Wild Justice – who shot the fat guy?

Drugs, guns, cheap booze, cheap land and a lawless expatriate community hell-bent on making it big on this little hamlet… there was always going to be trouble in the Andean paradise of Vilcabamba, Ecuador. But will the right people pay?

Kapow! .. pow! … pow!  A single gunshot ricocheted, ricocheted, ricocheted… along one after the other of the grizzly eroded flanks that buttress the little mansion in remote southern Ecuador where fat Josh, the Danish guru, was home alone.

It was the crack in the night that had been coming a long time. A flash of fierce brightness across a horizon of dark magic, hell-bred schemes and violence that have been simmering in Vilcabamba for two decades.

P1110427

Whoever shot the gun, in whatever circumstances, set free a little silver bullet that landed fair in the elbow of an obese Danish expatriate who was tussling with masked ‘thugs’, armed with metal bars and at least one gun, and had allegedly broken in to this rented luxury mansion in the fully-walled, policed, gated compound known as Hacienda San Joaquin.

This one bullet, according to gossip, flew after Joshua attacked the intruders. Which is easy to believe. Despite his obese condition, Joshua is well-known in Ecuador and his previous lairs in Thailand for boasting about his skills at Martial Arts. There are plenty of people who can confirm that fat Josh loves nothing better than the chance to spa some un-trained ass.

I’ve seen him at it myself, as a guest at his previous residence, where he and my boyfriend, Scott, would kick box about after heavy work outs in Josh’s private gym and sessions in fat joshJosh’s private infra red sauna, and business meetings on the lawn, about how to make it rich as online pimps and prophets.

On one occasion Josh, surprisingly agile for an aging fat guy, pushed things too far with Scott who is an exceedingly able pacifist, vegetarian athlete ex-lawyer, with an obvious but untapped potential to crack bones. Josh was landing hard side kicks to the face beyond what seemed fair ‘play’, and taunting Scott to ‘man up’. So Scott, losing touch with his pacifist steak, puffed himself up like the Hulk, picked Josh up, threw him to the ground, placed his fist in his face and warned him, “don’t fucking push it, mate.”

It took Scott about a month to recover from this incident. But Josh really gloated on it. He took a real shine to Scott after that – it was the start of some very sick business for me.

So yes, it’s not hard for me to imagine Josh ‘pushing it’ with armed intruders. He’s the kind of guy who relishes a fight. Who lusts for a fight, actually, and who has had one coming for a mighty long time.

potawski
Fat Joshua and Kacper Postawski.. victims, or… what?

He was constantly provoking trouble in his previous incarnation in Thailand, and here as well, in Ecuador, where he had allied himself with a dubious elite, and was among the most hated Caucasians on the valley.

There are people who moved to the valley on nest eggs fertilised by pensions, one-off marijuana crops in the US, internet scams, or dealing between the port cities and the Andes, and have come to escape the law, tax, misery.. whatever, loafing about in obscurity in Ecuador.

They drink a lot of booze. They smok a lot of pot. They take a lot of acid. They also indulge in public brawls, bullying, open drunkenness and all manner of behaviour that would be unacceptable (and unaffordable) back home, and causes horror and dread among the local Ecuadorians – who provide a quaint backdrop to a lot of what goes on in Gringo-bamba.

Others came here fat from online pimping. Or from making it rich on whoring plant medicines, spiritual workshops of one sort or another, and exploiting the powerful evil helix spun between the Anxiety Dollar and the internet.

The formula works something like this:

  1. pick a surging social problem; insomnia, obesity, shame, depression, a popular neurosis or fashionable curiosity, like Tantra..
  2. Discredit the established wisdom and offerings in this market – especially undermine medical, pharmacological, legal, social or moral constructs around it.
  3. Invent your own solution.
  4. Flog the hell out of it online, through viral marketing, meems, and thorough exploitation of social media.
  5. Locate yourself offshore to your native country, in a place you can hide from legal, tax and other scrutiny, and milk it till the next big idea.

A surprising number of people arrived in Vilcabamaba on this ticket since 2008, gorged on superfoods and supplements and cheap rent. The richest and most brazen became famous. The second best just stuck it out in the mountains,  hosting parties where they could make friends and schemes with other scamsters, and providing free music, drugs and sex to the local youth – bored expat kids, and Vilcabamba kids who had never seen anything like what debauched gringos can get up to when they feel immune from the law, and far far far away from God.

But it’ s not these new-comers who get written up as criminals. No.

Even though people like fat Josh and his partner, Kacper Postawski have been implicated in scams which deceived, if not actually harmed LOTS – even thousands – of people, and got rich out of it, they have so far successfully dodged the bullets.

You can see Postawski being outed by Mike Adams here for his part in an ongoing scandal over a ‘detox’ product called Adya Clarity and then re-named as Water Liberty. This ‘miracle product’ is marketed by Postawski at over 4000% profit, according to critics, and alleged to be dangerously toxic. Serious safety warning over Postawski’s ‘decalcifyer’ led several of his peers toapologise for their part in the business and issue recalls and refunds.

But not fat Josh and Kacper. They openly exploit Ecuador as a hiding place from the consequences of their actions, a place to benefit from cheap labour and costs of living, while indulging in the spoils of their dirty exploits, and contributing a big fat nothing to any body.

So, when one of these characters is picked off, roughed up, challenged – I find myself wondering… if it’s not about time.

When violence began rearing up in Vilcabamba, the media reported that it was those who confronted the expatriate elite who were thugs and criminals. The Latinos, that is.

Everybody happily over-looked whether those receiving street punishment had in any way earned it. Either by their own repugnant, illegal, overt nasty behaviour, or, you know.. by way of karma.

I lived in this valley for three years and can fairly say that all is not anything like it first seems in quaint little Vilcabamba. The white guys are not all glowing with fair-play and country goodness – some of them are dangerous, and some are gloating from the sheer thrill of how much they have got away with.

My own experience with fat Josh was an instant, profound and terminal case of mutual revulsion. I immediately smelled a rat on him. And he took a strong dislike to me after I started investigating his and Kacper Postawski’s exploits in drug dealing, internet scams and excruciatingly flaky spiritual counseling from their luxury digs in Vilcabamba. You can read more about Postawski’s track record here – ouch!

As revenge, Josh used cash bribes, drugs and persuasion to undermine my relationship, smear my reputation and throw me to the dogs. He spied on Scott and I, would turn up at our house at odd hours demanding interviews with Scott which went on for hours, and eventually exploited a miscarriage I had in Vilcabamba in 2013 to engineer an extremely traumatic series of events for me.

He saw me at parties where he and others were supplying gringo and Ecuadorian kids with free drugs, where there was all manner of hell was going down, where the foundations for his own undoing were perhaps being laid.

But it’s not being told like this. Not so far. When fat Josh got shot after tussling with alleged intruders this month in Vilcabamba, it was reported as if he were just a regular guy, home alone in a gated mansion in the remote Southern Andes.

