Monday, 10 September 2007

Adventures in Yaa Dong 1

Down an anonymous Soi at the end of my road is a shack that sells a potent brew. Called Yaa Dong, it’s a dark brown liquid made with secret blends of Thai herbs and whisky. Long considered a low prestige tipple for the upcountry classes, it’s served in little shot glasses and said to have medicinal-verging-on-magical powers.

On Friday night I took two friends to said shack en-route to Club Culture. Of course, being adventurous sorts, we had to try it. The urge to try a drink with names like ‘Never Flacid’ and 'Moaning Mistress’, and rumoured to enhance sexual performance to such a degree it could ‘make a monk leap over the temple wall in search of romance’ was far too strong to resist.

When we arrived a flurry of exuberance broke out. A group of upcountry types sat huddled inside a scruffy wooden cabana were thrilled that the Friday night entertainment – us – had arrived. Perhaps in retrospect an ominous sign, they were all sipping on more sane blends of watered down whisky. Lined up in front of us were three glass bottles with red fabric stoppers and different labels in Thai script. Each was less than half-full with a sinister dark liquid containing what, at first glance, looked like dead beetles and the corpses of other strange forest roaming insects. Grim. On closer inspection however, it appeared to be just pickled twigs, stalks, shoots, pieces of root and bark. Fuck it.

"We want the one that gives you power please”. The shack lady grinned knowingly, as if she’d more than once known that ‘power’. She poured a measure into a small shot glass and then topped it up off with some more whisky. One laconic stir and she slid it across the bar with the aloof finesse of the finest Wild West saloon bartender.

No hanging about. 1, 2, 3… slam.

"Arrrrrgh,… water! water!…. (water arrives)... Mmmm”.

"What’s it like?”

"Mmmmm not bad. Earthy,.. it has a good flavour..”

"OK, another please”.

1, 2, 3… slam.

"And another"

1, 2, 3… slam.

All was good. No palpitations or urge to spew. No ghoulish hallucinations running at us from within the darkness. Just the same upsurge in energy and warm bodily glow felt after necking any searing shot. We shook hands with our new friends, paid up and went to Club Culture all abuzz.

Fast forward 1 hour - and a couple of drinks - and our quaint alcoholic virility booster is spoiling the party. My friends girlfriend has gone abit lunatic and retreated to the ladies toilet. She's huddled over a sink filled almost to overflowing with... well, you can guess. A few minutes later and, with the elegance of a pair of disorientated tramps who've just been banished from the local off license, they're staggering down the steps of Club Culture and into the balmy night. I haven’t heard from them since. I on the otherhand was ok. Until dawn that is when I too purged my interiors, right down to the last delicious drop of bitter green bile.


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