Oct 23 2010

Mt. Yasur

Tag: fun activity,interacting with the locals,VanuatuJonathon Haradon @ 10:09 pm

Our sail from Fiji to Tanna Island, a southern island in Vanuatu, lasted for four days.  The passage was not unpleasant, but it took me a couple of days to get over a lethargic feeling of seasickness.  The last two days, however, I felt fantastic, and I remember thinking ‘I’d forgotten that passage making was enjoyable!’

I have to remind myself of that feeling repeatedly so as to give it more prominence in my memory, because most of the time, passage making is not enjoyable.  Like our three day bash into confused seas and high winds from Tanna to New Caldonia where all I felt like cooking or eating was Ramon and a general malaise infused my entire being.

The last stretch of sailing to Tanna happened at night.  We were forty miles away when I took over the watch at midnight.  Two hours later we were thirty miles away and I noticed a glow on the horizon.  The mysterious glow seemed to hover over the island, like the lights of a metropolis from a distance in the evening, though a metropolis we certainly were not approaching.  The mysterious glow was why we were here.  The mysterious glow was from the boiling molten magma in the crater of an active volcano.  Our plan was to stand on the rim of this rumbling, lava- spewing, debris-belching beast.  Mt. Yasur.

Us and, as it turns out, 40 of our not-so-closest tourist friends.

We traveled by pick-up truck which somehow managed to transport thirteen people there, winding through a veritable four wheel drive jungle road.  Tiny villages occasionally dotted the sides of the road, and we passed clearings were Vanuatians were playing soccer.  There were many tree-houses, full-fledged houses not like little kid versions,  the banyan trees being enormously large; I saw one that had a spiral staircase ascending around the 20 foot diameter trunk system.  Other banyans had a multitude of tree limbs that jutted for 100 feet away from the center.  Once the road began it’s climb up the sides of the volcano however, the jungle quickly gave way to drier and drier conditions, until we were in a veritable wasteland.  It was about 5 pm, the sun was casting a terrific eerie light and the smoke and ash billowing from the volcano added a layer of depth to the color of the skyline.

We made the final climb to the rim of Mt. Yasur and peered over.  The edge sloped away at 45 degrees and then a few hundred feet away, cut down steeper, hiding the actual bottom.  Smoke puffed out at random intervals.  Sulfur filled the nostrils with an acrid stench.  Booming sounds of explosions and rumblings echoed up.  And the ground.  The ground shook when a large explosion would deafen the air sending a shock-wave of sound and air streaming past.  Projectiles shot up above the level of the rim.

Someone asked our guide if you could see the actual magma pit from any vantage point on the rim, and he replied they wouldn’t take tourists to those places.  If you can see the magma pit, the guide said, that means it could shoot something directly at you and you were vastly more likely to be in the path of flying debris.

Our guide held us where we initially gained the rim for a few moments as he stared into the pit of the volcano.

“Can we hike higher along the rim?” he was asked.

“We must wait for a moment.”  he replied.

“For what?”

“I must see which which way the volcano is shooting debris today.”

And shoot it did.  A few minutes later it exploded, and the senses were assaulted with the acrid smells, booming sounds, sights of billowing smoke and projectiles, and feel of a shuddering ground and shockwave of air.  One got the feeling that nature was very much in charge here.

Our guide then led us higher on the rim of Mt. Yasur.  The random and intermittent explosions continued, but now with a better angle to see, we were witness to lava exploding forth, sending showers of molten rock high into the air and spreading red hot glowing debris over a vast area of the inner slopes.  As the sun set behind us, the scene became even more impressive as the glowing became more brilliant.  Glowing debris from even the smallest explosions could now be seen more easily.  And when the largest explosion yet erupted, it was simply awesome.

Oct 23 2010

Mt. Yasur pictures

Tag: fun activity,pictures,VanuatuJonathon Haradon @ 10:02 pm

Oct 23 2010

Vanuatu Kava

Tag: fun activity,interacting with the locals,routeJonathon Haradon @ 9:05 pm

Vanuatu kava is stronger than Fiji kava.  20 shells of Fiji kava and mostly what I felt was bloated.  2 shells of Vanuatu kava…. mmmm mellow.  mmmm numb mouth.  mmmm slurred speech.  mmmm difficulty in concentrating on anything other than mindless action movies, like Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale.