FROM FACEBOOK: Anubuddha LeeFebruary 23 at 2:29am

With a very heavy and shaky heart I share this latest tragic news. At 8;30 pm last night, Joshua’s rented house in the Hacienda San Joaquin was broken into by 5 masked thugs. He was alone, and found them in his basement where he exercises daily. They had a shotgun and metal bars for weapons… he got smacked in the head, but managed to get the metal bar from them… then they shot him in the arm (elbow very damaged) and fled the scene… without anything. Anasha and I were right next door, visiting Chris and Lily when we heard the gunshot… the loudest I ever heard. Josh was screaming, so we run and find him bleeding profusely. We rushed him to Vilcabamba hospital…..”

But there was not only one gun in the house. That is for sure.

Because Joshua, and most of his Vilcabamba mates, are part of a powerful, paranoid elite in the valley who have been preparing themselves for the End of the World, Alien invasion and attacks by other enemies for a while now. They boast that they have a shoot to kill philosophy in case of trouble, and as keepers of cache of food, ammo, porn and whatever else is required to survive Armageddon, are well rehearsed in what violence might be served to those who dare breach their maximum insecurity mansions.

A week after the crack of gunfire and all the squealing, reports of a crime wave in the remote Andes, of nasty indigenous thugs marauding the hillsides and bashing all the innocent expats were rife online. Ecuador’s President, Raffael Correa, re-routed a speaking engagement to appear in person in Vilcabamba this Saturday, a local Security business made a motza on surveillance gear and weapons, and Josh appealed to the world to please send high dose vitamin k2 to regrow his bone tissue.(mk-4 or mk-7)

“i cant wait 5-6 weeks for the mail to arrive, besides im in guayaquil now for surgeries.if someone has k2 and are willing to sell i can have my friend in town contact you to buy it and he can ship it to me ASAP,” he wrote. “im on bone growth protocol and this one is the missing vitamin. hope someone can help.”

This is exactly what you might expect from Josh who is, as it happens, a bit of a dark wizard at chemistry. His traceable roots lead to Ko Samui, Thailand, where fat Josh made quite the illegal, tax-free killing peddling the psychotropic drug ibogain to tourists.

Josh was a sort of Jabba the Mystic Hut out there in Ko Samui, where a steady stream of sick, suffering, questing Westerners were lured by his clever online marketing to pay considerable $thousands for the Danish snakeoil salesman to blow them out of their minds with heavy doses of this African heritage plant medicine.

He made plenty cash dollar on that enterprise, while harvesting a pretty sum in State benefits from his homeland, in Denmark, on a disabilities payment. He split when things got ‘complicated’ in Thailand. A string of complaints began to thread itself together. Unhappy customers began to whisper, greener pastures were required, a new harvest sought, and plenty of googling was no doubt done.

Over in Ecuador, things were looking extremely fertile for entrepreneurs hunting Spiritual Quest Dollar. The tiny South American nation was recently dollarized, a charismatic ‘people’s’ President was promising stability, growth, wealth and some extremely influential leaders of the New Age movement had already primed the pump for a major cascade of liquid gold out of Ecuador.

IMG_2382

The so-called ‘Health Ranger’, Mike Adams, was one of the first. Founder, editor and writer for his own online title, Natural News, Adams was well ahead of fat Josh on the easy pickings to be made in Ecuador. His online power as educator, influencer and peddler of products to a massive following in the wellness, conspiracy, healing and expatriating markets can be measured in $millions.

It was Adams who was first in this pack of savvy entrepreneurs to set foot on Vilcabamba soil. I can see him tilting his chin to the sharp Andean sun, scanning the gentle local folk hunched quietly over crops of corn and potato, and sniffing dollars. Lots of easy, tax free, nobody’s watching … dollars.

IMG_2476

He bought into a 600+ acre ranch for a song, gated it and made it famous as Hacienda San Joaquin. He and his partners worked up the land, sold plots to wealthy foreigners to build ‘dream homes’ on cheap Ecuadorian labor, re-valued the enterprise in seven figures, sold single plots for more than the value of the entire ranch, and started feeding out information to his millions of followers about how he had discovered paradise on Earth.

Adams took interests in land all over the Vilcabamba valley, and then set off to market the heck out of the place. In June, 2010, he wrote Top ten things to love about Vilcabamba, about the wonders of then little-known hamlet.

The piece reads like any other shallow travel whip, until you get to the bottom, where Mike helpfully provides access to his own real estate networks should you be so seduced as to buy the land in what he called the Valley of Longevity. Which many people did.

Hundreds, actually.  His email address is listed there as vilcaland@gmail.com, and by all accounts it was busy. You can see the list of sales here.

Natural News marketed events in Vilcabamba to its audience around the world, promoted tours and superfoods from there in which he had a vested financial interest, spruiked the culture and healthy lifestyle angles in a cascade of articles talking up his cheap as chips new paradise.

Adams set the stage for land hungry expatriates, looking for upward mobility and status.. “The cost of living in Vilcabamba, Ecuador is surprisingly low, even if you’re hiring a lot of help. A typical garden worker makes from $10 – $15 per day, and locals are always looking for more work,” he wrote.

Real estate soared. Expatriates arrived in droves. Foul-mouthed failed author, Nick Vasey, settled in from New Zealand to reap the benefits as a real estate agent. The Health Ranger moved out, and a new crop of spiritual entrepreneurs including David Wolfe, Matt Monarch, Kacper Postawski and fat Josh turned up take second lick at the honey pot.

You can see some of the world’s superfood millionaires positively having the best time ever, plugging Vilcabamba as the land of eternal youth on Youtube here -creepy!

david wolf
David Wolfe, lampooned recently on faccebook – oh dear.

Was any of this actually wrong?

No. Not actually. It’s just that what happened in Vilcabamba was not the result of natural growth or even a trend in lifestyle change. It was a carefully, meticulously, beautifully planned strategy that benefited a calculating, foreign elite who had the power of influence and absolutely no interest at all on the impacts on the culture or the people they were exploiting to make it rich.

That these people dress themselves up as crusaders for truth, freedom and happiness online as they exploit that trust the same as any other developers would is not illegal, it’s just .. err… treacherous?

For example, here’s Kacper, plugging himself and other North American entrepreneurs in Vilcabamba, talking about how much awesomeness is in his life, and selling that on to others, after having spent most of 2012 making liquid cash online about how to survive the end of the world at Silent Furnace, when he was cashing in on the (failed) 2012 Apocalypse.

Note how they claim to have unplugged from the Matrix IMG_2193in remote Ecuador, contrasting their paradise to a collapsing North American society, while failing to notice that there is indeed, crisis all around them for the dark-skinned impoverished indigenous who are now enslaved to … them! Oooo!!!!! What about their “soul essence”.. ey?

Most of those who made the first big cash dollar from the exploitation of the Vilcabamba valley are no longer there – which is interesting, isn’t it? I mean, you’re rich, you’re only going to get richer – you’re free, you’ve found your el dorado, so why would you ever leave?

Perhaps they knew that things were already going sideways in paradise once they destablised the economy and disenfranchised the ‘lovely local people’.

Canadian real estate agent, Glen Sanderse, was murdered in Vilca in 2013. A series of rapes and assaults on expats and Ecuadorians have gone on since 2010. Very recently a woman was bashed during a break-in at the residence of Postowski’s mother, Catherine, who, hitting 70, made herself infamous in this heavily Catholic town, for her open and well-advertised adventure in intimate relations with a local Ecuadorian, not yet 20!

