Skunk? We only smoke resin.

Categorised as TRAVEL.

On the shell of the ex-army ambulance there was an old, light-damaged plaque, which read ‘Maximum capacity 17’. I’m pretty sure all 23 of us had read it, but no one thought to comment. Besides, without all the seating, seat belts, medical equipment and guns there was probably enough room. We broke down half way across Spain, spending the night outside and having quite a flavour according to the mosquitoes, as we all woke up to discover itchy polka-dotted skin. Once we got going there was no point in getting back in as the next stretch was up hill, and we knew we’d have to push the bus. We were now coming to terms with the capacity limit geared towards weight, rather than space, as we walked alongside the bus, struggling just to carry our luggage for the month.

At the southern coast of Spain we catch a ferry crossing to Tangier, and continue on into Morocco. A few day stops in we come to a house at the peak of a small mountain, overlooking acres of colourful fields. The house was very small. It had a single floor, all white walls, and split into thirds. The middle was almost open, with a door at either side, and a little roofing. Here there was a chained up, size zero cow, and a couple of odd looking chickens running around staring at plants. To the left of this was sleeping and shitting, and to the right was eating and cooking. The house was alone, without another building for miles.

Being fifteen and pretty naïve, I overlooked the rolling fields and spent more time with the Ozman’s fascinated chickens. Ozman owned the area, and it was him that we were there to see. The older people on the trip, about my age now, were buying supplies for the journey ahead. As nightfall came, we all sat out back and ate fresh figs. Hating anything that didn’t come in a packet, I sat and shone my lazer-pen at the chickens until Ozman gave me a look of death. Then I went to sleep.

The next day we were to visit ‘Paradise’. It was an area on Ozman’s land where the dry harsh area met a series of waterfalls, nourishing the land to bloom and feed his huge area of crops. Instead of walking directly there we had to walk around, not straight through his plantations. A stop before water, we hit a mass of green, a familiar green. Up close it was a very familiar green, no so much to sight, but more from the pictures on Morecambe market’s bong stall. It was like – so my brother and I thought – the fields from The Beach, so we grabbed a few sly handfuls and shoved them in our pockets. After a bombardment of photos and picture ops from most of the travellers, we finally hit the last stretch, and a 40ft drop.

[vsw id=”dYCfuv2AVck” source=”youtube” width=”600″ height=”400″ autoplay=”no”]

This is probably pretty similar to what Jamie saw.

Stood towards the back – still slightly traumatized by the time my dad took me on that gnarly ride at Camelot when I was barely four years old – I stood hesitantly, watching people one by one Lemming themselves over a wall onto a menacing protruding girder jabbing out the side of the sheer drop, and after a word from Barney the driver, hurl themselves off into a splash. As I moved closer through the quite orderly line we’d formed the screams and splashing were getting louder. I felt a little like I was queuing for injections at school, the small wall masking the drop was like the silhouetted screen hiding the needle equipment nurses. The girl in front of me goes, without hesitation, and then it’s me.

I climb over the wall, and grip the rusted steel with my feet. Barney looks at me while he point down to the water. “You see that dark area there, that’s shallow water” then panning his arm through my gaze to the opposite side, “and that dark bit there, that’s shallow.” He then points straight down, “That thin section of light, that’s deep.” He then starts helping the next person over the wall. With my stomach hanging out my mouth, I trusted my body forward, but my legs didn’t move. Throwing me off balance, with only the image of splitting onto the girder, I leap forward, and into the light.

At the bottom everyone’s on a super hype, surrounded by trees and waterfalls, it really was amazing, as close to paradise as could be pictured. We continue on; having a swim and just relaxing in the sun until we head back up to Ozmans. Once back he hands over a football sized, beige looking, dusty ball; a huge bag of herbs; and a condom full of oil. It was then that I realized what the fields were full of. And the replica machine gun I thought I’d spotted inside until Ozman hurried me along, wasn’t so replica. So with a cannabis oil skinned, reefer tobaccoed, pollen crumbled reefer, the older lot waved good bye with a hand shake and a big smile. Nick and I shook hands with a smirk, having our pocket grabbings drying out nicely, only to find they were all male plants, and we were smoking hemp. Lame.

words Jamie John Jenkinson

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