As Matt, Karen and I were waiting for the small pickup truck that would take us and eleven other people up to the active volcano on Tanna Island in Vanuatu, Matt inquired of Stanley about kava.  Stanley, a native Vanuatu-ian, (he must have another, non-English, Vanuatu name) was responsible for setting up the transportation and seemed to be well connected in the village.  Stanley said he could get us some kava.  This was perfect as we didn’t think we would have time to visit a nakamal, a place where they serve kava in Vanuatu, after seeing the volcano.  And we would be leaving for New Caldonia the next day.

Stanley asked Matt how much kava we would like.

“Well how much would a liter cost?” Matt replied.

“100 vatu.”  Stanley replied.  This was about one dollar.

“We’ll take four liters,”  I told Stanley.  I was tempted to ask for three times that amount.  We’d have enough kava to last us a year or more!

When we returned from the volcano, Stanley had our kava.  Unfortunately it was only half a liter of kava.  Somewhere in the verbal communication something got lost or mistranslated.  Resigned to our meager amount of kava and unwilling to try and figure out why it was so much less than we expected, we took our kava back to the boat.  Whereupon, at the boat, we began to drink it.

The guidebook we have says you should drink kava on an empty stomach to heighten its effects.  My forays into alcoholic consumption have confirmed this is a good technique for enhancing effects of mind altering substances, so I believe it and Matt and I abstained from eating dinner for two hours while we drank some kava.

To drink it right, we broke out the shells I had purchased in Fiji.  We poured the kava into them; the kava looked more thick than Fijian kava.  In Fiji after pounding dried brown roots and adding water, they strain the liquid through cheesecloth.  In Vanuatu, they grind green roots and do not strain it.  I hope they grind it and don’t mash it in their mouths.  The different texture did not change the taste, it still was dirty bath water, but now with a little more viscus thickness to it.  Texture-wise, think whole milk versus water.

We drank one shell, and Matt started in immediately on another.  “Why not go for the full effect?” he reasoned.  I followed a little behind.  After two shells, I felt mellow, a numb mouth, slurred speech and difficulty concentrating.  If I focused hard, I could force myself to talk normal, or at least what I presumed sounded more normal.  But if I just let aimless ramblings come forth, I felt like I was slurring my words and my mouth wasn’t functioning the way it normally would.  It was fun.

Matt lapped me in kava consumed, and I handed off my last 1/2 of a shell to him to boot, as he was saying there didn’t seem to be much effect.  I wonder if he was simply focusing harder on what might be happening, his more analytic nature trying to quantify and categorize the effect, but consequently forcing out or marginalizing those effects by the act of analyzing them.  Analogous to quantum mechanics, perhaps you can’t analyze the effect without changing the effect.  The physicist in Matt defeated by the physics of it.

In the end, Matt lopped on a couple of shots of prime fine Scotch, and this he paid for dearly over the next 24 hours as we began our sail to new Caldonia.  Kava and alcohol apparently don’t mix.

Oct 12 2010

musings on Time

Tag: Uncategorizedmattholmes @ 12:34 am

The only reason why I’m posting this is because I’m writing it in one sitting, late at night, and after some drinks, so keep that in mind. Editing be damned.

So I’ve been doing some thinking about Time, Time with a capital “T”, Time in the sense that physicists talk about Time, and these are my thoughts:

Time as humans think of it is an illusion, resulting from a curious combination of the laws of physics together with the biology of memory. These thoughts that I will discuss are not new; many smart people know of it, and allude to it. Most recently, Brian Greene convinced me that he is clued in, in “Cosmos”, and Neal Stephenson convinced me that he, too, is in the club, in “Anathem”. I come across hints of other indoctrinees occasionally, so I am well aware that I am talking about old ideas. Truthfully, the only reason I have resorted to this sort of introduction, naming names, is so that you are more inclined to give my explanation here a chance. I’m not the only one, is what I’m saying. Other people get it. Just because it doesn’t agree with our sensory observations doesn’t mean you should dismiss it out of hand. Undoubtedly all sorts of physicists and possibly even mystics have a feeling for the notion of Time that I am going put forth here, but the trick is to get some to listen to you. Right now I don’t care, which is why I’m writing. It all just seems so counterintuitive; no one (that I know) will listen to me. Jon thinks I’m silly with these ideas, Gary won’t accept them either, so I wonder whether I’ve gone off the deep end this time.

