Xinjiang Tobacco Cigarette

Sometimes you meet interesting people when you travel. I had a relatively strange experience in Xi’an, when a friendly stranger wanted me to try something. It started after we spent some time wandering around a large antique market.

We had spent most of the day wandering around an antique market in the north of Xi’an and were looking for food. We walked past a small stall that was selling cocktails. When we approached the people working there were very friendly and welcoming.

We bought ourselves a cocktail each and sat down, watching people travelling up and down the street. One of the older men working at the bar came over to say hello. He was smoking a cigarette which was just tobacco rolled up in newspaper.

He noticed me looking at it and asked me if I wanted one. I was hesitant at first – it looked strong and I tend to smoke weak cigarettes. But I knew it could be impolite to turn down cigarettes in China, and I was so enthusiastic that I try one, so I accepted. He ran off to roll one for me.

He came back with it almost rolled, and instructed me to lick the glue side to seal it. It looked a bit like a joint without a filter, and if it wasn’t for the lack of the smell I might have believed it was a marijuana cigarette.

I was expecting instant nicotine poisoning smoking this thing, but after the first drag I realised how smooth it was. This tobacco wasn’t tainted by a lot of the chemicals they usually put in normal cigarettes. He explained to us that this was tobacco from Xinjiang, and that you couldn’t buy it unless you went to that province.

He left us to it and I continued smoking as we finished our drinks. At some point I realised I couldn’t finish my sentences. I was feeling something, a buzz. I had had this feeling before – a Swedish friend once gave me snus to try. This cigarette was actually giving me a high.

Eventually the experience passed, and we finished our drinks. As we left I told the old man that this was the best cigarette I’d ever smoked in my life. It was, and it still is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.