Dag 101; Mandrem

In Arambol, I called the manager of my guesthouse ’papa’.

’Mama’ makes the meanest thalis in india. She also no longer sells heroin, because too many people have been killed or seriously hurt while on it.

Papa Guru goes "Steve, you want anything you tell me. From A to Z." "Well, how about we start with A," I answer, "can you get me some acid?" He looks startled for a second, then "Yes, wait, I make phone call to friend, real friend, he’s my heart friend. He can fix. How much you want?" "Oh, not much, three or four, max five." "Now phone is dead, but I call him later, right?" "Right."

The next day, Guru goes

"Now I talked to him. 35 000 rupees." "What?" "Yes. 35 000 rupees for a 100 drops." "Guru, I said five, what the hell am I supposed to do with a 100?" "He say no problem you sell." "Well, I’m not that kind of user, I have no contacts, and I don’t want to sell. I just want a few for myself. I said five." "Ok, I talk to my friend."

Another lovely day in Arambol passes.

"He can sell you 25 drops for 340 euros." "Guru, now we’re not communicating! I say 5, you say 100, I say maximum 10!" "Ok, I go to him, I get you 12 for $200."

$200 is way to much really, but by now I’m just fed up with the whole deal so I give him the $200, he’s off.

In the evening he returns with a eye-drop-bottle with 14 drops. I’m satisfied but not happy.

In the next morning, the morning of the full moon, I decide to take my first acid trip ever down on the beach. I sqeeze one and a half drops out and lick them up. It doesn’t taste of the sour bitterness I expected, I find it a bit odd, but sets off for the beach.

Nothing happens. Fearing I’ve been fucked for $200, I return to the guesthouse, stares papa right in the eye and say

"Nothing happens. Now, I’m going back to my room, and try two more drops, and you better pray something happens!"

and leave, ignoring his calls.

When I come back to my room it dawns on me - the hole in the pipette is too small, so I’ve only gotten the alcoholic solution the acid molecules are diluted in. I try to make the hole bigger, but suddenly a plastic cone in the top of the pipette give way, exposing the whole of the bottle. The alcohol is evaporating fast, so I just sweeps the bottle, taking about half of the contents before it evaporates.

About seven times the dose on my first trip. A $200 trip. Now this should be interesting.

I leave my room, locks the door but forget to bring money. This will later become an issue.

Strolling along the beach, the first visuals start to appear, the sandgrains open up into crevasses, the baby shells that are washed up out of the sand frenetically dig their way down again.

I ponder their lives, with every wave they have to dig deeper, they spend their whole days just fighting the waves. Bloody pointless, but that is what they do.

("Now that’s an acid thought", Kelly later comments.)

For some reason I pick up a coconut I find on the beach, and carry it with me. It looks friendly.

Realizing I’m getting stoned I search for a shady spot to enjoy the ride and find one. As I lay down I realize I haven’t had a decent breakfast. The acid amplifies my hunger until it fills my whole being. Lying there, hungry, thirsty, I first fight for my life with an octopus, then I’m an amoeba fighting the original, primordial fight. It’s all about hunger; the hunger to be one, devour and the hunger to stay apart, not to be devoured. With each wave of visions I go deeper, past the amoeba I fight the original other one, I’m the eternal opposer, I will not yield. At the peak, beyond fighting the original other, I realize that I’m really fighting myself. I am god, and I’m fighting to understand myself. We truly all are one, we truly all reflect this original struggle.

I get a vision of how we all are connected, I understand it so clearly, but now I have forgotten it.

I go through a rythm of sober moments, when I’m assessing my situation (’trip management’ as Matthew calls it) and planning for the next wave, feel self pity, fear, anger, fights, nods off and then have another relatively clear interlude.

The sober moments get shorter and shorter, reality gets jittery, memory gives way and it gets harder and harder to piece togheter the puzzle that is the path back to reality. It feels artificial, not as real as the mushrooms did, but nevertheless I get afraid I will come to a state where I no longer will have any sober moments. That could actually lead to dehydration, and considering the amount of acid, injuries. The coconut becomes my safety, its touch reminds me of reality, and it never goes visual on me. I make sure I have it close at all times.

