This isn’t exactly a story I have any interest in my mum reading however, due to me posting this on my blog and all over Facebook for everyone to see, this will inevitably be on her computer screen within a few moments of publishing.

So…sorry mum.

*NOTE: I gave the people in this story the option of changing their names if they felt this story would harm their career or reputation as upstanding citizens of Canada and the USA. I’m sure it will become very obvious to you which of them chose this option.

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We’re going to be heading off within the next couple of days, so we kind of have to get rid of all of this acid because I don’t think we’ll be able to do it all ourselves.”

It was summertime in Ecuador and, after a brief visit to a self sustaining hippy farm in the jungle, I had found myself in Canoa, a quiet little beach town around 370km west of the country’s capital city of Quito.

I suppose we should probably buy some of that acid off of you, Oliver. I’m sure there’s plenty of places to do some acid around here.”

Oliver was a tall, lanky Canadian I had met a few weeks beforehand and was traveling with two other Canadians, Bella and Olisa. He had naturally taken it upon himself to smuggle 80 tabs of acid from a small island off the west coast of Canada and into Ecuador.

(I under no circumstances am condoning this type of behaviour however, apparently due to sniffer dogs never being trained to react when smelling LSD, it is something that will go across borders undetected)

Why he couldn’t have saved himself a potentially nasty run in with a customs officer and simply purchased acid in Ecuador I’m still not sure, but for some reason I didn’t think it was a relavant question to ask at the time. Hmmm.

Okay, well it’s going to be $10 per tab, so how many do you want?

His question was met with blank stares from each of the other three Canadians we had just met in the hostel’s cramped, humid kitchen. Susan Sarandon, perhaps the loudest of the three, seemed to be the lead negotiator with his friends, Uncle McPato and Brad Pitt, displaying signs of, possibly unintentional, apathy.

We’ll take 15!

Well that’s maybe a little excessive.” I remember thinking to myself as the money and drugs were quickly exchanged and stashed away as to avoid any unwanted attention. Watching someone trade US dollars for small, slightly hardened pieces of paper was understandably puzzling however, since I knew exactly what the contents of that tiny piece of paper were capable of, purchasing 15 hits didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.

I continued to sit quietly and watch as yet another South American drug deal had happened right before my eyes. I wasn’t at all surprised though; this kind of situation was as familiar as my four pairs of underwear I had been washing and wearing for the past few months while on the road, and as in-your-face as the word ‘TERRORISM’ on your television screens. South American hostel’s had done a reasonably thorough job of conditioning me to think that this bahaviour was merely a formality, but that isn’t to say I didn’t enjoyed it. I saw it as a new, interesting experience, even if it was almost a daily occurrence.

After some very brief introductions Oliver, Bella and Olisa excused themselves and left the hot, sweaty kitchen in search of a nearby food stand. It was just me and the guys that bought the drugs. Three potential friends and me. Do I go with the usual ‘Where have you been? Where are you going next?’ routine every backpacker seems to overuse like the word ‘groovy’ in the 1960’s, or do I go with something new and imaginative?

So, when are you guys going to be doing that acid?” I asked. Great opening ‘making friends’ question, Jarrod.

Well, we were thinking about doing it on the beach this afternoon if you wanna come join us?

See, asking strangers about when they’re planning on doing their recently purchased drugs, although a seemingly confronting question, can actually lead to somewhat of an interesting experience.

I mean, really, doing acid on a beach during the day in a foreign country with a bunch of people I had just met, what could possibly go wrong, right?

To be concluded

– Jarrod