Coincidence?

The Ecuadorians, ancestral heirs to this remote river valley, who Adams described in 2010 as “exceedingly nice, polite and very friendly to visitors… who… go out of their way to try to communicate with you in simple words that you’ll easily understand… and spend hours chatting about various things: The climate, gardening, horses, tourist activity, politics, health and much more.” were getting pissed.

IMG_2463

You could see them, bleary-eyed and staggering around the main square, drunk as newts and scowling into the biting sky as the years were rolling on, and the land was rolling over.

Every housing estate, luxury villa, permaculture farm and gringo mansion sprouting on the hillsides represented the dispossession of at least one farmer and all his dependents. Every new property, each gringo household, represented at least one actual Ecuadorian – usually more – now employed at poverty-line wages of around $3 an hour as staff.

At fat Josh’s house, where I was a visitor several times in 2012, there was a house keeper earning $2.50 an hour. She cleaned up after the kick boxing, the raw food banquets and the pot, ayahuasca and san pedro sessions for more than a year, had an inside view of exactly how the relatively rich new immigrants lived, and was never called by name at work because Josh and his Russian partner, Irina, never bothered to learn it.

She was one of hundreds of local people feeling more and more dejected, terrified, actually, about what the changes in their home town were leading to.

I interviewed Vilcabamba towns people and heard tale after tale of escalating poverty, sickness, misery and anger. One mother of five there drew her finger across her throat when I asked her how she was doing.

A Canadian professor came to town and undertook an official study of the impact of migration on Vilcabamba indigenous.He wrote in 2013 that what he witnessed among the Ecuadorians was displacement, depression, hopelessness and a climate of what he called moral panic.

What is moral panic? Wiki calls it –  a feeling of fear spread among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society.

Were the locals wrong? What were they to do?

As a Western commentator wrote on this blog, having watched the scene in Vilcabamba awhile…

Maybe the increased crime on gringos in Vilcabamba could have something to do with the inflation in the little town causing poor Vilcabambans to demonstrate an act of desperate outrage against the problem. I’m sure their are an increasing number of poor Vilcabambans that may not even have enough money to feed their families because of the increase in food prices, what would you do if you could no longer afford to feed your kids because some rich selfish foreigners decided to ignorantly alter the economics of what used to be fair price.  Dan

In the square one Sunday I was introduced to a miserable group of young men, dressed in shredded work wear, drunk on local brew, red-eyed and hunched over bottles swaddled in brown paper. They had finished their 6-day week, working 10 – 12 hour shifts on gringo building sites, with no access to proper tools, water, toilet, shade, food or protection, and were swallowing their weekly earnings of less than $100, blowing the poverty out of their circuits by getting utterly, gutterly, properly pissed – Latino-style.

IMG_0243These were the kind of ‘thugs’ polite society would avoid. Drunk boys. Powder kegs of hard muscle with sly eyes and a short fuse woven from humiliation and anger.

I liked them though. They were beautiful young men being treated like shit, with no other option than to take it.

We talked for ages while they coyly and gratefully smoked all my cigarettes. They were worried, they said, for their mothers. Who cry at night.

For their fathers, who are raging in the dwindling pastures, pecked at by real estate agents and bankers.

They are worried for themselves, about how the hell to pull out of the downward suck of becoming low skilled, landless coloured workers for white Colonialists in their own town! In 2015! Under  a ‘people’s President!

They were angry, and they were right to be. When their stories touched raw nerve, they would swig and wince, and glare across to the grizzly hills that flank the gated Hacienda San Joaquin, and its clutch of armed gringo mansions.

“We know they have guns in there,” they would whisper. “And they have a man with a gun at the gate. And walls everywhere, surveillance. Ha! Why do you think they create a prison for themselves? Why here, in this place of peace and quiet  – this paradise?

Do you think they know how much we hate that place? What it stands for. What they’ve done. Do you think they know how we dream of coming in there, over the walls, in through the darkness, and staring those men in their faces, making them see that we, too, are real. We too, are men. We too, are armed.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

29 thoughts on “Wild Justice – who shot the fat guy?

  1. Sadly this is a common theme running through many ex-pat communities in Sth East Asia, Caribbean & Latin America.
    The ex-pats are the eternally floating people – belonging to no country, moving regularly and making up stories of their true identities or past. There is no care nor responsibility and some see themselves as above the law.
    They love like rich rockstars in a 3rd world country, locking themselves away in gated communities and wondering why the locals come to resent them after the inflationary prices as a result of the gringoes having this “millionaire life”. The only interaction with the locals is when they see them clean their floors, wash their clothes or wave to them at their security gate.
    Where ever you live you will have an impact. And just like a guest in someone’s house – you try to fit in, be respectful and leave the place unscathed.
    Hopefully the guys in your story will get what they deserve. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that trying to play with the mafiosa or be a “gangsta” in Sth America will eventually get you a bullet or machette…or be made to simply disappear.

  2. Excruciating read. Pretty sad. Can only pray that, as always, the act of plainly speaking or exposing the truth goes some ways towards awareness raising and better protection against the destructive self-indulgence of the Vilcabamba elite, reprehensibly wired, as they seem to be, into broader schemes for profiteering and fraud of one kind or another. And nebulous, like a shifting sand. The stuff of a Kafka novel. Pretty difficult area though. As the above comment indicates, for the cartels and organised crime of South America, human life is not something that means much. Any affront to a money/power/drug seeking regime will see you unceremoniously snuffed out.

    1. Oh, I don’t think it’s only to the cartels and South American crime gangs that life does not mean much… I’ve seen exactly the same among the gringos. I just hope, as journalists do, that the authorities get to read this, and can therefore enrich their choices as decision-makers.
      I also offer fair warning to all those greedsters exploiting the developing world, and cashing in on the anxiety dollar – we’re onto you! .. and I am still writing : )

      1. But then you have the spectre of institutionalised corruption and human fallibility within the authorities themselves. Those who are amendable to the idea of a problem like yours filtering out of significance, for the right remuneration. That is not to say that the tenacious type of reporting that you have offered, with its very sensitive appreciation of concomitant social issues, is not something of value in terms of facilitating progress, progress being the development of a socio-political consciousness predicated on ideals such as resource equity and social justice for the disenfranchised, exemplified by your woebegone gang of cigarette-accepting labourers. I guess most of my understanding of the area comes second hand, from a friend who related some of the despicable acts of violence perpetrated by the Peruvian Shining Path guerrillas through the 90’s. Although they had some appreciably noble communist ideals, most of their methods and tactics were utterly debased, and factored in all manner of torture and fear mongering -dogs hanged by their necks and hung the entire length of the street from lamps- with the result they were essentially a self-deluded drug ring. BUT, he was very careful to point out, the government of the day operated with similar ruthlessness and a sort of callous militancy quite capable of trampling over any considerations of human rights or human dignity. But that was Peru. I guess my reserve is contemplating how big of an issue the Ecuadorian authorieties would be prepared to make this -the tyranny of the self-absorbed, monied expats- if in fact they were not liable to profit in some manner from proactive ‘crackdowns’ or more stringent protection measures themselves?? Distancing themselves from those with money might in fact be a rather counter-intuitive idea to them.