I have this vision of an drunken old fart, sitting laid back on a veranda, beat by life, bottle in his left hand and pointing a half-hearted ’fuck you’ against something in the upper right corner. I know this is me, this is my essence. He’s so tired of it, he’s been fighting the same fight for a long time, and now, the only thing he can do, is that final act of defiance, the pathetic loser tired fuck you.

But still, he’s doing it. And he’s not alone. Around him are tens of thousands drunken old farts doing the same thing. And the drunken old fart is kind of demon-shaped, with sharp features and protruding, fractal corners, and as you come closer, you see that he’s really made out of millions of tiny small drunken farts, comrades in battle, all doing the fuck you, and on every tip of their middle fingers is another million drunken farts doing the fuck you and on each of their fingers is another million doing the...

At the same time, the drunken old fart morphs into the powerful young warrior he once was, raising his fist proudly, still fractalized into eternity, and now the sound starts pitching, everything goes into a tight loop, that sound when you play a sample faster and faster so it becomes a high-strung wail, finally exploding in the ultimate


And I pass out.

The next vision is that I’m a male crab, I raise my claws to defend myself, but not only myself, I have a young female under me, I’m fighting to protect my mate and whisping her with fresh water so that she will feel safe and confident enough to shed her old shell and turn on her back so that I can impregnate her. I feel my crabness, my claws, the fresh salt water, I feel her crab flavour, her ecstasy, hard spiny legs tapping on my breast shield. I totally am that crab. That is me.

And I know that this is what life is about.

When I wake up from the vision, I’m thirsty as hell. I realize this: It’s always hunger that drives you out of your safe spot. Yet another crab thing.

("There are lots of different hungers," Nick says. "Yes,’ I reply,"and there’s always a safe spot for every hunger.")

I see a woman on the beach and go to her to ask for water. She’s not terrified, but seems concerned. I’m in quite a rough shape. I fall to my knees, tell her I’m on a serious trip, way out on an island somewhere, and I don’t think I will remember her, or anything of this. I ask her "When you see me on the beach tomorrow, call out to me and tell me that we met." I see a pet bottle in front of me, and say, half laughing, "Yes! That’s it... you’re my... message in a bottle! Please, remember this for me, for when I’m back;" She takes out her diary to write it down and I tell her about all of us being one, the struggle that is really with yourself, and finally the vision with the drunken old fart. As there’s a lot of fuck yous and aggressivity in that vision, when I’m done, she leans forward, half smiles, and says, "Just don’t be aggressive." I laugh kind of glad, kind of sad, say "But that’s what you always tell me! And that is what I always have to fight! You always want to be one, come together, and I always want us to be apart!" Her diary is still blank. I say "Kind of tough to write down, eh?" and smile. "Anyway," I continue,"I’m really thirsty, could I have some water?" "Yeah, sure take this bottle. the water tastes a little funny, but it’s because it’s added minerals and salt and stuff." "Ok. And, ah, could I ask you a favour. could you just look after my body over there?" and I point to my body lying in the shade. "Uh?" "My body. Over there. Can you just look after it now and then. Water it?" "So... you’re over there?" she says, really slowly. I giggle when it dawns on me that, yes, I really think my body is still over there, it’s a really weird feeling. Maybe something like an out-of-body-experience. "Yeah." "Oh, I see, you’re resting there?" "Yeah. Thanks," I say and leave for my safe spot, with her water.

After some time, I really don’t know how long, the thirst drives me out again. I go ask the woman for more water, she has none, but tells me I can buy some at a restaurant a bit further away.

"They are nice people. They will sell you all the water you need." "Uh," I say, "But there is a problem. My money is in the room. And the room is locked." "And you’ve locked yourself out?" "No, I have the key. I just don’t know where the lock is." "Here," she says, grabbing for her purse, "here’s 20 rupees. Go buy some water." "Thanks. I owe you my life. Three times by now." She smiles, I try to make my way to the restaurant, my hands are shaking, old man hands, they are wrinkly and decaying. In the restaurant they want 30 rupees for two bottles. "Pay later." "Yes," I think,"if I remember."

