Towards the end of Haadrin a number of bars straddle the rock face that rises out of the sea. The psychedelic art that covers the rock is bleached of much of its colour by the sun and sea, but hints at the magic of this modern temple. We begin our climb up Mushroom Mountain, and stop at the first bar. A gloriously fat Thai lady sits behind a basic wooden bar with a blender. She smiles toothlessly and for 500 baht doles out plastic cups of mushroom shake, strangely blatant in a country known for its intolerance towards the illicit.
We sit on the low cushions with the other backpackers, and look down the beach at the drunken crowds. The shake is a strange mix of sweet and sour, the psilocybin laced mushrooms producing a tart earthy flavour that washes your tastebuds from front to back. Naturally, Redbeard has two.
Before long I feel the warmth of euphoria begin to spread, toes suddenly energised by the hypersensitivity and increased awareness that accompanies tripping the light fantastic. We walk along the beach laughing and smiling; my cheeks ache from the joy that fills me. These are the best of times, and the best of companions with which to spend them.
There is a paradox involved in tripping: not only do you find your own sense of self disappear into the background, but in addition to the bigger focus is an acute sense for the humour of the miniscule. We sit, watching the partygoers fumble along the shore, and laugh at the nonsensical sign in front of us. “HHHDRIN” it proclaims, and we are perplexed to the point of hilarity. It is glorious, to be this carefree, so removed from the expectations that chain us to fear, ecstatic with the sheer stupidity of life.
Nonsensical ramblings to the uninitiated, the banter of the Hhhudrin brethren is pure poetry to boys deep in the psychedelic maze. Scattered chat soon lead to some deep philosophising and amongst the smoke of our joke religion the fire of some profound truths emerged. There was nothing particularly revolutionary, no huge paradigm shift – just a few conscientious cunts appreciating the ephemeral and laughing at the facades we put up to hide our insecurities.
The following day Brother Bigbear unravels the mystery – the three H’s are in fact an H and two As, and the sign is merely a notification of where we are. Appropriate then, that it was the psilocybin that removed our sense of place, leaving us free to wander other mental paths.
We go back to the resort, and I float in the pool, enjoying the all-encompassing weightless and the peace of another warm evening. A small toad hops past, the glint of the pool light reflected in his shining back. His throat bubbles, a small croak, as if to say “sup cunt.” Brother Barefoot and I watch him silently as he makes his way into the darkness, just another soul trying to get by. I fall into a deep sleep, finally relieved of my psychedelic burden, thankful for the camaraderie that surrounds me.