Many of us embedded in modern metropolitan living swoon with shock to learn that many global destinations exist where our beloved cornucopia of beautiful, nurturing, warm, and tingly drugs are not sold on every corner. I like traveling to far-flung places, but I feel the ache when watching the sun melt into the sea without a spliff, and can hardly stomach the blasting house music and buck-toothed teen harlotry of Central Europe’s farm-town discos without some old fashioned MDMA. Plus, maybe an imported bump or two of Ketamine would have kept me from more than a couple of beds that turned hostile come the morning light. I learned my lesson young. Either travel with drugs, or enter the great unknown: a world of endless connections and false promises, a surfeit of shady rides to cinderblock warzones and perpetual rip-offs by gobbledygook-spewing pseudo-pirates whose day-labor tools moonlight as rusty shanks once they get within sniffing distance of money belts and fanny packs.
At 16, I shoved a half-ounce of Aztec brick weed between some tea bags in a box of Celestial Seasonings for a skip across the pond to Spain. España had delicious chocolate brown hashish from Morocco, which even at that budding age I knew was complimented best by the taste of green herbal matter, all but impossible to find in the country back then. Remembering this on my journey home two months later, I lined the back of my plastic Nothing’s Shocking CD case with thin bars of this strong concentrate to enjoy with our California kind. This stunt won me more trans-Iberian friends and lovers than if I’d magically transformed into a member of the Iglesias family. I was hooked on hitting the road with minimal intervals of moving sobriety.
There are many ways to travel with a personal stash that don’t involve self-plundering your rectal virginity. As my teenage tea-box method seems a little primitive and suspect among the throes of our current jihad, I recommend going commando to bring your codeine-and-ether cocktails behind enemy lines. The possibly prized smell of your “boo” is now definitely your biggest foe, followed lamely behind by the plain and obvious sight of your shit. Slipping successfully under these two radars will have you trading in smiles.
First and foremost, take the smallest possible amount of drugs you will need on your trip, particularly if you plan to score later at your destination. Wrapping drugs in foil or metallic paper is as subtle as storing it in a Model 24 German stick grenade, so make sure you use bags and layers of plastic to conceal the smell and not draw attention to your goods by sight, feel, or metal detector. Smell-proof bags are sold at many head shops and are recommended, though when faced with a canine are probably as secure as sex with Amy Winehouse using Lifestyles. If you can’t find these bags, triple- and quadruple-wrap what you’re working with or even go so far as to vacuum-seal them. I often slip this wrapped stash into a small paper bag to camouflage the baggie, as nobody but complete junkies use plastic to wrap anything.
Next, reduce the size of your stash! Weed is especially easy to work with, though over-molesting its flowers can transform Kush into Chihuahua poop. The world’s potheads drool over dreams of Hawaii’s super-fine cannabis, undeniably the globe’s best. An old hippie friend of mine used to wrap an ounce of super-kind buds and then drive over it again and again until it was the size of a thick Post-It note. His wife would slip the package into her bra and they lived a long, free life smoking better herb than the rest of us.
Your stash should next be placed in the pocket of some pants or a jacket. This garment should be folded neatly and put in the middle of your luggage and covered with as many clothes as possible on both sides in a normal fashion. This tiny pocket stash covered by clothes in the middle of your bag, at the very least, hedges your bets that some moron bringing more drugs, in a more blatant way, will draw attention to himself first.
Obviously, there are certain common-sense rules when traveling with illegal substances. Trips from Colombia or Jamaica are bound to be scrutinized. In fact, stay out of Miami’s airport altogether. It might even be that international travel with personal drug supplies has gone off the boards for anyone but the most iron-hearted after Richard Reid’s last joyride.
While the most depraved human behavior is generally allowed on the Peter Pan and Greyhound lines crisscrossing the States, most of us feel more comfortable in our cars, which are an excellent way to transport drugs as well. The same rules apply. Know your laws and don’t bring too much, keep the smell nonexistent, do not drive while fucked up, and be conservative in your speed and observance of traffic rules. Then proceed to get thee high!
And while you might be able to able tote a satchel of skag from Bratislava to Gdansk without issue, arriving anywhere from Amsterdam will have customs officials turning you into Annabel Chong before you enter another destination with some of those killer legal drugs you were enjoying. Use your head if you want to get it fucked up. Just like that cheap ounce you’ve been hearing about, if it feels too good to be true, it most likely is. Many people who travel with their stash recommend keeping all drugs on their persons. While rational in theory, this has resulted in a landslide of embarrassingly moronic seizures. Besides the very famous example of columnist Taki Theodoracopulos dropping his envelope of yay on the way out of Heathrow customs, there’s my friend Edgar who wrapped his body in ecstasy pills for flights around Asia. He was successful for years before transitioning to a lead role in some Thai prison’s hellhole production of “Thriller.” Even clever thinking like my friend Jonathan, who cut short all of his cigarettes to make a false bottom for a gram of hash while leaving London, could not undo the natural suspicions of a customs agent faced with a mane of Mexican dreadlocks. He got off with a large fine, as did an older friend of mine traveling with antique pipes that just happened to be resinated. There’s a lot of room for human error in this scenario; better to leave your luggage where it’s so disregarded it might even get lost. Any paraphernalia you use on your trip should be left behind, as should lighters or anything else that you do not need that draw attention to your crackhead ass.
I do not recommend that you take the risk of traveling with drugs, even with the bloodhounds focusing more on explosives than your nose candy. While traveling, I have had guns and knives pulled on me by various members of toothless society, but few things can match the fear in my bones when landing in a foreign country with signs that scream, “Any person bringing drugs into this country will be executed! No exceptions,” while you have some benign form of dope in your duffel. If you don’t believe me, put Midnight Express and Brokedown Palace on your Netflix queue, and remember that as bad as cliquing up with super-morons from your own country might be in US prisons, it beats playing ladyfriend to a Siamese Jacko.
In the end, the high risk and reward of bringing drugs on the road may not be worth the adventures passed up in finding them while at your destination. Most countries have thriving black markets where anything, and I fearfully mean anything, can be procured with the right amount of effort and funky Monopoly-colored currency. For the brave, casual drug user, all of those exotic exploits racked up in searching and scoring can be the heart and soul of a good trip abroad and a life worth living. For the experienced drug addict, you’ve got to get out of your hotel room eventually and see what the local shit is like. You might never want to leave this magical place ,and besides, you’re going to need some kickass stories in rehab.
By Albert Merca
December 31, 2008
Black Book Magazine
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A Beginner’s Guide to Traveling with Drugs