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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Heroes of Victorian Glasgow

The buildings of CRM (Charles Rennie Mackintosh should be a reason alone to visit Glasgow. He's the most famous of the Art Neuvo Architects in Britain if not Europe and all his buildings are here. The most famous is probably the School of Art (photos at bottom) but he also did some quite natty villas around the turn of the century onwards, when Elgar was turning out his melancholy tunes, and until George Orwell tried to make us all top ourselves with his depressing books.

The citys architectural heritage was largely already there by then, and avoided bombing by the huns in the war, so more than any other uk city, Glasgows Victorian splendour survives - pretty good to walk round, even on a freezing day like today. Sandstone even looks good in the rain ;o)

I'd like to add, (since i dont think ive offended wishy washy liberals for quite a few posts) that, as with all things of beauty, the great buildings, free art galleries, and institutions of Victorian Glasgow were built with money from good old fashioned trade and free market capitalism (including slavery, every cloud has a silver lining!) - the industrial revolution was kick started here by one Glasgow uni academic, Adam Smith ( ) and helped along after that by local boy James Watt ( ) ;o)

This time begun by the 'Scottish Enlightment' ( ) soon after the reverse takeover of England, was possibly Scotlands finest moment (until i become prime minister!) At this time we really shook the world, to the extent that Voltaire said "We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation" - and i thought Frenchmen only ever complimented women (so they can sleep with them)

If you prefer your art funded by the great works of Socialism, check those great art galleries and beautiful buildings of North Korea. Or Lasnamaa (ok for foreigners, its the soviet part of Tallinn) Or check how the previous beauty of Havana has crumbled. well we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions, just dont vote for people who dont understand business or youll end up bankrupt like the UK

Now im off, home to Tallinn for at least a week! i hope Anna has some nice food for dinner, and the sauna is on.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Glasgow Christmas

Nice to be home in Glasgow for Christmas. The only city where people are really people (ok im biased) and dont spend their lives chasing stupid things. I'd like to go back and study architecture at the Charles Rennie Mackintosh school of art, although i'd doubt theyd take me unless i pay them handsomely (well could be an option! ) more likely i'll end up studying that at some random polytechnic who takes anyone.

Here are some photos of Glasgow (its St Vincent St, Glasgow Uni. and Buchanan St), and of Scotland in the winter (none of which were taken by me by the way)

For foreigners info. , i think Christmas here is much like yours. Now my brother, and sister with assorted children will arrive at my parents (where im cooped up) and its a big Christmas feed, followed by the Queens speech, and with any luck a decent James Bond film for the guys while the ladies do ladies things (whatever they are)

Tomorrow there are sales on in the shops i suppose, so the girls get their fighting gear on, and ill probably go to Loch Lomond or if feeling energetic up a hill. The views are pretty beautiful in winter.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Weekend in Sampa!

So i had a great weekend in Sao Paulo. On saturday morning i met with Denise and Ana, two local girls. They are total city girls, so knew the local places (well SP isnt set up for tourists so thats much more interesting)

So me and the chicas had a great traditional brasilian lunch and they took me to one arty craft fair. There were some interesting things there, and i wouldnt have found it otherwise. It had a real londony feel to it, and i got a real Eureka moment, and found a great new business idea there which i'll explore when i get back (its secret of course) It was funny to explain to the girls about potatoes, potatoe heads, and the Estonian connection. There was a stall of potatoes for sale, a whole row of hundreds of potatoes. it looked like an Estonian football match (ok i think you have to be a foreigner in Estonia to understand the joke but anyway it was really funny at the time so please laugh out loud now)

That night i met the local SP guys i'd met in Rio, William and Thiago, and they took me to a really brilliant and cheap Japanese place for dinner in Liberdad, then we went to a local kareoke, 'Kareoke Liberdaad' i think it was called, There was pool, cute drunk girls, and actually it was pretty good despite my lack of singing ability (no i didnt sing, i was not drinking) I did end up talking to a half japanese girl with blonde hair, what an interesting combination! Due to the Ayhuasca, i cant fornicate for one month so i wasnt tempted of course ;o)

Next day, Sunday was a beautiful summers day (these guys spend new year on the beach, amazing!) so i pushed my Brasili/Japan theme further and took a cruise round to one art gallery housed in an enormous pink purple and blue building, called 'Instituto Tomie Ohtake' This is a truly awful place, please avoid it. There were photos by one guy that were so so, but i could have taken them. There were collages by some guy who plainly was employing his 4 year old son to do the actual artwork. And some tedious as hell and pretty talentless random shapes by Tomie herself. Man. I know South America isnt known for its fine art, but with this shit, i should become an artist. (i guess this is modern art all over :o) )

So i went down to check out (the talent) at Ibiraguera park, the most famous park in Sau Paulo. I suppose its the Sampa equivalent of central park, surrounded by poshness and high buildings. i ended up on the roof terrace of 'Hotel unique' id planned on staying here but thanks God i didnt becuase Nikkey palace was much better and the unique was full of super pretencious poor people, the type you see all over bars in Kings Road Chelsea - chunky white trash with their best dresses on, or skanky looking girls with fake tan, boobs and high heels hoping to catch a real rich guy. A bit like bonbon club in Tallinn to be precise. Anyway the rooftop bar/restaurant does pretty good food though (spring rolls were $18!) , and the view is amazing, over the park and the city, and there is a swimming pool too, which pipes the music so you can hear it underwater.

Tonight is my last night and its a bit sad to be going 'home' (wherever that is) to the cold wet Soviet Socialist Republic of Britian, but i think ive seen everything there is to see here in Sao Paulo.

My only regret really is that i didnt get married to Jessica, the beautiful receptionist in the Nikkey Palace Hotel. She seemed a very good hearted girl, with that modesty that makes a woman truly beautiful, despite being really pretty. Oh well...thats the tragedy of travelling, you meet a pretty girl, and the next day your in another the way this is a great hotel if you go to Sao Paulo. I was quite relieved to stay there after some pretty mixed things around the continent. There is a great Sauna/steam room complex in the basement, wifi all over, and everyone speaks English (and Japanese if you feel the urge to) And the location is pretty central, in Liberdad - thats the Japanese/Asian area, its pretty interesting and i felt safe there.

