After landing in Kathmandu, I collected my baggage and walked by the metal detectors and screening area. The security agent was in his seat sleeping with his mouth open while other passengers just walked through without submitting their bags for inspection. I did the same.
Outside, there was around 50 people collectively trying to earn my fare to take me into town. A short man took me to a taxi where there were two men waiting for me. They were both the size of children but obviously older. I couldn’t think of a good reason why they would need two drivers in order to take me into the city but it seemed safe enough. It was daytime and we drove through the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu.
I inquired with these men about smoking and they let me know that it would not be a problem at all. One of these drivers smoked all the time and he would be happy to share some with me. After I checked into my hotel, the guys were waiting out front so they could take me to get high. They said that we should go to a restaurant where we can order food as well. Before we could leave, they asked if I would be willing to listen to a presentation about trekking in the Himalayas. It seemed like a time share presentation that paid locals to bring them customers.
For about an hour, I sat through the bullshit and gave every objection till we agreed to “think about it”. I had no intention in trekking and was only in Nepal to sample the countryside cannabis before I headed to Southeast Asia. When I exited, my two drivers were still there to honor their agreement. We sat in a restaurant and ordered appetizers while smoking. These guys would empty their cigarettes and carefully scoop broken weed into the empty tubes. This stuff was strong and I was in a new place.
I got lost. With adventurous ambition, I told the guys that I would find my way back home on my own. Kathmandu seemed really fascinating and I underestimated how scary this could be. After 20 minutes of wandering around, a rolling blackout hit where I was. It went black but the locals continued as if nothing was different. My eyes were focused on the ground to make sure that I don’t trip on some dead rat or dog shit. The light from a man burning garbage in front of his door guided me through the dark neighborhood.
Eventually, I gave up and asked a rickshaw driver to take me to my hotel. I sat back there for about an hour while he wandered through the city asking people if they knew where my hotel was. Apparently, he was new to the area as well and it was difficult for him as well. It took a while but I finally made it back to the hotel. And I was still high.
Decriminalization of drugs in Prague have encouraged a culture of Bohemian affluence to embrace things that expand the mind and alter reality. You can walk around the street with a certain amount of drugs and it would be considered a misdemeanor where punishable by a citation by discretion of the officer.
Marijuana: up to 15 grams
Heroin: up to 1.5 grams
Cocaine: up to 1 gram
Methamphetetamine: up to 2 grams
Amphetamine: up to 2 grams
Ecstasy: up to 4 tablets
Hashish: up to 5 grams
Hallucinogenic mushrooms: up to 40 pieces
LSD: up to five tabs
These amounts do not exist in order to justify legality. Rather, it is a dividing line between a ticket on the street or a sleepover in a Prague prison.
Marijuana, being the easiest to obtain, can be found in most bars. It’s almost as if you have to feel the vibe of the place. People already there smoking is a dead give away. If not, most of the seedier places in Žižkov will be able to sort you out. Just make it discreet and order a beer along with your purchase. Try not to attempt this at a Hilton or a Marriott bar.
I also found a dealer that supplied me with the best Super Silver Haze I’ve ever tried. One night at a bar, we were having a few beers and smoking a joint when a couple of police officers made their way down the street. With the joint in hand, I noticed them before they got too close and asked my friend what I should do. He took the joint from my hand and continued to smoke while the officers smiled and walked past us. In some areas of town, they just don’t give a shit.
Hash and marijuana in Morocco are considered illegal but the police don’t want to waste their time dealing with Westerners on vacation. Some even understand that this is the reason why people visit. There is almost a sense of national pride with hashish being one of their greatest national exports. Southern Europe receives a bulk of their supply from this Northern African country while the rest of Europe get’s their hash from Pakistan and the Netherlands.
In the hostels, there were talks about Jimmy Hendrix coming to Morocco to smoke hash and write songs on the beach back in 1969. This visit a year before his demise made Hendrix an icon of the coastal city of Essaouira. My visit wouldn’t leave the same impact that Jimmy had, but I hoped to make some new friends and try out this form of processed marijuana.
It wasn’t even my first full day in Marrakech and I was still learning my way around. I would walk circles around the guesthouse I was staying at. Slowly expanding my reach and venturing further and further. The souks didn’t have a sense of order or pattern. These alleys would shoot off in random directions and I had to draw a mental map in order to have any sense of where I was.
In this dusty alleyway filled with people, a man my age called me over. He was wearing a white track suit with a matching white baseball cap. Everyone else wore moderate clothing that seemed worn due to living in an area with so much dust. He introduced himself as Omar and I accused him of being the president of Adidas in Morocco. He chuckled and asked if I had any intrest in hash. Like a teenager who just got asked to prom, I tried to keep it cool and disinterested. I wasn’t going to commit to anything and asked if I could see what he had to offer. Omar looked up and down the alley and said that he couldn’t show me out in the open because of police. Agreeing to his logic, I followed him down an alley without any people but was able to see the traffic flow of people not too far from me. Knocking on one of the doors produced his friend who popped his head out.
