The Bitter Cup: Ayahuasca – beware the hand that serves you

As ayahuasca tourism explodes into a frenzy of expensive retreats, gringo-shamanism, one-night love-ins, and do-it-yourself thrill-seeking across the planet – a shaman from the Amazon sends a postcard on which he writes, only this…. beware the kiss of the vine of death. If you were sick, I mean really – and abandoned on a sandbank in the Amazon -would … More The Bitter Cup: Ayahuasca – beware the hand that serves you

Mr Walker’s Fingers

They sell the remote Andean paradise of Vilcabamba, Ecuador online as The Valley of Longevity – a cheap, beautiful, magical place where you can re-start your life, connect to nature and fulfill your dreams. But beware of sharks in the waters if you’re hunting for a peaceful place to relocate – all is very much … More Mr Walker’s Fingers

Taking the medicine – shock and Awe in the Amazon

If you were sick, I mean really, and happened to be abandoned on a sandbank in the Amazon, would you trust a chain-smoking motorbike mechanic with a fetish for vomit and a blunt machete who turns up out of nowhere, stinking of cigarettes and says, I can be helping you if you drink thess! Deep in the ancient forests of the … More Taking the medicine – shock and Awe in the Amazon

Voodoo in a Pinstripe – Kingdom of the sick #1

After the announcement last week of Angelina Jolie’s ‘decision’ to remove her healthy breasts because of medical advice, and the trillion-dollar industry that is benefiting from her influence, I decided to publish a little story from Sydney in 2003, when I was told I was terminally ill and would never walk again… in support of … More Voodoo in a Pinstripe – Kingdom of the sick #1

A Sticky End

Pitter  patter …  pitter    patter… a pit-pat-pitter splat …a blat splat ting! The smoky Andean twilight of the second last day of the world is giddy with raindrops. They hurl in sideways from a ghostly-white dusk and drum their little bodies, fat with Amazon, upon the domed roof of my new adobe home. These orbs … More A Sticky End

Death in Vilcabamba

I’ve always had this intuitive feeling that ‘going back’ is a path fraught with disappointment, a sure way to lance the boil of regret that grows quietly on the under-side of nostalgia. In love, in career and travel, ‘going back’ risks curdling all that warm milky romance that time so gently nurture us with – … More Death in Vilcabamba