But here’s the thing: although it feels wrong, as humans, it feels ever so right, as a physicist. When I finally put it together, I had an “ah hah” moment, one of those “of course this is that way it is” feelings, because it explains so much, it makes so many puzzle pieces fit into place, and just like a puzzle suddenly a much bigger picture suddenly clarifies. I’m missing many pieces; much is still very unclear to me; it is likely that I am wrong about quite a few things. However, I feel very strongly that the overall sense of Time as I explain it here is accurate, because it makes so much sense of so much unexplained physics. Just as a Roman may not be able to explain exactly how the sun comes up and the seasons change, and yet nevertheless the explanation that our earth is rotating and we are orbiting around the sun seems so very powerfully helpful in deciphering that mystery, SO TOO I have an abiding sense that these ideas about Time are powerfully explanatory in a way that cannot be wrong–and that even though I may not have a 10th of the answers required to fully enumerate the theory, nevertheless the truth must incorporate as a special condition these very ideas, because they seem to me at this point to be self-evident. When it came together for me, it was a eureka moment, and I said to myself “of course this is the way it is!”.

Okay now that you are sufficiently primed, I will start in with the explaining. I will give you the conclusion, and then I will lead you down the path to reach the conclusion.

We feel that there is a past, present, and future. We feel that there is a single moment of time that is the present, a privileged moment; we feel that there is a portion of the universe that is over and done with, and we call it the Past; and we feel that there is an indeterminate portion of the universe that has not yet happened, that is yet-to-be, and we call this the Future. The Present is a single instant, illuminated like a spotlight, moving forward through history at some pace, that both the Past and the Future are inaccessible, and that the only thing that exists is the Present moment. That is the common view, that is what we feel, what we know of life.

This is an illusion. The history of human thought is filled with examples of species self-centered thought which has proven to be mistaken. We once thought that we were the center of the Earth, around which a disc of flat ocean encircled us. We once thought that we were the center of the universe, around which the Sun and everything else rotated. We once thought that our solar system, even with the Sun at the center, was the center of the larger universe, around which everything rotated. We were once ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED of all of these things, and yet we were wrong, wrong, and wrong. We should be skeptical of what our senses indicate to be de facto truth!

Here’s the truth of this one: Time is an illusion. The passage of Time is an illusion. There is no Past, Present, and Future in the universe; it is a conceit resulting from arrow of Time (Second Law of Thermodynamics) coupled with the nature of human memory.

Let’s revert to kindergarten and use stick figures to draw each second of our life on a piece of 1ft x 1ft clear plexiglass with a sharpie. If you are 32 years, old, go to TAP plastics and purchase a little over 1 billion sheets of thin plexiglass and use a sharpie to draw each second of your life, reduced to the bare essentials of plot (think kindergarten here) on these sheets. Now take all of them and line them up in one continous block of Life. Each sheet represents a single second of your existence.

This stack of plexiglass moments, altogether in one unbroken block, represents the universe as it actually exists. Select one sheet of plexiglass at random, just slip one out, and interrogate the “you” of that particular slice about Past, Present, and Future, and that version of “you” will answer that she happens to reside in the one and only Present, and that the Past is behind her and the Future is ahead of her. Pick another plexiglass page at random, and the answer will be the same. Every single iteration of “you” in that stack will think that they are in the one-and-only Present, and that the Past has already happened and the Future is ahead of them. In that stack of plexiglass moments, no one sheet is more real, or “now”, than any other. They all exist, “simultaneously” if you will (though now we run up against the constraints of our syntax in providing the best imagery, since “simultaneous” is clearly defined within our conventional notion of “time”), and no one moment is more privileged than another. All of our “selves” in that plexiglass block of time are equally real, and every single one of them thinks that she is in the present and “moving through time”, because moving through time is AN ILLUSION.

This illusion of time arises from a combination of the second law of thermodynamics together with the nature of human memory. If you start out with a deck of cards all nicely ordered from 2 to Ace and in their respective suits too, and you shuffle it, you know that when you turn the deck over they will be less organized and more of a mess than they started out as. The principle that drives the evolution of the state of cards is the same principle that results in our sense of time, and you may be disappointed to discover that it arises from mere statistics. The past is an ordered deck of cards, and the laws of physics are the rules for shuffling the cards, and the result is, inexorably, a less organized state of affairs. We no more expect the universe to go backwards in time, as we expect a deck of cards to put itself back in order, and this is the thing: every microscopic, subatomic, interaction in the universe must obey the same statistics, and as a result, the macroscopic, large-scale world that we see seems to evolve in a particular direction. We call this the “arrow of time”, and it results from the “Second Law of Thermodynamics”, which is sometimes stated as “entropy always increases”, and otherwise you can think of as the same rule that means the deck will get more random the more you shuffle it.

