Descended, as I am, from a very long line of Nordic peoples, my epidermis very quickly resembles a par-boiled lobster when I venture into the sunlight. And I dry out pretty quickly, too, unless I maintain a steady intake of fluids.
Like “Tusker” beer, the local brew in Vanuatu. To quote Paddington Bear: “Jolly nice it was, too.”
But I know some of my regular readers are more interested in the other local brew…
For a brief introduction to kava, read on:
Above is a picture of someone’s personal kava patch, in the lowland forest of Efate (one of Vanuatu’s islands), which we saw on the round-the-island trip. It’s grown by simply cutting small branches of a growing shrub of Piper methysticum and pushing them into the soil.
(Don’t quote me on this, but I think the poor old P. methysticum does not have a sex life!)
The drink,which apart from being a regular pleasure for many, is still offered on ceremonial occasions in many parts of the Pacific.It is produced by pounding (or chewing!) the root of this plant, then adding the resultant juice to water.
And the questions you lushes are dying to ask…what does it taste like? Rather like muddy water!
Is it really a drug? Yes, but there is still a lot of debate and no little confusion over its strength and effects. Cancer research people are showing some interest in it.
How does it affect you? And how soon? Well, much depends on the individual and the quantity and quality. I don’t much like the earthy taste so I’ve only ever drunk it at official functions, and then it’s been just one cupful. Once, my lips, tongue and lower face were numb and tingly almost immediately, rather like the effects of the quick-shot anaesthetic dentists use these days. (Picture moi, in a garden party hat, slurring my words when introduced to a Very Important Person!) But all other drinks had lesser results and the tingling usually was not noticeable until 5 or 10 minutes after drinking. It probably varies widely.I have known people get totally stoned because they “couldn’t feel anything.”
And this is the Kava Barman. He told us that this was a diluted brew, especially watered-down for unsuspecting tourists! I did notice some numbness of the lips, but I also only had one drink, unlike several people who kept lining up like Oliver Twists!
The kava is in that big wooden bowl and is served in a coconut half-shell. See that shiny pot behind the kava man? That’s just water, for rinsing the shell before serving the next guest! Germs? What germs!
You can follow this link for more information : here.
Or you can Google “kava” for a much broader scope. Me? I’m off to have a caffeine fix!