The first 7 days in the jungle in Cumbaza, there were 4 of us.


(L-R: earth, fire, air, water)

Then two of them left. The two that said goodbye were the ones who could speak English. Now the ones left were J-C, who speaks 3 words of English, and me, who speaks 3 words of Spanish. The only English he spoke were filler lines from hip hop songs.

‘Yeah! Come on!’, Notorious BIG.

‘Alright! Yeah yeah!’, Diddy.

I thought that was the end of human conversation for me. I was prepared to start talking to the trees and the animals.

But, necessity, invention, and all that. We eventually coined our own language. The first night we spoke in the dark until four candles died out. After that it was a breeze.

When i first met J-C, i was intimidated. All of 6’2″ and built like a raw steak. Fists twice the size of mine. I thought he was a local thug in Tarapoto. Turned out to be a gentle giant. This is him trying to have his next fb profile pic done.


He’s a funny guy. There was this time he told me once, when i opened my laptop, he said electronics were not a good idea while in the jungle. Spoils the energy, he said, with a very serious face. Then he went back to his cell phone, on which he spoke for over 3 to 4 hours in a day. Or the time he said the animals in the jungle were a peaceful bunch. They harm nobody. Then he bumped into a massive honeycomb and was chased around the place by over two dozen bees. Imagine a guy the size of an american football player, screaming and running from a bunch of bees. I wanted to help but i was busy rolling on the floor laughing till no sounds came out my mouth.


Soon he was my ayahuasca consultant, he’s been to over a hundred ceremonies in the last four years. And as fate would have it, i became his relationship counsellor.

The hours he spent on the phone, all those calls were from his girl. Around 7, maybe 8 a day. He looked in anguish after every call. So finally i asked him if everything was ok. He let out a deep sigh, sat next to me.

‘Bijou… my woman. Crazy.’

Common problem. What happened J-C?

Every time J-C talks, there’s more action and hand motions than words. Hand motions like he’s swatting imaginary mosquitoes around his head. Cos he’s trying to figure the English words in his head, while muttering Spanish words, till we both come to the conclusion as to what word he was trying to get at.

‘She 35… but *hand motions*… mentalty…? mentalty…?’

Mental? Mentality?

‘Si! Mentality.. *hand motions*.. only 15.’


‘Sheeee… *hand motions* inseguridad? insecure? insecure? She vaaery insecure.’

Ya, insecure.

‘Insecure…*hand motions*… jayloos.. ego… aaaand vaaery*hand motions* arrogante’

Yeah, yeah, you’re getting it. Arrogant, si.

‘Sheeee…*hand motions*… Bee polar’


‘Bipolar, bipolar, si!’

He went on to tell me how it’s been a hard year, yadda yadda, she never understands. All she wants to do is go out and get coked out, smashed, and then cry.



And then go out get smashed again.

Told him ‘know when to draw the line’. You can try to help someone as much as you want, but not at the cost of your own peace and freedom. He’s fighting the good fight. His ordeal is, he’s the one who introduced her to drugs, and now she doesn’t know any other way. So of course, he believes if he doesn’t help her get out of it, bad karma.

J-C used to be a hydroponic dealer in Lima. For 10 years, if you bought the best weed in and around Lima, or anywhere in Peru, possibilities were they came from his terrace.

10 years. 400 soles for 28 grams the going rate. That’s about 10,000 – in rupees. When i told him the price of weed in India, his jaw hit the floor. Of course, that’s not even a fraction of the quality though. 10 years he was THE man to go get your stash from.

Four years ago he was sitting and flipping channels when he saw his friends on TV. Busted by the cops, with a jar he had sold them as evidence laid out on the table. He ran to the roof, and destroyed everything he had. The neons, the pipelines, the systems, and over 500 plants. Bags and bags of seeds and soil he’d imported from Amsterdam and Canada. All, incinerated within a couple of hours.

In four days he was out of Lima, that was in 2010.

This is him today, after our time in the jungle.


I’ve always wondered, why is the weed in India so shitty, man?


About johnny b

dj, writer, traveler, moonwalker, headbanger, mind expander, yoga instructor. View all posts by johnny b

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