As we arrived to the temple that evening there was also a new face by the fire, a young Frenchman who would be beside me for the ceremony. He drank before me each round and quite clearly had trouble doing so, taking a good minute to finish the cup, raising his arm to cover his mouth as he gagged between every gulp.
We made our way through a lightly forested area on a dirt path downwards from the main track. As we reached the bottom we came out to an opening; a clear area with a few tall trees dotted about rising up towards the sky and a few crude man-made shelters spread over a wide area. The call of exotic birds intermittently penetrated the air. In a strange way I felt at home.