In fact, despite horrific crime stats. ,Sao Paulo felt a really safe city. i walked everywhere that lonely (wimp) planet would say not to, and on the last night i watched Avitar movie til 1am and walked back til i was tired and picked up a taxi, and no problems at all. Just dont look like an American Tourist when you do that (that goes for worldwide travel i suppose)

Friday, 18 December 2009

Sao Paulo wandering...

So havent put photos in recently as i left my camera in Iquitos, my pal has it so hell post it soon.

i arrived in Sao Paulo on the flight from hell...12.50 (ten to one in the morning) and a four hour flight, and 3 hour time difference, meant i basically got no sleep, so i pitched up at a random hotel at 10am, slept til 9pm, ate, checked emails, and slept again til 11am this morning. Great holiday!

Today i walked around Sao Paulo. Its a kind of city without a centre. The downtown is pretty down at heel and random. There are some quite nice squares, and i listened to some carols in the cathedral, then hung out with some homeless guys. I went to the area that 'rough guide' says is 'the seediest red light area' of SP, its called Luz. What a lot of crap. That book is as honest as a left wing government. Its a pretty normal place where you can buy (if you want to) lots of lawnmowers and building equipment ;o)

I went to the most famous street in Sao Paulo, Avenue de Paulista. It's a pretty bog standard business street with the main art gallery on it, which is small but intersting, just what you expect from a big city. Tomorrow ill meet a local freind, who'll show me i hope the 'real' city, and what differentiates Sao Paulo from everywhere else.

Most of the day i've been in a daze though, still in a post Ayhuasca state of mind, with a lot to think about. There are some truly beautiful women here, although this couldd be becuase i just got back from Peru, and i have been living as a monk for 2 weeks now :o)

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Day 8/Day 9

This final night of Ayhuasca, i was quite relaxed. This night was mixed. I puked a bit, but saw a glimpse of heaven. I saw total clarity, and could answer every question i had with total logic and reason, my head was totally clear. This i suppose is the beginning of the next level of wisdom. There were a lot of things here that i cant put into words (at least not now) and i know the Ayhuasca is still working on me (strange though it may sound!) The main messages, that everyone has love in them, about priorities in life, about what really happens when you die, that everything is love, in some manifestation or another, that our whole lives are actually all in our mind and our daily lives are a simple construct of our minds, about the reason for being here, were truly profound and interesting. That final night i stayed in the ceremonial house, and let all the knowledge flow through me. It did give me a good hint that much better things were to come, if i ever continued with it.

At 6am i was due to break the Shamanic diet. I managed to stop shitting and doze about 5am, and at 5.40 odd we couldnt wait any longer and went up to the food house to take our salt. We each got a tablespoonful of salt to put in our mouths, and washed it around with water and spat what was left out after a minute. It was my first salt for a week, it felt great!

That day we went to Iquitos, i slept from 7pm to 7am the next day.

Ayahuasca diaries, part 5

Day 6

I slept much of the day away, and missed breakfast (wasnt missing much) i will eat lunch as its the only meal today. It's this horrible bony fish like somthing only Gollum would touch, rice, and a disgusting baked planten which looks like a banana but tastes like a bad bad cigar. Today again went slowly, and i was tired, especially since the Ayhuasca kept me awake most of the night.

The ayhuasca on this night tasted so bad that i was almost sick straight away. i think my body knows to reject it since ive vomitted and had diarea so much with it. Luckily Justin, two along from me, had a local hadrolled cigarette - just a puff or two takes the taste away (this is the only smoke ive ever had except at the secret place with Birgita :o) )

The nights experience was a little boring. I suppose ive become used to it. I was however a more pleasant experience all round, just sitting in a pleasant space for 3 hours, a little like the first ceremony. I guess the medecine was working on me and conslidating the previous nights in my head. some guys were really getting noisy again but in a good way. Mr psychic orgasmer was at it again albeit in a quieter way, and mr chicken was having his own personal farmyard party.

It keeps giving me this electric shock when i try to sleep, so by the time i was able to even doze i was exhausted as it was 5am and becoming light again. The next day was a day off so i could have a long lie at least.

Day 7

This day off was uneventful except for an inca fire ceremony in the evening, which was a total sham. you went up to a fire and made a wish. Big deal. Santa was as likely to hear it as the Jaguar God (well lets see, i wished that i won the Aston Martin DB9 in the competiton i went in for at the airport last month!) im getting used to the shamanic diet now, and i have lost a lot of weight. My beer (actually mostly food and laziness) belly has gone and i look tanned and sexy. I was swimming a lot in the lake until one women and a guy got parts of their toes bitten off. Seems there are some nasty fish in there, i must have been lucky (or they dont eat people on the shamanic diet as we taste awful!) hamilton and some guys fished for 30 mins and caught 2 pretty nasty little piranha like fish. Once 2 years ago i swam in a marsh full of Pirahnas (with a 6m long Anaconda in tow but thats a long and different story!) and i was scared shitless. Another of my 9 lives gone, as my mother would say.

Ayahuasca diaries, part 4

Day 5

It rained heavily all day today, and there were some flooded areas in the camp. The time dragged on before the ceremony. Everyone was nervous and there was a tense atmosphere in camp.