        1. More’s the pity.
          All I can add is that as a 22-year-old girl I traveled solo through Peru on the scent of an oily hat during the years of Shining Path, and never had as much trouble or felt anything like terror as when I went back to South America in 2012 and found the place in the grip of expats. That’s a sober statement.
          I know South America suffers bad press for scary contingents, but White Mischief left the others pale, in my experience, anyway.

          1. Appreciate that insight. Makes me wonder if you couldn’t network with others similarly affected and publish a collection of articles in the vein of who shot the fat guy. Reel in the evidence and bring the lurking terror into daylight. The combination of anecdotal illustrations and thoughtful reflection would make for a compelling work, methinks.

  3. I cannot attest to or write about the character and escapades of Josh or Kacper, but I can write about the origins and intent of Hacienda San Joaquin.

    If one clicked on “Hacienda San Joaquin,” in the above excerpt, the person who developed it can be read about simply by clicking on “Developer” on the HSJ web site home page. I am that person, Joe Simonetta. I was the developer, architect, builder, salesman, manager of the development (until the Association of Home Owners took over), and the founder of the former HSJ Foundation.

    The HSJ development began in 2005. Mike Adams and his wife didn’t move to HSJ until March 8, 2009. He bought three properties from me.

    The following is how the development, HSJ, came to be:

    In 2005, living in Sarasota, FL, I, like many other Americans at the time, considered a relocation to Central America. Many people for various reasons, often economic, were moving to Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and other Central American countries. After exploring those countries and not finding them compelling, I explored South America. I liked Ecuador best. I liked that one could live there in a very temperate mountain climate (in the Andes). At one time, I lived in and enjoyed the Rockies in Colorado but didn’t care for the cold winters. A friend in CA, who knew about Ecuador and my interest in that country, suggested that I have a look at Vilcabamba.

    Having written a number of books related to and lectured on the state of our world, having started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental organization (Pro Earth) in Sarasota, FL in 1989, and having lived a healthy life style for many years, it was clear to me immediately that Vilcabamba, with many extraordinary qualities, was an attractive place to live. I decided to move there and semi-retire.

    I first went to Vilcabamba in June and July 2005. Originally, I was looking for a modest house. I had no intention of becoming a real estate developer. I knew no one in Ecuador. I didn’t speak a word of Spanish. I ended up buying Hacienda San Joaquin (it already had that name). At the time, it was a run down, overgrown, and unkempt 663-acre ranch with one home in need of enormous renovation. The property was owned by people who lived in Loja. They sometimes used HSJ on weekends.

    I moved to Vilcabamba in August 2005. More than nine years later, after working on the HSJ project mostly 24/7 all that time, I sold my interests and returned to the U.S. The HSJ project was an enormous, financially risky, and very complicated one for countless reasons.

    Actual work on HSJ began the last week of November 2005. I just turned 62. I met on a HSJ hillside with about nine Ecuadorian workers, each with a machete. We needed to begin to clear some land. The first thing I said to them was that I was no different than them. My father had been an immigrant and blue-collar steelworker in Bethlehem, PA. I explained that my life led me to HSJ and, unexpectedly, I ended up with the hacienda. I shared that I had many life experiences and education (undergraduate from Penn State; master degrees from the University of Colorado and Harvard). I said, “Please call me Joe. Don’t call me architect.” I don’t like titles. Ecuadorians like titles: engineer (for engineers of all kinds), doctor (for attorneys and doctors), architect, etc. With that, we went to work.

    For the first thirteen months, I lived in a room in a Vilcabamba hotel, Hosteria de Vilcabamba, as there was no place on HSJ to live. I did all of the planning and many of the drawings in that room. I also did some writing. Every day, I went to work at HSJ. Besides clearing land for residences, the entire infrastructure had to be designed and built. Ecuadorian engineers designed roads and water and electric systems. More than fifty per cent of the land was set aside as a nature preserve. Our workers created a wonderful hiking trail. Later on, the Association of Home Owners expanded the trail system beautifully.

    I created building lots that began at 921 square meters and larger properties, that I called quintas, that began at .9 hectares (a hectare is 10,000 square meters). The largest quinta was 2.44 hectares. Pricing was modeled on the successful and sold out Ecuadorian development, Country Club, located in nearby Malacatos. Prices at HSJ were actually less per square meter than in Country Club. Our least expensive property was listed at $29,990. Our most expensive property was listed at $250,000.

    That “single plots sold for more than (was) paid for the entire ranch” is wrong. The entire ranch cost significantly more than a million dollars. If anyone was duped, it was me. I found out later, that I should have paid about half of what I paid for HSJ. It may be true, as the writer noted, that some gringos take advantage of Ecuadorians. It’s equally true that it is not uncommon for some Ecuadorians to take advantage of gringos. Generally, Ecuadorians and gringos treat each other fairly.

    The first lots sold in 2006. One was sold to a gentleman from Florida and the other to a gentleman from Colorado. Both were very successful and senior retired professionals. They were typical of buyers that followed. Most people who bought land at HSJ looked for a very healthy environment in which to live. Eventually, all 67 properties in the first phase were sold. It took an enormous amount of work and nine years to accomplish that.

    The majority of buyers were from the United States. The next largest group were from Canada. There were about five buyers from the U.K. There were buyers from Europe and Asia. Five properties were owned by Ecuadorians.

    Early on, I started a foundation to assist Ecuadorians. All property owners were required to contribute to the foundation monthly. Tens of thousands of dollars were distributed from the foundation to Ecuadorians. Assistance was provided in response to a never ending stream of requests. We helped the young, old, and infirmed, and contributed to sports’ events like soccer and volleyball tournaments.

    Some homes at HSJ, like mine, were large but most were small to medium size (1,200 to 3,000 square foot range, more or less). I lived on a 14-acre estate. We had a main house (about 5,000 square feet), guest house (about 1,100 square feet), three-car garage, indoor swimming pool in a separate building, three-court volleyball stadium, a clay tennis court, horse stable, organic gardens, a citrus orchard, six tilapia ponds, two lakes, and horse paddocks.

    My wife (Susana), an Ecuadorian woman I married in 2009, and I never lived in our main house. It remained vacant and eventually was sold with the whole property in 2014. We lived in the guest house. A very modest two-bedroom, two-bath home, about 1,100 square feet. We lived there with our son, Russell, born on Earth Day, April 22, 2013.

    I built the volleyball stadium on my estate for my Ecuadorian workers. Every Friday afternoon, we stopped work at 4 PM to play volleyball for those who wanted to (and most did). At first, I built two volleyball courts. It wasn’t enough, so I built the third court. I played volleyball with the workers every Friday. As I’ve played sports all my life (varsity letters in soccer and tennis at Penn State), I very much enjoyed picking up the tough game of Ecuadorian volleyball and competing with the workers. I played until I was about 68 years old when I injured my shoulder. Last year, 2015, here in the U.S., I had successful rotator cuff surgery to get my shoulder repaired.

    Many Ecuadorians were employed at HSJ. I designed and built forty homes there. Some Ecuadorian architects and builders built many homes as well. There were times when about 300 Ecuadorians worked at HSJ. I was told that the income derived from HSJ work increased the activity at the Sunday market in Vilcabamba, as more people were able to buy food for their families. That was gratifying to hear.