It turned out that Omar didn’t even have the drugs on him. He would bring people to this house and was more of a middleman. The man in the house smiled and tried to rush me inside to avoid prying eyes. Fuck that. This wasn’t my first time and I knew better than to walk into a strange house with some drug dealers. Thoughts of my body ending up on the internet being beheaded was enough to keep my guard up in Northern Africa. Omar told me that he wanted to give me a free sample before purchasing anything. This was a common tactic among shopkeepers in Marrakech to invite customers in for tea during a business transaction. After ingratiating themselves, the customer would feel obligated to buy something.
My concern was to avoid negotiating for drugs while fucked up. I wanted the peace and quiet of the guesthouse roof instead of being paranoid inside of someone’s dark house. The man in the house brought out a chunk of hash that weighed about an ounce. It was crumbly/gritty texture that had a faint scent of cannabis. When he asked for a $100 for this, I was prepared to haggle for it. In my previous experiences that day, I noticed that tourists were hit with ridiculous prices for anything they wanted to buy. Back in California, this much hash would go for much less. Through persistence and a couple attempts to walk away, I walked away with said hash for around $10.
In the time I spent in Morocco, I visited Omar again to look for hash. I wanted to avoid the the haggling and asked if he could set up the same deal as before to make this easy. I even joked that I’d let him take my friend, Meghan as one of his brides if he would be willing to expedite this for me. Unfortunately, the first guy wasn’t doing business that day and he brought me to another person. This transaction was a bit more confrontational. The new man I was dealing with seemed like he was cursing at me in Arabic when I offered a counter price. Eventually, I got what I wanted and enjoyed the rest of my week in Morocco. You just need patience and good sense when dealing with things like this.
Omar and Meghan below:
Since 2001, Portugal’s drug policy was loosened to the level of decriminalization for amounts of drugs that would be less than a 10 day supply. Legally, these limits were defined by arbitrary amounts decided by government authorities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_Portugal#Amount_limits
On my first full day in Lisbon, I decided to medicate myself at wander the neighborhood streets. In my bag, I smuggled a cookie from a cannabis club in California. This cookie had an extremely high dosage and it was recommended to eat it in pieces. I ate the whole thing and didn’t look back. The streets were lined with exotic pieces of graffiti. The cobble stone streets were surprisingly even and easy to walk on. Some of them were missing but filled in with dirt and dust.
My face had a gigantic smile that I couldn’t hide at that moment. About a week before this, I was walking around Pacific Mexico and now I’m in a completely different part of the world. There was an entire ocean separating me from the life I used to know in California. If some shit went down, and the world completely fell apart, my ass is stuck in Europe. It would be nearly impossible to return to the United States unless for an airplane.
I walked westward until I hit the ocean and passed through this giant archway called the Rua Augusta Arch. This took about an hour to get to and my entire body felt completely numb. My mind was painfully aware that I had an enormous grin on my face but was unable to remove it. The sheer fact that I was only starting my adventure was fixated on my conscious. It made me look like a complete idiot and an easy target.
Normally, I would have my guard up, but today I was feeling great and a little sociable. A tall Middle Eastern man approached me immediately. He was unshaven and wore a faded navy blazer over his thin sweater. The skin on his face was reddened by the sun and was unshaven. This man approached me and held out his hand which contained a small bag filled with what looked like marijuana. His desperation to sell this to me was almost to a state of panic. It’s as if he couldn’t stand still. He told me it was 20 Euros and shoved it into my hands. For that size, I told him that it was worth around 10 and handed it back to him. He said deal for half and proceded to split his bag to give to me. Once I realized what he was doing, I stopped him to take a look at it. It didn’t even smell anything close to shitty Mexican ditch weed that I started smoking in high school. There wasn’t a smell to it at all. Upon closer examination, it wasn’t even what I thought it was. Not wanting to offend the dealer, I told him that I wasn’t interested and walked away. I took a seat looking out at the water (picture above) and looked over my shoulder. The dealer was speaking to another guy and pointing at me.
The new guy came over to me and had a seat next to me. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a piece of hash and asked if I was interested in hash instead. Because of his association with the first guy who just tried to sell me oregano, I was weary of the new one and what he had. I didn’t even bother to examine what he had with him and just refused him flat out. That didn’t stop him at all and he kept talking until I left. Later on, I found out that it’s common for drug dealers to sell false wares to unknowing travelers.
This is an example of some fake hash that I purchased in Bairro Alto district. Another middle eastern man stopped me in the street and offered to sell me some hash. For 5 euros, I purchased it and brought it back to the hostel I was staying at. There were some older guys who were staying there that told me that I just bought poison. It was hash cut with random ingredients like glue and plastic. If smoked, I could’ve gotten really sick. One of them snatched it out of my hand and threw it in the garbage. Before I could get mad, he handed me a joint and told me to try some hash. I did and it was great.
Most of the hash in Lisbon comes over from Morocco due to it’s close proximity. It is easily smuggled through boats over to Portugal’s expansive coast line. Upon examination, you’ll be able to distinctly smell the dank odor of marijuana along with an earthiness. It will be crumbly and gritty while having a bit of flexibility. This is crumbled onto a rolled cigarette or smoked out of a pipe. Any of the bars playing reggae music will be able to guide you towards the right people to purchase hash. Some of them will have patrons smoking it openly while having a drink.