Arequipa, Peru

ā€œIā€™m going to pass this around for you to try it. Take 3-4 leaves and a pinch of quinoa ash.ā€

My body tingled with excitement. I, who had taken one puff of a cigarette when I was ten and one hit of a joint at forty-five, was going to try an illegal substance. And not just any substance, but coca, a close cousin of cocaine.

How daring. How adventurous. I would finally be able to brag to my younger brother and sister that *I* had tried drugs.

I shook out a large leaf and the ash.

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