The fermentation of alcohol is supposed to have sprung into existence around the same time and place as the emergence of human civilisation. Since then, upright apes all over the world have been desperately digging around in the dirt for ways to get fucked up. We have been inhaling, gulping, sniffing and licking all sorts of different substances made from plants, minerals and animals to help us stay awake, go to sleep, perform better, concentrate, have fun or have an enlightening spiritual experience.
Some of the most popular recreational drugs worldwide are caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. We all know that caffeine helps us to stay awake, alcohol removes our inhibitions and turns us into violent retards and nicotine is around to make a few people very rich. The bad effects of drug use almost always outweigh the good effects, but we seem to have a force inside us all to intoxicate ourselves (arguably) as strong as the human need to satisfy hunger or thirst.
Before travelling to Central Asia, I heard about a drug called ‘nasvay’ that is so unheard of in the West that even my spellchecker doesn’t recognise the word. It can be made in a few different ways but it seems the most popular form of nasvay is made from chicken’s faeces mixed with tobacco and lime, sometimes laced with opium. It is rolled together then stuffed down the user’s gums. The idea is that the lime and manure in this stinky dark green concoction will alter the acidity in your mouth, promoting absorption of nicotine (and everything else) into the bloodstream directly through the mucus membranes. Yummy!
One of the most surprising things about nasvay is that while it is bizarre enough to have not been illegalized or added to any international drug list, it’s about as popular to Central Asian taxi drivers as Coca-Cola is to American kiddies. They love it more than food or their own families. It can easily be acquired in any market for less than the price of a loaf of bread, allowing these drivers to have their chops filled with this bird-turd narcotic twenty four hours a day.
During one long hot day crossing the desert in Kyrgyzstan, en-route to the Uzbekistan border, I was offered my first (and last) taste of the infamous nasvay by my driver. The effects are amazing. First of all, you get a strong bitter taste rolling around your mouth as your poor body franticly attempts to wash the poison out of your mouth. Next comes the dizziness. You feel as though you have downed half a bottle of vodka in thirty seconds. Finally, the icing on the cake is the stomach churning nausea followed by potential vomiting and diarrhea. Knowing these effects start to worry you even more when you see your driver and everyone else on the road leaning out of their open doors, speeding down the highway, to spit out these shitty pellets.
I spent the following day projectile vomiting fluorescent orange slime all over the front of a mosque in Samarkand, putting me out for a full week and setting off a chain reaction of everyone on the trip getting annihilated one by one in some sort of bowel-loosening spew festival. Great fun on those all day car rides through the desert…. Sorry guys! I blame the chicken shit narcotics.