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Adventures in China
A pleasant bike ride
This past Sunday I took a small dose of homegrown mushrooms. The syrenge said B on it. It was the first flush of a small cake, one large mushroom and a medium sized one and almost a dozen small mushrooms cropped up. The cakes are very small, half pint cakes. I ate the lot a couple of days after picking, they had dried out on the plate. I felt the first sitrrings of a trip coming on but it didn't ever truly manifest. I felt a heightened sense of emotional exchange with the people around me and a general sense of euphoria and acceptance of the world around me, something I am sorely in need of.
I waited in my apartment for about 45 minutes talking to a friend of mine I haven't had close contact with in a long time. She is very pretty (cut that she is fucking hot) and she was with her family on a trip. She will soon be moving to Dubai to work for the UAE arlines, so my chances of seeing her again anytime soon are slim. My emotional confusion with her is enough that I decided to get a move on and go for a bike ride. Hot summer day in China when the skys were mostly blue and I had just dosed a bit of mushrooms. Yay.
I felt pretty good riding a rented bike. Most larger cities in China have these handy little orange bikes for rent, they are a bit too short, and break easily, but get people from point A---> somewhere else if they don't get into a traffic accident first.
Feeling good I rode about 10-15 Kilometers in total. I started in the city center and crossed one of the cities many brideges. On the bridge I met a nice family, mom, dad, and son. The parents were happy to meet an American, maybe their first, and even happier that I could speak some Chinese with them. We talked for a while, but the son got really angry that I had taken the wind out of his photo shoot. Little emporer syndrome in full swing. I tried to get his attention, but I couldn't really be bothered with a spoiled kid while I was in a mild trip. Yuck. So I took some photos of the river area and then said by the the parents and said by to the naughty little boy *calling him naughty boy in chinese. This last bit caused a very powerful energy drain in the parents and I could feel a pull on my heart. I wasn't emotionally effected, but my energy dropped some. I laughed it off thinking of the talking to that kid was going to get from his parents for being a little turd in front of the nice American man and making their family lose face, a big deal in china.
I noticed that the Chinese building is surrounded by all kinds of nasty structures for processing and pollution. Welcome to China. Utalitarian to the max. This country is lucky there is anything older than the 1920's left in it. Most of the ancient structures were destoryed in a fanatical rush to follow the Great Leap Foward that starved 30,000,000 Chinese people. I am always happy to see any of it.
The bike ride continued until I came to a small village on the outskirts of the city. I don't remember its name and I didn't find it on a map, but it is there, I promise.
At this point the trip is about the same. Still feel euphoric, but there is a nausea to my stomach. All the water I drink is making it worse. Could be tha the water in China is horrible. Even the bottled water usually comes out of the tap and is full of heavy metals and other nasty chemicals. Again, Yuck. So I parked the bike in the electric return station and sat in the shade while I decided where to go next. Here the mushrooms kind of took over. I don't remeber a lot, I just walked and was lost in thought. I have been in China for three years so the typical urban village is nothing new and I was not impressed, but it was nicer than the skyrises of the city center.
In the village I saw the food market, meat butchering on the street side, fish as well. Fruit and vegetable stalls and cigarrette shops, (interesting statistic: every second there are 55,000 cigarettes smoked in China!!!) I wanted to take some pictures to share, but the smell of unrefrigerated meat and fish in the hot sun was more than I wanted to deal with. Yuck. But I did get a snap shot of some cookies. I ate some of the large cookies and one of the rice cakes, but they fried the rice cake in old used oil and it was gross and made me feel sick. (To save money Chinese people reuse oil as much as they can. They even dig it out of the sewers and filter the bigger chunks of yuck out of it and cook with it again. Last year over 700 food production factories in Taiwan were busted for selling food made with the gutter oil. Yuck).
I probably wandered around in the village for a good two and a half hours. I wrote a little article about what I was seeing:
"I am sitting at the side of the road in a tiny Chinese village, I don't know the name, but it is outside of zhongbei, one of the six major districts in ningbo. I rode a public bicycle here, easily for rent at hundreds of locations through the city. I am a bit of an oddity here as foreigners rarely visit this part of the city. It is pretty far off the beaten track. Across from me is a vegetable vendor and a small shop selling bottles of cooking oils and soy sauces yangmei wine (baijiu or Chinese rice wine with local berries added to it). Down the road to my right is a row of meat and fish vendors. including butchers and purveyors of dried fish and meat. Farther to the left and thankfully upwind is the public restroom. I smell burning charcoal from the general store I am sitting next to. Stray dogs roam the busy streets, watching as people on electric bikes buzz up and down the single lane main drag of this small community.
Few of the buildings here are more than a single story, some reaching three or four. It is a pleasant escape from the tall towers of the city proper. Also the trees in close proximity also add some flavor to the experience. It is still a very dirty street however, with spittle and other human and animal waste covering the street in a sheen. When I first sat down on the curb a coupe of nice local citizens offered me a bag to sit on because of their fear for the mess. I am not bothered, not being my first time to spend an afternoon on the side of the road. Knowing their general dislike of sitting on the fouled streets it is interesting to notice that they trash and store their fruits and vegetables and cure their meat on the very same surface I am not supposed to sit on. They use thin pieces of cloth or styrofoam in an effort to keep it off the road when they are not beating it against the street surface or sorting on the street.
In the distance is the constant buzzing rattle of a electronic criers calling out the price of goods and an endless, largely ignored loop. But, in china there is nowhere to go that isn't noisy. These people are a very active bunch."
I rode home and rested and thought about what I had seen. Some interesting conversations on the whole and a nice bike ride. I am currently eating small doses of mushrooms to see how they alter my perceptions and mood in the long term. This was my second experiment with tripping in public in China. There is more to the story, but it's not essential or overly interesting. Hope you enjoyed the photos. Over all the trip was a great way for me to see what my initial emotinal reactions are to situations. Nothing overly profound, but fun and relaxing.
Links for pictures (don't know how to use them well enough to get big pictures):
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