Hip Travel Guides: The Dutch

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Dutch Economy Shrinks

Dutch Econmy Shrinks According to reports, the economy shrunk in Holland for the first time in 20 years, due to slower exports. Perhaps this is due to the high exchange rates on the euro, or the world economy at large. Unemployment recently rose to 6.6 percent in April 2004 and is still rising. In spite of this seemingly bad news, the Netherlands ranks eighth in the world as an exporting nation, and the third largest in food exports worldwide. Amazing considering the small size of Holland, with it’s three names for itself. Whether you call it Dutch, Holland or the Netherlands, this place is still incredibly productive and industrious compared to any other nation on earth. The highly-educated multilingual country is home to many worldwide banking, insurance and manufacturing companies such as ABN-AMRO, Phillips, and Shell. Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is one of the world’s largest transportation hubs, and the port of Rotterdam is on of the biggest transshipment points of global trade. Very important stuff. However, there are still some serious drawbacks to doing business in the Netherlands, and old traditions die hard in this country. Holland has the highest rate of temporary workers in the world, and the glass ceiling is firmly in place for women trying to get to the top of any business structure. Women do not exist at the managerial level in the Netherlands, or very rarely. This part-time work mentality leads to masses of people with careers in a virtual loop of always looking for the next job, and no stability. Yet they pride themselves on their flexibility as they flock to the coffeeshops, cafes, bars and restaurants to fuel the service industryu with their hard-earned euros. ~Martin Trip

Posted by on Wednesday, December 28 @ 02:56:04 UTC (3633 reads)
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Mata Hari - Legendary Spy & Temptress

Born Margaretha Zelle, on August 7, 1876 in Leeuwarden, Mata Hari lived a very eventful but sad life. She married a Dutch officer who abused her and was often left to the charity of others to survive. She had two children, one who died under mysterious circumstances when the family was stationed in Java, Indonesia. Mata Hari had a dark beauty which she exploited by performing her famous Shiva dance, a striptease, before a live audience in Paris. She was a big hit, and took her show on the road to many of Europe's capital cities. This brought her much fame, money and admirers. Mata Hari's legendary beauty attracted many men, but she seemed most attracted to military officers, thus she was often in a position to hear of important secrets during WWI. She was accused of spying by both the French and the Germans. She may have also been a double agent, betraying her spymasters. Despite a lack of substantial proof of harming either country with her liasons, she was sentenced to death by a French military tribunal in 1917. For more about Mata Hari visit this website:
Crime Library - Mata Hari

Posted by on Tuesday, December 30 @ 16:51:39 UTC (10247 reads)
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LSD In the Netherlands

LSD, the synthetic drug that opened the minds of millions during the 60s and 70s is once again on the scene opening the minds of a new generation of Europeans. Many of the clandestine drug labs in the Netherlands that made their fortunes on Ecstasy, are now turning to making LSD in large quantities. Reasons for this vary, but supposedly there are now more restrictions on the chemicals needed to synthesize Ecstasy. LSD is indeed available in Amsterdam, but it is considered an illegal hard drug here, and anyone possessing it, especially in quantity is subject to arrest and imprisonment. Also LSD, while not addictive is a very powerful psychedelic drug with numerous physical and psychological effects. It's not for the faint of heart nor anyone with depression or other mental disorder. Apparently much more of the LSD is being exported to places like Germany which has recently noted a ten-fold increase in LSD seized along the border with Holland. Some of the LSD being manufactured in Holland is used locally by the club set who perhaps are finding Ecstasy to be less of a kick after continuous use. So you may be offered LSD in a club setting along with Ecstasy. Some of the LSD is available in sheets (blotter), but it seems certain labs are making it in a pill form, thus confusing it with Ecstasy, which also appears in pill form. BEWARE! Know what it is before you take it. The Dutch will know and will tell you (hopefully) if you ask. Another warning - LSD is NOT a party drug! Although many younger, less experienced people will take it at a club, concert or party, they eventually learn it's way too strong a mind fuck to experience in an unfamiliar or crowded setting. In addition its effects last at least 10-12 hours during which time you will not be "yourself." For more info about LSD check out erowid.org, an excellent resource on mind altering drugs. Last Warning - LSD is NOT available for sale in coffeeshops. And if you try to score from dealers on the street you WILL be ripped-off. Don't say you weren't warned!

