08 February, 2006

Drinking Kava - A Tourist's Experience

This excerpt provides a tourist's amusing experience with drinking kava (although it is not directly related to Suva). My last night in Fiji had arrived. I was so sad to have to leave this beautiful island that the natives had allowed us to come on. We had been there for 11 days, and we were the only foreigners on this small rural island. I was with a non-profit group and we stayed at a very private resort there. I had tried Kava a couple of times before this, but I never really had more than like 75 oz. in a night. I had noticed the semi-drunkeness it puts about me but nothing majorly heavy. So this last night had arrived and I was sitting on the porch with all the Fijian workers (all natives of this island) and we started drinking the Kava like we had a few times before. By this time these guys knew that I enjoyed the stuff, I am one of the rare people you will find that actually enjoys the taste of it. I had also been willing to drink from the giant Tsunami Bowl, they had Baby Tide, Low Tide, High Tide, Giant Tide, and Tsunami, the tsunami was somewhere prolly about 25-30 oz. This was all done traditonally, it was prepared traditionally and everything. An amazing ceremony that created a mood of the purest openness that one can imagine. Here is a place where you were accepted no matter who or what you were. The Fijians played old songs on their guitars, the most amazing songs that I can imagine, and trust me they will never leave me. They would pass the cup around doing the ceremony, and when they came to me I would motion to the Tsunami Bowl, and they would all laugh and start to fill it up. I had 2 Tsunami's and quite a large number of high/giant tides. Then everyone else went to sleep as we had to leave early to get to Suva in time to catch the plane for Nadi in time. So then it was just me, K, and the Fijian guys. We continued to drink high tides for awhile, and we filled the bowl a number of times and emptied it. Then we ran out of Kava, and we came through talking to realize that the Kava we had been drinking this whole time was the Kava that they kept at this private resort (basically it was the Kava that most people have tried, but not the strongest purest stuff), so one of the guys says he will go and get some. So he runs off to the village (which is a good ten minute run) and finally he comes back and says he brought his personal stuff that is the strongest out there. So the bowl is made and we continue to talk and exchange information about cultures as we were all so curious about one another. Then I had another 4 Tsunami bowls of this powerful stuff, it has a slightly different taste and I can feel it immediately. The first effects are somewhat odd, as I just feel a little dizzy, and light headed. I do however feel very comfortable and relaxed. However after I have had quite a bit things start to change, although I still feel amazingly great I have a loss in control of my body, my speech is slurred, and I am very open to everyone. It is a true state of euphoria. I swear it was almost lile tripping ever so lightly on this really strong kava, because it looked like the shadows were dancing. Eventually we used up all that Kava too, all told I imagine I went through something like 240 oz, I know it seems like a large number and at the time I couldn't explain it, but I was able to later that night. The Fijian guys went off to sleep, they cleaned up everything and turned all the lights off. It was 2 in the morning, we had been drinking Kava since 9 pm. So me and K sat on the pitch black porch and talked for an hour or so, when all of sudden it hit me, I had to throw up. So I went and did, and continued to for over 2 hours. I felt relatively fine in actuality, I just think I had too much liquid in me that my body had no choice but to expel it. So I went to sleep feeling amazingly good. That night I had the most vivid dreams of my life. The dreams were more amazing then tripping or anything. I learned alot about myself, stuff that I can't even begin to explain. In the morning I awoke to the realization that I had a terrible hangover. This surprised me as I had always been told that it was impossible to have a hangover from Kava. However, for the next 20 hours I was in the midst of a hangover that is ten times worse then any hangover that I ever experienced from alcohol. I was constantly in pain with my head and my body, I was feeling extremely physically sick and I didn't overcome it completely till i was half way to L.A. Overall I think I enjoy the setting of taking the Kava more then the taking of the actual substance. However I feel like it provides a very positive experience (especially if taken at lower doses), it just helps me to get to know people, and myself for that matter. There are negative side effects though to taking an extreme amount of it, I suggest that people keep it in moderation.

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