The ceremony, however, ended up quite different from the previous nights in the asylum. I didnt have any strong visions at all really. Maybe the medicine thought id learned the lesson and understood the last message sufficiently to move on. The night was reasonably boring, with the odd nugget of wisdom and clarity making some part of the previous session clear. The wolf came again and i made freinds with him, and now i understood he was here to help me to avoid evil spirits. He slept beside me in my bed afterwards.(am i really writing this?!!) This time the Ayhuasca was coursing through my veins until 5am, giving me shakes and shudders, and a lot of intermitent diarea through the night. I had a dream/vision that i married one girl and we had a son called Robert. Another strange random thing straight out of the blue, and from where i dont know! I dont even think i know anyone with that name, although it is a cool name (i never thought that before though)

Im still not sure, is this a medicine that allows the spirits to enter you and purge you until you see total clarity and enter heaven? Or is it simply a hallucinagenic drug that allows your subconcious mind to tell your concious mind what it needs to know. The 'purges' (pukes, shits, shakes, sweats) are strange - you feel good afterwards, yes definately like you got rid of somting bad in your system, 'some bad energy is leaving you' is what they say, and it clears the path to enlightment, but whatever... I suppose thats like some kind of psychic church confessional (not that i've ever been to one). One of the guys was basically orgasming in the ceremony. i afterwards saw him, hed walked into the jungle with his torch and was puking like crazy, whooping and oohin and ahhing. He was really loving it. he said the next day, he was going on fire, and met some really wise spirits who were opening up whole new things to him. This was his 2nd or 3rd time.

The setup here is quite interesting from a psychological perspective. 30 people living on top of each other (in questionable hygene/light) Its quite annoying with this large amount in the ceremony, as its a lot of noise and a lot of people going to the toilet putting torches on etc. I think 10 would have been much better. I couldnt even find a space in the toilet last night and was considering going in the shower. The noises in there would make a sober man sick. Ayhuasca puking is not like normal puking. Its always loud, not much actually comes up, but there is a lot of energy used in the process. Some guys make a gobbling noise like a turkey, some guys are even stranger and more sinister, like a noise that an Orc would make choking to death.

Ayahuasca Diaries, part 3

Day 3.

This shamanic diet is beginning to get to me, even after a day. No salt or flavour means the food is awful, and you have no energy unless you drink this disgusting drink, even the smell of it makes me sick. So ill stop drinking it and just make sure to eat all the meals. I fell asleep in a talk this afternoon, and keep breaking out in a sweat. Tonight (in one hour) is the second Ayuasca ceremony. Its powerful stuff, i really dont know whats going to happen, i hope i dont have a bad 'vision' tonight - from seeing some of the guys it looked terrifying.

Day 4.

Im beginning to wonder the health benefits of flaying your mind to near death every night. last nights ceremony began as usual, and after 40 minutes i felt myself 'going under'. I think i took a bit more this time than last (also it ferments so becomes stronger and tastes even more repulsive. Quickly the mood went strange. The Icaros sounded unfamiliar and i found myself embarcing insanity. That is, i went insane. I didnt know who i was. I didnt exist, i was everything and nothing. It was my worst nightmare of what happens when you die, you just go into the cosmic soup of things and cease to exist, and have never actually existed outside of your own mind and ego. Then the message began to come to me, that i had to embrace total insanity, in order to see clarity. That i had to not exist to understand that in fact im part of everything. That when i die i do indeed go into the cosmic soup, and while my soul exists, and my spiritual advancement from this life exists, the person i thought i was doesn't. The fact that i dont really like onions, but i like ice cream - never existed. So is my favourite colour, my homesickness for Glasgow, my businesses back home, my skills at driving (or not) etc etc. All i am is a bunch of particles. I hope im explaining this in an ok manner, it was quite hard to grasp at the time with words as the message didnt come with words, it was all a feeling. I was deep inside the Ayhuasca and i didnt notice anyone around me, but i understand i was puking a bit. This i can saw for sure was the most frightening moment of my life. I understood at this time the priorities of my existance, and i also understood that id gone insane, and i wasnt sure at this time if i had lost it permanently.

I embraced this insanity. This total chaos and non existance of myself.

Then i began to change into a Wolf. i became a wolf, it was like being possessed i suppose. I felt my left arms joints changing to that of the front leg of a wolf, ie with the paw and so on. I was being taken over and i was scared, so i tried to fight it. I then began to change into an insect, with my arms becoming some kind of curved mandible with grooves on the inside.I puked my guts up. I sounded like a great worm from planet Dune, choking out this black poison. The bucket was full of these manky weeds and dead plants, and death and decay was all around me. I understand now that this idea really means that we are connected to everything in the world, and it is entirely possible to actually 'become' an animal under the infulence of Ayhuasca. This doesnt just mean you imagination, there is something more, you think like the animal, behave and move and act like the animal, even though you have no idea even what it is you are doing. I have a pretty good imagination but this was totally leftfield for me, and i am now convinced there is somthing else crazy about this, i didnt think id find myself saying this but you actually become possessed by the animal spirit. I cant think of a rational other explanation. Affter some time and some heavy puking (no shitting tonight) the vision fades and lapsed into a morose exhaustion with sweating. About midnight it wore down and i felt good enough to go to bed. I slept soundly, although with some crazy dreams.

I didnt enjoy this time at all, im trying to understand things rationally here - I understand that Ayhuasca releases the seratonin or something similar which gives you the experience of the near death experience, so it can explain why i went insane and lost all sense of myself - this is what happens when my soul leaves my body and therefor leaves the world of physical sensation. I didnt exactly 'go to hell' or see heaven but i expect this is the type of thing that may happen. With the possession, well more later on that.

Today is a break from the Ayhuasca, so i will get both lunch and dinner - when we have a ceremony we don't get dinner, so ive been living on one meagre meal a day plus this Godawful breakfast and im pretty exhausted. Now im today at a nearby lake swimming and life seems perefectly (and spookily) normal again. It turns out the girl i thought had cancer actually doesnt have cancer, she just has shaved head, i guess shes a Lesbian. Shes a pretty freindly girl though, who happens to like a lot of blankets.