Posted by on Thursday, November 13 @ 08:40:14 UTC (48514 reads)
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Dutch Pharmacies Now Stock Marijuana!

As of today, September 1, 2003, Dutch pharmacies will begin legally stocking marijuana and selling it to those with cannabis prescriptions from their doctors. It can now be sold in any of the 1,650 pharmacies in the Netherlands (in addition to the 800+ coffeeshops already selling marijuana). 80 hospitals and 400 doctors will also be allowed to prescribe and dispense the drug. High quality marijuana in it's raw form will be available in 5 gram packets for 50 Euros. This makes the Netherlands the first country in the world to prescribe and sell cannabis since it was prohibited by UN convention (it used to be one of the most frequently prescribed drugs before prohibition). The Netherlands has done the most extensive research into the medical and social uses of cannabis, and knows for a fact that it has many medicinal uses including helping AIDS and Multiple Sclerosis patients. The government's Bureau for Medicinal Cannabis (BMC) has been researching the effect of the drug on patients, and is the agency charged with overseeing the production and distribution of medical cannabis in the Netherlands. The Dutch amended their Opium Law to allow the prescription and distribution of cannabis through pharmacies. Two growers will supply the pharmacies with medicinal grade marijuana. Of course patients can also visit any of over 800 coffeeshops that also sell marijuana, but of course if they do, they'll have to pay for it, whereas if they get a prescription it's hoped their insurance will cover most of the cost. The public insurers will decide soon whether to cover cannabis as just another pharmacy drug. The Netherlands has led the world in allowing people the freedom to use soft drugs such as marijuana and hashish without penalty. In addition their research has shown how effective marijuana is for medical conditions and how separating soft drugs from hard drugs has benefited their society.

Posted by on Monday, September 01 @ 03:31:04 UTC (17227 reads)
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Dutch TV