I’m hugging, cradling my two litres of life while I try to find the next safe spot. The beach is merciless, no spot in sight, and to make matters worse, my sense of time is so warped it actually feels like everything is moving away from me when I try to move closer. I find two trees between two shacks, but they are no good - people watching and nowhere to pee. I now know that; a safe spot and a place to pee, you’re all right.

Reluctantly, I move to find another place. I walk past a few fishing nets, almost get entangled in one of them, but manage. I’m getting seriously paranoid that someone will notice the state I’m in and take advantage of me. I know I am in the vincinity of my home, but when I look down the backside of the hill all the trees look the same, all houses identical. I seriously starts wondering "where the hell am I?"

Later, sober, I will come to realize that I moved no more than 50 metres, but they felt like crossing the Sahara.

Suddenly I see a red flag, under a tree in a grove. It looks inviting, it looks like it has been placed there to catch attention. I make my way there and find it’s the perfect safe spot. A soft hill, shadowed by trees, secluded, no people. Here I can sleep it off. Relaxing, I start to realize strange things in the surroundings; on a protrusion of the trunk there is ash. On it there’s red paint, the same red I’ve seen smeared on holy places. On another branch is drawn the three parallell lines of Shiva. In dazed wonder I look around, at the base of the tree lies small coconuts in line, and there are bowls used to burn oil. On the other side of a narrow path is a small shrine with incense sticks. I realize I’m in a temple. Not the big fancy kind of temple, but the kind that is erected by ordinary people recognizing the holiness of a spot.

I realize with absolute certitude that this is the place they all come back to, this is an manifestation of the original safe haven. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, shows my respect by touching my head, the tree, my lips, again the tree. I pee, good colour pee, put my water under my neck, and doze off.

I get visions of warriors, retreating, finding haven, here, under this tree. I understand that I have brothers in battle, I am not alone. The drunken old fart/bold young warrior themes keep recurring, but now on a deeper level. I feel ’do we really have to fight this fight anymore, I’m ready to give up’ just to realize that ’haha, oh no, you aint gonna get me that easy, you old hag.’

And so it goes on. After a while a new theme emerges, one that I don’t recognize from anywhere within myself. There are spidery legs coming from under the surfce, ripping thru the fabric of reality, rotating, schreeching and moaning in insectoid anger. It’s definitly female in flavour, slim legs, long eyelashes, kind of cartoonishly drawn. This is the only theme so far that I’m not already familiar with, and I wonder what it means.

After some time I get restless, I have to know what time it is. On the beach I see Gilad and Bors, two israeli guys I’ve been socializing with, neighbours of Rupert. They might be good to help me home, so I wave to them, and they come.

I tell them I’m on one hell of a trip, and then make a sweep with my arm around the temple; "Have you guys seen this! It’s a temple! And I know what it is! It’s the place we all come back to! All those people that were lost, this is where they come back to!" And Gilad goes "Temple? So, this is a temple? Yeah, maybe it’s a temple... I can put my cigarettes here, and it would be a temple. You see a temple, Bors?" Bors shrugs. "Ah, come on, guys," I say,"you see these flowers, right? I’m not that off it?" "Flowers, yes, of course. Yes, flowers. Maybe there are flowers there, maybe not." And it then it dawns on me that the guys are actually trying to mindfuck me. Totally lethal given my current condition. So, I have to find a way to get rid of them. Then Gilad suggests we take a walk to our beach. Good thing, I think, will take me closer to home.

We sit down at the beach. First Gilad suggests we should sit with some beautiful girls and have a talk with them, then he actually suggests I go for a swim. I repeat: go for a swim. In my condition. I realize that these guys are fucking crazy, they are actually trying to put me in grave danger. So I say "I cant do this in my current situation. Good bye." and leaves.

From here, I actually find my way home. It’s difficult to explain just exactly the amount of relief you can feel coming thru a door, being able to bolt it, have a shower and a lie down. And finding a clock, so you know where you are on the trip. Five hours, it’s supposed to be wearing off, but it isn’t. I still have vivid visuals of my flesh rotting and worms craling over and into me. Annoying, but not alarming. Stains seems to seep in and out of the walls.

("You must have a very strong mind," Kelly comments, "most people would freak out if they had a first trip like that.")

