miércoles, 12 de enero de 2011

Catch up!

Well a lot has happened as usual.
I made it home safe from the trip, even a few days early, as I became to miss my home in Santiago (who would´ve thunk that!). Peru is a beautiful country full of adventure, but it´s so different and the funcional Chile was a great relief.
I learned lots, as I went for that adventure. I wanted to travel alone because I´d never done that, now that that´s over I´m back to traveling with friends, it´s just more fun, easier, less stressful (sometimes). And the need to see and do everything has dwindled a bit as I look forward to spending more time in fixed places. The constant nomad life wears me out, and I´ve learned I´m quite a fan of home, wherever that may be in the moment.

I had a good week in Santiago to recover from the Peru illness and see friends. Thankfully I recoverd by the time the mom and I headed to Chiloé. First off I gave her a rapid tour of the city, La Vega fruit and veggie market, and a walk through the city. Next day breakfast in my favorite place in my favorite city Valparaiso and off to Isla Negra and Neruda´s house.
But the trip really got going in Chiloé, free with the rental car. Dirt roads, ancient forts, penguins, volcanoes, shingles houses and the nicest people. I´m glad I picked this place for mom. However annoyed I got with front seat driving and being around the ¨mother¨again, it was a special visit. Transitioning from Mother to Friend, not a trip of great conversations or realizations, but just of being and learning from another as we both live our lives developing our patterns and our life. It´s hard when two stubborn hermits spend 24/7 together (all from the heart, momma). Chiloé and its surroundings is an incredible part of Chile to share with someone and especially for Christmas. We were surrounded by adventurous nature but happy to be in our little cabaña and bake cookies with the Christmas Carols, thanks mom!
Saying bye to mom was hard, especially when she starts crying, but I was proud of us.

Some more time in Santiago and then to Valparaiso for New Years. Good company with two of my besties Patty and Hannah (and her aussie besties). An incredible city where everyone, thousands upon thousands come for new years. We got a bit of the crowds but with time before midnite I was looking to head up to the hills. Passing people headed down from the best view in the city we made it to the top just as the fireworks went off. You can see the whole bay from Cerro Alegre and they have not one but 4 shows going off at once. Tears and smiling and cheering and hugging and thinking of all you and everyone back home. A really incredible moment. Added to this we were probably the only gringos as it was all locals who lived a top, young and old running about, spraying champagne and all smiling. Patty and I had an extra box of wine so we handed it to an old man standing next to us.
That action set us for the rest of the night as he offered us a drink, an offering from Jesus. A very religious man but also an incredible philosopher. We talked into the night until 5 or 6am, sharing in food and friends and family of the house. I felt so lucky to have such local company and not be considerd so different. Not what I was expecting for the night as thousands of drunk people cluttered the streets for hours as we sat atop the hill sipping wine and having life conversations with a handfull of 70 year olds.

To say the least, this was an incredible night. And in these moments I was reminded of how great life is, how great mine is. I´ve continued this simple insight into these last weeks. I´m reminded how to enjoy my life and not get on myself about life progress, etc. I´m made it as close to living in the moment as I ever had, a relief. I feel back to my old, happy self. Not looking forward and just being happy with what I have now and where I am. No more hermit, sad, trying to make something of life.
And here I am in the desert, more to come as I need to go. More travels, etc.
But here´s a last insight into my new/old ways:

It´s this state of patience in the present
Holding off the rush for progress
Not restricting plans and dates
as one will learn they do not stay
Imagining dreams is another thing
Living what you want without
continuing what you don´t

A successful life is live in sincerity
full and complete, not only for others
Happiness is a choice, not a destination
because once you get ther you realize
you could have been there all along

Dreams aren´t fantasy
but like destiny, they lack control
Shaping is safe, but following builds courage
A soul forever happy always wins.

This new state I´ve found
being in harmony with what is, what presents itself
Still looking forward
Even with anticipation, but not frasping for certainty
Following the idea that staying, maintaining happiness always win
You can be hungry and tired and feel grumpy
but that´s no excuse to stray from that sincere being
Enjoying everything, every aspect, leaves no room for disappointment
Not worrying, concerning, or inventing stress:
there´s always someone else to take that role.

jueves, 9 de diciembre de 2010

Terminal Terrestre Cusco

Here I sit with 2 1/2 hours to go before my bus leaves for Puno (Lake Titicaca). Im tired even though Ive spent all day in bed feeling quite shitty. I went out drinking with a friend last night, not sure if its something about Cusco, lots of free drinks, but shit it kind ruined my whole day. So I suppose I wasnt meant for Cusco this trip but theres always another time.