In the past few years, there have been remarkable changes taking place in both the range of options and the programming quality available in Holland. The introduction of digital cable and satellite dishes have expanded the number of channels way beyond what was broadcast over airwaves, or on the analog cable systems of just a few years ago. Now you can see TV from all over the EU and Asia, Africa and the US. With digital cable and satellite you can also order movies or listen to digital audio from dozens of genres. You can even send and receive email on certain systems. I must warn those moving to Europe that their existing TVs and VCRs from other countries might not work in Holland. The Dutch broadcast using the PAL B/G format, and any NTSC equipment won't work. Unless you have multiple formats available on your equipment you'll be out of luck for viewing Dutch TV, or videos. If you purchase equipment in Holland it might not play your NTSC videos or work back in your home country. Digital TV is now widespread in Holland, with the rectangular, widescreen 16:9 format now being broadcast on many stations. Digital TVs are everywhere, and much cheaper than in the US. Sets can be had for as little as 500 Euros, and benefit from enhanced resolution, better sound, and extra programming features. So better to buy one of these here (many can be used with other broadcast formats too), than bring your foreign set with you. Unfortunately the greater quantity of TV signals hasn't improved the overall quality of the programming. With the typical "devil may care" attitude on the part of Dutch media, they have embraced America style commercial hype in their own programming, with Dutch game shows, talk shows, and tabloid type news programs. And that's not the bad/sad news. Thanks to the unrestricted import of American programs and movies, the Dutch now witness almost as much violence on their TV screens as do Americans. This wasn't the case just a few years ago, and I believe it has now affected Dutch society in ways they haven't yet acknowledged, much less dealt with. Not only has violence increased dramatically in those same years, but gangs, disrespectful attitudes, foul language (the Dutch sure say fuck a lot these days), and fashions have all come from that American inner city urban experience, not of European origin. I fail to see the benefit to the Dutch from such an irresponsible attitude towards the media's programming. Don't they see that this is programming their children to embrace violence and aggression as normal? I've always admired the Dutch for being so outspoken and tolerant in their media. Also the Dutch must be credited for innovative programming. The Veronica channel, which got its start as a pirate station, broadcasting from an abandoned oil rig, originated the Big Brother TV concept, which other countries copied. Dutch programming not only allows free speech, but also free expression of the human body including full nudity, sexuality and discussions of things that would make Americans cringe with embarrassment or fume with anger. I've seen penises ejaculating, cameras going in and out of pussies, guests disrobing on talk shows, people in the street pulling down their pants and getting spanked, all in prime time on public stations. Discussing sex, even demonstrating sex, is one thing. But endless graphic depictions of violence do not serve the public good, and give every indication of being the primary cause of the rise of violence in Dutch society. So come on people, let's cut back on this type of programming, and try to find another way to entertain without pandering to Hollywood's greedy obsessions. Dutch TV boasts three national public, non-commercial stations, Ned 1,2 & 3. In addition there is a growing number of commercial stations, some broadcasting typical American fare (movies, sitcoms, dramas) mixed with Dutch programming. On your basic system at least half the channels are Dutch language origin (with lots of English programs), the rest are from foreign sources. These include: English (BBC1 & 2), French (TV5), Belgian (TV1), German (ARD), Turkish, Moroccan, Spanish (TVE) and Italian (Rai Uno) stations. Cable, Digital Cable and satellite sources add many more channels. These include news stations like CNN, BBC World, Euronews, Sky News, MS-NBC, even Bloomberg. Sports channels like Xtreme and ESPN are available. Asian, Arabic, Indian and Chinese stations round out the foreign options. Pay-per-view channels include a wide range of movies (about $3.50 each), all broadcast in their original language, with Dutch subtitles, which makes viewing "foreign" films more difficult unless you understand the language. Sporting events and porno films are also available through your remote control. Deciding which service to signup for will depend upon your native language and country. If you're English you'd probably opt for a British satellite company like BSkyB. If you're European, say French, you might opt to get Canal+ or Astra. Americans are best served by UPC digital cable which offers up lots of American and British programming including 40 music, 30 movie, 6 news & 5 documentary channels. I'd say almost half the channels have shows in English (at least part of the time). Digital cable is available along with high speed cable internet and phone service all on the same cable! This is currently the best deal in Holland (less than $100 per month, depending upon extras). With cable penetration at about 99% in Amsterdam this makes sense since it requires no effort on your part, just an installation fee for the digital system. UPDATE: UPC is now installing their new cable box all over Amsterdam. It's a big advance over their last effort. This one is fully interactive, allowing you to do a lot more with your set. You can even order meals from local restaurants online! The cable channels now include 8 football channels for you sports nuts, and more Discovery channels and the travel channel as part of the standard package. There's also games, horoscopes and more interactive features, including the Internet available. Transparent menus allow you to browse all the channels while still watching your current show. In my opinion this is now the best system available in the Netherlands. If you don't have the new Motorola box (which is completely silent, unlike the older Philips model), call up UPC to find out when it will be installed in your neighborhood.

Note: Dutch TV is innovative and very liberal reflecting their famous social tolerance. You can see things in Holland on the tube that you won't find on TV anywhere else.

Posted by on Monday, September 30 @ 06:38:03 UTC (16465 reads)
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Dutch Telephones

