NOTE: The following Journal contains a real life experience, documenting the effects on an individual during the consumption of copious volumes of Absinth. Backpackers in no way endorses getting blind drunk and having an absolutely great night with your mates in cheap arse Eastern European cities.
About sixty ml free pour of this green substance, a teaspoon, some sugar and a lighter, what the hell were we doing this for?
Shot one: At this stage obviously no effect, but my chest is burning, it’s going to be a long night.
We have called numerous campsites ‘home’ in the last few months and as we set up in another it came to our attention it was empty. Our fears were slowly being confirmed, less and less people were doing the Van tour thing, opting more for the public transport and hostel style of travel. For months we had been joined in the van by many different people, every night making new buddies, now more and more it would be just the three of us.
Shot two: Still no real effect, even though its been less than five minutes since the first shot it still burns on the way down.
All that I had heard of Prague was that is was really beautiful and really cheap, what I hadn’t heard that It was so damn cold. It was November we should have expected it, but sleeping in the van, wearing as many clothes as we could, wrapped up in our thin sleeping bags, even with the toaster constantly on as a heater, it was the coldest place we had been so far.
Shot three: I don’t feel the cold as much now, but no other real effects yet.
Prague was beautiful, Gothic and grand, I didn’t take much imagination to picture it centuries ago in its prime. To do this all you needed to block out was the drug dealers (that strangely targeted us) and the fact that virtually every shop sold tacky souvenirs, including a strange green bottled substance.
Shot four: My throat feels like its stripped, and now pretty much constant burning in my chest, I hope it only gets better from here.
In the town square is a Clock tower. Not just any time telling device, in my opinion deservedly Prague’s center piece. Not only does this marvelous machine tell the time and date, but every hour puts on a little show, a parade of saints and a small figure of death turning an hour glass, reminding us he is on his way and to enjoy every minute we have left.
Shot five: Ok motor function now starting to be confused, walking and balance still fine and mentally still quite alert.
Among other things Prague is known for Absinth. Made famous by Van Gough this stuff is controversial to say the least, it is said he cut off his ear and gave it to a prostitute after a big night out (all she did was pose for him). He was addicted to the stuff and thought the voices in his head were telling him to kill his friend. Originally Absinthe contained wormwood, which is known for its hallucinogenic effects. At times it was also made illegal in various parts of the world for its link with mental illness and after Van Gough’s efforts I can see why.
Shot six: This is the business end of things, starting to talk a lot of crap to a lot of different people, I have forgotten about the burning chest but my throat still feels stripped.
Its recommended that for someone our size, age and build should only drink 4 measures of the ‘green fairy’, but always prepared to push the envelope for our cause, we went out to prove this stuff wasn’t so bad, and take part in our own, “Backpackers Absinth pub crawl”. The vile green fluid is also known as the drink of the Bohemians, they said instead of making you drunk, it would make your mind more free and more creative.
Shot seven: I am now having a friendly argument with a guy from London about Cricket and Rugby. I don’t know much about either of them, the main thing I am saying is he should drink absinth and that I don’t like him. Not the strongest or most imaginative point, but it sounded good at the time.
Taxi drivers in Prague don’t run by meter, they tell you a price at the start of the trip. The fee quoted is usually inflated by a good 25-50 percent so don’t accept the first offer, to take a quote from Mick; “I’m not paying that, I got it for half that last night!” usually then they will lower to a more reasonable price.
Shot eight: It was at this point at which I decided I should stop. The night has been good, it feels like I have no throat, but I’m light on my feet, and I don’t want to spoil it.
As cold as Prague was I liked it, the surroundings were enough to inspire three travel weary TV wannabes to new highs. The cost of living was low and it has so far been the only place that has been kind in the exchange from Aussie dollars. With cameras in hand and a new enthusiasm we decide to move on to things worthy of our attention, something a little out of the ordinary.
Beyond eight: Waking up, it feels like I have absolutely no moisture in my body. My head is so sore, I must have slept with it squashed under the fridge or something. I cant quite remember how, but we all made it home safe. All up I think it was a good night, though I’m not sure the pain now is worth it..
NOTE: A few days later, we met two people on the street, they recognised us as the ‘absinthe boys’. We had polite conversation with them but none of us knew who they were. Trying to find out when and where they saw us, we watched back all the footage and found out that instead of eight, we actually finished ten shots. Our stranger/friends were there for both nine and ten. Jag disappeared first, with no money or any idea of how to get back to the Van, leaving Mick and I to search for him for about half an hour. I was the next to fall, leaving without warning. Hours later after doing some flyer work for one of the strip clubs, Mick returned, only to find Jag still trying to get in to the Van. Approximately seven thirty in the am, a good five hours after leaving the main square, I returned with no memory of the last six hours. We all slept well into that evening…