~but we have kava to drink as we mark things of the list!
Yes, there is a kava bar here in Portland! Kava is the major social drink that we’ll encounter in Vanuatu. Its cultural and social role is similar to that of beer in Portland, but it is made from Kava root instead. Click here if you’d like to learn more. So Peter and I decided to go check out our own little local kava bar today to test the waters. The man who runs the place was very kind and gave us a rundown:
“They told me that Ni-Van kava will knock you on your ass. When I tried what I could get here in the states that’s from Vanuatu, I was like, pssh, that’s no big deal. When I went to visit the islands, however….. Well, they weren’t kidding after all. You guys are in for a treat!”
With that in mind, we got a shell each of kava and chugged it down as the guy suggested, consuming the pineapple chaser as fast as possible. Regarding the flavor, WOW people drink that all the time? It tastes like liquified bark. If any of you ladies have ever attempted to use cramp bark to relieve monthly discomfort, you kind of get the idea. Luckily, the pineapple wiped the taste out of our mouths pretty quickly. Also, kava can be used as a local anesthetic. Moments after tossing back our shells, so to speak, our lips and tongues felt tingly, which quickly progressed to rather numb. It took a few minutes and plenty of giggling to feel confident in our ability to speak again. Then it took sharing another shell before we felt much more effects than that. I would describe it as a light buzz that really clears your head–maybe clears it a bit too much. I could feel my stomach sending messages of being rather unsure about the strange new contents it was encountering, but didn’t get a stomachache.
[This is Peter’s take] The flavor was dirty and gritty- kinda like what you would expect if you housed down the outside of a tree, or tried to make a french press out of bark….There was a lingering unpleasant, but not strong flavor, that was overtaken by the weird numbness that started spreading over my tongue. My stomach did start to ache- although it also felt like it does when I am REALLY hungry. The cognitive aspects were interesting- I felt like I had a buzz, a strong buzz, but there were no balance impairing effects or light-headed-ness. It might be thought of as the middle ground between marijuana and alcohol. But the best part has to be the no-hangover consequence. While I don’t have first hand knowledge of an over-indulgence of kava (I am sure I will find my limits the hard way, over there) yet, other than the flavor I have to say it compares very favorably against other intoxicants. And, it is legal in Oregon for those over the age of 18. 🙂 If you try it- relish the pineapple chaser- it helps a lot!
When all is said and done, not too bad. Unless you’re talking about the flavor. Blech. I worry a bit though, because if that stuff was weak (the guy explained that what he has is not as strong because it’s made from dried kava root, whereas stuff we get on the islands will be much stronger because it is made from fresh kava root), then how will we handle kava as a daily social drink in Vanuatu? I suppose we’ll acclimate.
In other news, though our time before departure for our road trip is shrinking, our to-do list doesn’t appear to be doing so at all. ALTHOUGH, we did find the most amazing home we could ask for for Logan, the poor cat we’re leaving behind. Truth is he is going to be SO happy, he won’t likely miss us much. Or at all. Thank you again SO MUCH, Roxanne. You truly rock my socks off.
Last Sunday we managed to give away a good chunk of our stuff. This was super helpful because every thing we gave away was one less thing we have to haul to goodwill (or wherever else we end up donating to). However, there is still quite a bit left. The truck is reserved for this Sunday, and our apartment should be empty by Monday. Then we hit the road! Over our kava shells, we went through our itinerary step-by-step. If anyone wants to know exactly when we’ll be arriving in their area, we would be able to give them a fairly small window for our arrival and/or departure.
If you’re in Salt Lake and you don’t mind bars, take a peak at the ‘event’ I made on facebook~ we hope to see you all there!