    I am asked why I left HSJ and Ecuador. There are many reasons. Most of you reading this have never been a real estate developer or custom home builder. They’re challenging jobs. It’s very difficult and stressful for a developer or custom home builder to live in communities they develop or in which they build. You find yourself the target for some things that are maybe justified and many things that are not. It’s uncomfortable to say the least. I also began to miss my own country, language, and culture.

    With my wife and son, I returned to the U.S. in November 2014. We had a second child, a beautiful daughter, Fiorella, born in October 2015. Both our children are delights for us. We are fortunate to have them. I’ll be 73 this year. I continue to be busy with one project or another. My latest book is ONE, For the Third Millennium. The web site is http://www.ONEitistime.com.

    Good luck to you all. Joe Simonetta

    1. Thank you Joe. I am very grateful for your clarifications on the early history of San Joaquin, and on your development of the historic finka into an upscale expat-owned gated resort of more than 67 properties. That’s quite an achievement.
      Clearly, you didn’t only head to Vilcabamba for the healthy lifestyle – there was a healthy profit there too?
      If you’re in this conversation, I would love to ask you, with respect, a couple of questions..
      1. What were the local wages for builders back then, in 2006?
      2. Were you aware of, or did you consider, or was there any foresight about the social/ economic impacts of creating a large-scale resort development for mostly upper middle class expat buyers in the tiny, isolated and relatively unknown pueblo of Vilcabamba at that time?
      3. The word among long-timers in Vilcabamaba is that life in town changed dramatically when property prices shifted radically prior to 2010, and the pueblo went on the radar with International Living and Natural News as a retirement and end of the world haven. You were actively selling more than 60 new properties leading up to that time, marketing the development to return on your investment, associated with Mike Adams to maximise the PR – do you think the HSJ development was a part of larger changes than you perhaps anticipated?
      4. And perhaps these also contributed to your decision to sell and leave the country?
      5. In the last several decades hi profile expat developers, realtors and lifestyle-change leaders in the valley including Johnny Lovewisdom (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Lovewisdom), John Hamm and Brian O’Leary were involved in bitter feuds, sudden deaths or disappearances … any thoughts? Were you ever concerned for your safety, or that of others?
      I a keenly interested in your views and experience. Thank you for commenting.

      1. Jade,

        Vilcabamba had be known internationally since being written about in 1973 in a National Geographic cover story. It was not an “unknown pueblo.”

        I did not move to Vilcabamba to be a real estate developer albeit there is nothing wrong with people who create home sites for others. It’s a very risky and difficult business.

        HSJ workers were paid at or above the wages set by the Ecuadorian government and the maestros at the job sites. I never missed a payday in nine years.

        The density of development at HSJ is low for 663 acres, more than half of which were set aside as a nature preserve.

        I was not and am not associated with Mike Adams.

        Brian O’Leary, a friend and wonderful guy, died of natural causes. I know nothing about Jonny Lovewisdom. He was gone long before I arrived in Vilcabamba. I have no idea what happened to John Hamm, who I met but did not know.

        I felt safe in HSJ and in Vilcabamba. I lived there for about nine and a half years without incident.

        Good luck. Joe

        1. Thanks Joe,
          It’s very interesting to learn more about your journey there, and the changes in Vilcabamba from the perspective of a foreigner who was part of them.
          I am doing my best to be accurate, but as you know, reporting on places this far off the radar is tricky – the chains of evidence are thin, often broken, and fact is heavily blended with gossip and side-stepping.
          Yes, Vilcabamba was written about in NG. That hardly caused a real estate rush.
          When I was there in 1990 is was still a very sleepy hollow.
          In 1997 Vilcabamba was still very quiet. There were so few expats about that it could not support its only gringo cafe.
          By 2012, as I saw, the explosion in expat population and building was immense and vivid.
          It’s very tricky to get facts straight about Vilcabamba, and actually, even the sources in the Geographic piece were later to doubt their findings and retract some of their statements. (You can read about that here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilcabamba,_Ecuador)
          Yes, you probably did pay the going wages and more – I’m not here to cause you any trouble or imply anything untoward.
          My main interest is in the developers and entrepreneurs who came after you.
          I looked into the national wages in the era you were there. They are reported by Encuesta Nacional de Empleo, Desempleo y Subempleo (ENEMDU) this way;
          “Wages in Ecuador averaged 277.71 USD/Month from 1995 until 2011, reaching an all time high of 478 USD/Month in 2011 and a record low of 119.54 USD/Month in 1999.” [http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ecuador/wages]
          That means, more or less, given that Ecuadorian workers put in a 6 day week usually, tradesman and builders probably earned around US$10 a day on your project. At times, according to these stats, workers could have earned about $5 a day.
          Is that about right?
          This was perfectly legal.
          But it’s not a lot is it?
          Though low wages do encourage developers and are, in capitalist economics, supposed to benefit everybody.
          Hmmm…

          1. Before I created Hacienda San Joaquin and Manuel Vivanco created El Atillo, there were no upscale developments in the area. That along with what appeared to be heightened interest in people moving to Central and South America, and with International Living’s strong promotion of Ecuador, there was a small boom in real estate activity in the Vilcabamba area towards the end of the first decade of the 2000s.

            In regard to the wages that were paid, the workers appeared to be very happy for the regular work and income which had been nonexistent formerly. In addition to worker’s regular pay, they receive what is called their 13th and 14th month salaries. Should they be fired from or leave their job, they receive a liquidation that exceeds anything that exists in the U.S. of which I am aware.

            Many expats, who otherwise could not afford to, were able to build quality homes that cost far less than those in their countries of origin.

            For home builders, who earn their income on a percentage of the cost of the home, lower home prices mean lower incomes per home.

  4. Having lived in Vilcabamba now for a few years, I can attest to many of the elements of this story though I disagree with it’s conclusion on the economic impact to Ecuadorians living here.

    The background description of New Age money feels true to me although I have only made cursory online confirmations of the facts. There is certainly a lot of hokum if not outright fraud going on – but having lived on the sidelines of New Age charmers for the better part of my life, I take that with a grain of salt.

    That this guy Joshua was attacked intentionally for reasons having to do with his turgid dealings is already circulating broadly around town both among expats with a bit of cynisism and locals tapped into their own rumor mills. Many of the recent attacks on expats in their homes show a disproportionate amount of violence for the supposed “rewards” to be had – laptops, phones, cash, etc. This of course leads to three separate possible conclusions: 1) these are a sort of “hate” crime perpetrated against foreigners, or 2) they are perpetrated by drug addled criminals that are motivated as much by the “high” of a violent attack as any kind of possible financial payoff, or 3) they are payback towards specific individuals (as implied in Jade’s post).

    There have also been a spate of arrests of expats on drugs charges in recent days that could be victims of “tips” from persons with grudges or financial motivations.