On this break day i slept late and at the end of the day i was sunburnt from being at the lake. At 5pm we too the 4th and last 'shamanic diet' drink which is supposed to let the tree spirits live in meand keep me healthy. it was in the ceremony house. Even going in there gives me the creeps after last night.
The whole setup here is like a horror movie. Calm and freindly by day, but a scene of total heart stopping horror for 3 hours at night. Im not looking forward to the 3rd session at all, and im looking forward to this finishing.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Ayhuasca Diaries, part 2

So here we were. 30 people sitting on mattresses all round the 3 shamans. They have crystals and other new age junk around them. God knows why, sounds daft to me. I was feeling comfy on my mattress, thinking about if I will be sick much (you vomit/diarea out 'bad energy' as the Ayhuasca 'medicine' works through you, cleaning out your soul.(

The Shamans begun to sing their 'Icaros' into small cups of Ayhuasca that we prepared earlier that day (it was in coke bottles) and one by one we all came up to take our Ayhuasca. It tasted like the vomit of a Balti Jaam drunkard. Then they put the lanterns out so it was pitch black, apart from the odd lightning from the thunderstorm outside. Nothing happened for 30 minutes, it was nice to hear the Icaros (which 'bring the spirits to the house'), and relax. After about 30 minutes people started being sick. After 45 minutes I did begin to see some colourful shapes, like tiny snakes in front of my eyes, and as i tried to focus on the icaros being sung, i was sick in the bucket. It was a horrible poisonous taste coming up. I didnt see any 'visions' at this time, except vivid colours and general pleasant feeling. I felt then, listening to the Icaros, that i needed to shit, so i went to the toilet. Things then really started to happen. I started seeing memories of me getting younger flashing through my head and, and as this happened, i felt a sharp 'squeeze' on both ends, and i puked (there are basins in all toilet cubicles) and had diarea at the same time.It felt good, and i was surrounded by helpful little snakes. I became a 4 year old child, thinking about jackanory and swop shop on TV, and felt totally happy and content, at this time, and had all the thoughts that a young child would have.

Then i was in the throat a large benign snake, sitting there, like i was in some kind of nest or womb. I kept seeing one teddy bear that i got for my second birthday from my Gran. After some further puking and shitting, i became aware of my surroundings (in darkness, on the toilet pan!) I heard a girl sobbing and making kind of sexual noises in the cubicle next door. God knows what she was going through. I felt my way out along the hallway and my back to the main room. The place was a total lunatic asylum. People were banging, making weird chicken noises, neighing like horses, and vomitting, howling like Goblins while they went. it was dark except the odd small light of a dim torch so people could see their way to the toilet. in the odd light you could somtimes see people beating their own chests, and one guy standing up gesticulting wildly. There was mostly a happy feeling and there was the odd bit of trippy laughter around.

As i sat down and setted into my pleasant experience of being a little boy, some guys behind me were now banging a lot, and one guy kept walking into the wall (which was just a flimst screen that separated the toilet area) he almost broke it down i found out the next day. both guys had to be restrained and i thought that one guy had died as there were a whole lot of attendants around him.

Now i was sweating i was in a fever, but couldnt puke much more (id puked a lot) and so i just hung out with the snakes in a very pleasant dream, and was thinking of my freinds and family in a very pleasant way, and how lucky i am really. the girl with cancer (i think it was her) kept on asking for more blankets.

ths must have gone on for 3 hours, with the odd distraction from crazy guys. The guys were much more noisy than the girls, and the americans as always more noisy than the euroeans (except me, i puked quite loudly) Anyway, now, the next mornning i feel fine and refreshed, like i had a good sauna. Im not sure why i saw begnin snakes - were they 'sprits' or a strange ayhuasca dream but it sure was interesting!

It seems many people didnt have such a nice time. The guy who walked into the walls went nuts, and has left the camp to go home. He was totally freaked out. Mr chicken noises and the other farmyard animals are still here. i found out the next day that one guy had become parylised. Some of the stories were horrific and truly terrifying, some were blissful.

heres a photo of me at the awful breakfast, already losing weight at a rate of noughts

Mr Shitty, of Iquitos

Our great Guru contemplates his next brushstroke
i couldnt help but tell you about an interesting gentleman i came across this morning, while walkng into the lovely Plaza de Armas in Iquitos. The man in the photo, evidently some kind of genius, or holy man, was, as i turned the corner, making some kind of mystic portrait on a wall, WITH A PILE OF SHIT!

His hand was basically full of faeces. Im pretty sure it was his own. It was all over his back too. Evidently in touch with knowledge beyond my understanding.

i didnt ask him about his enlightenment.

Ayahuasca Diaries, part 1

 I woke up in my iquitos hotel (hotel Maranon, very good for a jungle town) early after tossing and turning most of the night. I had had a great dinner the night before, at a restaurant called Fitzcaraldo (named after the film director), it was some really juicy fish kebab with chips, called plate Piscina de Amazona or somthing similar. I ended up dreaming of that dish a lot during the week ahead. I turned up at the blue morpho office at 8.30am odd, and met the others doing the tour, along with the American guy who runs the show. They looked mostly 'normal' people, although i did hear some conversations about 'spirits' and so on that sounded bizzare. I spoke to one pretty normal looking Aussie called Julian and one totally crazy but quite decent Ukrainian guy called Rolan, who was returning for the umpteenth time, he had a few interesting things to tell me about withccraft in Ukraine. There was also an American from Miami, Jesse who seemed pretty hyper but also had a few stories about seeing things and various psychic stuff. he was obsessed with what people put in their bodies, which i think is perfectly plausible if you live in USA where all the food tastes of plastic.

Anyway, after a few hours we went to the camp. I was a bit disappointed as it was only about an hour (55km) outside Iquitos so wasnt fully in the virgin jungle. Seems the previous camp they had was 200km up the river, right in the heart of the jungle. So there were no jaguars, monkeys or dangerous animals about, or cannibals unfortunately.

The people were a broad mix. One woman who looked like shed had chemotherapy for cancer, a few pretty weird looking guys, a few normal looking ones, a couple of cute Eastern European girls, but not really any total new age fruitcakes (thank God)

The centre is run by an American, Hamilton Souther, and the main local Shaman, Don Alberto, along with a local manager Johnny who seems superefficient, an intern Mags who is Scottish but has an English accent (read public school Scot) and an English guy who is the apprentice Shaman, called Chris, who looks like the guy from heavens Gate cult and was previously a psychic. Apart from that he seems quite decent.

