2003-06-22 07:07:47 ET

When I was Amsterdam I gave a call to a guy I knew from my friend Tara, named Titus. Heís a swell guy, born in Britain and resides in Utrecht, which is a University town about 25 minutes south of Amsterdam.

Me and my brother headed town to hang out, and we got invited to a vegan buffet dinner hosted by some Dutch vegan anarchopunks in a squatters building.

It sounded a bit dodgy, as the squatters places in NYC tend on the whole to be rat and scabies infested piss-holes, and typically involve crust punk junkies, whom despite their leftist rhetoric, couldnít give a sod about anything or anyone that didnít involve them scoring more heroin.

We went anyway, and I was pleasantly surprised. The building was a former mattress factory owned by a Dutch man who was a fugitive from the law. Apparently, he was quite insane and owed millions of Euros to tax collectors, and had on a number of occasions tried to torch the place.

The local punks kept the place up better than most bars in New York; it was impeccably clean and the only drugs involved were the tasty 1 Euro Dutch beers and the occasional joint. Even the bathroom was spot-on. Even the people in town even liked them there, as it meant the place wouldnít be turned into a bar and increase noise. They were good communal citizens, both internally and externally.

It was only EUR 1.50 (about $1.75 USD at todayís exchange rate) to get a plate full of amazing vegan food, and after having eaten only sporadically for the past several days, it was very welcome. They have those dinners every Tuesday night, and I think everyone is invited. The people there were amazingly friendly, and I was made to feel welcome by all.

One thing (out of many, many aspects) I liked about the Dutch punks and vegans was that they werenít pretentious belligerent fuckard pricks like far too many here are. Unfortunately, many young vegans and political punks in the states succumb to elitism, the scene points contest, and social hierarchy (of which is a hilarious irony for supposed anarchists). When that happens, it ceases to be about whatever movement is involved, and becomes a cave-man chest-beating contest.

Holland was a great country to visit; and I recommend it highly even if you donít smoke pot (which I don't). The people are friendly, they speak English, and the food is good (if you know where to find it).

2003-06-27 20:24:45 ET

Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed your anecdote - you write beautifully.

I was supposed to go to Amsterdam when I was in Europe, but I was sick the day we were supposed to go. I ended up sleeping in Belgium while everyone else drank beer. =D

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