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Monday, July 03, 2006

Day 48 - San Pedro

peru After a manic weekend after the trek, doing far too much bad stuff and drinking way too excessively, a few of us decided to try San Pedro. For anyone whose heard of it, its the juice from a particular type of cactus which, after being boiled for 14 hours, becomes a very potent drug. Now, I'm not happy with handing over 30 quid to get high, but seeing as this is the same cactus juice that the incas used to heal themselves (from things as nuts as cancer!), I reckon its worth the money to shift my cold and have a fun day.


The drug basically puts you "in touch with nature". Whatever that means. With fear in my eyes (we were told it lasts up to 6 hours, which is pretty scary if you're wasted), we hailed a cab with our guide, Valeria, and headed to a forest bordering the ancient inca site of Sachsayhuaman, where we saw the festival 2 weeks ago. We trotted through the forest to a quiet patch, where we sat down and she unveiled a rug's worth of crystals and carved wood. Nervously, we down a glass of thick, egg-white like liquid which tasted rank, and waited out 45 minutes for it to kick in.

As soon as we were allowed, all holding out stomachs because it induces vomiting, dan shot off to through the forest and found a tree. We caught glimpses of him dashing around, dragging his fingers through the grass. Suzi was next, who vanished into the distance. I was feeling something, but nothing special. I took a walk, felt a bit stoned, but generally fine. Dan was meditating with his head against a tree. Not interested in talking to me, he was staring at a pine nut. I found suzi, lying down beneath a small 5 foot tree in the sun. again, we chatted. but she was far more interested in watching the sky.

Valeria was wicked. She asked me how it was going, and I told her it wasn't really doing much. She made me sit it out for 2 HOURS until I could take another glass of the stuff. I whiled away the time walking around the forest, climbing over rocks and exploring the amazing scenery. But when 2 hours was up, I went for another glass of the good stuff. and THEN it kicked in.

Within about 10 minutes of drinking it, I found myself a tree to sit under. Its hard to explain, but here goes. Basically, the cactus juice makes you go mental. You become like a kid. Everything is fascinating. You can stare at the bark of a tree for 20 minutes without getting bored. Your skin becomes SUPER sensitive, and you just wanted to rub yourself against anything you can find. The noise of the trees blowing sounds like monsters stomping through the forest. Dark areas out of the sun make you fear for your life, and shadows are more fasincating than going to a gallery. It literally turns you into a nature lover.


I sat myself down beneath a tree and spun out. Its not a "trippy" drug. It just makes you feel quite wasted and alert. I sat down and smoked a cigarette and stared at the shadow. It was actually the most amazing shadow I had seen in my life. 20 minutes later, I stubbed another cigarette out on a tree root, then apologised the tree for 10 minutes because I had hurt it.

I found this shadow of two trees that formed a cross on the ground, so laid down with my arms out on it. Looking up at the trees blowing in the wind, it felt like I was underwater, and the trees were swaying in the water's current. I was totally with it, just LOVING it. I found an old rusty can, man-made, and ran from it. Fear. And then I went nuts. I took my shoes off because the feel of moss beneath your feet is the BEST feeling ever. I crawled on my hands and knees to Dan's sanctuary, where he was meditating, and tried to crawl into his bush. He told me to stop, but I didn't. Stomping aruond the forest, everything was AMAZING. Bark was amazing. Twigs were amazing. Leaves were so colourful. The sun was my friend. And the feel of trees brushing on your face is UNREAL.

And then I found my tree. Right, I'm not one to talk to plants. But THIS tree, I talked to for 20 minutes. It was covered in scaly bark, like paper. And the tree, whlst not speaking words, TOLD ME it wanted me to get rid of the dried paper bark. I stroked it gently, asking if that hurt. I knew when it hurt, so stopped and moved onto another part. 20 MINUTES. I'm a nutter. The whole time I knew it was nuts. But I knew the tree wanted to me help it. Apparently Suzi could hear me rubbing the tree from a mile away. It was nuts.

Anyway, I snapped out of it after a while. It was all too much. Decided to go on a mission into the dark patches of the thick forest. It was scary, but I did it. Got caught by two people whilst i was stroking a rock with my foot for 10 minutes. that was embarrassing. and then I had a 20 minutes conversation with a park ranger who wanted to buy my iPod. The whole thing was nuts. and I was wasted.

I also found this amazing piece of string. Now, its just a piece of string. nothing special. but man, did I bond with it. From that moment on, if someone had offered me 200 quid for that piece of string, I would have said NO. It was mine. I loved it. Suzi acquired a rock. Dan some pine nuts. And dave found a hole in the ground, which we are convinced is a passage to the underworld. nothing else would explain it.

and then the laughter started. Dan and I laughed for about an hour. Then we crawled over to Dave, who laughed with us (he's been away for ages on his own, psycho). Then suzi. the four of us spent 2 hours rolling around on the floor, stroking rocks and trees, sniffing bark, rubbing ourselves in mud. Climbing a 2 minute hill felt like climbing everest. the whole world looked like a set from a movie. And as soon as the sun went in, it hurts your skin.

I wrapped up super warm when the cold set in, and we headed down to the inca moon temple. in silence, we crossed fields and streams. water doesn't feel like water. it feels like air. unreal. laughing some more, we approached the moon temple, where we all fell completely silent. Suddenly, my sensitive skin transformed to sensitive hearing. the sound of two rocks rubbing together felt like needles in my ears - in a good way. I spent 20 minutes rubbing rocks together. The vibrations in my fingers made me go crazy. We dashed away from some men with beers, for fear of having to talk to them, and crawled into the hollow moon temple. Whilst we were each hugging rocks, dan touched some toilet paper, and the laughter started again. And we headed, wasted, down the long road back into cusco.

The whole thing was nuts. Ultimately, its just a trip. Comparable to taking acid, but without the hallucinations. But the feeling is magical, and totally safe. You become a part of nature, and feel like you've never seen the world before. Everything is fascinating, if its natural. And you feel clean and wholesome. It didn't shift my cold, but now when I look at tree shadows, I feel something different. Its way more exciting these days.

Unfortunately, everyone else came back to sanity long before me. I was sat in a restaurant about 8 hours after starting on the juice, and I was still going mental. Colours on the walls were changing, and eating food was just weird. But by the time I woke up the next day, things were amazing. I made it back to the hostel at 10pm, where sam was drunk on rum. she'd decided not to come with us, so stayed at home and drank rum all day. we laughed some more, then she headed out. And after a weird nights sleep, I awoke a new person.

If you're in Cusco, and you have a spare day, get down and dirty with some san pedro. Its a totally unforgettable experience, and will probably change your perspective on nature forever. But then again, its just a load of cactus juice. the rest you make up in your head.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read all the posts about your trip last night. This is great, keep them coming. Where are you guys from?

11:00 pm  
Anonymous Trixie said...

HA I wish I hadn't just read that at work because I burst out laughing LOUDLY about 8 times. xx

2:07 pm  

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