    So the question seams to boil down to “are these attacks random?” At the very least they seam to be aimed at foreigners – but then again foreigners tend to have more stuff to take. There can’t be any doubt that the economic gulf between some foreigners and the majority of Ecuadorians is large, but it isn’t necessarily vast. Lots of Ecuadorians are making the transition from agriculture to the professional, service or commercial sectors independent of the fact of whether their parents have sold the family farm. Seven of my neighbor’s eight kids have gone on to higher education to get degrees in engineering and law and now work in the public sector in Loja. Another neighbor with 5 children has not been farming his 8 hectares because the entire family is invested in running a successful Taxi cooperative in Vilcabamba.

    As far as “expat exploitation” goes, people make U$2.25 an hour here as a base level of pay. (minimum wage is officially $380/ month) Even if you are an expat working in a restaurant you make 2.25. So there is as much of an argument to be made that there is more work now than before the ‘new colonialism.” This, of course, does not obviate the argument arising from simple envy and resentment toward gringos who seam to get everything easily and then moralize about hard work and how much better they treat their pets.

    Having said all this, is there a “dark” force at work in the Valley of Longevity? Just this January a longtime expat resident of Vilcabamba was found dead on the second day of a three week Ayahuasca ceremony at a location somewhat removed from the town. She may have died of a seizure having to do with a conflict of medicines, she may have died of a fall because her back appears to have been broken. A third autopsy in the United States may clear up some of the mystery. But the fact remains that the chaman that performed the ceremony is under a vast cloud of doubt – and rightly so.

    Thanks for the post. There is definitely lots to think about. In addition to Correa’s visit to Vilcabamba, the US ambassador in Ecuador is holding town hall style meeting soon in Cuenca.

    I still believe that if foreigners don’t just come here for cheap living and they try to have positive interactions in Ecuador there can be a mutual benefit for everyone. Ecuador is still in the early stages of a transition from rural living to city (or at a minimum, internet) dwelling. The country is undergoing an economic displacement and evolution that is happening whether gringos are here or not. Us gringos have a skill set that is already “post” industrial. For instance, we can grasp the idea of an information economy. So can Ecuador.

    1. Thank you for such a lovely balanced overview of things, and also for the pertinent questions.
      Another one dead at an ayahuasca ceremony?
      Well, that has also been coming.
      Very sad to see the continued exploitation of traditional rites and rituals by profiteering sidewinders. And also that it has to get to the point where there are deaths involved, thereby throwing the whole tradition into doubt.
      Hokum, fraud and New Age hanky panky in hi dose – such a shame for the earnest people who just sought a way out of the ‘system’ and an alternative life in peace.
      There is one thing.. you say local wages are 2.25 an hour and that expats and locals earn the same on the market, but that’s not really true.
      For example, Kacper pays his American baby-sitter US$20 an hour, and Annubuddha, mystic massage therapist there in Vilca charges US$80 for an hour (or thereabouts) while his staff get the usual $2.50ish for cleaning up after him.
      There is more than one economy at work, and while the gringos pay ‘local’ wages where they can, the freelancers, mystical healers etc charge offshore prices for their own time. Thereby cashing in on both sides. That’s also true isn’t it?

      Reply ↓

  5. Hello Cowgirl~ I would not be commenting or even reading this “passion fruit” story, except that a friend told me that you quote me in your Post, and sent me the link. I am sure you will not leave it up on the Blog, but I do hope you at least read it…

    Well Jade~ you prove here that “words, jealousies, and judgements” can be more toxic and contaminating than any natural drug or pharmaceutical concoction. I feel very sad for you… and I am also upset that you can write so well and in such a misleading and spiteful way… I met you personally in Vilca 2 years ago, and I could sense your inner pain and longing to be loved. (Which you shared with me).
    Joshua and Kacper are not “saints” or “infallible popes”. They also are not “devils” or “incarnations of evil”. Vilcabamba is just one more place of this troubled Earth… in America and Australia there is much more crime, exploitation of the poor and the indigenous natives than you will see in Ecuador (“Same same, but different”). Almost everyone in America, and many people all over the world, has a gun, and everyone is trying to make a living “selling something”… just like you are with your story here. You got hurt by your boyfriend, and you want to hurt others (in this case skinny Kacper and Fat Josh)- same old same old story that creates and perpetuates wars, rape, violence, crime, and hatred throughout the history of our little Planet. Can you see the obvious energy at play in your story?
    I guess you want to (or you need to) overlook the “trail of unpaid bills” and deceit and lies you left behind you in Vilcabamba. Many people were hurt by your actions. And because you were hurt by your ex-lover and “Fat Danish Josh” (I wonder when did being overweight or Danish become a bad thing?) you feel totally justified and in the right to step on Joshua’s elbow when he is hurt… what do you get personally out of this Jade? Some kind of healing balm for you own pain?
    I was 25 meters away from Josh when he was attacked. We were visiting another friend who rents next door to where Josh was. (By the way~ houses in this “rich man’s luxury digs” cost not so much in real dollars- most gringos here are middle class at best by world standards).
    Around 8pm, my friend saw Joshua walk down to his basement and then 2 minutes later, a shotgun was fired. Joshua did not hit any of the 5 masked gunmen. Joshua does not have a gun. He was hit on the head with a crowbar, tried to prevent them from tying him up and beating him, with intention of robbing him. (Since when is having money a serious crime? Believe me, Josh & Kacper are not rich by world standards… maybe in your eyes. They don’t owe money, or lack for financial energy, but they are not super rich, believe me). Do you and your readers know that almost all middle and upper class Ecuadorians have walls and gated entrances to their houses? Do you know the crime rates of Brazil, and other countries (including Thailand, Europe, Africa, India, etc)?? So, back to the violent attack- when we heard the blast, the 4 of us were startled to the core… then we heard Joshua screaming for help and in obvious deep pain. We ran to where he was (luckily the other guy was an ex-fireman) and then staunched the bleeding and drove him to the hospital. Since I speak Spanish, I was with him all through the emergency proceedings. I don’t wish anyone to have to see what I saw and felt that night…
    Perhaps it is true that “we all reap what we sow”… if so, Joshua has balanced his karmic account a bit, and so has Kacper with this very violent and vicious attack. I guess Existence will call us all to the Great Balancing of our Actions… And, for the sake of “Balance”- I would like you and your readers to know that Joshua and Kacper have positively touched lives of many people throughout the world and also here in Vilcabamba… they are not the cheats and scumbags you are describing. Not everyone shares your vindictive attitude towards them. Compared to the majority of humans, they are doing some positive things. You paint their life story with your own psychedelic colors… they are living, breathing beings just like you are. I am not defending them, or the exploitations done by white people, yellow people, brown people, or red people throughout history. We are all riding on this small Planet and co-creating together.
    Passion Fruit Cowgirl~ By writing this sensational and very spiteful report of a real sad event that spreads fear and terror to all sensitive people, you have definitely increased your own “karmic account”… and you will get a call from your personal karmic agents soon.
    Jade, I know you enough to see your cynicism and sarcastic wit… and your intelligent and engaging way of writing. So I suspect that you won’t give much creedence to the energies of “forgiveness”, “letting-go of old pain”, or using your own thoughts towards others as “a healing touch”. Personally, I find your above article very painful and depressing… because for me it is not a “fantasy story”… it was a very real and fearful experience.
    May you someday find peace in your own heart. Sincerely, Anubuddha

