. The place was full of crazy art, dark, smoky corners, candle lighting, and lots of interesting groups of people sitting around getting stoned.

Went back to the hotel and took a much needed nap (two feet from Dan).

Had dinner at an asian place, and later walked around people wathcing and bar hopping.