the danger of the coca

I’m sitting here, on a boat through Patagonia, my second to last thermos full of coca tea and I think it’s finally time I admit what might be already obvious to some.

but, first, some back history.

I enjoy drugs. not the thing I should be admitting with my parents reading this, and a nephew who I hope doesn’t go down that route, but I do.

– we’ve already covered cocaine.

– my love of opium has already been written about, and even documented.

– there’s a reason so many people are hooked on Vicodon/Percocet/Oxycotin – because they’re great.

– or maybe a few friend out camping under the stars of an Arizona sky and a handful of mushrooms to take it all in with. in fact, if I had constant access to mushrooms, I’d smoke and drink less.

all that to say that yes – I enjoy them. I’m fascinated by them. but it has to be in a perfect situation, they can never be mixed, and – above all – must be done in moderation.

I’m not addicted to any of them. and I can’t tell you how thankful I am about that. trust me that if I was, I’d have been in serious trouble in Bolivia, but – as I wrote – the Good Lord gave me that moment of clarity when I looked around me, saw what an evil nasty drug cocaine was and I walked out.

so no, I’ll take it when the situation is right and I’ll be excited about that. but I don’t need it.

[wine is a different story, but that’s for another writing]

but coca tea… I’ll be totally straight with you right now – I’m addicted.

if you don’t believe me, ask a gal named Taryn about my grumpiness in the morning without it, not to mention the 4-hour trek around every crevice in town to find it.

I have a problem with the coca tea.

I am addicted to the coca tea.

the site that you’re looking at right now was built because of the coca tea.

for days on days on days, I would wake up, throw a large handful of the dried leaves into my thermos, add hot water, let it steep while I showered and would then sit it next to me while I would work non-stop on this new project. on an average day, I wouldn’t leave the hotel room until around 4pm where I would get a snack, take some photos, have a drink somewhere, then the pub, then home to watch a movie and have a bottle of wine.

but note the first part of that sentence – not leaving my room until 4pm. that means no eating – at all. and it wasn’t as if I was forcing myself not to…. it was the coca tea.

and here’s why I’m addicted:

– it wakes you up immediately, but not like a slap-in-the-face kind of way, but like Shannyn Sossaman kissing your forehead kind of way. the kisses get you out of your sleep, and when you realize it’s Shannyn Sossaman kissing you, your entire body feels a nice warm electric charge.

– no coffee jitters, and no crash. easy up, and easy down. no sugar, cream, milk, chocolate, caramel, whipped cream needed. leaves and hot water. and you can refill your thermos up two more times and still get a nice little kick – no, not a kick, but a boost. but a nice boost.

– it’s not acidic like so many teas can be – it’s nice to your tummy.

– it’s ridiculously cheap. I mean… I bought a bag the size of a basketball and it cost me $7. that bag has lasted me almost a month. and I’m making three [new] batches a day.

– your productivity – this is one of the biggest things. I have never in my life been as productive as I am on the coca. I mean, let’s face it – the entire Mayan Empire was built with this holy plant being chewed, and – having hiked up to Machu Picchu in only a small backpack, and barely making it up, I can only imagine what it was like getting those stones up there. and can promise you it couldn’t have been done without the leaves.

… so yes, I sit here, with my second-to-last batch cooling on the window sill of the boat I’m on and I’m already going through withdrawals. for some reason, I could buy it up in Northern Chile, but nowhere else. and if Chile doesn’t sell it, then I’m guessing that Argentina and Brazil won’t either.

and I can’t tell you how depressed that makes me.

this thermos and I have been through a lot, you see.

in my life of a new bed, city, sites and food each day, this was my constant – my buddy.

and now – much like the good people I had to leave in Valparaiso, I have to say goodbye.

but don’t think for a second that if I could, I’d sell them all for one more bag of the coca.

you laugh. and I laugh. but I’m serious…

this is going to be a problem.