Sunday 21 March 1999
One man was cutting the kava plant, Piper methysticum, a dusty little cluster of dry twigs and spindly roots. As he hacked with a bush knife, making a pile of roots, another man scraped and peeled each root, while a third man worked on the half-peeled root with a coconut shell, rubbing off some - but by no means all - of the red dust.
The coconut rubber handed the piece of root to the men who were standing. They opened their mouths. They had black teeth and gummy, coated tongues. They stuffed the woody kava roots into their mouths and with a crunch like chicken bones, they began to chew them.
These chewing men - one in a straw pie-plate hat, another wearing a T- shirt that said "Alaska - The Last Frontier", the third in a sensationally filthy sarong - walked in circles, chewing seriously, their cheeks bulging.
I heard many eye-witness reports of bombs falling on the Presidential Palace in Baghdad.
At that moment, one of the men leaned over and spat a big wet wad of masticated wood, the size of a scoop of ice-cream, onto a green leaf that had been spread on the ground, apparently for this purpose.
Bombs also fell on Baghdad Airport, destroying runways.
Splat went another blob of kava and spittle, as the man in the T-shirt bent from the waist like a bobbing duck and released it onto the leaf.
Splat - more mush hit the leaf: it was like a kid spitting up baby food he hated. That was the consistency of the stuff - a cowpat of Gerbers baby food.
Life & Style blogs
National Burger Day: all your beefy questions answered
36-year-old skeleton of dead baby found inside Indian woman
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini review: a watertight little brother to the S5 with a top flight screen
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
- 1 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 2 Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
- 5 Homer Simpson takes the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he does
- < Previous
- Next >
£20000 - £24000 Per Annum 28 days holiday, free parking, pension: Clearwater P...
£38000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...
£115 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...
£115 - £121 per day: Randstad Education Luton: primary teacher Hertfordshire