Sunday, February 28, 2010

Europe's Sin City - Amsterdam

Do you like history?  Do you like way cool architecture?  Do you like to smoke cannabis in public?  Do you like a high tolerance to sexuality?   Then perhaps Amsterdam is THE place to be...

First off, where is Amsterdam?  It's the capital of Netherlands and located in North Holland.   What are the Netherlands?   Netherlands is a country and this country has 12 Providences, two of which are "Holland" (North and South) which are in the central/west part of the Country of The Netherlands.   When people say "The Dutch" they really mean the inhabitants of the Country of "The Netherlands".  The Dutch, speak....DUTCH.  According to stats, over 70% of the Dutch people speak English pretty well.


The city was settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century.  Amsterdam was granted city rights in 1300 or 1306.  From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished.  Today the population of Amsterdam is around 1.4 million.   The climate of Amsterdam is very nice, in the winter months (snows every so often) it stays around 35 to 44 degrees and the summer temps rarely exceed the mid 70's.

* BONUS FACT:  Did you know Anne Frank's hideout house is located in Amsterdam?

Today you'll find really cool architecture dating back all the way to the 1500's including the oldest building, the Oude Kerk Church, was built in 1306 and still stands today.   There are many tours you can join to take in these fabulous spots, truly recommended.  Here's a link to a FREE walking tour!  Walking Tours

(Oude Kerk Church)

Now let's get to the REAL reason YOU want to go to Amsterdam.  The Red Light District.  This sinful little are will having you heading back to Oude Kerk quicker than you know it.  Filled with over 200 coffee shops where they also serve up weed, sex shops, brothels, peep shows, a cannabis and sex museum, sex theaters and other businesses to exploit yourself in.  In the 19th century, the term "red light" was associated with the red lanterns carried by railway workers (which they later left outside brothels when they entered).

Smoke shops - These shops have been a part of Amsterdam since just the 1970's but have been a big hit among locals and tourists.  (mainly tourists)   Around that time the Government of The Netherlands made 
a distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs.  You can guess it..."soft" was allowed and "soft" included marijuana.  Under this law the coffee shops are allowed to sell customers up to 5 grams per person.  (must be 18 years old or older)  The law also states you can't sell the weed AND alcohol at the same establishment, hence the reason for the coffee shops.   Most of the shops are cool with you bringing your own weed but at least buy a cup of Joe out of courtesy.   Price for the smoke?  Around 15 Euro's for 3 grams which is around 4 rolled joints.  (15 Euro is about $21 bucks currently)

(sample menu at an actual smoke shop, click to enlarge)

What is "hash"?!?!?

Sex in the district - From brothels to sex shows to museums you get it all here in Amsterdam.  Prostitution in Holland and since 2000 window prostitutes have been legally allowed to flaunt their goods.  The sex happens around the clock but the most busy time seems to be around 11pm at night.  As you walk past buildings you'll have the ladies tapping on windows to get your attention.   These same ladies are tax payers and regulated by the Dutch Government, a solution to the worlds oldest profession I think other countries ought to consider.  Instead of criminalizing something that will occur anyway why not regulate it, protect people and make tax money off it?

(window ladies working it)

These window ladies charge a standard price, around 50 Euros (or $67 dollars) that'll give you about 20 mins of "fun" time.  If you want the ladies to be completely nude it might cost you more, surprised?    I found a pretty informative article about the pricing located here:  Prices.  

There are also sex clubs in the area.  Sex clubs are clubs where the girls work in a club type of environment.  Most of these places will charge you per the hour (from 75 Euro to 300 Euro) for a time with a nice lady.  You walk into the club, have a look around and when you pick the lady of your choice it's off to the races.  Think of them as American strip clubs but instead of 3 songs for $60 bucks it's much more. the math, 3 songs at 4 mins each is 12 mins for $60 compared to one hour for $200 it's actually cheaper - even if you didn't have sex!  Want to price out these places:  Club prices and places 

(Sex Club Elegance)

There are also sex shows where singles and couples go to watch a....well, a show!   These shows are different than sex clubs, the sex shows in Amsterdam are based around a bit of audience participation, but for the most part these are spectator sports.  Most people describe the experience as interesting or hilarious rather than “sexy”  

(Sex show theater, Casa Rosso)

 Casa Rosso is one of the most popular sex shows in Amsterdam and charges you 45 Euro for an hours show and 4 drinks to get you through it.   Want to check out their web site?  Sex Show Theater  If you want pics of the show, go there, I'm not about to go into the porno blogging biz.  :-D

BONUS FACT:   There are about 878 windows in the Red Light District.

