Eating Magic (and Other) Mushrooms in Laos.
Above Photo: Drug Menu featuring Magic Mushrooms in Vang Vieng, Laos. (faszination-suedostasien.de)
Magic mushrooms picked in the Laotian jungle play a major part in the plot of BACK, and it wasn’t that long ago that you could openly munch or slurp magic mushrooms in a variety of food and drink offerings in the backpacker hedonist heaven of Vang Vieng, a location which also features heavily in BACK.
Apparently the levels of Pychobilin in psychotropic jungle mushrooms in Asia is extremely high, which is why picking them and eating them is not recommended, as one of the backpacking characters in my novel discovers.
Each day, people in Laos still gather enormous quantities of regular mushrooms from the jungle.
When we were in Sepon, I was intrigued to see collectors of non-magic Laotian mushrooms return with bags of them from the jungle. The men spread the mushrooms on the road for a few hours and regularly turned them as they quickly dried in the hot sun, before taking them to be sold them on a stall in the local market.
For an account of what taking magic mushrooms does to you, I thought this article was excellent, and, of course, relevant for BACK because the writer describes taking them in Vang Vieng. I, however, haven’t and wouldn’t take them, and I don’t recommend anyone else does either: http://www.adventurehowto.com/bad-habits/shrooming-in-vang-vieng
For a modern-day take on the Vietnam War and Adventure Backpacking into the jungles of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, see: http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-2/backpackers-meet-the-vietnam-war-back-screenplay-finally-finished/
For POWs left behind in Laos, see also:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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