The Dutch telephone system has undergone a complete revolution thanks to the developments of the past few years. Once upon a time the system was under the complete control of KPN, the royal Dutch phone company. Today, several years after the monopoly was broken, KPN is nearly bankrupt, failing to compete with mobile phones, international and other Dutch phone service providers. So what options are now available for making calls in Holland? First, the once ubiquitous phone booths are almost extinct. It used to be every public business like pubs, restaurants even shops had a public phone. But thanks again to the widespread use of mobile phones, few locals need to use a pay phone anymore. So finding them is next to impossible. In fact, not long ago I was in the Jordaan, without my cellphone, and needed to make a call. I stopped in half a dozen public places, some of which still had a phone, but not one still worked. You can still find public phones in post offices, hotels, airports, railway stations and occasionally on the most touristed streets. But not many other places. You'll need to have a phone card (available at those places just mentioned) or a credit card or a Chipper/Proton cash card, as public phones don't take coins anymore. If you're going to be living in Holland, you have a choice of home/business phone services offered by KPN, UPC and others. You can get a regular dialup line, an ISDN line which usually allows two phone lines, one for fax or internet, or a cable line which gives you two phone lines, Internet access and digital TV thru one cable! This last option is by far the best deal around. UPC is the dominant player, and its service has improved greatly over the years. It has the fastest internet (up to 1MB/sec), cheap long distance (I pay 7 cents per minute for calls to the US), and a very good cable TV service. Monthly charges for all this run less than 100 euros. And you don't have by-the-minute charges for the Internet, like with dialup services, so if you use the Internet heavily, you will save big time (my charges had been almost $200 a month with KPN, for slow dialup Internet, without the extras!). Mobile phones are very popular in Holland, and everyone seems to have one. There are many companies and service plans available. You can purchase a phone for about 100 Euros and buy prepaid cards so you don't have to have a monthly subscription. This is the best option if you rarely use the cellphone. But if you like to use it, you can a FREE mobile phone with a monthly subscription, for as little as 10 Euros a month. I've been using Ben, which gives me 150 minutes a month for about 23 Euros. It carries over unused time from the previous month up to 300 minutes, so I've never had to pay extra above the subscription. Calls to other countries, or from other countries using a mobile phone can be very costly, but convenient. So if your travels take you to France for instance you might want to make sure you have a mobile service that also covers that country, otherwise you'll pay yet another premium for using it there. If you go to signup for a mobile phone, you must bring a passport or identity card for ID purposes! Phone bills in Holland do not usually give you the detail of every call, unless you specifically request this information. You will be charged an extra fee for this service. It's a good idea to have monthly charges automatically deducted from your bank account so you don't have to worry about making the payments on time.

Note: From the KPN monopoly to the half dozen mobile phone companies, a variety of choices in phone service is available in the Netherlands. Find out the cheapest ways to make phone calls in Holland.

Posted by on Monday, September 30 @ 05:39:45 UTC (7130 reads)
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Netherlands Overtakes US As Best Place To Do Business

Netherlands Ranked #1 As Business Location The 'Economist Intelligence Unit', a British based think-tank, released their latest business environment rankings. The ranking indicates the attractiveness of operating conditions for companies in 60 countries and compares the likely environment for the coming 5 years with the previous 5 years. The Netherlands has surpassed the United States as having the most favorable business climate. Rankings
1. Netherlands
2. Canada
3. Finland
4. United Kingdom
5. United States
6. Zwitserland
7. Denmark
8. Singapore
9. Sweden
10. Hong Kong The Netherlands' stable macro-economic environment, highly developed financial sector, high-quality infrastructure, and a highly trained and educated workforce all contributed to the recent ranking. Source: Netherlands Embassy

Posted by on Monday, July 08 @ 18:02:41 UTC (5365 reads)
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Freddie Heineken - Beer Master and Ad Man

Freddy Heineken, who was 78, died of pneumonia in Amsterdam today, January 3, 2002. Local newspaper De Telegraaf described his career by saying that after WWII he built the family business into a global brand comparable to Nike or Coca Cola. Of course Freddie Heineken was incredibly wealthy and famous among the jet-setters back in the '60s and '70s.Fame led to his kidnapping in 1983, when he was held in a tiny warehouse room for three weeks until a rumored 17 million euro ransom was paid by his family. We have also heard that all but four million euros were later recovered. Freddie loved playing up his eccentricities and was responsible for the unique image of Heineken worldwide at that time, and devised advertising pitches that made Heineken a world-famous name. Amsterdam newspaper De Volkskrant quotes him as saying "if I hadn't been a beer brewer I would have been an advertising executive." Another scheme Freddie was proud of would have divided Europe into 75 nation-states, each with no more than 10 million inhabitants. This was his grand plan for peace in modern Europe. I have to wonder what Freddie thought of the Euro? Or perhaps he had a final fit just days after its introduction.Amsterdam seems to be coping sadly, I passed the Rembrandtplein on may way to an appointment today and was nearly run over by a horsedrawn carriage festooned with black ribbons. It was covered with beer kegs, and quite a crowd was chasing it down the street for the free beer being handed out. Wow! Free beer in Amsterdam! Who would have thought it could happen!R.I.P. Freddie Heineken