    1. Well.. I bet you’re regretting this little hissy fit?
      It’s maybe just a little too revealing of that viscous streak lurking beneath your so-carefully constructed Mystic Guru Healer dude facade.. oh dear.
      You do quite like to punch below the belt, don’t you?
      Not unlike your creepy friends.
      Your post makes me wonder what you actually learned as an underling at Osho-witz all that time? Clearly not to mind your temper, then.
      Must have been mostly how to use New Age spin to make a buck. Which is why you’re so miffed with me, right? Because if there’s one thing New Age Mystical Entrepreneurs can’t abide, it’s being held accountable.. isn’t it?
      Your halos go all sideways and you’re likely to spit pure venom if anybody from the nasty, evil rational world so much dares to look at you with even the slightest hint of respect to a healthy boundary.
      I wasn’t going to publish your comment because your little smear effort against me is nasty business indeed. But I decided that it was a better service to humanity to take the hit in interests of the Higher Good by allowing others to see what a cut snake you can be.
      On the charges of thievery etc – let’s do this: anybody at all who has any sort of feeling that I owe them money of any amount in Vilcabamba should let me know within the next fortnight and if that claim is true and fair I will pay it immediately.
      Hell, I’ll pay double.
      This, of course, excludes Chris at Jardine Escondido, who has been pouting and saying mean things about me since I refused to sleep with him, no matter how much wine he gave me. Poor thing.
      The big question about your comment is – what’s the value in it?
      Your little spit at me is irrelevant, whistle-blowers always have to deal with this bother.
      But what I think what is precious here – for you – and would like to point out is this: you and the other boys have made a career out of shunning, disreputing and maligning the mainstream in order to peddle your wares for a long time now. You’ve made something of a sport of it.
      You’ve cut down traditional schools like Medicine; you’re Superior to Science, Cynical of Pharmaceuticals, Graced by higher wisdom, you say, and that has enabled you all to hang shingles and sell your special magic to people who need help. Right?
      So lately you’ve had the experience of relying on ACTUAL healers – nurses, doctors, surgeons, people who create pharmaceutical medicines.. and because of that you’ve been able to access the benefits of a (State-subsidised) hospital, and witness fat Josh have repair work on the elbow, treatment for infection, tissue repair and lots of other benefits. Right?
      So, it is my hope then, that you’ve learned some respect for ACTUAL workers in healing and human health – you know, the doctors you guys so love to ridicule.
      That you’ve had your humble pie, and you’ve eaten it well.
      Oh, and further to that – your outrageously presumptuous comments about the state of my karmic account…. it appears that the red ink is on your side of the ledger.

  6. Quite the venemous article targeting the male genitals. Bravo, it is too bad you can’t channel your talents to a larger audience say for instance the state of politics and Trump. Now there some ass that needs chewing, and you would have a much better audience to get your attention. But, no that would not work for you because this bitterness is a personal attack and vendetta.. My question , since you seem to be an expert on how terrible the expats are in Ecuador. What contributions did you make for the locals when you resided here?

    1. Hi Lureta, you seem to be undecided in your feelings on this piece. Perhaps that’s a good thing. It is meant to stimulate some consideration.
      Bitterness… not really. A genuine distaste for the protagonists, yes.
      And yes, there are some expats in Ecuador whose behaviour certainly needs to be looked into – closely.
      While the rest of the world press does a great job on Trump, and the other macro issues, I think it’s a good thing that some writers and journalists and researchers remain focused on the less sensational stories – I mean, there is that whole idea that the circus is really just a distraction from the under-mining of everyday life in our actual communities
      As for what I did to help make a positive difference… now let me see… I’ve had a long association with South America, and tried to contribute where I could.
      In the last few years I’ve contributed more than $10,000 to the work at the Amazon Animal Oprhanage to protect and care for endangered wildlife, and funded education on conservation to local children in the basin. You can see this great project here http://www.amazonanimalorphanage.org/
      I set up a project called Girls on Top which gave away almost $200 000 to independent projects in this region and others over 6 years, and did quite a bit in Australia and New Zealand to encourage businesses and individuals to support independent charitable efforts in South America for which we could vouch in ethics and reliability.
      I provided a large part of funds, through a project in Australia, to build and run a free medical clinic to impoverished or displaced people in remote areas through the wonderful charity, Amazon Promise. http://www.amazonpromise.org
      I’ve bridged Western doctors, dentists and funders to help provide free medical care to out-lying villages in the Amazon and the Andes, done considerable work to educate about indigenous medicine, conservation and the collision of cultures from Peru thru to Bolivia, and provided free school supplies and sports equipment to remote families in northern Peru over five years.
      I’ve rescued five dogs, three cats, four Americans, and two Chileans who were drowning off the coast in Southern Ecuador.
      How about you?

  7. Wow, what a journey………keep riding/writing them Cowgirl (with her passion juice spilling everywhere). Your posts need to be read by the sheep who suck up and swallow (literally) mainstream media. ❤ 🙂

  8. I am choosing to publish this message, following on from a conversation further up the line on this post because this exchange began publicly and I would like it to be completed that way.

    There is important information here which I hope those investigating and prosecuting violent crime and criminal behavour in Ecuador and elsewhere with regards these matters, and these people will find and make use of.

    Also, those of you who are unaware, can see what it’s like to see a story unfold, flare up – flush the bullies and villains, and then provide some sort of peace and transparency.
    _____________
    By email, April 14, 2016
    Hi Jade~
    With the intention of a clearer understanding and peace between us, I would like to go a little deeper into this “Fat Josh” story with you. If I would have had your email before, I would have written you directly, instead of on your Blog. Today, I tried to remove my Post in your Blog comment section, but I could not find the way to do it… I did notice that you have edited your original reply to me and the whole Blog entry since I saw it back in March.

    First- I agree with you that I was dumb to write and debate with you at all on your public forum- imagine that! And really, to stick my nose in other people’s fight is never a good idea, unless I also want to get smacked around. I apologize for saying on your Blog that you left a “trail of debts” in Vilca… that is stuff I just heard from folks around town, and of course I have no first-hand proof… in fact, I don’t remember any bad moments with you personally. I wanted you to feel that gossip can be untrue and misleading.

    I also agree with you that “I reacted” to how you were smashing and publicly discrediting Joshua in your Post. Indirectly, and subconsciously, I let your words and the energy behind your words, affect me also… so I wrote to you to give it back, and try to help you see how words can be as toxic and powerful as fists, knives, drugs, and guns. I should have kept quiet, as you know all that already, and you don’t need my help. And, like you say, you investigated and saw many things you did not like with Vilca and with Josh & Kac, and you wanted to put it all out… fair enough. It’s a good story. And, I also know you don’t need me to talk to you about karma…

    You see, for me, this “attack” was really intense, personal, and direct. By co-incidence, I was visiting Lily and Chris next door to where Josh and Irina were renting, right in the moment when he got shot. So, like it or not, I was “in his movie”, with a very key and intimate part to play for the next 48-72 hours. It really was a mess of blood and body tissues all over, and he was shocked and in a lot of pain, as we all were. So we bundled him up, and sped off to the hospital.