So if you're sure you're ready to hit up Amsterdam do it quickly because the Government has been cracking down and changing laws to make this sinful city just a touch more conservative.   At the time of this blog the city is still up to it's old ways but you never know what might happen.

Where to stay?  Well, having never been there I had to take others advice.  I like hotels that are reasonably affordable, reviewed nicely and in great locations.   According to the user reviews over at The Black Tulip is the place to be.  Users ranked it #2 in choice out of 356 hotels in the area yet the room rates run $220 a night, not bad for Amsterdam!   Check the reviews here, Black Tulip.  If you do book it and don't like it, hey...don't blame me, blame the hundreds of reviewers.  :-D

(Black Tulip Hotel)

Einde - "The End" in Dutch

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A true travel computer

I wanted to talk about a laptop that would be excellent for the road.  Something durable, something light, something either weatherproof or spill proof.   I found laptops you could drop from 3-4 feet over and over but they were VERY thick and costly.   Then I thought about the upcoming I-Pad from Apple but it's still upcoming!

My solution?   A small, light, and quick as possible netbook.   Now there are many to choose from but one that stood out to me was the Samsung NB30.   It's built to be A. Rugged and B. Waterproof (to a slight degree).

  • It's got 1 gig of memory (pretty much standard)
  • The screen size is just over 10 inches
  • It has built in speakers, microphone and webcam (good for skype)
  • A 160 gig hard drive
  • WiFi built in card
  • It's "semi-waterproof" 
  • A Free Fall sensor (protection for the hard drive if you drop it)
  • Battery life:  At least 8.5 hours (that's good for one long flight)
  • Price:  Around $379
The Samsung NB30 also incorporates a water-tight seal around the system to prevent potential damage from contact with up to 50cc of spilled water if removed within 10 seconds, based on testing by Samsung. 

Tips for using a netbook!

Net books are not the fastest machines out there.  But they're good for travel because they're small, light and don't cost too much.  But to make the computers work quicker I'd suggest a few things.  
  1. Install and use Firefox as your web browser.  It's quicker and protects you better.
  2. Use Google Docs instead of MS Office.  You'll save that precious hard drive space.
  3. Use Skype to make calls and/or video calls to save money and keep in touch.
  4. The netbook can serve as a "Photo Dump".  Put your daily vacation pics on the machine.
So there you have it people, pick up one of these and hit the road! 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Viking Exotic Resort - a TRUE all inclusive vacation!

When the folks over at Viking Exotic Resort launched in 20?? I guess they wanted to take the meaning of "all inclusive" to a whole new level.   Meals included?  Of course.  Drinks?  Naturally.  A nice hotel room?  For sure.  A gorgeous resort on a beautiful island?  You get that too!  Two women each night and free massages all week?   YES!

You read that right.

Now I'd like to say this is NOT for me.  #1 I'm married to an amazing woman.  #2 I would not do it if I was single either, just not into the whole "pay for sex" thing.  But I'm not here to judge, go to your groove on guys, fine by me!

The resort offers some other packages as well, but the grand package is the only way to do it if you are going to visit.  For the sum of a mere $7,900 for 4 days and 3 nights, you’ll get all this: 

  • The company of the companions for 4 days and 3 nights
  • All meals and drinks served at the villa
  • Two girls for each night of your entire stay  
  • Complimentary massages
  • Transportation to and from the local airport
  • Welcome Cocktail Party

What Do You Think?
What do you think of this sexual resort? Are you ready to pack your bags, rubbers, and birthday suit?  Or are you already thinking of ways to have this place shut down?   If you're ready to check them out, go here:  Viking Exotic Resort

2.5.11 UPDATE:   It looks like Viking Exotic Resort is out of business, November 25, 2009. There are several rumors as to why they had to close but we want to hold off on reporting rumors.   We suggest checking out DR NightsThey got packages from $995 for 2 nights.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tijuana, Mexico - A honest pictorial review

Sometimes you don't need to say much...
(click any photo for a larger look at it)

Tijuana, Mexico







Monday, February 22, 2010

Jamaican Hotels - Visit paradise on the cheap!

Today I'd like to point out 3 pretty cool places you can travel to in Negril, Jamaica on the super cheap.  One in particular just blows my mind.  Why spend all that hard money in this ressission?  Instead take some of that saved money and bring down some shoes for the school kids.

Moving on...

1.  Xtabi Resort - Negril, Jamaica

This gem is more of a hotel than a hostel, but cheap none-the-less.  It  has no highrise buildings, nothing taller than a palm tree. Swim in a tropical lagoon where swinsuits are optional or sip a cool island drink while you watch a Negril sunset.   Prices start from $533 for 7 nights INCLUDING breakfast for 2 each morning.  

