In continuing my story of the wonderful things we learned in J. Maarten Troost’s book, Getting Stoned with Savages, we’ll push ahead to the “getting stoned” part of the book. If you haven’t read the first bit ‘o blog, go to: The Danger Of Reading Travel Essays When You Are Trying To Name Your Company. But first, I want to give my disclaimer right here and now that I/we do not endorse nor condone nor even suggest non-prescription or illegal narcotic usage, but only present the following information for the edification of our interested readers… whom we are sure would never imbibe or participate in any illegal narcotic usage themselves. OK, then.
Kava is a (quite legal regionally) narcotic liquid that is used in Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu and the South Pacific islands in general. We even stumbled upon some photos of Prince Charles having a shell of Kava. Some cultures reserve it for special celebrations; others restrict the use to men only, while other cultures think of Kava like we think of “happy hour” at the neighborhood bar. So pay close attention as here is what Mr. Troost has to say on the subject.
We Humans Are A Mysterious Species
“Fortunately, I was now in Vanuatu, where getting profoundly stoned every night is a venerable tradition. In the gold hour before sunset, the men of Vanuatu gather in a nakamal, typically a clearing under a banyan tree, where they consume kava, which, to the uninitiated, is the most wretchedly foul-tasting beverage ever concocted by Man. Kava derives from Piper methysticum, a pepper shrub that thrives high in the hills of Vanuatu. Traditionally, the kava is prepared by having prepubescent boys chew the root until it becomes a mulch of pulp and saliva, whereupon it is squeezed through coconut fiber, mixed with water, and swallowed all in one go from a coconut shell. Pondering this, you have to wonder And whose idea was that? I could not think of any circumstance where it would occur to me that consuming some kid’s globby spitballs might enhance my well-being. But we humans are a mysterious species, willing to try anything for a buzz, and fortunately for us, a long time ago, somewhere in Vanuatu, and enterprising individual discovered the secret to the most satisfying narcotic available for our pleasure.”
A few pages later in the book, we have this exchange.
“It doesn’t look very appetizing,” Sylvia said. “It looks like muddy water.”
“Wait till you taste it,” Patricia added. “You’ll wish it was muddy water.”
…What concerned me, however, was not the taste but the possibility that this bowl of swirling brown liquid may have had as one of its essential ingredient the spit of unseen boys, which, frankly, I found a little off-putting.
…Those of us who had had more than a couple of shells had become strangely mute, as if lost in some distant reverie. I was happy to note that I wasn’t the only one who had lost the urge to speak. This wasn’t from any lack of sociability on my part. Indeed, I was beginning to feel as one with all. Sam was seated next to me on the bench. He turned to me and said apropos of nothing: “America.” It wasn’t a question, just a word, an image, an idea, and it hovered between us for a long moment, enveloping us. We silently communed about this thing called America. “Yes,” I said finally, after we had exhausted the topic.
…It was two days before I returned to Earth, and many more before I ventured to another nakamal. I felt like I had been mugged, taken unawares, slugged from behind, and now I was wary. …”I asked the people at work, ” Sylvia said, “And they said you had way too much kava. You should have stopped at two shells.”
“Well, maybe they should put a warning label on their kava.”
So with this little story, we bring you the Kava Laptop Studio Bag from Namba Gear, which like the earlier disclaimer has nothing whatsoever to do with illegal drug usage; and I know that you are scratching your head looking for the tie-in for the bowl of Kava and a laptop bag. Let me put your mind at rest… other than the fact that there is still so much that is wonderous and unknown about the people of earth, there is none; Kava is just such a cool name we had to use it.
By the way, if you have ever had Kava, give us a shout and let us know about your experience and if Mr. Troost described it accurately.
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