Now as I have several hours Ill make a back track and update you about my trip so far since day number 1.

Arriving in Arica, Chile the next day I immediately bought a package "deal" for taxi across the border to Tacna, Peru and a bus to Arequipa. The problem is I was way over charged, I kinda had a feeling that I shouldve bought the bus in Peru as its much cheaper, but lesson number 1 learned. The border crossing was interesting, not too complicated. Just lots of rushing through lines and our taxi driver collecting us at every point. You have to go through 2 controls for Chile and then 5 min later for Peru. The taxi driver was very friendly and actually paid for my bus to Arequipa as this other company hadnt given me an official ticket, I imagine he went back and got his money.
Bus to Arequipa, long. Within the 1st hour we are delayed for close to 2 hours and some other customs control or something. It seemed that they needed to check everyones luggage. So after many of the local ladies were screaming for the bus to get going we head off. My seat mate was nice enough, Id ask her the name of each town that we arrived and we made a little small talk. She makes the trip weekly as she works in Tacna but has family 8 hours away in Arequipa.
Arriving in Arequipa that afternoon I find a hostal, nice enough. Theres this interesting fellow who seems to spend every day there. Later he tells me hes been doing it for nearly a year. He insists on polishing my shoes even though I tell them Im going hiking so they will be immediately dirty. After that he has an odd request for me to help him strectch his back. A very religious and socially estranged it seems, although he was very nice to repair my shoes with a small fee. Hes a bit too close for comfort as he asks for my address, etc to send an xmas card. I give him that but deny the phone number. I head out for a bit to see the city, its gorgeous at night. The main plaza is surrounded by the Cathedral and other buildings, all in white, its this kind of volcanic stone that looks magical all lit up at night. I wouldve liked to get some pictures but everyone warning me about how dangerous Peru is gave me second thoughts. I kind of regret that because I havent had any bad encounters. I grab a bite of Kebab and turn in.

The next morning I was apparently up very early as there is a 2 hour time difference between Chile and Peru, a bit odd I thought. (Shit, Im not sure how much longer Ill make it writing this. Ive barely eaten all day and what I have I threw up. Ill be okay, another 7 hours of sleep will do me good. I got a seat that stretches out into a bed.) I did a bit of walking around and tried to get into the Cathedral but it was mass so they didnt allow tourists. I get back and have some breakfast and meet Lin from China and a few others. Shes headed to Colca Canyon that afternoon so I decide to join her.

Colca Canyon was a really genuine and excellent experience. We went all the way in to the small town of Cabanaconde and stayed the night for a mear 3 bucks. The next morning we got up early to walk to the Mirador de Condors. It ended up taking a lot longer than we thought, about 2 hours up the dirt road, very dusty, but we did have a companion in a gimp dog that followed us the whole way. We got there later than the guide books suggested but turns out everyone else had been waiting an 1 and a half with nothing, but within 10 minutes the first Condor flew by. Incredibly powerful birds that glide so gracefully along the canyon drafts.

This area was great, I met several locals and got myself prepped for the Machu Picchu trek. Lin was a good companion although being 10 years my senior she did get on my nerves a bit with all these suggestions of what I should do and what I had done wrong. But shes a good conversationist, genuinely interested in my career path of film festivals and explaining it to her was good for me to confirm my knowledge of the film industry and all.

Ill continue another day, this screen is really getting to me. Time is running out but Im not stressing. If anything Ill skip my last plan to the Atacama desert for another date. I need to get back in time to see dear old mom! I cant wait!! :)

viernes, 26 de noviembre de 2010

Ready-made redneck

So i had a great day. Didn´t have a plan when I arrived here, but on the shuttle ride from the airport I saw these desert cliffs way off in the distance and right then I decided that´s where I was going.
I headed first to the bus terminal, more into town, to drop off my backpack. After that it was walking time. This place ended up being a long ways, but I had all day: I only wish that my camera hadn´t decided to malfunction only for this part.