The first activity once we dumped our stuff into these bare bones jungle huts, was to go to jungle to 'meet the trees' that we would be eating/drinking in the Ayhuasca sessions and the shamanic diet (see photo). we were encourtaged to hug them, talk to them and introduce ourselves. There were 11 out of the 30 people who were coming for the second or more time, who seemed to keen to. Alarm bells started to ring a bit when i was the only person who thought that this is a silly idea. I nodded to them for good form but didnt get involved in such nonsense.

Then all the barks were described to us, together with how they appear as spirits durig Ayhuasca sessions. ie one appears as a native warrior, one as an anaconda, one as headless giant etc.. This made me even more skeptical of this drug - seems strange how what is essentially DMT can have exactly the same effect on everyone.

i got the feeling here that all this talk about spirits in the camp was just part of sone kind of mass hypnosis thing combined with the drugs, but right now i havent taken the ayhuasca yet so lets wait and see.

Tonight ive started the 'shamanic diet' , where the Shamans sing an Icaro (its a weird song that summons the spririts, like using an amazonian Uija board ;o) i drank a revolting drink with 8 typres of tree bark in it, and for the next week i will not use soap, toothpaste,deoderant, shampoo etc. and will eat a totally plain bland diet that consists only of a really bony and nasty tasting fish, chicken (on alternate meals) with boiled rice and baked plantin (disgusting) and a really horrible yellow drink which is some kind of grass with water, to give me some calories. There is no salt, oil, flavours, or condiments of any kind. Also on 5 of the 7 days at the camp we fast after lunch, before taking the Ayhuasca. We arent allowed to meet people from the outside or even touch anyone (except you can shake hands with the 2 shamans) They also say no sunbathing as you dont have any energy from this diet obviously and you dont have any salt in you to sweat.

Tomorrow is the first Ayhuasca session, and im now looking forward to it whehter it does affect my life or not.

Day 2
In the morning, one of the girls in the cabin said she heard growling beside her bed last night (Mags said you could hear 'spirit jaguars'. I personally dont beleive it. When its raining humingbirds wait in the eaves of the huts, so i think its them she heard.) But it just shows you how everyone (except me) is thinking. Well i must be missng something. The shamanic diet started today. 11 of the 30 are doing it, mostly people who've done this a lot but including 2 other new people plus me. everyone is saying how brave we are but in all our cases its just that we are totally ignorant and have no idea what we are in for.

Breakfast is rice with 3 hard boiled eggs. No milk or coffee etc is allowed, no salt etc of course. The best thing to do is to mash up the eggs and put them in the rice, and try to eat it that way. It doesn't taste of much, pretty flavourless. Lunch was a burnt piece of chicken with rice and a fast for dinner before the first Ayhuasca ceremony. At 5pm we have to drink another drink from the fermenting bottle of this nasty tasting tree bark which according to the Shamans, 'gets the tree spririts to come and live permanently in my body to keep me healthy' See, who needs doctors? ;o) Again this sounds like as plausable as Santa Claus but anyway lets see...

All the talk in the camp is about visions and spirits and people being possessed. The scary thing is everyone seems to beleive it except me. These people sound like the kind of people you get on these ghost programmes when they basically scare the shit out of each other when all they actually hear is a bump which is the neighbours cat (have you ever seen a ghost on most haunted?? have you?!!!)

At 8 will be the Ayhuasca, in a special large hut called the ceremonial house. There are 6 toilets for 30 people, 2 showers, and everyone has a mattress, a basin to be sick in, a cup of water to gargle away the taste, or to wash the face/mouth, a roll of toilet roll, and a pillow and blanket as it seems its normal to stay there most of the night. I can see that this stuff definately has a strong effect on people (by the crazed look in the veteran psychonauts eyes mostly) but whether it will just be this dmt chemical giving me crazy dreams, or whether it is 'spirits' lets see. Since many of the 'head spirits' appear as specific people/creatures then it will be a good way to prove it as such. At least im finding out the hard way, through my own experience, so i can look a pro/con person in the eye after this and state what really happens.

Its really hot and sweaty here, made even worse by the Shamanic diet, and i need to shower in the cold water (there is no electricity here or hot water)about 4 times a day.

Post Ayhuasca

Well i got back to Iquitos yesterday afternoon. i slept one hour on the last night, as our Shamanic diet was breaking at 6am, and even though the last Ayhuasca ceremony finished offically at 12midnight, it keeps coursing through your veins keeping you from sleeping all night. Any time i tried to sneak some sleep i got an electric shock and quivered like a fish so i stayed concious all night. Back in iquitos, I had a doze at 7pm, and when i woke up again it was daylight (this morning) I was exhausted. Im still trying to come to terms with what was the most insane and extreme week of my life. I made a diary to keep me in touch with reality and the rational world, i'll put it in here now.
I lost a stone and look like i just got out of Belsen. The orgnistation of the trip was very good. The main man in Blue Morpho, hamilton souther, is a pretty decent and personable guy, and spent a fair time explaining the scene and talking through the philosophy and helped make sense of what was happening. i puked and had diarea, for Scotland. I was definately in the top 10% of pukers, even 'doubling up' the first night puking and shitting at the same time (which seems entirely normal in the context) i beleive there were those who shit their pants, or shit in the shower. All seems normal in the chaos that is an Ayhuasca ceremony. Ok, ill begin the journal with the next post - its just as i wrote it at the time, and i understand more about it now, but its better, dear reader to take you through the journey as it happened...

Meanwhile heres a photo of me, David and justin, just before the last Ayhuasca ceremony (note puke bowl on left!) and also me eating my first steak this morning!!!! I like that nice christmas uniform of the yellow rose of texas staff :o)

Monday, 7 December 2009


I Will be offline for the next nine days, as ill go deep into the jungle and there is no electricity there...i'll take pics with my disposable camera. And write a diary of my descent into madness from this Amazonian heart of darkness....

I'm actually quite nervous about this Ayhuasca, as its pretty strong stuff from what i can gather. But thats life - like a rollercoaster, if it's not a wee bit scary somtimes then it wouldnt be any fun ;o) Adios til after 9 days!