Take the three hundred pages of a book, and throw them in the air. When they come down, will they fall in order 1 to 300, just so? Of all the inconceivably enormous ways in which the pages could come down together, there is only one in which they will be all in order, and there is an inconceivably larger number of ways in which they will be out of order.

Our world is comprised of an indescribably, inconceivably enormous number of particles, which comprise everything that we see and know, and all of these particles follow those same laws of statistics. Every moment, the particles are metaphorically “thrown in the air”, and every moment they come down less ordered than they started out. These statistics cause there to be a “forward” and “backward” in time. The statistics define a direction. Though there is no one single Present, Past, and Future, there is a definitely a distinction between moving “forward” and “backward” in time. There is an “arrow of Time”, as physicist refer to it, that results from the simple fact that the world we know of consists of countless billions of particles that are constantly interacting in ways that cause the deck to be more random, as it were.

This forwardness and backwardness, this distinction between forward and backward, this arrow of time, is what gives us the illusion of being in the Present, and as follows:

We can only form memories of the Past. Statistics causes the “backward” direction of Time to be more “knowable” in a way, than the future. In the shuffled deck, you can make memories of it being all in order! You can make memories of the more ordered state, you can make memories of the “past”, but you cannot make memories of the future. This is not because it has “not yet happened” as we usually say! In the plexiglass block of time slices, the “you” from each slice is capable of forming memories of the universe in only one direction–this results from the statistical evolution of the universe!

Memory is biased; memory is what makes you feel like you are moving through time. Memory gives you knowledge of the moment previous, but not the moment to come; memory makes you feel as if you are always on the edge of the Present. Memory separates the universe into two halves: Past and Future, and makes you feel like you are riding right on the line between the two. This is an illusion!

Take yourself above and outside it all, and consider the stack of plexiglass moments of time, every second of your life already laid out. Pull out each stack and interrogate your own self in that moment, and the “you” of that moment will have a memory of their past, and not of their future, and will think that they are in the one and only Present moment. But they all think they are in the Present! In every single slice, they think they are in the one and only privileged Present, because in every single slice, the version of you in that slice has a knowledge and memory of one half of the plexiglass universe, and a total inability to know anything about the other half, and as a result every version of you feels poised in the Present moment. I think I’m repeating myself. If Gary’s reading, I consider it my duty to do so–take that, naysayer! Listen to it a few more times, biotch, until you give it an honest chance!

There will be objections that this is a deterministic universe, and that there is no free will. Some will complain that in my explanation, everything is already determined and nothing we can do will change anything. That is both true–and an inaccurate way of looking at it. The universe IS; all of Time, past and future, is part of it. We can never know the future, determine the future, or change the future, because there is NO FUTURE. It is an illusion. Everything is “already done”, if you will. Every interation of us is simultaneously feeling as real as any other. We are all in existence, “simultaneously” if you must cling to our inferior syntax, and every slice of ourselves “feels” the Present as strongly as any other. And no one single slice can feel the mindset of another; no single slice can have the knowledge or the perspective of their own iteration in a different slice–which is exactly why all of us feel like the very only privileged one.

I’m done for now. I’ve started to write something about this many times, and always give up because I sound a bit mad, and I don’t have all the answers, and I haven’t had enough to drink to start blabbing on as I have been here. In another installation I’ll try to convince you that this viewpoint of Time, i.e. that looking at Time in this way, makes sense of many other generally counterintuitive aspects of physics (and thereby hopefully provide some more compelling evidence than just a good explanation). It makes clear sense of special relativity, and it may even be able to resolve the difficulty that all sensible people have with quantum mechanics. I’m not yet sure, but I don’t think that this view of Time is the same as Einstein’s hidden variable interpretation, which has been conclusively routed by Bell’s inequality (i.e. EPR paradox and the victorious copenhagen interpretation). I feel somehow that, because this idea showcases the symmetry of time on the non-statistical scale, the contradictory aspects of some experiments in QM may make intuitive sense. What if the parting pair of entangled particles must obey the rules of the future as equally as the past? Is it not sufficient to explain the faster-than-light communication between them? Perhaps not. Smarter people than me have been thinking about this for a long time, so I expect that Bell’s inequality will limit my views of Time in some fashion–we cannot avoid the randomness in any case, but I’ll finish with this: it can only help us to start thinking of Time as it really is, and dispensing with this illusion we have of a privileged Present moment.

