Not to sound callous, but people taking a gap year that do stupid shit like this give the whole (beautiful) concept a bad name. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/8480191/Ex-Tory-MPs-son-died-after-eating-opium-on-gap-year.html
Similar to this, I heard from some tour guides in Bolivia about some British gap year guys who bought dynamite (supposedly to give to miners, part of a ritual gift giving for allowing tourists to visit their mine) only to light it in the middle of the night at a hostel.
How can the gap year concept take off in the US if stories like this keep trickling through? Sure, college students do stupid shit in college too, but somehow we've codified that so it's not going to throw parents off from enrolling their kids.
So I posit to each gap year student: when traveling the world, stay smart. For your own safety, and for the budding reputation of the gap year.
Does Tokin' = Culture?
Mention that you recently went to Amsterdam and you'll inevitably hear your listener(s) chortle. In class last night, a student mentioned her recent trip and the entire class chortled. She "feigned" innocence, denying that she visited for a coffee shop. Of course we all couldn't possibly believe that she would visit and not get high. Right?
Which begs the question, is visiting a city for the purpose of smoking up really exploring the culture...and visa versa, can you explore the culture of a city like Amsterdam without getting lit?
The Dutch city of Maastricht is looking to cut that association. In an effort much like other town throughout the Netherlands, Maastricht is seeking official regulation preventing foreign partakers from purchasing marijuana and hashish. The hope is that an overwhelming number of baked visitors will stop causing such difficulty for the cities. Visit the city to see its beautiful, historical buildings, sure. Just don't come here to coffee shop hop.