Mankind's only alternative 28   JAN.   23  
Mankind's only alternative
Vlad's Daily Gloat - The eXile Blog

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Book Review December 24, 2004
Me and the Betel
By John Dolan Browse author Email
"Pleasant Hell" by John Carroll Dolan


John Dolan's new novel Pleasant Hell has just been released by Capricorn Publishers. You can purchase it on-line, or better yet, demand that your local bookstore orders ten copies and prominently displays them, or you will construct a large papier-maiche puppet of the store owner and hold daily protests in a free-speech zone across the street.

I'm still drooling as I write. From a chemical burn. My tongue hurts the worst, but there's plenty of throbbing pain left over for the roof of my mouth.

It started when I noticed packets of betel nuts at the Thai grocery around the corner. They were supposedly addictive, which sounded promising. They had that Southeast Asian mystique going for them, too. So I looked up "Betel" online and found a bunch of hippies rhapsodizing about the way chewing betel nut cheered you up, made it easier to work, suppressed the appetite.

All those effects would be welcome in my case. Besides, it seems they're perfectly legal.

That should have warned me. Whenever you find something that's legal, there's a reason. Either it doesn't work at all, or it doesn't work AND it's a vile poison nobody would ingest more than once.

So naturally I was determined to try betel nuts. I went back to the Thai grocery with a fistful of cash, in the hope that if they really overcharge you wildly the stuff might be worth trying. The betel stuff was in a special little tray, in the back room. Promising! All the components were there: the actual betel nuts, little dry brown disks of leathery plant matter; the betel leaves (botanically unrelated) you're supposed to wrap them in; and the key ingredient, the lime you chew to release the alkaloids.

When I say "lime," I don't mean the happy little citrus fruit. I mean chemical lime, the stuff they use to dissolve bodies. It came in a little plastic jar, with the chemical wrapped tight in a plastic bag. Looked yummy.

I bought seven packets of rice noodles and three curries, just for camouflage, but the Thai lady behind the counter didn't seem interested at all. I left the shop only $15 poorer, and fully equipped. Feeling jaunty, like some Graham Greene expat. A guy who knows his way around the mean betel alleys and betel dens of Saigon.

According to these hippie websites, you didn't actually chew the nuts. You pouched them in your cheek, added some lime and sucked on the whole fibrous wad. The disks of dried betel weren't all that disgusting, not compared to some other things I've tried. They just tasted like wood.

Now it was time to add the lime. I sawed open the packet of pink playdough, and a sour chemical stink poured out, like a coral reef at low tide, only far more vehement. The sites said to take about a gram of the stuff. Reminding myself, "You've taken worse stuff," I took a big pinch of the goo, stuck it in my cheek and sucked.

You know that scene in Dumb & Dumber where they both eat hot chilies on a dare? It was very much like that: first the milliseconds of stoic posturing, "It's not that bad," then the pain cutting right through the pose, and then the loss of all dignity. I ran to the sink groaning, drooling, trying to flush the lye out of my mouth.

The water seemed to spread it around in there. Surfaces I didn't know I had were in pain, little mucoid folds of tissue not heard from in years were screaming. Milk, milk is supposed to help -- so I tilted a carton of yogurt into my mouth. It burned. Whatever the active ingredient in chilies is, it's chemically unlike the one in lime. I'm quasi-living proof of that. Yogurt poured on that burn was like kerosene.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Browse author

America’s Dangerous Decline :

The Propaganda About Propaganda : ‘Russia Today’ Imitates America Today

Missing the Mongols :
Volga Ownership
Zen and the Art of Volga Ownership :


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442