Amanita Muscaria

Jess and I had a day off recently, so we went for a drive. We’ve been down every road within a couple hours of the lodge, so we didn’t really know where we should go to find uncharted territory. We then remembered a small, grassy opening on the side of the road about 20 minutes from here. It had multiple pathways going downhill on one side of the road, and a gated driveway going uphill on the other side.

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The driveway had overgrown grass covering it, so we figured it hadn’t been used in quite some time. We thought there might be an abandoned shack of some sort if we followed it.

Up we went, and just a few steps inside the gate we started finding some wild mushrooms. They had a bright orange and red color to them, with a flat top. They looked beautiful, and I couldn’t help but wonder, do these little guys have psychoactive properties?

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A few steps more, and we found the mushrooms that Super Mario eats to make him bigger and stronger. I didn’t know mushrooms like this actually exist. I thought to myself, how awesome would it be eat some of these and trip out in the woods?

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Jess and I carried on up the hill, and as we walked there were probably 50 or more of these orange and red shrooms in different sizes and shapes all along the walkway. We wouldn’t have to buy booze for the rest of the season if my hopes for these little fellows came to fruition.

At this point, we were about half way up the hill, and we started getting 3G reception. We decided to try and identify what kind of mushrooms these actually were. It turns out, there are lost of different mushrooms with these colours.

We started coming across nicknames like “The Death Cap” and we began having some doubts. Articles popped up about hikers dying in the woods from eating random wild mushrooms. Many sites say that you should never attempt to identify wild mushrooms yourself.

However, we narrowed it down two types of mushrooms:

  • Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric, or;
  • Russula emetica, commonly known as the sickener, or vomiting russula

Amanita muscaria is the Super Mario Bros mushroom, so we got that part right. Although it is poisonous, reports of human death are extremely rare. Blanching the mushroom is a good way to get rid of the toxic effects, but it also breaks down the mushroom’s psychoactive substance, muscimol.

The other mushroom “The Sickener” seemed like something we don’t even want to go near. It gets its name form the gastrointestinal distress it causes when consumed raw. This one can also become less harmful if it is boiled, but it’ll still hurt your body.

We couldn’t really determine which of these two they were, we thought it best not to make an unwise decision.

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We came back to the lodge and sat down for staff dinner. We started telling our coworkers the story about the mushroom madness, and described the Super Mario mushrooms. Instantly, the head chef Lilo said, “amanita muscaria!”

He knew exactly what we were talking about straight away. Maybe it’s coincidence, but he looks like a guy who would know a lot about mushrooms – so I believed him.

Lilo told us how that mushroom is commonly ingested for it’s fun properties, but everyone reacts differently. Some people take it and black out right away, some it takes a while and they just faint. Either way, it sounds like a so-so time to me.

The reason we only took pictures of the mushrooms instead of bringing them back to show people was that we thought some pals might just eat them without thinking, and then we would be responsible for something terrible.

Jess knew I was really curious about the mushrooms, so she turned to me and said, “I’d rather be sober forever than to risk you dying for the sake of being high.” That’s when my curiosity disintegrated.

It dawned on me, why was I even considering this? She had a good point, why take a gamble on your life, for just a little bit of fun? I don’t do that back home, so why try now? Perhaps it’s because we’ve been isolated for so long – I was looking for something peculiar. Maybe I thought I could handle it since the mushrooms in Thailand didn’t have adverse effects on us. Who knows? I was taking the situation way too casually.

One way or another, Jess made me think about life, and life alone.

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My life is pretty Super, but it doesn’t mean I’m Mario. Maybe I should stick to feeble attempts at getting birds to perch on me like a tree, instead of trying to identify and ingest potentially poisonous and harmful fungi.

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Shrooms for thought.

Kuszy don’t wanna losey. Byeeeee

 

One comment

  1. Kieran Charnock · May 12, 2017

    Maaaate!
    Laughed out loud at this part:
    “…Jess knew I was really curious about the mushrooms, so she turned to me and said, “I’d rather be sober forever than to risk you dying for the sake of being high.” That’s when my curiosity disintegrated…”

    “…Kuszy don’t wanna losey…”??? hahaha WHAT!?

    Your blogs are a little bit like Modern Family episodes. There’s always an event – a struggle – and they finish with some parting wisdom. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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