TJE 21: Accidentally High in Siem Reap

Angkor Wat with lake reflection

I had a trip with my family in Siem Reap, Cambodia last August 2013. Siem Reap, if you’re not aware is home to the famous ancient temple, Angkor Wat.  Actually, there is more to Siem Reap than the Angkor Wat. There’s the Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, etc. Well yes, all of them are either temples or ancient fortresses.  Naturally, we filled our days with visits to those.

As is usual this day and age, we shared snippets of the trip every time we got connected to the Internet.  We shared photos on Instagram or updated status on Facebook.  Speaking of which, one comment on a post by my cousin’s husband (I went with an extended family by the way) lead to a little twist in the trip.

The comment was, “Try the happy pizza!”  None of us heard of it before, especially as we didn’t really research much prior to the trip. We were curious.  So of course, we looked for it!

Pizza must be good there. I mean that’s why someone recommended it, right?

On our last day, we are scheduled for an evening flight. So, we had time to have lunch and go around a bit before heading to the airport.  We asked the driver of the rented van to take us to where that happy pizza is.  Just 10 minutes or so from our hotel, we arrived at the small restaurant named Happy Angkor Pizza.

Of course, we had to order its namesake! We selected three varieties. One is Hawaiian, the other one has beef on it, and the third one has seafood. The last one looks like it has a lot of herbs on it.  From the picture I thought it’s sprinkled with basil leaves. And I like “herby” stuff, so it was my pick 😉

While waiting for our orders, the owner asked me if I want to have all toppings. I thought it strange that he had to ask that.  And the foodie in me just said, “Yes, all toppings.” “Whatever that means,” I thought.

It took a while before our orders came, but we had breakfast and had time to kill anyway. So we patiently waited, generally keeping a “happy” mood.

Moment of truth, the pizzas arrived.

The pizza was okay.  It didn’t have the “Mmmm” factor personally. For that “herby” seafood variety, I realized it isn’t topped with basil.  It’s some other herb.  And there were a lot of that herb.  I ate most of the pizza since it was my pick. It’s also because I have the biggest appetite in the family (at least that time). So, everyone was done and I was still devouring what’s left.

After our meal, the owner asked us, “Are you happy?” We all enthusiastically said, “Yes!”

We left the restaurant and proceeded with the city tour.  After about two hours, I felt something strange. As I was walking around Killing Fields Memorial (our last tourist stop), my mind seemed unable to focus.  I was wandering absent-mindedly.   It may be lack of sleep, so I just went back to the van.  And then my head started feeling heavy.  It’s as if someone’s hands are grabbing my head and pulling it down.  I really didn’t know how to explain it – just, heavy.  I thought it would pass quickly, but it didn’t.

The tour’s over, and we headed to the airport.  On the way, I was still feeling strange.  It was the first time I experienced that, and so it got me worried.  I haven’t been sick in a couple of years, and it’s annoying to experience something out of the blue. I didn’t have a headache and I’m not really sleepy.  But why can’t I focus? My mind’s flying.

I began to analyze what’s happening.  Well, speculate is a more accurate term.  Can it be carbon monoxide poisoning? Everyone else seems okay, so no. What about stroke? Am I having a mild stroke? How would I know? Is this food poisoning? Am I going to die?  These and other thoughts went circling round my head that it may have made me nervous, to the point I thought I was palpitating.

When we arrived at the airport, I told my younger brother about my fast heart rate.  It alerted him, and he told me to sit down.  So we went to the nearest bench to sit.  My family started asking me questions.  And I told them what I felt, and how I don’t have any idea what it was.  And they couldn’t get an immediate response from me, as I can’t focus.  They called for medics. By the time I was being checked, my heart rate’s normal already. And my blood pressure was low.  Weird.

They decided to bring me to a nearby hospital.  I had an ECG, and it was fine.  The doctor postulated that it might be over fatigue.  I was given a Berocca, LOL.

Since my ECG result’s fine, I can travel without delay to the Philippines.  I was feeling weird the whole time, up to the flight. There was a brief moment I thought I was okay.  But then later on I would conclude it’s not yet over.  When we arrived home, I just wanted to sleep.  Well all of us did, it’s 1 AM, nothing strange.

The next day, I went to have my blood tested. I couldn’t have a check up until another day since I needed the test results first.

In the meantime, I continued with my day, resting, lazing out at home.  Then my cousin’s husband mentioned me in his comment on our group photo taken at Happy Angkor Pizza, uploaded on Facebook.  He said he just found out why the pizza was called “happy”. That gave me a hunch. I Google’d Happy Angkor Pizza.  I scrolled until I found links to, oh there, cannabis – Marijuana.  It all made sense. So that explains the herbs on top of the seafood pizza. So that’s why the owner asked me if I wanted all toppings. I guess there is the unhappy version, without that happy topping! Did I just get high? So that’s how it felt like to be high! LOL.

Came the check-up and my blood test yielded normal results. Again, the diagnosis was inconclusive.  Since the blood test did not include checking for drug, I didn’t get hard results that I indeed got high.  But I take other travelers’ word for it.

I can now say I have tried marijuana and got high with it. And from a naïve perspective, getting high is not fun.

That's the beef thing with some "herbs." Too bad I wasn't able to take the photo of the really herby variety!
That’s the beef thing with some “herbs.” Too bad I wasn’t able to take the photo of the really herby variety!

P.S. My older brother who shared the same pizza with me actually felt the same way in Cambodia, but milder and short-lived.  That’s because he didn’t eat as much as I did. 🙂

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