With smoking bans taking over some of the biggest cities in the world, not to mention good ole Seattle, it was strange to come to a city where people light up cigarettes everywhere. Even though the smoking bans are a product of the new millennium, of the aughts (is that the right word? No wonder nobody calls this decade anything), I’ve gotten used to coming home from bars without the smoke infusion in my clothing.
Then I got to Rotterdam and I remembered what it used to be like in Chicago, in Seattle, in bars across the world. Here everybody smokes in bars, in restaurants, in cinema lobbies, everywhere. Combine that with the post-war architecture, a city whose bombed out sections were built back quickly, and the whole place feels like a time-warp back to the ’50s where people smoked in their homes and offices and cinemas and anywhere.
The bright side to this freedom of self-destruction is the fact that they’ve got bars everywhere, too, and by that I mean that every theater and every multiplex has a bar tucked safely inside it. If the movie was bad, if you’re between films, if you need to prepare yourself for something you think will be terrible or difficult or devastating, you can get yourself a drink. Kinda crazy.