Leave it to VBS.TV to once again send a documentary team into the craziest of locations where sane, stay at home, whiteys like myself would only consider going with advanced technical gear and a swat team of commandos as tour guides.
After all, they brought us along with them when they explored voyeur gore on the bloodied streets of Mexico City in Alarma!, authority dodging craziness in Vice Guide to Travel – North Korea, and touchy feely goodness while showing us the lives of the homeless who find themselves fortunate enough to live in the Sewers of Bogota in Balls Deep.
So who’s our man on this next adventure, and what exactly is this adventure all about? Meet chemist/botanist/nerd/hardcore explorer into the world of all things mind altering, Hamilton Morris with Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia: The Sapo Diaries.
Judging from his Apple Switch commercial from back in the day I’m going to go out on a limb here and say his whole adolescence experience was not an easy passage for him.
There’s a bit of a Richmond, from the IT Crowd, flavor to him as he sports a black pair of tight pants (his only pair for the entire 9 day journey through the Amazon), a white button up collared shirt, and a suitcase. The man has a genuine curiosity and drive when it comes to learning about and experiencing mind altering substances. Hence the premise for this documentary.
His destination lies at the end of a grueling three-day boat trip up the Javari river in Brazil where he hopes to find this sapo frog with the help of some tribal villagers. Our hero survives his surroundings gallantly with the help of some JWH-18 laced cigarettes and Ritalin. The footage taken along this journey is great, giving the viewer a truly epic feel of the crew’s mysterious surroundings. There is no doubt that this is a haphazard, half-planned and vice-styled minimalist journey and you are taken along for the ride.
Unfortunately Hamilton’s narration tampers with our experience throughout. His voice scratches the brain and his word choices are over the top leaving an unresolved and mixed signal where we aren’t sure if he is trying to be smart and sincere or simply trying to be funny. However, this shouldn’t undermine the truth of his resolute nature to stay on task and see this journey through to its completion.
Without a doubt Hamilton suffers much and takes it all in stride. At one point he counts 52 mosquito bites on one hand and 51 on the other. After much work, some false hopes and a lot of waiting, his persistence and long-suffering finally pays off. To administer the secretions of the sapo frog (after a pretty insane harvesting method) Hamilton is burned multiple times with a hot stick and the slime is then spread into his wounds as a point of entry. And then…
If you were watching this hoping to see someone tripping balls like those silly kids making their parents proud in the many salvia clips floating around on youtube I’m sorry to say you will be disappointed. Hamilton definitely does have an experience from the poisons of the tree frog, but it’s just anticlimactic after such a long and great journey. In an attempt to add more psychedelic drama, an Ayahuasca and DMT tea has to be brewed and consumed at the end of the documentary in the comfort of our hero’s hotel room.
True to form Hamilton’s voice-over quips on his second experience as he, “falls asleep and has strange apocalyptic dreams” in relation to the sapo frog. Yeah, I’m not buying it. As they say, it’s the journey and not the destination.
If that adage holds true for you then The Sapo Diaries, three 20 to 25 minute episodes in all, will be worth your time as it is has merit and holds interest as a travel log into some pretty strange territory. If your hoping for a big payout in watching Hamilton’s drug state escapades and cerebral explorations and epiphanies, I’d stick to salvia.