Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Sweet Smell of Dope

Like much of Serbia, Nepal had a healthy hemp industry in the past. (In fact last year the government tried to outlaw the plastic bags all merchants give you for your purchases in favor of hemp bags. The law passed, but without teeth so no one obeyed it.) This means even if marijuana is officially not legal, it's fairly easy to find the plants growing "wild".

I haven't smoked dope since it was de rigour in high school in the 1970s, and in all that time since never smelled a whiff of it while walking about US cities and towns. So the sweet smell of many Sombor streets on lazy Saturday afternoons in August and September were rather startling for me at first.

Cut to my current home office in Pokhara, a town where for many natives it seems every day is Saturday. There I am typing away diligently on my computer when, oh oh oh, there it is. A big cloud of 1970s floating in on the afternoon breeze.

If you like to eat your dinner at Pokhara's Bamboostan Tea Time Cafe, as I do, you may have noticed a metal placard nailed into the trunk of a huge tree directly across the way. "2005: Year of Drug Free Pokhara" it proclaims. I guess it depends on what you call drugs. Here the granny next door is puffing away at her weed pipe, but anything else would be out of the question. Happily, I've never seen a used needle anywhere here - unlike most European cities.

So the smell may be a little distracting from work sometimes, but you can't get uptight about these things. It's Pokhara. Relax, man!

No comments: