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Tripping at the beach

My first trip

My friends and I had been trying to get a hold of this stuff all year, and finally we did, on the 18th of April, coincidentally one day after the anniversary of Albert Hoffman's first trip.

So there's myself (Jeremy), my girlfriend, my mate and his girlfriend, and we're all very close friends, and we went camping on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia, 3 hours from my home, with the intention of a nice getaway for tripping. As it was the school holidays, the campsite was reasonably full, but the beach was empty enough if we wanted to get away from people.

So we take the acid at 10:30 on a Saturday morning, and it's got Che Guevara on the tabs; a relatively boring piece of blotter art. My friend’s girlfriend has the idea of drawing houses every hour, to document how weird her thoughts get. So they all draw stuff, but I can't draw, so I don’t.

Half an hour later, my girlfriend has drawn a goddess, who is roasting a chicken on a spit in her stomach, and we start to realise the acid is taking hold. I walk outside the tent and the mushrooms on the ground appear very interesting, and so does the sky and the distant houses, atop the cliff. We then decide to walk over to the beach, which is only metres away.

I pinpoint this moment to be where everything gets crazy. By the time I'm on the beach, the clouds are moving really fast, towards me. This excites me much more than it frightens me, and everything feels epic and sensational. I begin to gnaw on the sand through my towel, not quite aware of how bizarre that activity is.

I feel like putting on some music, so I get out my iPod and choose a song by Röyksopp. It starts to play, but no noise comes out, and the time doesn't seem to be progressing. While the screen is becoming really colourful and shaky, I'm sure that it's not the acid making this strange thing happen. I get my friend to look at it, and he resets the thing, and informs me of the dreaded red X that has appeared on the screen. My iPod is broken. And I had put such effort into constructing a 60-song trip playlist. Bummer.

We have to stick to my friend's iPod, but this doesn't quite do. Throughout the trip I keep craving songs, wanting to hear what they'd be like in this state. However, I've forgotten how much music I have on my phone.

We spend 3 hours on the beach, but it felt like 30. I have sort of taken upon a Raoul Duke persona, a la Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and I smoke a cigarette with a holder, while I furiously scribble on a piece of paper. When I say I scribble, that's exactly what I mean; I have lost the ability to write. I manage to put together a few words that I find interesting or profound, such as "Vegetarian" and "Poor fish".

A campsite ranger comes to check our booking, and there is a slight complication, as she can't find that we've changed campsites. My friend goes off to get the forms, and things feel like they could go to shit. I reflect on my behaviour, and realise just how strange I am acting. There is a possibility that someone could be on to us, especially as I stutter on words when speaking to the ranger. I go back to the tent, and we sort of hide for a while, after my friend has informed me that the ranger has been taken care of.

I'm not sure what happened between now and 4ish, when I found my friends showering in their swimmers, or in the case of my girlfriend, her clothes. They told me that this was really refreshing, but I declined, because I didn't want to bother changing and emptying my pockets.

The next thing I remember is lying in my tent, observing the cool patterns created by the rain cover rippling against the tent. I listened to Jefferson Airplane on my phone. Somewhere around this time I saw lots of bugs in the toilet, and the cracks between the tiles swelling. This was pretty cool.

Then we decided to go for a walk to the top of the cliff, while the sun is setting. It's pretty amazing, but the wind is most intense. I'm fascinated by the rocks and interesting plants up here. The sky is beautiful.

We continue walking and a woman passes us and warns us of a snake up ahead. This scares me and I am on the constant lookout for snakes. We go that way and return, finding no snakes, but I'm still looking. I see what looks like a root, and ask my friend what it is. He says it’s a snake and we are all like, "Oh shit. What do we do?" We stay still for a few seconds and the snake moves into the undergrowth, so we run, making lots of noise to scare off other snakes. Then we're back down on the beach and it's all good.

We chop up some weed, and my girlfriend cooks a delicious tuna and chick pea dish. I am starving as I have fasted all day, for a spiritual trip. The food is great, and the weed really hits the spot, bringing back the heightened thoughts I've had.

I go to bed at around 10, just as I suspect the trip to be ending, but I realise I feel much higher. This is good, and it helps to bridge myself into my dreams.

This has been a truly epic day. Sometimes a second feels like a week, and sometimes an hour feels like a minute. While my trip mightn't have been as profound as my friends', I felt like I had learnt to observe the world, and the control I have over myself, in a completely new light. I give it 9/10.

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