My Experience with “Happy Pizza” in Cambodia

happiz pizza cambodia

We all do things we regret....

...this is not one of them.

Trigger Warning: We're going to talk about drugs. I'm using nicknames because (a) the parties involved have jobs where I don't feel comfortable using their names and (b) I want to.

To set the scene, this was a few years back. Actually, there were two times: once in 2013 and again in 2014. I've never been one to, let's say, "partake in activities outside the realm of alcohol." Not that I had a particular problem with it- most of the people I liked growing up were into recreational substances- it just never appealed to me enough to try.

In 2013 I took a solo trip to Cambodia, starting in Phnom Penh. I stayed at a Mad Monkey hostel (which I still rank as my favorite hostel experience). One morning at breakfast I bonded with a few gents over a mutual baseball fandom. They ended up inviting me to be their fourth on a day touring around the city. Our group, made up of a Canadian, Singaporean, and two Americans spent the day hopping between PP's tourist spots, calling it quits right before dinner. After a nap to recharge, we reconvened and SG expressed an interest in finding "happy pizza." Not being one to say no to new experiences (and truth be told, not really sure what he meant by "happy pizza"), I agreed and off the four of us went. At the time, I didn't know much about Singapore and its very tight substance policies. SG had lived in Canada, where marijuana isn't a big deal, so when he found out that you can get pizza with a little sprinkle of weed, it became a top priority.

Until walking into the pizza place, it hadn't fully occurred to me what would be topping our dinners, but the vague smell of ganja danced around the room. It was then that I realized what made the pizza so damn happy. Now, had I not been a willing participant, there was a full menu of items that didn't contain any "contraband." But I was curious. I had been around people smoking, even in enclosed areas, but had never partaken of "the herb" - and I knew it was high time. PUN INTENDED.

We let SG order and it sounded something like this: "...can we get that extra happy? Like really, really happy?"

I'm not sure if the meal came out extra happy, but with a 6-slice pizza split between 4 people... SG had 2, CA had 1, AM had 1 and I.... had two. Just to recap: had never directly consumed marijuana before. Though I wasn't entirely sure what I should be feeling, I didn't think it was working- an my friends agreed. We figured we had been ripped off, so we went to drink our sorrows away at a bar. AM and SG spotted a dance floor in the bar and disappeared into the crowd while I sat talking to CA. I remember it hit a point in the conversation where I was getting oddly irritated with him and kept fixating on this super strong desire to head-butt him. Luckily, before that happened AM came over saying that he had lost SG and asked us to help find him. Like a scene in a movie, the crowd on the dance floor parted just enough for us to see him standing, lightly swaying and wide-eyed on the edge of the floor. It was time to go. AM gathered our blitzed friend and we left.

To our delight, there was a food truck right outside the bar. They all went to put in their order, and with a few attempts at yelling my name, finally got my attention to ask if there was anything I wanted. My response was, said very slowly: "My legs feel like velvet! I can't eat right now..."

I guess the happy pizza worked better than we originally thought.

More reading:  Surviving a Solo Road Trip

  • Have you ever tried, let's say, "special local treats" when visiting new places?
  • What's the bravest/funniest/best thing you've done with new friends while traveling?
  • Do you  have any personal stories about encountering "happy pizza" in Cambodia?
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