Note: The man who built Heineken into the huge multinational corporation has died.

Posted by on Friday, January 04 @ 16:39:54 UTC (9492 reads)
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Interview with Joop the Crystalman

by Skip Stone

Martin Trip and I recently had the pleasure of meeting Joop the Crystalman, whose incredible macro-photographs of cannabis THC tricomes adorn many a wall in the Cannabis College, grow shops, headshops and coffeeshops in Amsterdam. His work has also appeared in many cannabis magazines. Joop is a very engaging fellow, who approaches his advocation with great enthusiasm.

To view more of his wonderful work, please visit his website at http://www.crystalman.nl MT: What made you interested in taking pictures of marijuana so close up and tiny?

Joop: In 1983 I was a roadie with musicians, making a 6 week tour through Holland. One of the boys, he smoked pot. I was 35 years old and that was my first time. I had a good night's sleep. Then I buy a small packet of marijuana. There were 30-35 seeds in there. So I put it in the ground. And it was good marijuana. And I made pictures of the seeds as they grew. I can show you the first photo I took...

(Joop proceeds to find the photo of his first seeds sprouting in 1983)

And when the plant grows and makes flowers, I take some more photos. I take a loupe, and I look at the crystals and I wonder, what is that? I don't know what it is. It was so pretty, that I want to LIVE in the crystals! It's a different world.

So that's how I started the photos.

Skip: Were you a photographer before you took these photos?

Joop: No, I only took photos of my wife and children.

(he shows us more close-up photos of the inside of the female flower with resin just beginning to form.)

MT: So you have fun playing with colored filters?

Joop: I play with colors, with mirrors.

Skip: Are you developing these yourself?

Joop: No, it's too much for me.

MT: Do you shoot slide film?

Joop: Yes, I shoot slides, then I take an inter-negative. Then you can make prints from that.

Skip: So you have a microscope that you're using? Your camera fits on the microscope or you have a special lens that fits on the camera?

Joop: No, I have a projection microscope. (he shows us an amazing device that is part microscope, part projector.) It has a 250 watt bulb. The image comes out onto the screen.

Skip: So you take a picture of the projection?

Joop: Yes.

Skip: This is very sophisticated. Can I take a picture of this? Unless you don't want to give up your secrets. After all you're probably the only person doing this! The projector must be old, about 30 years or so, no?

Joop: I don't know how old it is.

(Joop shows us his website, which has his close up photos, but also some very colorful abstract paintings)

See I make paintings using oil paint. I make a little painting, then I take a photo with the microscope.

Skip: So you're taking a photo, then you're painting over it?

MT: No he's painting on the slide! Then he takes a close-up picture of the paint itself!

Joop: It's as big as a pinprick! It's magnified 1200xs.

Skip: And when you take a picture it looks like an abstract painting.

Joop: Yes.

MT: Fabulous.

Skip: So at that magnification, just what are you looking at?

MT: Just the chips of color suspended in the paint.

Skip: So those are the pigments of color in the paint. That IS amazing. It takes a bit of explaining to understand!

(Joop shows us a big blowup of one of his photos on canvas)

Skip: So where have your photos appeared?

Joop: They are published in Germany, in High life and Blast magazines in the Netherlands, and last year in High Times magazine in the August 2000 issue. (Soon it will be in Jorge Cervantes' Marijuana Indoor Horticulture, the bible of marijuana growing).

