Dawn was breaking when I emerged from my tent. I was in front of a firetruck, in a firestation, in a dinosaur park in Nicaragua. Obviously it was time to take some mescaline and hitchhike.
Mescaline comes from the San Pedro cactus. It is a hallucinogen, similar to peyote, and I had it in green powder form. Yes. Ok!
I thanked the firemen, walked to a roundabout, and soon found my first ride, a septegenarian British missionary and his Nicaraguan… wife? Unclear… he didnt speak enough Spanish to love her.
He talked about his missionary work and the rebuilding they are doing for Hurricane Mitch. That was legit 20 years ago. So… not sure what to think about that, but he seemed to have his heart in the right place and seemed like a legit missionary.
We stopped at a restaurant. I decided to drop mescaline.
I took the mescaline to the bathroom, mixed it with water, and downed it. It was 9:30am.
I took my food to go. Empty stomach seemed better. I wasnt actually sure of the doseage. Some guy had sold me it and said it was a solid dose and a half, but I had already done a third of that a week before to test it. This was the remainder.
We left the restaurant headed for Sebaco, where the couple intended to buy a barrel.
Mescaline has a slow onset, but I soon began to see signs: 14 km to Sebaco. Then: 15 km to Sebaco. Were we going backwards? Was time going forward?
Well, no – Nicaraguans are just terrible with distances. The elderly couple joked about this.
But… distance? Time? I was starting to give less and less of a fuck about such things. The conversation was becoming more interesting. I was starting to really enjoy the ride. I was more talkative, happy. Just the early tingling effects of a light dose. Or the early onset of a large dose.
They dropped me in Sebaco, where I ate my lunch, and soon arose to walk towards the end of town. Nobody picked me up along the way. It´s better to get dropped at the edge of town. I had forgotten that detail.
I was picked up by a man who did not let me smoke in his truck, for I suddenly craved a cigarette dearly, but our conversation grew, and he spoke of his family, and he got that look of love, and he spoke of how he always picks up Gringos hitchhiking because we have open hearts, good hearts, and hearing this I teared up a bit, and I felt my heart opening more.
At the edge of town, the road forked at a gas station, and I stayed left for the Panamerican Highway, but I sat at the edge of the gas station grass and rolled a spliff. I sat on my backpack. Cars passed. I stuck my thumb up lazily.
Then a pickup truck stopped and an cool thing happened: I spoke to the driver and his wife, threw my backpack into the bed, climbed up, and we started moving… all the while smoking the spliff.
Landmarks. Theyre different for all of us.
Riding in the back of this pickup through quaint winding mountain passes. I realized the mescaline was kicking in. The landscape, the colors, were more vibrant. My gratitude towards this couple… I could feel it like a rose unfurling in my chest.
Coincidentally, we stopped to buy flowers. And some other potted plants, which I helped load into the back.
We continued down the road, and I was admiring the flowers when a hand shot out the passenger window and the woman handed me a bag full of cookies. Then the remainder of a strawberry smoothie. I yelled out my thanks and gave them the thumbs up.
I was admiring the passing scenery, the wind in my hair, when we stopped again. The driver emerged. It was a bus stop, and he asked the awaiting Nicas if they were going to Somoto. They were not.
Now, mescaline: I started to protest, as per tradition when someone offers to buy me a bus ticket, but then I felt a bit of a heart melt, and the man insisted: ¨I´m going to buy you a ticket to Somoto. It is only 17 cordoba ($.50usd).¨
And we drove further, and I began to feel overcome with gratitude. By the time we stopped at the correct bus stop, the man and wife emerged and, as I sat in the back of their pickup truck, they handed me 17 cords, pointing out the bench I was to wait on. I wanted to protest. I really did. I have much more than 17 cordoba to my name. Then the man gave me 100 cordoba and said: for your food tonight. I was now crying a bit. I found it hard to say anything. I managed a ¨Muchisimas gracias¨ and took a deep breath, trying to collect myself. The man then took out 200 cordoba, saying: so you can find a bed tonight.
I was crying openly at this point, and they understood that this something I needed, and they didn´t know about the mescaline, but the mescaline was mild. It was the love that I needed. It was the love, the loss of love, that I had just experienced leaving Ometepe and El Zopilote the day before. And so I just shook the mans hand and hugged the woman.
And then they began to pray for me, holding my hand, and the woman did a generic prayer in Spanish but I could hear the man praying for my security, for my safe trip back to the US. And I wept. I wept openly.
And for the first time, ever in my life, I felt a religious experience.