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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Is canal jumping even legal?

By Kenny Mayne

Editor’s note: Kenny Mayne embarks on another journey across the world. His first of six stops: Amsterdam. And let’s just say, Kenny had the run of the country.

Usually we have a pretty good idea about which country we are flying to. Are you not supposed to end sentences with "to?" I really don't care. I am more concerned about whether it is called Holland or the Netherlands. One girl told us Holland is part of the Netherlands. This made sense because we saw a map that had Holland and South Holland inside of borders that said Netherlands. Other people told us we could say Holland or we could say Netherlands and everyone would know we were talking about the same country. At one point, Denmark entered the conversation. That was when we asked someone about our problem after he had just exited one of the legal marijuana cafes.

Something else we saw seemed entirely illegal. Every last person we saw riding a bike, except for one 6-month-old, was not wearing a helmet. When we asked why they don't wear helmets, they told us we were soft. I did dumber things on bikes as a kid, but now that I'm all mature and everything I think people should wear helmets on bikes -- especially when there are a million bikes driving all at once on Amsterdam's streets. There were almost as many bikes as there were canals. Thinking of all this and not understanding the lane markings almost made my producer, Matt Doyle, run over a bicyclist at a crossing. Matt was supposed to yield. How do they expect Matt to concentrate on all that when he's also looking for a legal marijuana cafe in order to ask someone else what country we are in?

We took a break from all this chaos and walked the streets one night in Amsterdam's Red Light District. Pretty much anything goes in Amsterdam. Ride bikes with no helmets, buy legal marijuana at cafes and look through plate glass windows at legal prostitutes sitting on lounge chairs. Of the three options, the only one we took part in was riding a bike without a helmet -- and that was only because we didn't want to be called soft and because no one sells bike helmets.

We needed to get the hell out of this anything-goes town and start to work on our real assignment, covering the sport of canal jumping.

Nothing unusual about that. Just a man running full bore down a long-jump-looking runway, leaping onto a pole stuck in the bottom of a canal, climbing 40 feet to the top and jumping off the other side.

This is probably illegal in Amsterdam since something has to be.

Probably murder. There's got to be a law against that.

While covering canal jumping, we forgot to put on sunscreen, and it turns out those global-warming people are starting to hit on something. The sun seemed to be closer to earth than the moon, which didn't appear in the sky because the sun had vaporized it.

The sun burned us beyond recognition. This is probably why we didn't recognize each other on the drive back to Amsterdam. Whatever country that lawless place is in.