|Annapurna Round Trek had some surprises|
But there's one more thing in the mix of absurdities; the Nepalese marijuana.
Before 1970's, the use, abuse, misuse and trade of marijuana was legal. Vintage Nepal, a facebook page about old photographs from..you guessed it..Nepal, often have rugged, B&W pictures of stores selling weed/hashish and inviting people over to "have a puff." The hippy businesses were booming until laws changed and made anything remotely marijuana illegal.
Or so the law thought. In practice, things are little different. webehigh.org, a portal for people seeking weed high, gives Nepal a 4.5 out of a 5 scale where 1 being illegal and 5 being legal. While the society does see it as a socially unaccepted norm to be going about smoking weed, the general mass, especially the youngsters and university students do have their ways about getting the dried leaves without much fuss. A quick trip to the mountains and you come back with freshly dried, bamboo stuffed marijuana for prices that are dirt cheap, even for students.
While I am not trying to write this to encourage people to go about smoking, I think it's best to accept the fact that our country is a weed country. I mean the shit's everywhere. From mountain tops to side roads to trekking routes to goat farms, these are as ubiquitous as you will ever see. It's hard to go on a "hike" and not end up finding yourself instagraming around a field of completely untouched weed farm.
The ubiquity, however, also poses significant challenges to get hold of a weed that has a higher THC. Sometimes the challenge is pretty straight forward, like taking a road trip to certain region and knowing exactly whom to talk to but what's really challenging is the situation you get into afterwards that makes you think if it's actually worth getting that better high.
It all started out with a normal, let's go to Pokhara trip back last last winter when a group my friends and their friends decided to book a standard 10 seater microbus to take us there. We were all set, our bags packed and ready to go when one of them mentioned that we didn't have the essential ingredient to add spice to everything else; marijuana.
The other quickly noted that he had a solution and that we should just proceed with the road trip; a road trip of only 200km but would take a whopping 8 hours. 8 whole hours to travel 200km. Think about that for a moment. And then think about how interwind and twisted and turned the stupid highway really is. It's quite serpentine like if you have a birds eye view.
He duly did.
The guy in question looked at me and asked me if I wanted to go to the open bathroom too, slyly winking an eye as he said that. I was about to explain that I was straight and I had no intention of having fun with him in the open "bathroom" when he suddenly pulled my hands and I was being dragged to a nearby hut. My futile protests were diverted straight to a very deaf ear and so forth, after crossing the road, I had stopped protesting.
We were now in front of this old hut with a equally archaic wooden door. Those sort of doors which should have been locked up in some history museum and not there. The guy with the solution decided to knock the door. The way he knocked it was very peculiar and something like..
"Tatat Tatatat Tat Tat"
He did that about three times with the same pattern.
"kiiiyaaakkkk," the door creaked as it almost broke as it opened.
A woman in her late 40s ushered us in and brought us in front of an ugly looking bathroom. I was about to protest when she exposed us to this bag of weed. That too, a very big one. She stuffed a significant amount on to a black plastic bag, took the $7 equivalent money and showed us our way out. We happily obliged.
The guys in the bus immediately got to work as they stuffed empty cigarettes with 1/3rd tobacco and 2/3rd's of finely crushed cannabis. It was amazing to see how these lazy bastards were now as efficient as any skilled worker you might have seen. Motivation, at times, can come in range of packages.
With a third of the trip remaining, one of them exclaimed his need to visit the open bathroom again. As the bus made the stop for his forced requirement, we all took the liberty to stretch a bit and give the weed a test drive. Standing in a wide circle, a couple of sticks were lit and passed around to the next person on the right. I took a couple of puff, took a couple more and handed it to the guy next to me.
As I did that, I noticed something strange. I didn't recognize the person who I had just passed the marijuana stick to. Who the hell is he? Why is everyone else not freaking out? Why am I the only one who can see that there's someone WE ALL didn't seem to know??
In the meantime, the guy who I seem to not know takes a heavy dose of the rather excellent weed and passes it on to the person to his right. He gets seriously high.
The sticks burn quickly as they were made and off we head back to our vehicle. I notice that the same guy is now following us.
He's with us?
He goes around the corner and gets in the microbus.
Wait what's happening? Am I the only one really high?
He get's into the front seat...
He starts the microbus...
He's the driver!
And a very high one too.
I just wished the roads weren't that tipsy turvy.