(kaye, mum, dont worry im kidding, im in kilmarnock, i'll jump on the bus and be home for tea)

Sunday, 6 December 2009


Iquitos is a place that has grown on me a bit. Being totally isolated in the middle of the Amazon jungle, 90% of the people are basically trapped here, no matter what happens, and now that times are tough it seems that 90% have no choice but to hustle for a living, selling chewing gum, cigarettes, or their bodies. i noticed that a sign that you are rich here means you can afford shoes or spectacles. If you are super rich, you have a car (very rare).

The population is around 400,000, which makes it the biggest city that cannot be reached by road (and never will) so it makes it a freindly and safe place - the criminals would have nowhere to go exactly, unless the green inferno surrounding them.

Its hot here, and steamy, and there is always one smell or another. I went to a club last night and made the cardinal error of ordering a vodka with red bull - $10 !!! I guess it has to be flown in so any remote luxury is super expensive. fish and turtle and alligator is cheap.

There seems to be a pretty nasty bunch of Gringos living here too, judging by the stuff written around - check this out, sounds like the comments on baltic business news! - seems this american guy is hated! he owns the yellow rose of texas bar and restaurant - i went there today actually as i thought the menu looked ok, but they didnt serve me after 30mins so i went to some local joint for God knows what from the jungle but it was quite tasty.

I noticed i see the same faces all the time here. The gringos are either 1. ponytailed arseholes, here for some psuedo eco reason. 2. 60 year old perverts here for 16yr old prostitutes. or 3. cute nieve little english chicks here as volunteers for some orphanage or another, surrounded by hoards of local guys kissing their arses all the time. or 4. Ayhuasca tourists who could be any/all of the above, or worse. Thats scary, i wonder where i fit in there :o)

Anyway, here are some photos of the city - the city, the slums, where i like to hang out (and which is pretty much the whole city haha)and the river which becomes the Amazon. The main square is quite pretty and normal looking, with a steel building designed by Gustav Eifel of the tower fame, and there are some really beautiful decrepit old colonial mansions, which belonged to the rubber barons (the reason for Iquitos existance) and now are largely dilapidated.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Ayhuasca, Oi!

The main event in this holiday is a 9 day ‘shamanic workshop’ in the middle of the Amazon, which starts on Monday. ( ) I will be in the same place as events took place in the classic banned in every country video nasty, ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ ( and you can watch it via ) which is a pretty mental film, I recommend watching it. The director i beleive even went to court to prove that it wasn’t a snuff movie…well anyway its an isolated camp in the middle of the jungle with no electricity. I’ll go without oil, salt, coffee, tea and all normal food for 9 days, where I will be in isolation and not be able to even touch anyone, and indulge in 5 sessions of Ayhuasca, which is a tea made from a jungle vine and a plant, and which induces vomiting and hallucinations. Its said that everyone who takes it meets a little old green woman, who is the forest god, and also a giant snake. ( )
If you allow the snake to eat you then you gain enlightenment. Personally I’m a total skeptic on these things, as you can gather, but I also believe you can only critizise something that you have experienced, so here goes (i've even gone and got my first ever skinhead since i wont be using such trendy modern crap as soap, shampoo or toothpaste over the next 9 days - maybe im missing something, is this why Estonian men do the same? Is the male population of Mustamae all in a state of permanent enlightenment?). I’m increasingly thinking to myself what an idiot I am for putting myself through this shit but hey what the hell

I do wonder what the other people will be like at this camp. There are I think 10 others. I’m hoping some cute chicks but I’m not holding my breath as cute chicks don’t generally go for hardcore self deprivation. I’m guessing a crossection of nutjobs, ex hitmen, and people with serious issues, all of whom I intend to avoid like the plague. I’m hoping against hope there are no self absorbed aroma therapists who play bongo drums, or spritual outreach craft workers, although they will be funny to take the piss out of at least. It might be fun to kidnap them actually. I must discuss this option with the local Indians.

I haven’t taken any malaria tablets because this 9 day thing means I cant take anything like that, as well as no alcohol, sex, or drugs for one month after, and no pork for 6 months (I’m not sure why on this - does it temporarily turn you jewish?) I’ve been flying over the jungle now for 30mins and all I can see is jungle as far as the horizon - what pricks are talking about disappearing Amazon? There is plenty of this green inferno left, I can tell you. Near where I will be, I believe are some of the last uncontaced tribes in the world. It would be funny if they actually were cannibals like in the film. Its basically about the remotest place on earth so don’t expect me to be answering your email any time soon.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Machu Piccu

An amazing $190 of package tourist heaven. Fair do's these guys know how to fleece Gringo, but it also means its not busy which is great. Its a pretty impressive site (understatement of the year!), straight out of Lord of the Rings, you can imagine Aragorn turning up and killing some Orcs. There is even a long stair/ladder up to the ruins on the far mountain where a few people die falling down as its a tough climb, just like the that at Cirith Ungol.

Its one of those few places in the world with a real 'magic' feel to it. You can just imagine Incas cruising around doing their normal things like stargazing, worshipping aliens, and having sex with their favourite llamas.

I'd like to come again one day - there is a pass you can enter by at the top, so you turn a corner at sunrise, and bang, there it is.

The site is between the gateway to the jungle, and the mountains, hence its location. If you go further into the jungle you can find another ruin which was the Incas last stand against Manuel and his pals from Barcelona (who had guns).

There were lots of stupid looking Llamas which made it very satisfying to eat Llama and chips afterwards (i avoided the 'genuine inca experience' and stayed clear of the llama bordello). I'm glad God made the most tasty animlals stupid looking (like chickens, prawns, salmon, cows, pigs and llamas) so you know 100% that the guy you are eating isnt missing out on much there.

