I recently spent two nights in Amsterdam with my ultimate good-time girl, Flora.
Flora and I formed an unbreakable bond when we were both fired from our jobs as wine advisors, ironically, for sharing a bottle of red wine on shift.
I’m not sure I can even begin to convey what happened to us in Amsterdam, but I will attempt to explain it in this post.
Having arrived at Gatwick airport at 8am, had a leisurely Full English breakfast and 4 Bloody Mary’s (‘It’s 12pm somewhere, Flora! HA HA HA’) we realised that we were actually cutting it slightly fine for our 10am flight and charged through to security.
Instead of being met by an ACTUAL HUMAN BEING we were made to present our passports to one of those scary robot machines that scans your face.
Neither of us could get through.
‘Excuse me, sir!’ I called to the security man
‘KIND SIR!!!!! Yes, hello. UNFORTUNATELY your machine doesn’t appear to be working, which is a bit of a sticky wicket as we are both VERY LATE FOR OUR FLIGHT. Could you be a darling and let us through?’
The security man took my boarding pass, then gave me a look somewhere between withering and murderous.
‘You’re in the wrong building, love. Your flight goes from the North Terminal’.
‘GABBY, DO YOU HAVE ANY LIQUIDS?!!’ Flora shouted as we eventually arrived at the North, desperately stuffing an array of items into a clear bag.
‘Only my antibacterial hand gel!’ I cried ‘YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO PREPARED!!!’ and sent my bag through on the conveyer.
I was pulled over by 3 members of security almost immediately.
‘Excuse me madam, I need to check your bag for any liquids of dangerous items’ said the rather straight laced, humourless woman.
‘I don’t have anything, I promise!’ I protested, stifling a burp of Bloody Mary.
‘I learned to pack light! I WAS IN THE BROWNIES!’
What then ensued was a tad embarrassing.
One by one she pulled out every item in my bag, including a bottle of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, hair oil, suntan cream, a gigantic razor, nail scissors, my extremely large ‘travel knickers’ (‘They’re not mine, I promise!!’ I cried) and a row of AA batteries which looked rather like bullets.
Traumatised and shaking, we boarded the plane.
We then sat on it, delayed in the boiling heat, for an hour and a half.
Flora (a nervous flyer) completely lost her shit, pouring my bottle of Evian over her head and shouting ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHERE IS THE WINE TROLLY???!!’
We eventually set off and I took it upon myself to be the calming influence, murmuring relaxing endearments such as ‘Everything is going to be fine, Flora’ and ‘Oh look a blue tit just flew past!’
The plane rose steadily in the air… Before casually dropping about 40 foot.
‘HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!!!!’ I screamed, forgetting that I was supposed to be the calming influence.
‘WE CAN’T DIE!! I HAVEN’T SHAVED!!!’
I don’t know what the pilot was on, but I can only liken the journey to the Dumbo ride at Disneyland. At one point we flew completely vertically in the air for what felt like 10 minutes.
The stag- do behind us we’re loving it.
‘LOOK, I CAN SEE THE STARS BOYS!’
‘YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO THE MOON, JIM! HA HA HA’
Amsterdam Night One
Finally, we arrived.
Flora had booked us a room with a nice young man called Enrico, on Air B&B.
‘Hello Enrico!’ we smiled as we walked in the house.
‘ARE YOU SCARED OF DOGS?’ he replied
‘My name’s Gabrielle and this is- Sorry what was that? Er no not particularly, we-‘
‘BECAUSE I HAVE A LARGE GERMAN SHEPHERD WHO DOES NOT LIKE STRANGERS. YOU DON’T WANT HIM JUMPING UP AT YOU IN THE NIGHT, HE WEIGHS 45 KILOS’
We looked at one another in mutual horror.
‘What I’m going to do’ Enrico continued ‘Is teach you some code words to use for when you come in’
We ran upstairs to our room.
‘I’M SO SORRY, IT DIDN’T MENTION THE HOUND ON THE WEBSITE’ cried Flora.
‘Lets just quickly change and get out of here’
Hastily, we changed into our slutty evening clothes.
‘Oh shit’ said Flora, who had forgotten a bra ‘My nipples show in this top. OH WELL, I’M DESPERATE’
We headed straight to the Red Light District (where else?!) stopping off on the way for a pack of tobacco and Magic Mushrooms.
Flora, who had taken the shrooms before, advised we had a whole pack of the strongest variety each (‘You have the tolerance of an Ox, Gabs’) and also warned me that they tasted absolutely disgusting.
Sat at the bar with a gin and tonic, we cracked them open.
WELL, OF COURSE I BLOODY LOVED THEM.
‘GOOD GOD, THEY’RE DELICIOUS, FLORA!’ I cried, casually eating them by the handful. ‘So light! SO WOODY! I could take these with me as a light snack at the gym!”
Waiting for our shrooms to digest, we started looking around for poor unsuspecting men to pull.
‘I don’t think I can pull anyone tonight, Flora. I haven’t shaved my legs. Unless they’re in to beastiality’
‘Well I can’t pull anyone, I feel MORBIDLY OBESE’ she replied. ‘Is it possible to have sex with your clothes on?’
Having waited an hour, we realised that the shrooms had no effect on us whatsoever- ‘I must just be immune to them, Flora! I did eat a lot of mushroom risotto as a child’
Despondently, we headed to another bar.