From time to time, I take another bucket shower, I feel function after function coming back. My memory starts seeping back and I get ready to go down to the beach to finally get some food. As I’m dressing I find the sunglasses. But it’s not my sunglasses, they are a different design, and they are too small. Now, when the hell did somebody swap my sunglasses. Ahh, I think, it was probably Bors, while we were on the beach. Cheeky fuck. Oh, well, I’ll use his until I meet him and we can switch back.

Only that when I’m walking towards the beach I realize that it probably is my sunglasses. I’ve had them for three months and now suddenly they have gone from my memory. In a pang of fear I wonder what else is gone.

In the restaurant, when the waiter arrives, the only thing I can say is, "feed me. Please." I have no energy to choose from the menu. People stare at me. I still have the visuals. The windows looks like paintings on the wall, each hanging slightly skewed. A girl is sitting on the floor, tapping her fingers, it’s totally a surreal lynchenesque music video from the nineties.

And then the spider-woman walks in.

She’s unbelievably skinny, long arms and legs, lollipop head, tight black braids ending in beads and she has a positively feral look in her eyes. She’s topless, with a see-through neglige, which is kind of outrageous, and wearing way too small hotpants. All the boys in the place just stare att her in silent disbelief. She reeks of spider and crab, I can still feel it, I eye her, raise my claws, filter water, fights the urge to stand up in front of her, stare her right in the eye so she know I know what I’m talking about, and go "four hours ago, my primordial father fucked your primordial mother!"

That would probably had gone well with her boyfriend standing beside her.

So no, I didn’t. Instead, I sobered up some more, sobered up even more, and then went on my first rave in Goa. Fourteen hours after I took the acid I was still having visuals.

The rave was very good, the way it was supposed to be. More about that some other time, maybe. Remind me to tell you about the scary speed-crack-indians and the chai-mamas, though.

The day after, I slept for fourteen hours, then I went in search of the temple. You see, what if the temple was a hallucination? What if Gilad and Bors were just figments? Scary, very scary thought.

But of course, I found it. And I knew I had to give offerings, so I asked at a shack for inscence, they had none, but the next, had. He said; "I know you are going to use this for offering." I raised a mental eyebrow as to how he knew this, but said nothing. Instead, I asked him; "Do you know that there is a temple on the beach, there," I pointed,"I mean, not a big, fancy temple, but a place, where people have sacrificed?" He looks at me, something in his eyes, and says; "Yes. This is very holy place for the local people. It is the temple of Narayan Dev, which translates into ’the caretaker’. He is the god that takes care of people that are lost. If people disappear, or if they drink too much and have lost their way, this is where they pray and give offerings."

Well, fuck me sideways. I just gasped, and said, "I was saved by that place! Yesterday, I had my first acid," "And too much of it, eh," a fat brit sitting at the next table adds. "Yeah," I admit, "and I was totally lost, and I found this place, and I knew I was saved, that it would be all right." "Then," says the indian,"listen to me, because I will tell you how we offer, so you do it correctly. You should offer a coconut," "Damn!" I cry, "I know what coconut I should have offered, and now it’s gone!" "Don’t worry," he continues,"it doesn’t matter to the god. You should offer a coconut, two bananas and a packet of sugar, wrapped in paper and burn inscense. And you will let me provide you with these things." "Thank you, oh, thank you," I babble. "And," he finishes, "you will not ask me the price for this, because this I will do for you without pay. That you came to me, not another shop, means that the god is thinking of me as well. I am blessed that you came to my shop. You will have to pay for the beer, though." "Oh, yeah. Thanks." I shake his hand and take the stuff. "You offer this, and you will never be lost again. And come by anytime you need anything," the shopkeep concludes. "So you gone hindu now, eh?" the fat brit smirks as I leave.

So I carry the stuff back and give offerings. It’s way intense. I don’t even know what to say or think as I’m burning the inscence, I’m just filled with gratitude.

"You will never be lost again."

So, yeah, I’m pretty back to normal, whatever that is. I’ve moved to Mandrem, the beach south of Arambol, it’s way quiet, actually kind of full circle as it’s what I originally looked for when going to India.

Shanti shanti.

Now I will spend quite some time digesting the events of the last days and piece my battered mind back together. I’ve bought a hammock and plan to utilize it.

Love, Stefan