I was in Amsterdam last weekend, meeting up with my school girlfriends who flew all the way from Cairo to attend the Madonna concert (my friends are extravagant). There were four of us girls, and one guy, one of the girls cousin.
I found Amsterdam to be a city unlike any other I have been to in Europe, the architecture has a beautiful somewhat eery feel to it, but what it lacks in grandeur it makes up for in character. Amsterdam was built by people from a different culture to the Italians, the Spanish, the French and the British, that much was very apparent, no sweetness, no endearment, it just is, boldly and in your face. I've been in close contact with Dutch people since I moved to France, so I already knew of this culture, however seeing the place was enlightening as to why my friends were like that.
The first day was spent wandering around and coffee shop hopping, one must now clarify that I am fairly familiar with hash and weed, by fairly familiar I mean when a joint is passed around my group of friends I will take a few drags, this could be as regular as several times a week, or once a month, or every few months, I am not anal when it comes to smoking up as long as it is in moderation and I don't get sick on it. My friends on the other hand, are alien to the concept even, surprisingly we spent the whole of Friday bouncing from one coffee shop to the next, where my friends devoured one space cake after the next, and one joint after the next, they tried everything, space tea, space hot chocolate, weed joints, hash joints, Columbian, Afghany, etc etc... I had severe allergy attacks so I stuck to the space cake, and since there's only so much cake one can intake, I spent all of Friday watching my previously sheltered friends off their heads on soft drugs, fair enough, fair enough, we are in Amsterdam after all, it was a hilariously enjoyable day.
Come Saturday, I thought alright, lets get to see Amsterdam, we did some site seeing and light shopping, and before I knew it one of my dearest friends walked up to me with two brown paper bags.
Me: what's that? (very innocently)
Her: Mushrooms (very naturally)
Me: WHAT?? You bought them??
Her: Yes (smiling mischievously)
Me: How many did you get? (preparing to get pissed off at getting pressured into something I quite clearly said priorly that I would not do)
Her: Enty 3ayza?? Mesh 2olty you wont
Me: grrrr (secretly)
out loud said: How long is it's trip?
Her: 5-6 hours
Me: A7a, I won't watch you four being idiots for 6 hours, I'll do it too (I'm like that, I will change my mind in a second and break boundaries with no guilt involved)
In a flash I had a brown bag in my hands with my little plastic box of mushrooms.
The instructions on the pack (yes, there are instructions) said to first take half the portion, and then after two hours, the second half. We took the first half at 5:00pm, and headed to the park..
We got giggly, a bit trippy after an hour, things were just funnier, so we decided to take the rest of the pack and get it over with, this can't be what the fuss is all about. And so we did, and so it began. I remember all of that trip, all six hours of it, it was such a powerful experience, I had the most mild ones, so nothing was moving or talking and I didn't hallucinate, but all my senses were sharp to an almost overwhelming degree. Bright colors were brilliant, trees were so much greener, and my eyes spotted every detail in any object they fell on, the cracks in the tree, the brownish dieing segment of the leaf, the colors of the miniscule gravel composing the ground. I felt light, innocent, free and happy like a little girl skipping in a park.
I urged everyone to leave the park so we could hit town, I didn't want to waste this clarity and enhancement on only the park. My friends being the comfort zone formers that they are were reluctant at first, but my enthusiasm swayed them. The following few hours I can only describe as sharp, brilliant, clear, enhanced and emotional. All my senses were wildly alive, and as I looked around at the people closest to my heart, I saw every one of them stripped down to their basic characters: insecure, attention seeking, serene, free, my emotions were all clear and positive, later I was told that that was because I am essentially a happy person in a good place in my life, if I had been down or depressed it would've just enhanced that, I will have to take their word for it.
With an hour to go, I was tired, it's draining to feel everything so much, to see so much detail, to be so alert and aware of everything, to see the awe in a purple jacket worn by a cycler across the park, I was ready to go back to normal now, and eventually I did.
I never thought anyone could learn anything from drugs, on hash and weed I just relax and chill, or am put in a slightly better mood, I suffer no after effects to my mood, I wake up hazy and fuzzy if I over do it, but it has never given me food for thought.
I have always been against drugs, hard core drugs, and this experience however enlightening it may have been, has re-enforced my conviction that drugs should be banned from the world.
That mushroom trip taught me two very important things:
1. How much we let our senses wane... every day I eat food I don't taste, hear sounds I don't listen to, and see colors that I fade into the background. I have powerful senses, windows to the little joys of life, I will slow down and appreciate everything I sense more.
2. Living in the now is the key to happiness, we've heard this a million times, we know this, but after spending an hour and a half enjoying, divulging, embracing and rejoicing in a cheese burger, like that cheese burger was the sole center of the universe, and then 15 minutes later being so engrossed in the color of a tree that I had to ask myself when was the last time I ate, absolutely forgetting the cheese burger episode, I have to admit, I have never seen such a live demonstration of how focusing on now is rewarding. From now on, I will not dwell, nor fret.
I will never take mushrooms, or any form of hard drugs again, I don't regret my experience, but that drug is a short cut to happiness, it grants stolen moments from the you that would've been happy had you worked on your mental perceptions, self acceptance and inner peace. It's a ticket to six hours of how you could be interacting with this world, and that ticket expires, and you're left with the bland comparison of how you really see life, and that comparison is depressing. If I were 16 not 26, and I'd tried that, I would not have stopped.
Mushrooms are the natural form of LSD, they mess with your chemical balance.
Many stories of bad trips and followed depressions are recounted, i.e. most experiences are not this pleasant.
Even drugs that are not biologically addictive can be psychologically addictive.
Please don't follow this example.