    {As an aside- Anasha and I were in a super good space before that moment, and we were prepared to leave for Brasil to share ARUN Conscious Touch in just 4 days}

    So, just before leaving Vilca, Anasha and I spent 2-3 days with almost no real sleep- dealing with hospitals, police, our fear, rumors, and Josh’s pain, as well as other people’s fears and tensions. When we finally got to Brasilia, a few friends told me you had written a very heavy Blog post about “Fat Josh”, and my first response was “that’s not my story”, so I did not read it. Then, a couple days later, another good friend told me that I was quoted in your Post, so then I decided to read it. I definitely took offense to the tone and the energy in your Post, and felt that it was like “rubbing salt in their wounds”, which I did not appreciate at all, and I thought your Post was also having many “personal judgements” that to me were misleading to anyone who did not know the whole story. So I wanted to give a different angle to it. You say below that “my version reeks of misunderstandings” but I think I said a lot of things from a balanced vision, without blaming the attackers, nor saying Josh and Kacper are free of blame.

    I also agree with you Jade, that many gringos are “out to lunch” and live a decadent and arrogant lifestyle here… and that they are pushing many buttons of the ecuadorians. If you remember when we connected here, I concurred with your funny take on many international Yoga teachers, gurus, etc. that they are exploiting and don’t have a clue about deeper truths. And J & K are certainly into drugs and K has sex cravings, and they are not living what they preach on their Websites… but in that moment with Joshua, I saw his pain, his remorse for his own actions, and his feeling that he helped create “the shot and attack”… it was a definite wake-up call, and I think he will change his behavior (I/we hope he does!). But why make it all so public????

    My personal connection to Josh, Irina, Kacper, and Andrea is primarily through sharing “ARUN Conscious Touch” meditations with them over the years… they have each been on my table countless times. When I connect with anyone this way, It is easy to see their essence and their soul, and my heart opens to them. I have tried to tell them that smoking dope, coke, ayuahasca, acid, mushrooms, etc will not help them anymore… but what to do? They need to find their own discipline and live their truth. I have enjoyed interacting with them all at various times, but I do not live the way they do, and I have shared that with them personally over the years here… so I don’t mind telling that to you.

    In my life, I also smoked dope, and I am a child of the 60’s, so I know how it can give an illusion of awareness and enlightenment. It can be a lot of fun! And I also know that doing it does not make someone a bad person… it is just a habit and they enjoy it, so it’s their choice. My last acid/mushroom trips were in the 1970’s… Around Osho, there were always a bunch of people doing drugs, so I think I’ve seen it “misused/ abused in the spirit of meditation”, more than most people have. I have also seen that in the right setting and moment, it can help someone a lot… it’s a question of balance and timing. I am aware that J & K always had lots of mind-bending stuff at their parties and that they would offer it to everyone. We had a running joke when they asked me and Anasha to trip with them- we would always say “no thanks, maybe next time”… But like I tried to say in my first email to you- what is happening here in Vilca is happening all around the globe, so no need to make it seem so sinister. There are conscious and unconscious locals and foreigners everywhere one travels to. I took offense at you singling out Joshua & Kacper and the way you were condemning them so blatantly and publicly… it felt too hard at that moment. Now I see that I should have stayed out of your business.
    Sorry for such a long note- I just wanted to round out my brief skirmish with you… I noticed that you did some research and discovered that my manipulative pseudo healing work in the Valley is not $80/ hr, and you changed your response to my Post to highlight my guru fantasies, my ego facade, how I missed with Osho, and my cluelessness about real medicine and health… I don’t totally agree with you, but that shouldn’t surprise you~ ha! If that is how you experienced me, though, fair enough- let the world know…

    Jade- I wish you all the best… both in your inner world and your outer world dances. I wanted to try to clear the air between us~ because I do not want to have strange feelings inside when someone mentions you, or when I think of you. I hope you feel the same…

    Sending smiles + love, Anubuddha

  9. Thanks for the message. I am not sure why you think the story and replies were heavily edited ~ perhaps that is more a reflection on your own change of mind and heart since the shooting in February.

    Perhaps your ‘strange feelings’ are guilt, or shame.. or something like that? If they were more noble, perhaps they would have inspired you to do something more powerful than having to apologise. You could have stepped in at any time to make a difference for me when i was being humiliated and abused, or for the kids who were being seduced by your mates there with drugs, sex, money and ‘healing’ by the circles you run with.

    Perhaps your strange feelings are trying to tell you something?

    My reply to your central question about why to make this story public is threefold;

    First, I hope that transparency and the telling of a more full context for the truth of these matters and others like them will go some way to protecting those who are wrongly being cast as the ‘thugs’ in this story.

    The gringos have a web of silence and privilege around themselves which people who make choices like yours continue to thicken by ‘minding your own business’ while your friends dish out drugs, lies and false promises with no limits at all.

    Secondly, people like Josh and Kacper, Nick Vasey, Talbot Walker, Brooks, the Jones family and others have trails of victims behind them due to their fraudulent business dealings and their treacherous social conduct. I hope some of those will feel vindicated to know that these narratives are being outed, and I hope that the next wave of people they exploit might be protected by having this information made available.

    If you knew what these guys were up to, you should have reported it to the police – criminal activity is not a matter for a massage table. I can’t see why you would provide whatever benefits you have to offer to the perpetrators of social and moral deceits, and not be stirred instead, to act on behalf of their victims.

    Really… I just can’t fathom it.

    And lastly, Joshua and Kacper made it their business to torment and undermine me for three years there when they realised my ethics and set out to test my mettle. They did a good job, which gave me precise and excruciating first-hand experience of how they and their mates operate, and how ruthless they are. My own story with them provided the factual basis for me to be able to write this piece with confidence and fair aim – sometimes journalists are lucky that way.

  10. FYI Haciendo Joe took off in the middle of the night to escape some law he broke here with his big spread. Everyone was left wondering. There is apparently a big ol auction this week with a starting bid at 3.3 million……….for his spread and useless empty hotel sitting upon the mountain. So much I could share. Wish I had known you when you were here.

    1. I am the Joe you just slandered. My family and I did not leave HSJ in “the middle of the night.” We left during the day. We took a taxi from HSJ to the Catamayo airport. From there, we took a flight to Guayaquil. After a night there, we flew to the U.S. We did not leave to “escape” anything. I worked on HSJ 24/7 for nearly nine and half years until someone acquired my HSJ interests. It was time for us to return to the U.S. Sorry, but it’s a pretty boring story. Not the drama you wrote about incorrectly. I have nothing to do with the auction which, incidentally, is not this week. It’s in late May.

      1. You sound like a bit of a bully, Joe. Not a fan of an open dialogue then?
        From the way you write Joe, you sound a lot like a man who throws a hissy fit when he doesn’t get his own way.
        Further to that – the story is, I would have thought, rather the opposite of boring. And in all honestly, I couldn’t give less of a hoot about your auction. The profits of property developers, especially in remote, indigenously inhabited land, repulse me. You have had your chance to say your piece here – keep it friendly and useful or you won’t get another one.
        … and remember to breathe –

  11. As an Ecuadorian I totally agree with every word you wrote about the enslavement of our people in Vilcabamba, just a few weeks ago I was in Vilcabamba everything is ridiculously expensive specially for us… Thank you for making me realize how big of an issue it is..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s