It had been yet another lazy morning, which seemingly without notice had already turned into another lazy afternoon. As we sat at a table in one of our favorite coffee shops, the sun streamed in through the glass warming me to the point I decided to shed my jacket. I draped it over the back of the chair hoping very hard that I wouldn’t forget it. It was day #5, and over a second cup of hot chocolate we decided we needed to get out of Amsterdam. For the next hour we talked about where we might go next, and eventually booked our train tickets for the following morning at 11am.
The rest of the day slowly shifted into evening, which went much like the previous four. Before we knew it our last morning began creeping in through the hostel windows. Both our alarms sounded in unison, with that sort of far away droning noise that wakes you from your dreams in a distant and groggy fashion.
As we packed up our things we quickly realized we had a problem; like, the best problem ever! We still had a handful of delicious half-smoked joints leftover from the previous days. It was illegal to take them with us, and we obviously couldn’t just leave them behind. We had roughly two hours to burn ’em, so we tossed our packs over our shoulders and headed to a coffee shop we hadn’t yet been to, lighting up on the way.
Up until this point in my life I was a pretty firm believer that you could only get, “so high.” Because of this, it didn’t matter that I already had way too much to smoke through, I also wanted one last space cake. We hadn’t yet been to this specific coffee shop, so we each ordered our own space cake like usual, and sat at a booth near the window.
As I unwrapped my happy treat, Kendra lit up another half-smoked joint. I took my first bite and it was delicious! Nothing better for breakfast than chocolate cake loaded with chocolate chunks, moist and rich and all things good! (I thought about not using the word “moist” here, but then I did anyway).
Smoking my third joint remnant, I popped the last bite of chocolaty goodness into my mouth. Then I saw it. Some small text on the inside of the wrapper caught my eye. It read, “1 Space Cake = 4 Servings.”
I about had a panic attack.
We had each eaten an entire space cake meant for four people! 30 minutes later we were entirely lost, in every way you could possibly apply to this situation. Before we knew it, it was 10:45am. I’m not sure how we even made it to the train station, or found our platform. Before boarding the train I reached into my pocket to retrieve my ticket and felt a few half-smoked joints beneath my finger tips. In a sheer panic, and without thinking, I dropped them between my feet and a concrete support column and walked – almost ran – away. I had the unsettling feeling that there were several pairs of eyes burning holes into my back. Dreadful paranoia had begun to set in.
The train ride seemed to last forever. I had lost all track of time and seemed incapable of grasping it’s concept. I had no idea where I was and I couldn’t even look out the window for fear I’d throw up. Where was this train taking us? I feared something sinister loomed in our futures. I imagined a miniature train running it’s course through my body. Every railway wagon filled with mounds of green, sticky, dank buds. The little conductor stopping along the way to unload and disperse cannabis throughout my body, until I was so saturated with the stuff I thought I was going to go into a weed-induced coma.
When the train finally came to a stop, I was fearful to disembark. What was waiting for us out there? Where exactly was, “out there?” My pack felt like a million pounds as I tried to pull it off the top rack without having it come crashing down on my head.
The next platform was a haze, and as we tried to locate our connecting train, we almost boarded three that weren’t ours. Succumbing to defeat, we turned our focus to food. A few minutes later we were sitting down on a bench eating pizza, and chatting with a boy from Portland who was headed to Warsaw. I’ll admit that I probably wasn’t chatting as much, or as fluidly as I like to think I was.
“We’re headed to Warsaw too!” I said, almost too excitedly when he informed us of his destination. We were headed to Warsaw! I remembered now! Then we would get on yet another train that would take us to Krakow. I was actively basking in my moment of clarity when all of a sudden, mid-sentence, the boy jumped up and bolted to a closing train door – just making it. We stood up too, thinking we were moving just as quickly, but in reality the boy had made it to the closing doors before we had even managed to pick up our packs. The doors closed, the train lurched to a start, and we were left.
On a platform in a city I couldn’t even remember the name of.
“Did we just miss our train!?” I blurted out quite fiercely. Kendra stood silent.
I was freaking out, my heart was pounding in my chest. This was literally the worst thing that could have possibly happend! We checked the marque and asked perfect strangers in hopes they spoke English. I scanned the blur of faces, it was maddening. I could have sat right there and burst into tears. I knew that everyone knew how stoned I was.
“She’s on the drugs!” they were thinking.
“Serves her right! She’s making bad choices!” they were thinking.
“That girl is throwing her life away!” they were thinking.
They needed to keep their thoughts to themselves!
I could see the judgement in their eyes. I felt naked and exposed. I wanted to be in the safety of my berth, but I had just missed my train! What was I going to do? Where was I going to sleep!? Was I going to die here!? I was outside of my mind. Or inside of it entirely too much. I couldn’t be sure.
Luckily it was as if the universe took pity on me, it knew I couldn’t handle much more.
One of the attendants pointed to a train entering the station and began shouting, “Warsaw! Warsaw!” With puzzled looks we grabbed our packs, jumped on board as soon as the steel machine came to a stop, and plopped down in some of the closest seats we could find.
We learned that the boy from Portland was on the wrong train. We wondered where he was headed, it seemed so scary in the moment that I almost feared for his life. It was as if we had been characters in his horror story, and his end was near. I couldn’t help but look for him when we reached Warsaw, despite the fact that I knew he wouldn’t be there. By midnight when we reached Krakow, my high had been reduced to a sort of hazy bubble that had permanently engulfed my body. The weirdness didn’t stop there though, and to read how we were “welcomed to Krakow,” by a woman in rags, click here.
Amsterdam taught me a few lessons. For starters, I no longer believe I can only get, “so high.” Secondly, smoking out on travel days is a solid and irrefutable no-no for me. And lastly, I’ve made it a point to not try and follow random boys from Portland – who knows where you’ll end up!