Oct 11 2010

Drink Link Updated

Tag: fun activity,humorousJonathon Haradon @ 5:29 am

The drink tab has been significantly updated to actually show pictures of us drinking. We thank all of you who have contributed, some of you have been overwhelmingly generous, and before I get into my shtick, we do truly appreciate all of you.

To the 15 of you who contributed before I (Jon) joined in June, I will get pictures soon from Matt of the inebriation you sponsored, and you too will get your day in the blogosphere contributing to an unhealthy non-tax-deductible cause. Not all of the people who have contributed since June are listed in the drink tab. Don’t worry, it is our fervent desire and plan to continue with our up-until-now well executed plan of steady alcoholic consumption. We are embarrassed at our lag time with posting thanks and pictures, but generally blame it on you and the intoxication you made possible, and hope you will forgive us by buying us beer.


Oct 10 2010


Tag: fun activity,humorous,interacting with the locals,routeJonathon Haradon @ 11:41 pm

(This post refers to events that happened throughout our stay in Fiji, though primarily Sept. 14th, 16th,  and Oct. 3rd)

Kava is a narcotic.  That it is a narcotic with only the slightest tiniest itsy-bitsy of narcotic effects to make one think ‘why bother?’ doesn’t deter the Fijians from passing time downing gallons of it, one coconut shell at a time.  That it tastes like dirty bath water is also not a deterrent.  For some reason neither is the fact that, in Fiji, the traditional preparation is for young boys to thoroughly chew on the pepper root, fully masticating it, spit it out, mix with luke warm water in the tanoa (the traditional container, an artistically carved wooden bowl on four legs) and serve via coconut shell.  Thankfully, the traditional preparation is no longer practiced except perhaps in the remotest of villages.  Every time I drink kava I make it a point to convince myself of this last bit.

I felt required by my compunction for experiencing local culture to try kava.  I also have a compunction for trying new mild (mild-only!) narcotics.  So when, on our first day ashore in Lautoka, I found myself wandering the market alone, I knew I would immediately get a chance.  City markets, the one in Lautoka in particular, are where men hang out.  And wherever men hang out in Fiji, there is probably a kava bowl being passed around.

In the market, I walked by dozens of yaqona vendors.  Yaqona is the dried but unmasticated (nowadays they more hygienically pound it) pepper root.  I learned later a longer root indicates a more aged pepper plant and in turn better kava.  Kava apparently is like wine, and gets better with age.  Two or three years is young but frequently used, five years is better.  Most of the yaqona at the market was about 18 to 24 inches, though I saw some four foot stuff that was artistically bundled into something resembling modern art.  Next to the vendors were the drinkers, twenty tables under a tent, all filled with men lazily sitting around.  At the first table I walked by, a man named Mesake cried out “Bula!” and invited me to join them at the table drinking grog.  The Fijians are extraordinarily nice; what else could I do but accept?

Despite being far removed from the traditional ceremony, Fijians still retain some aspects of the traditional kava ceremony.  Namely, they clap.  Guide books will say you have to clap exactly once before being handed the coconut shell of kava and after handing the shell back, clap exactly three times.  The claps should be proud, with an exaggerated motion.  While this might be true in the remotest villages,  I’m here to tell you, in the markets, pool halls, resorts and backpacker camps where I drank the grog, you can feel free to clap an indiscriminate number of times, loudly or softly, shyly or ostentatiously.  The only thing in common to all the places was the rhythm or pacing of the clapping. Think the pacing in a rock-paper-scissors game, slow it down just a touch, and you’ll about have it.  Certainly not standing-ovation-at-the-theater style.  At the pool hall, they simply pat a leg at the requisite speed.  When I asked why, laziness was attributed.

Mesake offered me a shell, and as I had read up on kava drinking, I knew about the clapping and that when I drank it, the kava is supposed to go down in one smooth go.  There are about three to five ounces of liquid in a normal shell, so anyone with experience from college shot-gunning a poor-tasting American light beer should have no problems smoothly drinking this poor-tasting sandy bath-water concoction.