My internet here is really slow so ill download more good pics later. in the photo though, if you turn your head, you can see the image of the Inca king in the mountain. And if you look at the smaller hill, its in the shape of a Condor. They also just found a few months ago pre inca ruins undrneath these ones, so this place was important long before. I have my own theories of course.....

rant about fake 'ethnic' trustafarians

The problem with poor countries with remotely interesting cultures or histories is that it attractes hordes of middle class tools who think that dressing in stripey trousers, wearing funny hats and growing beards and talking about 'indigenous people' will make them cool. If you are reading this, you are not cool people. You should get a job. You dont do any favours to the cultures you're pretending to be interested in except that you bring money to the economy because you buy drugs from them. So please cut your ponytail off and stop pretending to meditate on pyramids becuase no one beleives you. You are Charlitans, one and all and you arent even good at guitar or paan pipes ;o) I beleive we could make a country for fake 'ethnicarians' There is a part of Chad which is totally ethnic, and has not enough people. If all you guys go there and 'chill' with each other, then you could leave these poor countries alone and just send them money. And you could juggle and sell rubbish beads to each other.

swedish girls read this

Swedish/ and 1/4 finnish girls. I got back quite late, we ended up in a minivan, so i only got to Km0 at about 10.30 ish. So i didnt see you there, they others were just leaving too and i didnt stay long as i was knackered and the Andean pan pipe players from hell were playing - i left the spanish CD's with a swedish barmaid called Sara so go there or email her on and they are with her, along with my address to post them back.

Good to meet you today, by the way. Make sure and look after Matilda so her leg doesnt fall off :o)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The only hot chick in Cusco

Well I couldn’t resist chatting up this carrot juice selling princess of the Andes, what a cutey! I didn’t ask but guess she’s married as they get married at 12 here. But seriously the Inca chicks are quite ugly, hairy and smelly generally, but little Erika here I thought was an exception and a really nice girl too. I was in love for much of this afternoon. Here is a photo of the competition too. Man I am ugly. Well I’m hanging out with two Germans and a Canadian Slovak so we’ll go for a beer tonight so I might even shave.

Cusco first impression

I woke up next morning at 8am in Cusco after an all night rollercoaster bus up the mountains. Cusco is higher than Huaraz and is actually the Inca capital. it’s a pretty city, and over touristed as it’s the gateway to Machu Pichu and all the main Inca sites. You get accosted every 5 seconds by touts but I just have fun with them and try to sell them stuff. There are loads of really beautiful buildings, and its much much nicer than Lima (which I would avoid if I were you) I’m in a cool hotel called ‘killa’ hostel. I think the humour of the odd name is lost on the locals though. There was a beautiful place called ‘convento de la merced’ which is for some reason not in the guidebooks (which is a plus straight away) which has cool silver crowns of thorns and the second biggest pearl in the world, but also is a pretty amazing building.

There are however far too many gringos (white people) here who are particularly annoying. These kind of grungy spoilt rich kid backpackers who are ‘going ethnic’ and wearing stupid gear and playing bongo drums on their gap year. Idiots. I didn’t ever act so pretentious when I was 19 so no need for you to. I feel like stealing their wallets and daddys amex cards. On saying that I’ll probably end up in bed with one tonight ;o)

Today I flew over the Nasca lines. It was in a tiny plane and the pilot was mad as a hatter. He was going one handed most of the time and diving and lurching to get the best views. The drawings themselves are really small compared to the numerous large runways all over the plain. I’m not sure why no one seems to notice that. Seems Zecharia Sithcin is correct from what I can see that it was an ancient landing point for the ships of the Annunaki/Nepheliim. (check ) There even is a large drawing of an astronaut, I mean come - on! The town of Nasca is quite ok. I had lunch In a good place called El Porton with some Chinese guys. And spend a while chewing the fat with the main police guy as he spoke some English. I had to report my video camera stolen too to him. Every person in Peru who speaks English has a favourite film, Braveheart, and every one asks if its really true, was the English king a homo. I usually answer that all English are like that and they laugh. I like these Peruvian dudes, cool guys and pretty friendly when they aren’t stealing your camera.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Ica and Huacachina Oasis

That night I decided to get a bus to a place called Huacachina, which is a desert oasis about 4 hours south of lima. I got there late at night so checked in to a random hotel and fell asleep. The next morning was pretty surreal. I was in an oasis in the middle of a desert, surrounded by really high sand dunes. It didn’t help that I’m reading Bulgakovs’ ‘master and margerita’ at the same time. There was a ‘sand boarding competition’ on, I think it might have been a big one as the tv was there. One of the contestants kindly let me sledge down on her sand board, although I should have tried sand boarding really. All the hotels in this little place are similar. Check for one that has a swimming pool that works though, as mine only was on some of the time. Its pretty cheap and the ONLY place to eat is called ‘Bolepo’ which also is a hotel. It was amazing food and really cheap. There is no wifi anywhere but there are a couple of internet cafes. Just ignore that the hotels say ‘internet’ it’s normally a lie to get people in and their internet is permenantly broken.

I went for a walk in the desert, aptly prepared with a towel, a postcard to write, and socks so I didn’t burn my feet, a book on Esoteric Science by Rudolph Steiner and woefully non useful factor 2. After 2 hours I was totally lost in the dunes, but anyway, I wrote a postcard and got burnt. And wandered around and eventually saw a dune buggy in the distance (they do tours in the desert) and so I followed its direction and got home. It was truly beautiful in the desert, with not a living soul around, and the amazing colours of sand. luckily i just met a girl in the bus station who took a photo of me there so here it is!,

The Point Hostal (photos to follow!)

After an uncomfortable night on the bus back, next to ‘el gordo’ (some fat guy) who was snoring all night I got to my home from home in Lima, the point hostel. I suppose the good thing about it is that they can book all your stuff ahead from there (they have a travel centre in house) so it makes a great place to base yourself. If only they got rid of the drug dealers and cokeheads who seem to permanently hang around there then it would be a great spot.

Chavin de huantar

Chavin de Huantar was amazing, I recommend it, even just for the crazy bus trip to it. Don’t expect anyone to speak any English all though. I did seem to end up with a very nice school group from I think north Peru, who were practicing their spanglish on me and we took some funny photos which the teacher will send me and ill put on here I hope. It was raining heavily and on the way back one bridge was broken, so the bus took a swim across the river. I wasn’t expecting it and all my postcards got washed away. You don’t expect tour buses to take the ’cross the river’ route generally.

