Beware ye pilgrims who be messing with the sacred medicina! It is well past time to call this out: real people ARE dying in ayahuasca ceremonies – and not all those deaths are accidental. The Vine of the Dead always came with a curse, so beware the cup you drink from! This time it came by … More Whoring the Goddess – Ayahuasca takes her revenge.
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 … More Wild Justice – who shot the fat guy?
When the fine art of conjuring the mighty cosmic serpent goes wrong, it takes a Colombian juggler, a bottle of snake juice and a steady needle to sharpen the carnal fang. Vilcabamba Valley, deepest Ecuador, 2pm under a fierce Andean sun: here we are in the garden. Humming birds whiz about like dabs of oil … More The boy with the really bad tattoo
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
It was a long ride out. About two years, in all… but the final push was a grind, lurch, scramble out of Cuenca, through sunsnakes that rose over the baked-down rubble and concrete to Guayaquil’s inconvenient bus terminal, before plonking down in the right seat on the wrong bus. There was a slight commotion that … More Eat shit and die…
The Key to Enlightenment I’ve never been one to ‘buy American’. I don’t go for Macs, Levis, Victoria’s Secret or Oreos. I will admit to contradicting for the sake of The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Annie de Franco, but in the main, no – I don’t ‘buy’ the American thing. Especially when it comes … More Malice in Underland – Part One
Vilcabamba artist, James Birthrong, talks to a difficult bitch about love, drugs and the higher ground on the eve of his latest show, First Harvest, opening this Friday in Ecuador. The artist smokes. He eats meat if he wants to, gambles, swears, describes himself as try-sexual (“I’ll try anything, twice!”)… and is brave enough to be interviewed … More Man of Flowers
Of all the cities in the world to soothe a tattered dream, I hand my vote to Cuenca, in Ecuador. With regrets, of course, to Paris. Folks from the more rural, southern parts of Ecuador will say the little city of cobble stones, cathedrals and actual cappuccino is too cold to be comfortable, too wet … More The Last Beautiful Thing
Of all those many taboos that lurk behind the brittle whiteness of the New Age smile, I think one of the most fascinating is the failure of female leadership. Don’t you? It was fashionable in the eighties (and remains so in the most dull circles today), for folks dismayed at the fiasco of leadership on … More Who Killed Mummy?
As murder tops the list of crime and skulduggery in Vilcabamba this week, I am reminded of the timely lesson of the Snake Goddess: while sucking the delectable poisons of someone else’s myth, beware the compulsion to bite your own tongue! She had been beckoning me for years, the snake goddess of the cubist pueblo … More Snakebite! – Evilcabamba Diary #3