Check them out at: Xtabi Negril

2.  The Caribbean Sunset Resort - Negril, Jamaica

The Caribbean Sunset Resort, a leading resort in Negril, adjacent to Negril Square and situated just a few minutes walk from the beautiful Seven Miles Beach, one of the famous beaches in Negril.  The resort has 75 rooms and Villas, designed to meet individual needs with comfort and style.  The guest rooms are very spacious and comfortable with vaulted ceilings, tiled floors, balconies or patios with amazing Ocean views or the Gardens.  Room amenities include WI FI internet access, ceiling fans, air-conditioning, satellite televisions and in-room safes.   Prices start from $12 per per/per night but you need to book for 3 nights minimum. 

Yes that's right, I said $12 BUCKS A NIGHT. 

Check them out at:  Caribbean Sunset

3.  Negril Yoga Centere - Negril, Jamaica

The Negril Yoga Centre was established in 1981. It is also known as The Little Oasis!   Relax in the large lush gardens, filled with fruit trees.  They are just steps away from the sea, and walking distance to restaurants, entertainment and shopping.  Come and share "The Little Oasis" experience. The Negril yoga Centre, offers a safe haven, pampering you Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul. We offer daily Yoga Classes, Spa Services, and our kitchen provides an all natural cuisine with Foods and fresh juices created special for you and your dietary needs.   Web access is in the lobby.   Prices start from $40 per night FOR TWO.  Yoga classes are $10 bucks.

Check them out at: Negril Yoga Centere


Sunday, February 21, 2010

You don't have to be retired to enjoy this cool RV!

On the road agaiiiinnnn...


Got an extra 50k laying around?  This way cool RV from Airstream is a rolling work of art that's NOT your Grandfather's RV.  This little honey might cost you but consider it a rolling apartment if you can't make rent.  It's exterior is made from polished metal.

  • Length:  16 feet
  • Air conditioning:  1 11,00 BTU unit  (This will keep you cold in Arizona)
  • Heating system:  12,000 BTU furnace  (This will keep you warm in Minnesota)
  • Weight:  4,300 pounds (slightly more than most cars)
  • Sleeps:  4 adults
  • Water capacity:  23 gallons
  • Kitchen:  2 burner cook top, oven with range hood (with vent and lights), water heater, refrigerator.
  • Complete entertainment system including speakers, hook ups, CD, cable TV and phone lines.

I think the Airstream is an amazing concept and saw this DWR (Design Within Reach) version that was custom designed with a Modern Kitchen, Italian countertops, hip layout and really cool. This would be one cool mobile pad, mobile office or just a neat place to hang out in.

Now, where are you going to go with this hip bad boy?   Here's an amazing list, RV List of some REALLY cool places to visit.  Life would be sweet in your cute little home on wheels beachside in the Florida Keys or in one of our amazing national parks.

Need to be naked at a RV park?  Fine, go here, Nude RV Park, Glen Eden in sunny Southern California.  Living here in Los Angeles I'll admit I've never been there, but should I find a DRW RV behind my ride I might just have to check it out!  They have a pool, clubhouse, activities and first timers get in free!  Otherwise it's around $20 for a day or $125 for a week to hook up and stay.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Here's a way cool product - Eye-Fi!

Now this is a product that's just plain smart.  You know how you have a SD card in your digital camera?  Then you have to take that card to a computer, transfer the pics and only then can you work on them?   What if you don't have a card reader?  What if you lost the cable that came with your digital camera?


See that little yellow "SD" card?  Sure, it's a 2 gig chip but it's also a mini wireless chip!  You put this bad boy in your camera, snap some shots of a sunset and WHAM, the Eye-Fi card not only stores your pic like a regular SD card but it will upload it to the internet and/or your computer!  Neat-o!!!

Above is the Eye-Fi taken apart so YOU can appreciate it's wizardry.  This card works on any camera that you use a SD card in now anyway, so there's nothing new to add or do.  However, you can check to see if your camera is compatible here:  Eye-Fi test   

Just think of the possibilities. Travelers can easily upload and share pictures from the road.  Or, just walk around the house taking photos while they transfer to the computer automatically.   Or you can upload them at a Starbucks, friends house or at the office.  Just find WiFi and you're in.
  •  Large pictures take about 10-15 seconds each to transfer
  •  Quick 10 minute setup on your computer
  •  Is powered from the camera you're using, no power cable.
  •  With the card below you get a 2 gig for $40 - holds 1,000 pics!
  •  No cables. No hassles. No kidding.
 Eye-Fi Connect X2 4 GB Class 6 SDHC Wireless Flash Memory Card EYE-FI-4CN 
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