Pruvian Mountain Roads

Peruvian mountain roads

This morning I left Huaraz early for a trip to Chavin De Huantar - a pre Inca temple that was built 3000 years ago, by guys who worshipped an Alien guy who pretended he was Jaguar. I suppose he was there checking that’s where the gold was. The trip via a normal tour company was half the price of the hustlers that get you at the bus so just ignore them as you usually do. The bus went through some pretty crazy mountain passes - I don’t know if you know about Peruvian mountain roads but they twist and turn and invariably are mud tracks which crazed trucks and buses race through and often die on. The is a corner on this road called ‘Curva de Diablo’ and one called ‘save yourself if you can’ must be Peruvian humour. They obviously don’t think it dangerous enough because since it rains a lot you get numerous landslides. Obvious solution - mine into the rock adjacent to the road, just in case! I couldn’t believe it, there are working coal mines on the side of the road here, basically multiplying the chances of landlslides by a factor of ten billion. They must really need that coal at any cost.

My camera was stolen today so no photos till i buy a new one tomorrow!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Huaraz, Andes, Peru

So i woke up at 6am on a bus in the pouring rain and half light. i remembered that i must have arrived in a town in the Andes that id decided to visit. I couldnt beleive it, when i got off the bus and some early rising inca hustlers started annoying me about trips and hotels. Luckily for them i didnt have a hotel as the Hotel at the nearby hot springs hadnt replied to my booking, so i got straight to a random 10 euro a night hotel and fell asleep. the hotel is called Grand Ceasars Palace by the way, it was quite ok and central, although the town is full of cheap digs so i dont think you can go far wrong.

When i woke up the afternoon at least the rain had stopped. its 3090m above sea level, so you get out of breath really quickly the first day (for example the highest Ski Resort in Europe is Val Thorens at a puny little 2300m)

The town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1970, so all the buildings are half built shacks, and it sure is ugly, as you can see. But it does sell helluv cheap Llama hats, scarves and cheesy jumpers. So i bought loads. It was a tenner for a llama top which made me look like an elf from lord of the rings. And now you all know what your christmas presents are.

This Inca supermodel HQ is really cheap though. Steak and chips is 5 euros max, or you can try your luck with a local dish at less than a euro. There arent actually any supermodels here. The locals are homely like Guatamalans, but cute in their own warm shy smiling way. There is a funny smell in the town though. It smells of the Andes. Llamas, local cooking and lack of soap.

tomorrow ill go to Chavin de Huantar, its the main temple complex of a pre Andean cult who worshipped a demon jaguar. I personally think the jaguar was an alien like from Jecheria Sitchins ideas, well lets wait and see. You can see more about it here

Lima cokeheads

It strange staying in hostels, but you do bump into some real seedy people at times. The type who left their home country for all the wrong reasons and end up bouncing around places like peru or thailand working in hostels, or hustling and selling drugs or making ends meet in whatever way they can. Anyway i met a few over the years, but here in Lima it does seem half the backpackers are out of their heads on Cocaine most of the time. I finally went out of the hostel to party, we ended up in one place called 'Tequila Rocks' The aussie guys i was with said they had blown their money on coke so couldnt afford to buy their due rounds of beer until i had to threaten them with violence (which i find does the trick) but i must admit i was disapointed people would do that. anyway, seems most of the girls in the club were pretty out of it on coke too, i guess that what happens in a country where its so cheap and available. Pretty funny to see their eyes though, like they've been plugged into an electric socket.

Anyway, ive had it with lima and its cokehead backpackers and locals. You just cant trust anyone who is in that scene. Now im getting the 10pm overnight bus up to Inca HQ, Huaraz, 3100m up in the Andes.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

60 fatties killed in Peru

So it seems these guys killed 60 fat people and sold their fat. Its beside where i go tomorrow so i will breath in when i see someone looking at me funny.

Lima Architecture

There are some nice colonial buildings scattered around Lima. The pink mansion with the uneven balconies there is a really typical old style. I think the main business here in Peru now is Cocaine, its estimated to provide more than 20% of the GDP, can you imagine? So basically anyone you see with a lot of money, there is a good chance thats the business they are in. Crazy.


So The word must have got out that i was coming to Lima, as they deployed riot police all over to stop the hordes of Inca supermodels who were expected to descend on the city.

Actually i must admit its either a pretty dull place here or im bored. I spent a day in the centre, which is pretty sketchy, so ill stay down here in Miraflores (im in 'the point' hostel, not a place if you want a quiet night!)

Miraflores (or Barranco where i am, next door) is the posh part of town, but its still not particularly nice if you ask me, except for the seafront part (photo)

Its not warm, and there isnt much to do to be honest. I suggest anyone uses Lima as a 'jumping off point' for the rest of Peru rather than a destination. The people all look like Incas, but there is no culture particularly. So tomorrow ill go to Huaraz, in the Andes. There is a bullfight on this afternoon with a big ticket Matador from Spain (senor Thomas, muy famosa!)

No one, i mean no one speaks English here.

Tonight i will go for a beer. Its sunday and all ive done is laze around all weekend. The local food revolves around seafood and a type of sushi like fish dish called Ceviche which is great.

I even have a plan. Tomorrow ill get a bus up to Huaraz in the Andes and visit a pre-inca temple, then ill go to the desert for 2 days before starting to make my way up to the jungle...

Friday, 20 November 2009

edificios bonito en BA, and next plans...

Lots of nice buildings in BA, i couldnt help but take some photos.

Now ill go to Lima, and then there are some interesting choices to make. Either i go on the normal idiot backpacker/pensioner Gringo trail to machupichu and so on, or i go north the the haunted wastelands where i think ill be pretty happy to see another white face. Easy choice really. The only thing i have to think about is how to get to the river that takes me to the heart of darkness, as the 2 ports where ill find a cargo boat are basically in the middle of the coke growing region, which is a bit dangerous, even for me (i dont fancy a life as the Scottish Gimp of some Peruvian drug lord, or even worse just dead!) but lets see how some Pisco (40% alcohol) helps my courage