Even though they’re super illegal, it’s no secret that it’s incredibly easy to get drugs, or things passed off as drugs, in Southeast Asia. That’s because the police presence is virtually nonexistent.
Ask any tuktuk driver on the street for anything he will either sell it himself or take you to a friend who does. Actually, you don’t even have to ask them for drugs, they will probably just approach you themselves. Just walking down the street, I have been offered everything: MDMA, cocaine, LSD, weed, shrooms, and opium. I was literally offered opium the first night I was in Siem Reap. And I swear I don’t look like some drug lord backpacker, just a white girl roaming around. But tuktuk drivers will offer this wide array of substances to any tourist walking by.
Happy pizza is also a tourist favorite, and there are numerous stores that sell happy pizza and happy shakes in most cities. And that shit is strong. In general, weed is pretty easy to come by around these parts, but with most other drugs I would be wary. At least with weed you can tell what it is by looking at it or smelling it. The happy pizza places all sell it and their stash is pretty reliable, and some bars will sell pre-rolled joints or spliffs, as well as space cakes.
A friend of mine bought coke recently from a tuktuk driver, which, simply put, definitely was not coke. The sus-white substance we surmised was probably a random powder you can buy at the pharmacy, stuff in an appropriately sketchy looking dime bag and offered up as coke. It had no effect. Same friend was offered shrooms when we got into a tuktuk, and they gave him a test one. He said that it was just a mushroom you could probably buy at the local market.
On the other hand, I know people who have had insane nights on LSD or MDMA they bought off tuktuk drivers, and who have been whisked off into cities’ secret opium dens.
The shroom shakes in Bali on the Gili islands are a totally different story.
Wandering around the pedestrian island my friend and I talked about splitting one; we agreed we wouldn’t seek out the shakes, but if they came to us we wouldn’t say no. We weren’t fiends.
Basically the first deli we walked into had a sign next to the register “Happy magic mushroom shake send you 2D moon.” Guess we didn’t have to look very hard.
We drank the shroom shakes around midnight, and after we decided to go to a nearby bar, watch the world cup, and wait to see what would happen. We didn’t get any visual off the shakes, which made us think we didn’t feel anything at all. It actually wasn’t until we reflected on our night the next morning that we realized how weird we had been.
After the shake, we left our other two friends with these Aussie guys we’d met earlier that day- we thought we were perfect wingmen. We created a reality for them in our heads, where they went back to the boys’ hostel and had a romantic night together; we even texted the two of them when we got back to our hostel around 5AM telling them to hit us up in the morning, We kept coming back to how excited we were that they were hooking up, and praised each other for our excellent implementation skills.
The two of us wandered around the island thinking we were being totally normal. Actually we were being incredibly weird and antisocial. I don’t think we talked to anyone but each other. We would sit in bars without drinks and talk, get up and wander on. We bought a joint from someone on the beach, but other than that our only human contact was with the security guards at a hostel that had a pool. Still, we didn’t realize this at the time, and didn’t think we felt anything because of that.
It was probably around 3:30 or 4 in the morning, when passed the hostel we had originally tried to stay at, which had a swim up bar in the pool. There was a light on near the path by the pool area, but otherwise it was completely dark. It was Ramadan, so most things were shutting around midnight or 1AM since many would wake up early to eat before the sun rose. We must’ve been some of the only people awake on the island.
We wandered up to the security guards and asked—no, begged them to let us dangle our feet in the pool. No we weren’t staying there. No we weren’t going in the pool, we just wanted to put our feet in. We promised we wouldn’t jump in. We promised to only stay five minutes. Seriously, I think we went back and forth with them for like ten minutes before we convinced them to let us in. And then we sat, kicking our feet back and forth in the warm blue pool water, looking up at the stars and chatting, for nearly an hour.
When we got back to our hostel we sat on the couches outside our bunkroom until we were about to fall asleep. Once again, we praised each other on successfully setting up our friends. It was around this time that we realized that, as much as we “weren’t really feeling anything,” it was 5AM, and we had been super weird to pretty much everyone all night.
We awoke the next morning to find our friends, who we thought were with the Aus guys, in our bunkroom. They read our texts to us and laughed—what were we talking about? And did we really stay up until 5AM? What were we doing? This caused us to reflect on our night, and recounting what we had done made it obvious how weird we were being. We had just been in our own shroomy world, but didn’t realize it.