The next day:
“Hola … ”
“Ah, the beautiful señorita is back. What a surprise.”
“People don’t often come back?”
“Nobody ever comes back.”
Today the sun is up, which is another surprise. The mist is still lurking somewhere out at sea. The streets are less crowded but the everpresent droning of traffic from a million cars you can’t even see reminds you that this is Buenos Aires – a capital.
A few people have found their way to Plaza de Mayo, along with me, however … a lone Japanese tourist, lost in his love-affair with the camera; an old man picking up garbage and putting it into a can; a smart lady talking into a cell-phone, adjusting her sun glasses … They all seem strangely upbeat even though you can’t see it directly if you look at them. They don’t smile, but they seem to be filled with some kind of … energy.
Perhaps it was an energy that only I could sense, something I longed to have myself: A sense of somewhere to go. But I saw nothing new for me in this city, after the fat mist had finally been torn away by the fierce winds I could hear outside my small room at the hostal all through the night, like they were trying to tear apart the building itself.
Nothing except him … Continue reading
I’m not sure if it was right but … in the morning it didn’t feel as if Jacob wanted to talk more about what happened. But it didn’t feel as if he wanted to be alone either. It just felt like he wanted us to go.
So we went, down to the beach where we bought a ticket for one of the crammed boats that would take us out into the endless blue depths of the Lake Titicaca, out to the Island of the Sun.
And after searching for a few inches of space in one of them, to sit down, we do just that. We go somewhere. But first we sit – for a long time. We don’t talk about anything. We just sit, in the boat, and try to ignore some slight edge of anxiousness that’s in the air. Like we’re not going anywhere really. Just waiting. But not knowing for what. Continue reading
I would have gone this afternoon – to Isla del Sol, I mean. But my stomach had other plans.
Don’t know what the hell I ate, if it was something at that market – or if it was the little guy’s ‘freshly caught’ trouts. But I’m not going to be in any boat this afternoon, that’s for sure.
Damn. I want to leave and … well, let’s just say that maybe I would feel better if was alone again. Jacob’s just… well, he’s very nice and all, but he’s also –
Urgh … banjo-time again.
And no, the Spanish word doesn’t have anything to do with music.
That much I have already learned very quickly since my first stomach upset back in Mexico.
I hope the water-bucket is full this time so I can actually flush. Continue reading
The Copacabana cathedral spire is stands like a white cardboard cut-out against the blazing blue sky. I’m almost used to the thin mountain air now, although I still feel kind of light-headed.
I try to concentrate on the two dozen or so bulky Bolivian drivers waiting patiently to get their trucks sprinkled with holy water by the priest.
The Benedicion de Movilidades occurs daily and Jacob insisted that we went to see it, before crossing over to Isla del Sol. So here we are in front of the cathedral checking out all the cars, trucks and buses lined up to receive a cha’lla, a ritual blessing – some odd combo of the local Pachamama-worship and reluctant Catholicism. And so they spray booze on the cars (that’s the holy water if you sacrifice to Pachamama), but they do it in front of the Church of the Holy Virgin.
Anyway, when it’s all over the vehicles and their drivers should be protected against driving on some of the world’s most dangerous roads, all of which are here in Bolivia … I wonder if they are protected against their own thirst for strong liquor?
Jacob snaps one pic after another with his tiny but very pro-looking camera.
“Do you think the blessing will protect them?” he suddenly asks, still looking at the procession.
“Are you asking me again if I believe in God?” Continue reading
“I was wondering … do you believe in God?”
“Do you believe in God?”
“Jacob – we’re about to eat.”
“Well, if that’s a problem … ”
I ignore his last comment; my gaze concentrated at the menu. Jacob seems confused for a sec, then looks straight through me, into some kind of world in the empty restaurant behind me that only he can see.
He’s an okay guy, though. We got to sit next to each other on the bus from Puno in Peru to Copacabana here in Bolivia. By the time we were ready to stand in line like cows at the cramped border-station to get out tourist visas, we just sort of drifted together once more.
Preemptive insanity protection, you know; if I hadn’t had someone to talk to during that hour, I’d have gone positively loco, as they say here. Because Bolivians apparently seem to think that efficiency rhymes with multiplicity. So if you need three stamps in your passport, for example, it is obvious that you also need three persons for the job – one to give each stamp – and one long line to get each stamp.
“What’ll you have?” I ask him again. Continue reading
Her name’s Siobhan – (21, Cape Breton, Canada) – and she’s been my travelling mate for about half an hour.
That is, if we are going anywhere at all.
Because if we are not going anywhere, maybe we are not mates at all?
Maybe we were just both feeling a bit lonesome after a long time on the road, and maybe we both happened to need a chat at the same time, while struggling to make the ancient computer at the hostal Margarita send an e-mail before it went into another coma.
And maybe we just both gave up at the same time, one of us just going ‘fuck it – I’m going to grab something to eat. Hey – want to come?’
And next we both went out in to the slightly chaotic but rather grey and soulless streets of this near-border town, but didn’t feel hungry anyway and decided to stroll the harbor instead.
But isn’t that enough to be travel mates, even if it only last for a few precious hours one random evening in your life? Continue reading