17 Jun Nimbin- Hippy Heaven
Another thing you must do when you’re in Byron Bay is go to Nimbin. There are a couple of tours that go to Nimbin if you want something a bit cheaper, but Jim’s Alternative Tours is by far the best. On a rainy day, we all boarded the second oldest bus in Byron Bay. For the second oldest bus it had a damn good sound system, which completely overcame the fact that the door was hanging off. I wish I had asked for a copy of the CD he played because it was a damn good compilation- ‘the lime and the coconut’ being my favourite track. Our driver was a true hippy, complete with long grey hair, tie dye pants and a t-shirt that had so many stains on it you could tell it hadn’t been washed in years. He told us stories of his drug taking antics, about how his wife had a natural birth with the incense burning, how he stopped a multi billion dollar corporation with a protest…this guy was the real deal. Now everyone knows that you only go to Nimbin because you wanna eat the hash cookies and he warned us of the dangers of eating too many cookies. He told us about these kids who ate all four cookies because they didn’t feel like anything was happening. “They were rolling on the floor of the bus, shouting “take me to hospital, i’m dying, take me to hospital!’ It turns out no-ones ever died of a weed overdose, but you just have to let it run its course.
Nimbin as you might have guessed is a hippy town, full of brightly coloured clothing, hemp cafes and organic food. It’s worth taking a look around the museum, which openly campaigns for cannabis to be a legal substance. It’s a museum full of bric-a-brac, collages, slogans, art work and bumper stickers promoting cannabis. The Nimbin residents run into a lot of problems with the police, which is a little ironic really considering they are the most harmless people who are trying to do good for the planet.
It was pretty easy to get cookies when there’s a woman walking down the street saying “Hash cookies anyone?”. Just make sure you don’t get fooled by some kid who bought some chocolate chip cookies from Woolworths though. You get four for $20 but we just split one and eat half each because we’d been told that’s all you need.
The problem with cookies is you don’t know when they’re going to affect you. We sat there and waited…and waited and stared out of the window of the bus at the rain just waiting to feel stoned. But nothing. An hour and half later and Jo said to me, ‘I feel really weird’. Great. Jo’s stoned and I’m not. I assumed if she was stoned then I must come next, but nothing happened. The bus ground to a halt in the middle of the rainforest; Paul Recher’s Hippy Heaven it turned out to be. We piled out of the bus into this weird hippy garden, where all this junk was oddly arranged, TVs, golf clubs and household items which all looked so out of place in the middle of the rainforest. I turned round to Jo who looked deathly pale and didn’t say anything. They made us walk through the rainforest to get to the house, and suddenly the heaven’s opened.
We were trekking in flip flops through the marshy wetland to get to some random guys house and we were getting soaked. I was not impressed. Then suddenly I felt something. Stuck to my foot was a brown, slimy leech, which was feeding off my right foot and growing bigger by the second. “AAAAAAHHHHH GET IT OFF ME” I lamely cried!! Jo get it off me!! Get it off! I tried to knock it off but it was hanging on like its life depended on it. Jo just stood there and did nothing. “Jo! Help!” Evetually after a 15 second delay she grabbed it off my foot. “Oh yes” Paul shouted from in front “Mind out for any leeches!” Now you tell me. In the clearing stood the hippy house on the lake and we were all invited in to sit on his porch and eat watermelons and crack nuts. It truly was weird. ‘I thought I was hallucinating’ Jo said. ‘I thought I was imagining things and I thought if I tried to get the leech off you people would think I was crazy or something.’ We sat there for a while in complete silence; me waiting for the weed to kick in, and Jo like a zombie.
I don’t think a rainy day was the best time to eat the cookies. When I got back to the bus I decided to eat another half as we set off for the waterfall. Then all of a sudden without warning, this smile spread across my face, like it had taken over my face and there was nothing I could do about it. They say if the wind changes your face will stick like that, well mine certainly was stuck. Without reason to laugh we both just started giggling hysterically. So I was stoned. I don’t remember much after that; I remember refusing to get off in the torrential rain to see the waterfall and falling asleep. I remember getting back to the hostel and not being able to move my arms and legs to walk across the road. And I remember being paranoid that everyone was looking at me and that Jo was some sort of evil bitch out to get me. Everything seemed to be in slow motion; I know we went to eat everything from the BBQ that the boys cooked, including about five kangaroo steaks. And I know that I Kept stroking an imaginary friend next to me. We definitely weren’t going to be going on a night out, I had to go to bed I was that paranoid. I lay on the top bunk of my bed CONVINCED that I was going to fall off and die, so curling up into a ball in the middle of the mattress.