MT: You can also see his photos in the Cannabis College.

Joop: Also Canamo magazine from Spain will soon be publishing more pictures of mine.

Skip: Can I take a picture of you?

Joop: With my pipe!

Skip: Oh, I see you smoke it pure! I have some hashish here...

Joop: I make my own! (Joop proceeds to unwrap a small but very sticky piece of black hash). It's not hard, it's soft. It's isolator hash. It's made with the screen in the bag and then you add ice.

Skip: Oh, we call that bubble hash.

Skip: Do you think there is an intimate relationship between humans and cannabis? Isn't it like an antidote to the stress of society? It slows us down, and helps us get back in touch with nature, and keep us from killing each other. It's impossible to be violent while stoned on cannabis.

Joop: My first joint made me understand what is happening around me with my family. It expanded my awareness, and helped me understand what happened to me growing up in my big family with 14 children! When I listened to music I heard EVERYTHING!

Skip: It's like opening your inner eye for the first time. In our society we don't have a way of opening it. In primitive societies it was part of a shamanic ritual.

(we all toke up here!).

We are viewing some of Joop's photos. We start seeing all sorts of objects in the microscopic images.

Skip: That looks like an egg!

MT: It looks like an ovum.

Joop: Can you see the dodo?

Skip: Yes, a Dodo bird with long legs.

Joop: Yes, and you're looking at pure crystals of THC. Look at this one.

Skip: Is that Jesus in the crystals?

Joop: Jesus? Yes, that's possible. I see a woman.

Skip: Oh, I see the tits. But I was looking at this and saw long hair and a mustache!

Joop: I'm only thinking about females...

Skip: And I'm not even Christian, so I'm surprised I came up with that.

Joop: If you want to see Jesus, you've got to smoke these crystals!

Skip: Yeah, then you'll see Jesus everywhere! (I'm looking at some great photos of individual tricomes) I love these photos. They're so clear, you can see right through them, they're still in their natural state, they haven't fallen off yet. Their so shiny and alive!

(Joop shows us some more of his microscopic paintings)

Joop: When I make these paintings, I don't even know what I'm making! I must search under the microscope to see what I've made.

Skip: You're blowing my mind Joop! Are you doing any image manipulation on computer yet?

Joop: No

Skip: Oh you're missing out on a lot of fun!

Joop: I have this computer from last year. I'm an old man. I use it only for email and browsing the web, and I made my own website. I don't understand the language used in the graphic programs.

(we're looking at more photos now)

Skip: These look like another world. I can see why you'd like to live on this level!

Joop: It's amazing to live in that world.

Skip: I think it would be very sticky! (we laugh). I think these are the alien worlds. They're what we can't see because they're too small. Yet we interact with them. We affect them, they affect us. Are you taking picture of other things?

Joop: Yes, I have taken such pictures. Would you like to see some?

Skip: You've just whetted my appetite to see what else there is in this world that is just beyond our vision.

Joop: Here's a close-up of bread and here's my blood. Here is some pure hashish.

Skip: This one is flower pollen! Oh, I hate this shit, it looks like diamonds. They're sharp! No wonder they bother me.

Joop: Here's a metal screen from a pipe.

Skip: It looks like a cyclone fence! Hey Joop, how about a taste of that isolator hash? (Joop provides a piece and a pipe I inhale). Oh wow! It bubbles. That's amazing. So pure. (Joop shows me another microphoto). That looks like a bug! Stuck on something.

Joop: On the crystal.

MT: It's a fly.

Joop: A very small fly!

MT: He's stoned!

Joop shows us more photos.

Skip: This photo looks like something out of Hieronymous Bosch!

MT: This looks like crystal balls, and that looks like little people walking around! (we all laugh).

Joop: This one looks like a storm.

MT: This looks like Jupiter. Here's monumental building of some sort.

Skip: I see a face in this one.

MT: I see a face in the clouds, is it Abraham Lincoln?

Skip: Joop is still seeing girls in these!

MT: He sees chicks everywhere!

Skip: I see one lying down.

Joop: Another person said he sees a uterus. I said maybe this is a baby here.

Skip: Yes, well you ARE taking pictures of female plant parts.

MT: This looks like a bird flying, or the Loch Ness monster.

Joop: I see a gypsy woman here. Here's a family. This one's an alien encounter. These pictures are part of an exhibition in the Princenhof, a museum here in town. Next I will have an exhibition in a coffeeshop.

Skip: Your stuff should be hanging in a gallery.

MT: You seem to be having fun with your artwork.

Skip: And success!

Joop: It's like candy for me.

Skip: It's good to see an artist at work.

MT: Yes you are an artist!

Joop: I don't see it. When I was a little boy 2 or 3 years old, I played with blocks. Now I play with color, with mirrors, with crystals, with a camera and projector. I have a lot fun. I usually work in the night, starting at 8pm, finishing at 4am. There's not so much noise around.

MT: What about your kids don't they make noise?

Joop: Grand kids!

Skip: Oh you have grandchildren! Congratulations! Did you have a career before you started this photography?

Joop: When I was 15, I became a sailor and went all around the world, South America, Denmark and Sweden, Morocco, the Mediterranean.

Skip: When did you go to Morocco?

Joop: In 1963. I also worked as a truck driver, as a welder, for the post office in Delft for 10 years. I think different and feel different from the other people who work there. The same with my family. I'm the only one who thinks different, feels different, and wants different. What I want is not in my ass, but in my brain, and I do it. Some day I'll make my own book with crystal pictures.

MT: I think you'd make a beautiful book with your pictures.

Joop: I'm saving now for that.

Note: Discover the mesmerizing alien landscapes that appear in microphotography of THC tricomes. Joop the Crystalman captures the wonders of marijuana up close.

Posted by on Monday, October 22 @ 09:49:02 UTC (9005 reads)
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Benidorm on the Costa Blanca


The town of Benidorm, located on the Costa Blanca in Spain, is not a sleepy fishing port, with hammocks swaying in the sun by a beach. Well, there may be some hammocks swaying by the beach, but the 'town' of Benidorm boasts some of Spain's tallest hi-rise buildings.

Located 45 kilometers northeast of Alicante, it's a convenient and inexpensive place to fly into from just about anywhere in Europe. Benidorm is known for it's white sand beaches and nightlife, albeit Las Vegas-style.

Less expensive than other sun-drenched parts of Spain's coast, Benidorm attracts budget travelers from all over the world, but mainly from Northern and now Eastern Europe. Package tours that include self-catering in small apartments are standard for most travelers here. The town boasts 35,000 beds in hotels and over 200,000 apartments, so it shouldn't be difficult to find a place.

In recent years Benidorm has been overbuilt to the point where there are now plans to start tearing down some of the older, funkier buildings, which will doubtlessly be replaced with new, even taller tower blocks.

A stroll down the Levante beach is enjoyable, with people watching the main activity. And then there are the amazing tourist attractions lining the beautiful promenade that actually makes Benidorm a special place. Located at the southern end of the Levante beach is a promontory with a fine little public park on the end of it. There's an outstanding vista of the broad, miles-long beaches (north and south) from the park. The cafe here offers a great cappucino, or colder beverage in the warmth of the summer sun.

More than 1000 restaurants, and 30 or more discos can be found in Benidorm. There are many bars, cafes, cafeterias, gaming palaces, and trinket shops galore to be found here as well. And in the surrounding streets leading to the beach there are many more shops, if nothing strikes your fancy.

Benidorm attacts families with lots of options for kids including the nearby Terra Mitica, Mundomar and Aqualandia theme parks, and the shopping malls of Finestraat.

To get to Benidorm you can fly into Alicante, rent a car and drive here. Or take the new bus! And there is a train as well that runs from Alicante thru Benidorm north to the town of Denia, which is also an excellent day trip from Benidorm.

Posted by on Monday, January 24 @ 13:23:24 UTC (3400 reads)
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