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October 2016

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It’s almost too cliché to visit Nimbin, Australia’s weed capital, and get high. But then that would be like saying you’re going to Italy and not going to try the Italian food. So on my first day, I decided [when in Rome] I was going to find me some edibles.

I’m not even big on the hippie cannabis culture (libations are more my thing). You won’t find me in dreads dressed in hemp apparel smelling like Nag Champa with a bongo drum in one hand and a rolled cigarette in the other discussing, “What is life?”

But I’ve been in a funk since I’ve been to Oz, with a couple small stints of feeling emo that I convinced myself the natural escape might be what I need to give me inspiration to create again.

The buying process was pretty easy and accessible. There was a suspicious looking garden off the main road that I saw people casually walking in and out of. I walked back there and already paranoid dealers in ski masks mumble out, “Weed? Looking for weed?”

I ask one of the guys if he had edibles and he said no, but to check out the café down the road. I didn’t partake in any of the pot. I had a different mission in mind and kindly declined. I walked over to the café and I have no idea what to look for. It all seemed a bit weird even doing this at all, so I gave up quickly and decided I’d spend the rest of my day enjoying a nice Italian dinner and some wine listening to a small duet band playing the flute and guitar.

The next morning, I end up scoring some edible cookies sold in packs of 3. It took a couple of hours for it to settle in and it was a pretty mild body high. I bought myself a hippie headband and spent the afternoon at a pub enjoying a $5 Corona special and the green rolling hills in my view listening to Californian reggae bands, Slightly Stoopid and Stick Figure, through my headphones. This is great! I’m feeling inspired. I want to write again.
I walk back to my accommodation and begin stargazing asking myself the question, “What is Life?” Well, not exactly, but you get my picture. 😉

I really wanted to spend the evening watching one of my favorite Wes Anderson films, “Darjeeling Limited”, but I couldn’t find a place to stream for free so I settled on “Slum Dog Millionaire” and retired the evening.

While I’m even surprised about my openness discussing this topic, my reason is I wanted to share the perspective from a person where pot is usually not their thing. It’s still illegal and punishable by law, but as long as you’re not making an ass out of yourself whipping out a 5’ bong in the open, then the police have a higher tolerance for it.

Also, much of what you find online is a bit outdated. You’re not going to go to Nimbin and walk into cafes or hemp bars lighting a spliff and hot-boxing the joint like Snoop Dog. Those days are long over, but enjoy it discreetly and then fancy yourself an afternoon of coffee and people watching. Otherwise, check out the Mardi Grass Festival. Peace and love, dudes!

In spite of Great Britain’s recent departure from the European Union, London as the melting pot of races, religions, cultures, lifestyles and foods is expected to remain one of the continent’s top tourist draws. Unlike what other people think, London is not as expensive as how it is portrayed in the media. As long as you have an idea of where to stay, how to go around and where to eat ahead of time, the city can be a haven for the usually budget-conscious backpacker.

Your backpacking adventure to one of the busiest cities in the world would not be complete without trying some of its famous and affordable gastro treats. Below are some of the backpacker must try’s while in London.

Bao of Central London

Located along Lexington in Central London’s SOHO community, this Asian fusion restaurant used to operate along the streets of the business district until its popularity amongst locals and travelers prompted owners to open a casual service restaurant.

The name was derived from the Taiwanese “gua bao”, which means white and fluffy buns. One must not underestimate Bao’s signature slider dishes though. These soft Asian breads are stuffed with some of the most well-loved Asian favorites like braised pork with peanut powder. Other of Bao’s famous sliders include chicken marinated in soymilk, wrapped with burger baps with kimchi and Sichuan mayonnaise.

For as low as $5, you can have a serving of these deli buns to get you through lunch or dinner.

North London

Up north, you can head down to Franks Canteen in Highbury Park. The best time to go is during breakfast and lunch when you can try their kedgeree, a spiced rice served with smoked haddock and poached egg.

East London

In East London, Chick ‘n’ Sours is making a name for being a party place for locals and travelers. The best time to go is during the weekends after sunset. Their famous Southern style, buttermilk-marinated fried chicken is easy on the pocket, you can even order one cocktail drink to complete your night’s fill.

South London

If you are in the mood for affordable yet filling street food, you can head on to the South at the Brockley market. With more or less $10, you can either have Luardo’s meat burritos, Spit and Roast’s fried chicken or Van Dough’s authentic Italian pizza. Most travelers are advised to visit right before closing time at two in the afternoon to get a good bargain on full meals.

Tea Rooms

Your London experience would not be complete without engaging in the country’s favorite pastime – tea drinking. While there are probably hundreds of tea rooms in London, you would want to try a lazy afternoon at the Highness Café and Tea Room while sipping a hot tea and a dessert for your side.

Located in Highbury Park, you have the option of having your tea at the cozy and quiet mezzanine level of the café, or you can head downstairs to experience the amiable buzz of Englishmen drinking their favorite tea. An herb-infused tea and a slice of a traditional carrot cake would only cost a little over $6.

 

 

 

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