Wouldn’t you know it, my flight was cancelled, so I’ve got another day to kill, and then I leave at 2 in the morning. If you ever make plans to fly down to South America with Lan Peru, be aware if you buy your tickets in advance that Lan Peru changes their flights constantly (my flight to Perù was also changed), and you might not find out because they don’t apparently maintain much contact with travel agencies or other international airlines. Annoying as hell, it’s a good thing I planned my return with a bit of leeway before I need to get back to cleaning toilets.
So I’ve returned to Miraflores to kill some time and enjoy some more Peruvian food before I leave for good.
Tonight’s my last night in Perú. I’m trying to get the few people I know here in Lima together for one last meal at Pardo’s Chicken. I’m sure as hell gonna miss the food here, not to mention the beautiful women, the discotecas, the exchange rate, the fruit, the jugos frescos, the warm weather, the cold showers, the pisco sours, the ever-present cheap taxis, the drivers with a death wish. . .Well, the latter one I won’t miss so much.
However, I do admit to looking forward to going back to the culture I know so well and usually dislike. I’m looking forward to eating a phatty burrito and throwing some hot sauce on that shit. I’m looking forward to not having diarrhea for an extended period of time. I’m looking forward to a dark, heavy, bittersweet microbrew. I’m looking forward to articulating myself in English using big, complicated words. I’m looking forward to being able to throw my toilet paper into the toilet. Yes, all of these things. But most importantly, I am looking forward to seeing YOU–my family and my friends–again and sharing what I have been through with you and seeing your beautiful faces again and drinking some wine, or whisky, or Chartreuse with you. Oh, and yes, I have tons of pictures that I am going to make you suffer through as I describe each and every one in excruciating detail. Look forward to seeing you soon.
I was just on Google looking to see if I could find out what kind of insect bite I’ve got on my arm–it itches like beejesus and trails down the length of my arm, ending in a sizeable bite that seems to be steadily increasing in size. I didn’t find anything on the web about it, but I did find this cool BBC site with lots of interesting facts about the jungle.
Un beso no es solo un beso para eses personas con consiensia de la luz; un beso es lleno de sentimiento, es una extensión del corazon, una forma de algo no puede definir. Porque amor esta afuera todo, esta dentro de todo, esta incontenible, movimiento a través de todo, afuera palabras, se bastado solo con manos, con contacto de cascaras–palabras se amoldado de bocas sino allende de sonidos. Amor es un creacion de la luz buscando sí mismo. En aquel momento de unidad, no es nada sino una fuerza fuerte penetrando todo, desterrando el oscuridad. Por supuesto, el oscuridad volverá, cubriendo los espacios lejos del corazon. Necesite crear amor incesantemente para su vida, para que el corazon puede recordar por que se existar, se existar solo para amor, para respirando la luz afuera sí mismo al dentro del mundo. ¡Mantena su respirando, divida la luz! ¿Que mas es en vida que cual esta dentro de su corazon?
I’m back in Lima once again, four more days until I’m home, this is the homestretch. I ate my last bit of home-cooked jungle food, cecina, platanos fritos, arroz and ensalada de cebolla, palta, y tomate, con jugo de papaya, with Rosa and then hopped onto my plane, saying goodbye for now to humidity, charapitas, and mosquitos. Iquitos was like a kind of wonderful summation of my trip to Perú–love, food, exotic drinks, and dancing. The night before I left Rosa’s sister took me around the town on her moto. The wind in my face, gripping the back handles, half-assedly trying to understand the things she was saying, I felt a kind of peace settle over me as I thought about my experiences here. This trip has turned into everything that I would have wanted it to be had I scripted it out. The fact that I didn’t at all makes it all the better. Without any kind of direction, it has evolved into a very balanced and full experience–I spent a good chunk of time in three very distinct and different places in Perú, representative of the 3 main types of climates here: the mountains (las sierras), the coast (la costa), and the jungle (la selva). I met incredibly hospitable people and tried all kinds of different foods typical of each region. I danced frequently and drank little (comparative to my normal alcohol intake). I gained a functional ability in the usage of Castellano. And ten million other little things that make up the stars in the sky. Because these memories will light up whatever darkness of solitude I may suffer in the year to come. Did I say memories? It doesn’t seem like the right term. Memories are something in the past. I feel like there are things on this journey that I picked up that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, that will grow inside of my heart because they dug out a little space for themselves there. Anyone who can burrow their way into love will stay there forever if this is where they would like to be. The doors are open and here wine is served 24 hours. Why go home again when you can be drunk all the time with the friend?
I think I’m starting to get the hang of the salsa beat, a little bit at least. You’ve got to get one cheek of the buttock swinging forward on the cusp of that double conga swat as you move the foot up, then conversely step back and hit the next conga swat with the other buttock. Of course, I might be totally wrong on that one, but it felt a lot better for me, as if my ass was finally starting to make it’s first forays into a fuller understanding of the rhythm. I just went out for what may prove to be my last dancing stint in Iquitos, I’m really going to miss these damn discotecas here with their live orchestral groups. I’m so fond of the local music, in fact, that I’m going to see about getting me a disco compacto of some of that shit. Once you’ve got you’re ass shaking to it, you forgive a lot of whatever aspects of cheesiness there may be to it’s little jumpy synthesizer licks.
I discovered that cocona not only refers to the fruit, which is delicious, but also to a certain female body part. When I was in the jungle, the 70 year old cook (who made some great basic typical foods (always with the required side dish of platanos fritos of course)) was asking me if I liked cocona, when I had said that I had tried jugo de cocona, and I didn’t understand why they all started laughing when I avidly replied “¡sì, mucho!”
I also learned from my guide the meaning of rompecalzon, one of the tragos (local drinks mixed with aguardiente that double as aphrodesiacs). It refers to the forceful removal of underwear, suggesting that to drink of this potent elixir is to be infused with sudden and intense sexual energy. I don’t know about that, it is possible it has that effect, although I just thought it was the hot women and the extreme humidity. I just kind of like the taste. It’s funny though because I’d been ordering this drink for a while here without knowing the meaning. Now I feel a little weird when I order it, like I’m asking for a viagra or something.
Just one more night and day to enjoy this little slice of jungle life and then it’s back to the big city.
Laying in my hammock in the jungle, listening to the gallìnas crow and the insects whirring and feeling my blood slowly draining through the continuous multiple straw sucks of the mosquitoes, I began to think of my journeys in Perù and of how these experiences have changed me. I really do not feel like the same person that I was when I came here. The windows opened to the vistas of a new world have shed light onto another person dwelling inside of me–there all along, of course. Once I return to the habits and customs of my nation of birth, I wonder how long these changes can persist. But that is perhaps not so important. What is important is that I have seen these new horizons at all and that I know now that they can exist.
I have been so blessed on these travels, given so much by so many people, that it would be impossible for me not to be changed. When one’s life has been filled with blessings, there is nothing to do but try to find some way to fufill the promise and opportunity these blessings have bestowed. Because I know that there has to be some kind of karmic payment for all of this wonderfulness. Maybe some of this debt has already been payed and this is the reward, I don’t really know, but what I do know is that I am humbled in the face of gifts that are beyond anything that I could have expected. All I can do is try to find a way to give this love back to other people and spread the light around.