I've Been In Italy A Month And I Need Some Weed!!

I've Been In Italy A Month And I Need Some Weed!!

It’s early April in La Spezia, and I’ve been in Italy with Caroline for a month now. Life has been most exciting; I’ve been living a dream of being abroad and exploring, with little responsibility and all the time in the world. Something, however, was missing. As an avid cannabis enthusiast (abuser probably), those cravings to experience all this wonder in an alternate, stoned reality were starting to creep in.

A month plus without smoking wasn’t a conscious choice to straighten my life around, but rather a sad compromise for living this beautiful new life in Italy. Truth is – I just didn’t know where to get any. Caroline, who has maybe smoked 5 times (3 times with me), didn’t have many great leads in the street pharmacy department. I had two more months here in this Schengen zone country before they kicked me out, and it was up to me to figure out this dope-less dilemma I was in.

It was a Saturday night, and after way too much wine at dinner, I was wired up and ready to wander the Via del Prione. As Caroline was swiftly approaching bedtime cuddled up in pajamas watching tik-toks, I decided I’d go out and take a stroll on my own. This was nothing new – I often get cabin fever and take off for long walks on a whim. The streets of La Spezia were alive on this warm Saturday, and so was I.

In record time I had two large Ichnusa Non-Filtrata’s in my brown bag, ready to drink and stroll per usual. The more buzzed I got, the more the little voice of reason in my head went numb as a montage of wonderful kush-infused memories filled the void. The plan became very clear and simple: I need to smoke some weed. My inhibitions had finally gone to rest, I had been cannabis free for 30-plus days, and I decided it was time to go over to that sketchy piazza and see what kind of fun I could stumble into.

When I arrived at Piazza Brin, it was eerily quiet and dull. Quite the stark contrast from the usually absurdly loud reggaeton music pumping through a portable speaker, while hordes of Dominican and African immigrants dance and trade sips out of a community liquor bottle. I’d walked by here a few times and perked up like a dog at feeding time from the ever-pungent skunk smell lingering, so I figured I was in the right place for a pickup.

I sat on a bench and waited impatiently for someone, anyone, to show up. Moments before giving up and heading back home, a silhouette of a tall man appeared under the arches of the building at the end of the park. As soon as I laid eyes on him, I decided to walk his way and at least check his temperature to see if he was one of “those guys”. Being the wonderful illicit salesman that he was, he muttered a greeting to me in broken English. “How is going, bro?” He was an African immigrant, of Senegalese decent that I would later find out, and I surprisingly had a pretty good gut feeling about the guy very quickly. I motioned to him the international weed-smoking sign of two fingers pressed together pretending to hit a joint and asked him if he could help me find weed, cannabis, herb, whatever they may call it around here. The mans face quickly lit up as he told me to “follow him”. He then asked how much I wanted, and I told him I’d take 50Euros worth. I suppose that was the maximum amount of money I would be willing to part with if I were to be led to a dark back alley and robbed. The man then told me he went by “Baka”, and we attempted to get to know each other while navigating two things: an extreme language gap, and this labyrinth of a path all over town he was taking me to get hashish. It was also at this moment that I texted Caroline the ever comforting “hi babe, I just met this drug dealer at Piazza Brin and he’s taking me somewhere to get weed, I’ll let you know when I’m done”.

As fate would have it, we eventually ended up in an alley and Baka told me to give him the cash and he would go around the corner and get the goods for me. I wasn’t totally naïve…I looked him in his eyes and let him know I wasn’t feeling that and certainly have seen this kind of thing before. He gave me a big, friendly smile, and assured me “brother, you can trust me, I’m Senegalese.” You can bet your bottom dollar I knew nothing about Senegal, but something about this statement was actually very comforting. I handed Baka the 50Euro note and waited patiently for his return.

Ten or so minutes had passed, and I saw no sign of Baka. I was certain that he’d run off on me. The visuals started playing in my head of him laughing with his cronies about how easy and stupid this American was. “I even told him to trust me cuz I’m from Senegal…ha ha ha”. I was growing increasingly frustrated, but I still held on to some hope. I walked with this guy for 15 minutes to get here, and he genuinely seemed delightful. I like to think I usually have a good intuition when it comes to people and their intentions/character, but I was really second guessing myself on this one. 15 minutes had gone by and I was getting ready to throw in the towel when I decided to take one more peek around the corner he disappeared at to see if he was coming. To my surprise, there was Baka, heading back my way. Giddy is an understatement!!

Baka arrived and handed me what really looked like 30Euros worth of a hash, but I didn’t give a shit. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was moments away from sneaking off and rolling up a spliff for the first time in several weeks. As I showered Baka with many ”thank yous”, planning my escape from this escapade with a drug dealer, he absolutely insisted I smoked a joint with him. I was a bit leery of this, however tipsy enough to not care, and alas I accepted the invitation. As we sparked up and passed the joint, a friend of his from The Gambia joined who told me he liked Meek Mill in broken English (I’ll never forget that), and we passed the spliff around like 3 old pals. As this continued, distracted by the hilarious conversation of them trying to throw anything American they knew at me, including repeatedly saying “freedom!” to me, I realized something important. I FEEL STONED.

At this point the vibes were very high (literally), and now that I’ve smoked a joint with Baka it was time to be on my way. Caroline was likely concerned; I hadn’t really said much to her since I told her what I was up to, and I had officially secured the bag and completed the mission. To Baka, however, the evening was just beginning.

“Come, come. We go into town. Saturday, Saturday. Party!” Baka proclaimed.

How could I resist? Saying “no” isn’t one of my strengths to begin with, and I’m already buzzing from the hash and booze combination. I follow Baka down Prione towards the nightlife. We stop and grab a couple of Becks and as we’re strolling along, no less than 10 Italians greet Baka on our way. “Ciao Baka!!” This collection of co-signs and hand daps made me love this guy even more. He’s a hero in these streets! Everyone seems to know him and love him, so my intuition must be right. We continue, stop at multiple bars littered with college aged kids for a drink, as Baka sketches off and serves customers at the different pubs. I pretty much rolled around while he handled his business, but I didn’t mind. He was rolling up spliffs left and right, I was drunk and high, and hadn’t even sniffed excitement like this overseas yet.

Before I knew it, 2 AM rolled around and my excursion had come to an end. Baka wanted to move to a discotek (night club) but I elected to go home and assure my girlfriend I was alive and well. Being in Italy for a month, I didn’t know a soul outside of my girlfriend and the couple of her friends she introduced me to. To Baka, this was a normal Saturday, and probably not significant. He will never know how enjoyable that night was to me. I’d continue to see him on the streets as time went on, he’d sell me hash, split his champagne from me, you name it. Always rocking those aviator shades and a blue Chelsea backpack no matter the time of day. Weed brings everyone together, you don’t even need to speak the same language!

- 111

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