I handed Mesake back the shell and thought, ‘maybe sandy bath-water isn’t so bad?’  My tongue went slightly numb, and with the two or three subsequent bowls the tiny tingling extended around my mouth and throat.  That was about it for effect, just some tingling, maybe some numbness.  The bowl went around, celebrating my joining the table.  Ten or fifteen minutes would go by and then the person in charge of the kava tanoa at the table would decide it was time for more kava and start passing the shell around again.  The time in between passed with Mesake and a woman seated across from me, Paulini, telling me about Fiji at large and more particularly the villages they were from in the Yasawa’s.  They gave me the names of people they knew or were related to in the villages they were from and insisted I ask for them when I arrived there.  Alas, we never made it to those villages, but the kindness was indelible.

I drank some kava again in the Nadi market while wandering around there with Allison.  I secretly presumed there would be grog there, that we would have a chance to try and wanted to see if she would.  And so we walked around longer than necessary as I tried to locate some kava drinking.  She demurred this time, hesitant at the cleanliness of the whole operation, which admittedly is suspect.  I can’t fault her on this point.  The same coconut shell is passed to everyone: one person drinks, and the shell is immediately dipped back into the kava in the tanoa and handed to a next person.  They certainly don’t clean the coconut shell in between uses.  She was, however, up for it at the welcome ceremony at Octopus Resort and she reported that yes, like pretty much everyone else, she thought it tasted like bath water and didn’t particularly like it.  I however, was developing quite a curiosity for it.

Two and a half weeks later, I went to Nadi International Airport with Allison to trade goodbyes and other newly learned Fijian.  She and I had had a fantastic time together, and I was certainly sad at the thought of not seeing her again for three months or so.  The taxi was headed back to a dorm room bed at the awkwardly named Nadi Bay Resort Hotel (comfortable beds and amazing food… best kokonda in Fiji!) It occurred to me that what better way to spend a melancholy evening than around a kava bowl.  I redirected the taxi to someplace where they drink kava.

I ended up in downtown Nadi at a pool hall.  A pool hall is somewhat of a misnomer as it invokes images of a location filled with pool tables, a dozen of them, maybe two dozen or more.  This place was certainly packed with pool tables, you had to nearly sit on one table to take a shot on another.  But there was just two tables.  I walked in warily but like I belonged and saddled onto a wall to check the place out.  All the way on the opposite side of the pool hall, eight feet away, a Fijian flagged me over and handed me a bowl of kava.  His name was Ben.

After another bowl of kava, the owner of the pool hall, Sue who also happened to be, I’m pretty sure, a prostitute who propositioned me, motioned I should put money down to play at the only table with action going.  It was a challenge table so you had to beat the previous winner, currently a young teen who had been winning ever since I walked in and was dispatching people quickly.  So I did, and played one of the best games of my life, banks, combinations, strategy, and a little luck.  One of those inspired moments of pool that only come after a couple of beers have steadied your hand and your gaze; instead of beer though, this time it was kava.  While playing, we would trade back and forth a few shots, I’d have a cup of kava.  In the end, I won and the kid stormed out perhaps upset that the popeye (white foreigner.  I hope not derived from the silly cartoon) drinking kava, when he was too young too, had run him off the table.  A couple more games saw me lose and I went to the bench to talk with Ben and another Fijian Joe about Fiji.  I bought some of the powdered yaqona for us to have more kava after we finished what was in the tanoa.  Interestingly, their tanoa was definitely not a traditional one.  Instead it was a flimsy blue plastic dish.  Flimsy like two-liter coke bottle plastic.  After ten bowls of kava I decided it was time to leave.  Sue asked if I wanted company; I politely declined and left to find a taxi.

Back at the hotel, lo and behold what do I walk in on but the bartender, a couple of his friends, the security guard and a couple of patrons around a kava bowl.   I earn an invitation.  One guy is from Kiribati on a fishing boat.  Another’s name is Damian, and after hearing I have a yacht, is interested in crewing to Australia.  Two hours go by, and with the security guard in charge of the kava bowl, everyone is consuming plenty.  After another ten bowls, I’m feeling woosy, almost certainly though, from it being 3 am, five hours after I normally go to bed these days, and not from the twenty or more bowls of kava I consumed.

The next day, I woke up early.  No hangover.  No residual effects.  There weren’t really any effects at the time either.  Which makes you wonder, if there’s no effect from drinking poor tasting dirty bath water, than why drink poor tasting dirty bath water?  My curiosity with Fijian kava was killed and I haven’t had it since.

Vanuatu kava, on the other hand….. two bowls lays a wallup, four bowls and you won’t be able to walk.  We’ll soon find out.

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