Amsterdam places I’ve enjoyed
Reflections on my first week
While wandering through the city, I saw white lettering painted on a window pane that read – “DON’T TELL ME WHAT YOU YOU DID * SHOW ME WHERE YOU’RE GOING * TRAVEL TO EXPLORE * NOT TO ESCAPE.” The city in question is Amsterdam, where I’ve so far been for a little over a week. Any time you’re on the verge of heading to a completely different city than the one you’ve known for years, as I’ve now done four separate times in my life, it feels a bit like escaping. You can’t help but think about the regrets of the past few years, things you wish you could do differently once you’re anywhere but where you’ve been running in place.
But arriving here has felt quite a bit different than I expected. For one thing, at this point in my life it’s a near impossibility to completely start my life over with a reset button unless I fake my dead and completely move off the grid (that’s still a back pocket option at all times, however, but I don’t anyone who makes fake passports yet). If anything, traveling to a new city reinforces exactly who you really are at your core.
I’m a social person who also craves long stretches of alone time. Part of it’s due to the anxiety of having to actually run into other people*, part of it is laziness, but out of all of it, I have come to enjoy spurts of time alone. When you don’t know that many people in a new city, it’s easy enough to spend a lot of time in your apartment reading books, writing, and watching television. The latter not so much because I do not have wifi set up in this apartment yet. The other thing I know about myself is that I crave a bourgeois lifestyle and so that is why in lieu of an apartment with wifi, I have made my daily office Soho House Amsterdam.
There’s something intriguing about a Soho House in a different country. In New York and Los Angeles, I’m used to the clientele and they’re either friends of mine or people that annoy me. I have literally no idea what any of the people meeting or working or socializing at Soho House Amsterdam are doing, or what language some of them are speaking, so it truly feels like I’m existing anonymously. I’m not overhearing conversations about the industry, what celebrity someone partied with the previous night, or fighting for my life to get a table at Sunday brunch.
Little by little, 2022 is starting to feel a bit more like traveling to explore and less like traveling to escape the doldrums of Los Angeles.
I’ve shockingly never had hot pot before, except for the Korean version I’ve had before. So this was a wonderful introduction to the experience. My stomach was doing a number on me that day, in all honestly, but even the spiciest version of the food I ate didn’t upset it at all, so that is the greatest compliment I can play it.
Fou Fow Ramen
I’ve glad I was wearing a black hoodie this night because I forgot how statistically impossible it is to eat ramen without splashing broth on your clothes. I appreciate a ramen joint with regular and large sizes, because I often want to add extra egg and noodles to any bowl of ramen I order.
It’s giving ell pollo loco, which is a particular taste that will not satisfy you if you’re craving the comfort of Taco Bell or Los Angeles street tacos, but I didn’t even have to get stoned to enjoy it, so that’s a plus.
*The anxiety has also kept me from riding around the city on my bike yet, which a friend graciously gifted me, because I have never used a bike in a major metropolitan area before and thought of publicly making a mistake on one terrifies me. Soon enough!
This week, subscribers will get my thoughts on The Batman and the Amsterdam theater going experience.