Most Americans know that it’s legal to buy marijuana in the states of Washington and Colorado. And others know that for decades, places called “coffee shops” in Amsterdam openly sell marijuana and hashish in many varieties. But lately, The Netherlands has modified some laws in that regard.
Different rules apply in different places. In Washington, you need a prescription from a doctor to purchase marijuana. In Colorado, anyone can buy it from a retail outlet, but you can’t smoke marijuana in public. The Netherlands banned “coffee shops” in many smaller towns, especially along its German and Belgian borders, but the city of Amsterdam has resisted closing down its retail drug operations.
I was recently in Amsterdam and stopped into a “coffee shop” to find the usual array of hash and grass. Clerks can be helpful in describing the expected effects of many different varieties, and there are edible options, such as slices of quite good coffee cake laced with hash or marijuana.
If you go shopping, I’d suggest asking for something mild. Keep in mind, marijuana sold by the Dutch is generally twice as potent as what you find in the US. And it’s a good idea to consume your drugs in the café itself.
It’s spawned millions of books and a couple of movies, but 150 years after she was created, Alice in Wonderland continues to entrance readers young and old. And the little girl who went down the rabbit hole celebrates her 150th birthday this year.
You can join in.
It’s been 150 years since an Oxford mathematician named Lewis Carroll—his name was really Charles Lutwidge Dodgson—wrote stories for a friend’s daughter named Alice. Those stories became Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
To celebrate, a number of exhibits are popping up around the country. You’ll find digital reproductions of Carroll’s original book and later editions at the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center. Kids have a dedicated reading nook and a place for a pretend tea party.
Another Lewis Carroll exhibit will be staged later this year at the Morgan Library and the Grolier Club in New York City. Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library will also launch an exhibit. A Philadelphia book collector, Rosenbach acquired Carroll’s original manuscript. It’s usually on permanent exhibit at the British Library, but it will be on view at the New York’s Morgan Library between June 26th and Oct. 11th.
Join the celebration.
You may think that only in extreme circumstances do passengers ever have to go down those emergency slides to evacuate a plane. Not always. Most incidents never make the news, but here’s the most common mistake passengers make in that situation.
I was once on a flight that made an abrupt turnaround shortly after taking off from Los Angeles. We descended sharply, the plane stopped at the end of a runway far from the terminal, and we were ordered to deplane immediately via the side emergency chutes.
It turned out someone had called in a bomb threat. But in Denver recently, a passenger plane was evacuated when the cabin filled with smoke. And a Turkish Airlines plane made an emergency landing when a cockpit window shattered in flight; passengers performed an emergency evacuation.
Patrick Smith, a commercial pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, says most passengers ignore instructions not to grab their carry-on bag or computer or anything when headed to the slides. Doing so can lead to major injuries. Those slides are steep and fast–passengers sometimes land and break an ankle.
Don’t complicate things or risk injuries by trying to rescue any personal belongings. Get off the plane!
It’s summer vacation planning time—have you thought about worst scenarios? Like, you break a leg while surfing. Or you’re in a car accident far away from home. Or you take ill on the road and require hospitalization.
Who ya’ gonna call?
If that happens to you far away from home, you may not want to go to a local hospital. Or there may not be a local hospital, and you may want to be evacuated for medical attention elsewhere. Which is what happened to one of my television show producers who tripped and fell on some uneven rocks at the Roman colosseum and found himself in a very unpleasant Italian hospital with a serious shoulder injury and a surgeon eager to operate.
He thought his premium credit card covered medical evacuation, and it did—to the nearest hospital only. It cost his wife $5,000 to find him a ticket back to his home in Seattle.
Check out InsureMyTrip to compare comprehensive plans. My television crew and I use MedjetAssist that allows you to buy short term or long term coverage. And here’s a perk—MedjetAssist will give you a 10% discount if you use the code “Maxa.”
It’s not easy being a disruptive force.
I landed at Los Angeles’ airport this week, summoned the Uber app on my iPhone to request a car, and was told that Uber had been barred from picking up passengers at LAX.
It’s just one front of many for Uber. A court in Germany has banned all ride-sharing operations. In Paris, police raided Uber’s office. South Korean officials charged Uber with violating the country’s transport laws. And in its home town of San Francisco, Uber is being sued by taxi companies.
Uber is called a “disruptive technology,” but Uber didn’t invent a new, technology. It invented a way to monetize existing assets—people with cars usually in better shape than your average taxi willing to join Uber to create an efficient, easy-to-use transportation network. Just as Airbnb found a way of offering unused rooms, condos, and vacation homes to travelers seeking temporary lodging.
Taxi companies hate Uber, hotels hate Airbnb. But in the long run, I’m betting they’ll continue to prosper.