Monday, February 27, 2012

Shroom-shakes in Paradise

For me travel is all about new experiences in any form that they may come.  So when a friend suggested we share a magic-mushroom shake on the Thai island-party-paradise of Koh Phangan I was all for it, although reluctant at first.

It was a couple days yet until the famous full-moon party and  being as there are several bars which specialize in psychedelic milkshakes, such as the renowned "Mellow Mountain", I thought it a fine opportunity to experience something new.

Accompanied by to friends, I ascended Mellow mountain ready to place an order.  By this point it was mid-way through the night and we were starting to feel the effects of the Changs and Singhas we had already consumed, this was probably my first mistake.

Once we had conquered the summit of the most mellow of mountains, more of a hill really, my one friend (lets call him Chris) placed an order for one "extra strong shake suitable for three people to share." As we waited for our "Magic Milkshake" to be prepared (a process likely involving pixie dust and unicorn's horns) our group of three was reduced to two.   I have no idea where my other friend got off to, and I assure you neither does he , but regardless Chris and I were faced with an brimming cup of "extra strong" milkshake spilt now only between  two.

The shake was a sickly brownish green hew but tasted delightfully like children's banana flavoured penicillin. We casually sipped the shake until completion and then we waited.   I'm not sure  exactly how long the effects took to set in but what followed was what seemed like days of colourful, occasionly frighting visions accompanied by a soundtrack of the "greatest music ever".  Highlights of my trip included staring at myself in a mirror while face morphed into different forms and seeing pixalized waves rolling onto the beach.

As Chris and I began to come down from the trip I was finally able to glance at my watch long enough register the time.  It had been only 2 hours since we drank the shake; what had seemed like a week had only been 2 hours!

We decided it would be best to call it a night and head back to the bungalow.  "What the fuck!" was what I exclaimed when we reached the front door.  What I saw was the entire door and most of the front wall of our bungalow coated in a thick moving skin of termites!

Chris and I spent the following quarter of an hour debating the possibility that we could be having the same hallucination; we eventually came to the conclusion that it wasn't and then spent yet another quarter of an hour figuring out what to do about our situation.

The manager of our budget resort was awoken by two wide-eyed and disoriented foreigners yelling something about termites.  He assessed the problem and quickly assured us "no problem, we spray." Half a can of insecticide later and, as promised, "no problem."

My first and, to-date, only experience with psychedelic mushrooms was an interesting one to say the least.  The trip was at times terribly frightening and at others vivid and euphoric.  I'm not inclined to try shrooms again anytime soon but I'm glad to have experienced it.

There are multiple colloquial terms for psilocybin mushrooms, the most common being shrooms and magic mushrooms. The effects are subjective and can vary considerably among individual users. The mind-altering effects typically last anywhere from 3 to 8 hours but can seem to last much longer because of psilocybin's ability to alter time perception. Shifts in perception visually include enhancement and contrasting of colors, strange light phenomena, increased visual acuity, surfaces that seem to ripple, shimmer, or breathe; complex open and closed eye visuals of form constants or images, objects that warp, morph, or change solid colours; a sense of melting into the environment, and trails behind moving objects. Sounds seem to be heard with increased clarity. The experience, or "trip," is strongly dependent upon set and setting. A negative environment could likely induce a bad trip, whereas a comfortable and familiar environment would allow for a pleasant experience.

If you are planning to try mushrooms or any other drugs while abroad be aware of the laws and risks.  While Magic mushrooms are openly sold and consumed in many "party spots" of Thailand they are in-fact illegal to sell or possess (even in milkshake form).

Use caution and be safe but certainly have fun!

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