But then I suddenly found that I couldn’t stop laughing. To the point where the smallest thing was outrageously funny and I was crying and drooling in the effort to explain what I was laughing about. ‘That light… It’s… It’s…ITS SHAPED LIKE A COCK!!’
And then Flora found she was doing the same.
Then the hallucinations began. OHHHH THE HALLUCINATIONS.
There is lot of the night I don’t remember but I can tell you very clearly that every time I looked at Flora she had a unicorns horn coming out her head.
And whenever I glanced at the spotty bow in her hair, it would set me off on a speel of ‘jungle themed’ hallucinations. The spots on the bow would somehow morph into dancing leapords and then everywhere I looked everyone had either a giraffe or leopards head (this sounds quite scary but I remember absolutely loving it)
Frankly, I found that if I focused on a particular word or object too long then I would see it EVERYWHERE.
‘We need to find some gin, Flora. OHHHH actually don’t worry! That mans FACE is made of gin!’
Having planned on making loads of friends and meeting sexy men, Flora and I spent the entire night walking through the streets linked tightly arm in arm, me wearing my gigantic sunglasses, absolutely tripping our balls off.
We reached a point at around 3am where Flora became paranoid that everyone in the Red Light District was talking about us (it was probably a fair point) and also, rather creepily, became convinced that I was her mother.
I decided I needed to take control of the situation.
‘IVE GOT THIS SHIT, FLORA!!!’ I cried ‘Don’t look me in the eye for 5 minutes. MOTHER NEEDS TO CONCENTRATE!’
I flagged down a rickshaw.
‘Hello young man’ I began, trying not to be put off by the fact that he had the head of a rabbit.
‘We need to get out of here. IMMEDIATELY. We also need CASH and we need CIGARETTES’
Having been cycled out of the Red Light District in a rickshaw to a cashpoint (a blur of shapes and colours) I then saw it fit to withdraw £300 euros (‘We don’t know how much we will need, Flora. We don’t know how much we will NEED!!!) and took us to a kebab shop.
‘Right. Here is the situation’ I remember saying.
‘There is a very vicious dog at home and we need CHIPS to throw him off the SCENT. You will run upstairs whilst I will distract him’
We could hear the sounds of rabid barking as soon as we arrived at the house, but luckily the beast seemed to be shut in.
‘RUBBER BALL!!!!!’ I shouted ‘Shit, what were the code words? FRIENDLY DOG! FRIEND NOT FOE! COCK!!!!!!!!’
Amsterdam Night 2
Deciding that today we should take a more sensible ‘relaxed approach’, we planned on a light lunch, a spot of clothes shopping and a couple of glasses of wine before bed.
Except we only got as far as a shop called ‘When Nature Calls’.
Completely overwhelmed with the selection, we purchased: 2 pipes, a hash lolly, a packet of erotic gum and sex pills (‘When in Amsterdam, Flora!!’), a pack of nos balloons, a box of space cookies and 20 more grams of `Magic Mushrooms.
By the end of the afternoon, having washed down a spliff with our entire pack of space cookies, we had reached the stage of ‘fat, stoned and in the way’.
We then decided it was time for round 2 of the shrooms.
I think this says a lot about my hideously middle-class, Daddy’s girl upbringing but that night I became OBSESSED with Shetland ponies.
To the point where, sat in the toilet, I WAS a Shetland pony.
A very sassy, chubby little Shetland pony.
‘Where’s my hoof oil?’ I called out to Flora in the next cubicle, only half joking.
‘THIS BITCH NEED HOOF OIL!’
The bell for last orders rang in the bar.
‘THAT WILL BE MY CALL FOR THE GYMKANA!’ I cried, galloping and whinnying out the toilet.
The horse hallucinations would calm down slightly, then the slightest thing would set me off again.
‘I can’t believe the shrooms have had this much of an effect two nights on the trot… DID BITCH SAY TROT?!! Ha ha ha ha’
IMG 2767 from Gabrielle Fernie on Vimeo.
Hiccuping and crying with laughter, we then decided that now would be an excellent time to try the erotic gum and sex pills.
Flora took hers first.
‘QUICKLY!’ She shouted ‘IM SOON TO BECOME VERY HORNY!!’
I don’t know whether it was the gum or the pills, but something had a rather alarming effect on me.
Neither of us could feel less horny if we tried… But I became convinced that EVERY MAN IN THE WHOLE OF AMSTERDAM WAS HITTING ON ME. And I was not happy about it.
‘Oh god, look at that man BRAZENLY WINKING AT ME’ I would mutter in disgust.
‘LOOK AWAY YOU PERV! STOP UNDRESSING ME WITH YOUR EYES!!’
The night ended with me starting a fight with some poor man in Burger King, who I swore was trying to pinch my arse and then returning to the flat where Flora projectile vomited into her Burger King bag, which then disintegrated onto the carpet.
(Unable to abide the smell of vomit, I decided to sleep in the hallway only to be tripped over by poor Enrico at 7 in the morning)
Delirious, exhausted and we arrived at the airport next day- Flora dragging along behind her a heavy sack of clothes, towels and sick, whilst I carried with me half a kilo of cheese that I had drunkenly decided to buy my dad for Father’s Day from the Cheese Museum (the only tourist attraction we managed).
Amsterdam- you absolutely destroyed us.
And we’ve already booked to come back next month.