Betel Nut

Betel nut

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Agent Getz you magnificent bastard! Smuggled a bag on the train from Hualien. Time to see what this shit is all about.

I get the run down. You bite the tip of the betel nut off, jam the rest in your gullet, chew, and spit the resulting red, disgusting juice out somewhere sensible since it will stain most everything. Chew, spit, repeat until it’s just a mashed up mound of gunk, and then biff that somewhere unstainable.

We’ve been seeing cab drivers chewing betel nut a lot here in Taiwan. They usually have a little cup beside them to spit into. And apparently it’s so common here that “No chewing betel nut” has joined no smoking and no littering on the public signs and subway station announcements.

Alright, let’s do it! Chomp, pwah, crunch, splish, squick! Whoa… a strange warm sensation almost instantly spreads from my jaw up the sides of my cheeks into my lower earlobes. That’s interesting. munch, munch, squick. Hmmmm. Soon after comes a headrush burst like the first cigarette you ever had is lighting green all the traffic lights of your mind. Wowsa. munch, munch, squick. The conversation hits the autobahn for a solid five-ten. We dispose of our gunk mounds in a nearby drainage grate. Soon after we return to normal. The only thing that changed is our teeth are a little more red.

Well that was fun. More honor beers? Yep. Plink plink, Krssshht! Ahhhhhh. A slanted drizzle starts outside our gated front stoop. Taipei. Aren’t you great. Look up at the towering apartments around us. Could I live like this? Yeah, probably. Seems like a killer place actually. Haaaaaaaaa. Watch check. Yep pretty late. Lots of Taipei to see tomorrow… Soooo Another Betel nut then? Hell Yeah!!

Chomp, pwah, crunch, splish, squick! Feel the warmth. Man, that warmth is crazy. In my ears. Hit the conversation autobahn zzzzzzzzzcchchhh 7.6 minutes of verbal gerbils on a spinwheel. Ahhhhhhh. Biff the gunk mound in the grate. Aaaaaaand back to normal. Yeah, it’s a lot like chewing tobacco I think. Little buzz but very short term effect. I can see why cabbies and whose-a-whatnots are hitting nut after nut just keeping that warm autobahn on the up and up.

Well, it’s been grand but if we pop three betel nuts Michael Keaton will appear out of thin air and bitch slap us. Instead we just ride a neon scarab deep under the Earth’s crust to a hidden nook by a molten lake and get back just in time for bed.

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