Shroomshakes in Laos
I was vanilla. The only drug taking I had ever participated in was snorting No Doz at Schoolies with a $5 note. The prospect of consuming wild mushrooms for a hallucinogenic trip was enticing. I wanted to blur the lines between fantasy and reality
My then lover and I were backpacking in Laos and decided to order shroomshakes at a funky little bar held up by stilts on the river. We shared a bucket of mushies blended with banana and honey to disguise the unfamiliar taste. For the first 20 minutes, I waited in anticipation for an abrupt alteration of perception, but nothing happened. I thought we had been jibbed. So I did what any sensible person would do: I went to the bar and demanded another bucket all to myself. The place was buzzing with an odd mix of dreadlocked travellers and British lads in fluoro boardies and Bintang singlets ordering from menu of moonshine, shroom and opium shakes and anything illegal you could dream of.
Finishing off my second bucket while sitting around with a group of people having a mundane, “Where are you from?” conversation, I casually glanced down at my hands. They were growing bigger and bigger. Each individual finger looked like a squirming, raw sausage. Colours around me were drastically enhanced and shifts in my perception altered figures and strange light phenomena.
Naturally, I freaked out and looked back up at everyone whose mouths had now morphed and warped into elephant trunks. Panic took over and fear of this unknown psychedelic sensation kicked in. I thought people were trying to grab me and the flickering, colourful lights were way too much to handle. Something in my drugged-up brain suddenly switched and I started giggling uncontrollably while everything melted around me. I then persuaded myself to walk around the bar confessing my love to complete strangers and felt a strange man’s face continuously for an hour or so. It was the single most spiritual moment of my life.
At one point I found myself sitting on a filthy squat toilet, watching the letters spray painted on the back of the door dance. I had heard about a forest party on that night and suddenly knew that’s where I needed to be. I stumbled out of the bar and made my way across a rickety, old bridge above water that was filled with little dogs. I found this absolutely hilarious and laughed out loud to myself. Following the sound of trance music pumping through the jungle, I gently and passionately stroked every plant I walked passed. The party was in a big clearing with a dance floor in the middle, which I went straight to and tried to move to the beat. Dancing proved harder then extension, maths so I sat down on a bench next to a chick with giant bug eyes and tentacles growing out of her head. She was from Essex and tried to tell me about the dude she banged the night before. I don’t know why she assumed I gave a fuck as I was probably staring at her tentacles with pupils larger than my actual eyes.
I couldn’t deal with Essex so I decided to head back to my hut. My lover who had abandoned me was huddled in the coroner of the room completely naked and crying, I ignored him and climbed into my bed under a mosquito net. I took off all my clothes and lay on my stomach watching the specs of dirt on the white sheets form patterns and move around my extraordinary large hands. I found a spider on the net and made him my soul mate. He simply sat calmly on my hand as I romantically told him how pretty all his legs were. My lover sat on his bed on the other side of the room. We were both stark naked, tripping out of our minds, caught up in mosquito nets and staring at each other while tears ran down our cheeks and beautiful words of love were exchanged. Slowly we fell into a deep slumber as the sun came up.
Note: I may have completely hallucinated some events, people and occurrences in the above story; however, due to the fact I was tripping out of my mind on mushrooms, no one will ever know.
Grace Burns is a contributor and social media dabbler for Global Hobo. She channels her inner Gemini and levitates around the world, teaching yoga, writing and floating on a magical carpet of pure wonder.