Friday’s our last day in town, and Juliya and I take advantage of the rare sunny day by spending the day shopping. I’ve always wondered about the cause of the city’s apparent lack of blue skies; perhaps the Dutch angered some ancient solar deity who’d placed a curse on them.

We swing by the tattoo shop No Hope No Fear to see my friends Verena and Rosana. I’d originally planned to have Verena tattoo me while I was in town, but I never found the time, so we just make plans to meet them later at the Black and White.

We chill there for a while and catch up, then decide to hit Korsakoff one last time. Moe the bartender and one of Verena’s friends join us. Verena leaves at around 4 a.m, and at five I finally call it a week and crashed hard. I was scheduled to fly to Barcelona for a real, needed vacation later that afternoon.

Much has changed in the last 10 years. Many of the traditions of the Cannabis Cup have faded out since I first began attending the event. No 4:20 a.m. parties at the Quentin Hotel lobby, no Pax Party House, and no Steven Hager, who stayed home for the first time since the 5th Cup in 1992. Plus, I’ve become almost totally desensitized to weed. I don’t really go to all the coffeeshops anymore or even smoke much marijuana while I’m in Amsterdam. Like many a Cup veteran, I prefer sipping fine hashish, seeing old friends, and most of all, enjoying sheer excess and abandon for its own sake.

Over the course of the week, I never woke up before 1 p.m. or went to bed before 4 a.m. I drank enough Heineken to pay the tour guide at the brewery’s salary for a month, and bought enough imported hash to fund a small terrorist network. As a writer and a rocker, I consider it my duty to push the envelope, to test the limits of human endurance, to see just how much substance use and sleep deprivation a body can take. It seems like I’m always at my best when I’m feeling my worst. Escape, abandon, and hedonism—that’s what Amsterdam symbolizes for me. Damn, I love this town.