Instead I have a series of journal entries to clue you in:

Being spontaneous I go to the first spot that catches my eyes. I have to backtrack of course. Coming upon an unveiling ceremony for some Argentinian/Antogagastan heroe. The local army band played both national anthems and I chatted with a local woman who sat next to me having just dropped off her son at school.
I caught a micro and got dropped off at some beach, but I immediately started heading further towards the cliffs. This is really arid land, no grass whatsoever. Troping along empty space, only surrounded by traffic, where likely no tourist or local has gone before. I head for the beach and ecnounter shantytowns. Ranging from rundown metal structures, tents on the beach, and cutely painted cottages. Should I worry about my safety or enjoy the hideaway I´ve discovered.
Perched on jagged rocks above the waves I go for the latter. And so the adventure continues, what lies around the corner?
Further down even closer to the waves I spot a while dome, it´s a memorial to a lost love one:

En Memoria de Ricard Jesús Araja Castillo
2.1.1958 - 8.1.2010
"No te preguntaremos porque, te llevaste, sino te damos gracias porque nos los distes."
We won´t ask why you were taken, but we give thanks for what you gave us

This seems to be a common practice as I encountered several alters. It´s really touching because these are way out there perched on jagged rocks, surround by waves. They are really special places to remember loved ones.

Trash Dump Beach Resort
Ghost Town Empty Roads
The ocean´s waves
The sun´s rays
Ahhh, to be alone

This basically describes the majority of my trek. The beaches are littered in trash, and an unusual amount of singular shoes. It seems that a lot of homeless people camp along here, as well as many people drinking at night as there are lots of fire spots and broken rum, beer bottles.

Guid books are only limits
to pick a spot and go,
not because someone else has been,
not because there are signs to direct you.
To just follow that initial instinct

Here´s probably the most incredible thing i found. A patch of the cliff was cover by mounds of nothing but seashells, like it the very first stage of sand formation. Pure white seashell sand high up on a dune cliff, I really am on the moon. It´s nearly impossible to explain, but it´s like any rock you´d encounter, huge slaps of the stuff, but it´s nothing but sea shells. And it must´ve been here forever because it´s way way up above the ocean. I´ve never seen anything like it. And I considered bringing some back, but with just a little handling it begins to crumble.

I keep flashing back to Lawrence of Arabia. This shit is cool!
My general reaction. The truth is, it was very much like it, except I was right on the ocean, I had water, and I could see a road and civilization. One this I didn´t consider was the big thing called sun. I now have an incredibly red face.


Ends of the ocean
an endless mass
until it comes to earth
that which holds off this mass
but in good time
nature´s water force
makes sculpture out of land.

Delivering life to land
since the beginning of history
walking life and sculptured life
air, wind, plant, texture

LAST THOUGHT: Birds are lucky, they can be perched on any delicate surface in the world if they want to.

Before my internet runs out. My last errand was a haircut and boy was it great. Shampoo and hair massage and a much lighter head! The ladies were nice too and after laughing at my red head suggested I buy some aloe vera.

lunes, 15 de noviembre de 2010

Trying for a bit of regulation

Continuing with poems, this time I gave myself an outline for syllables, a little more challenging. 8, 5, 8, 6

The Mind

The mind we know, an empty space
nothing which to grasp.
For this it is an endless gift,
but difficult to trust.

While correlating countless thoughts,
diff´rence it can make,
when transformation tangible
is formed in line of sight.

domingo, 14 de noviembre de 2010

Fantasy Reality

Envisioning perfection
It´s what you want
A stage of confidence
where doubts come and go

The euphoric feeling
at rest in reality
The mind of a sane being
Contentment in fantasy

jueves, 11 de noviembre de 2010

Its all up to me

So Ive done it, not saying it was the most responsible decision but I feel bastante claro que es que quiero.
I filled out the form to withdraw from CalState OIP Program, and it was surprisingly easy. 1 page, name, address, reason for withdrawing and signature. Now all I have to wait for is to see when the refund comes, but more importantly Ive gone through with the decision and now its up to me what I do!
The worries come naturally, but what will he do, does he have plans? Well yes I do, nothing concrete, but I have time and there are so many possiblities. I dont want structure right now and leaving it to the wind could do me some good I think. If anything it will be more difficult but since when was that a bad thing? Im tired of comfort.

Now if only I can get there more profoundly. Im having one of those identity crisis, you know those? But what I keep telling myself is to just enjoy the life Im living. I shouldnt be worrie about what Im doing what I did or what I will do. I have a direction, Im going east to Buenos Aires so Im not completely lost. But what I think is most important is that I just let things happen and not focus too much on mental progress, growing, finding or defining myself. These things happen naturally and with time and its just my nature to fight that.

I need to stop defining myself and just be, then my life with stop being a crisis and just be. Ahhhhhhh, sounds so peaceful, now the easy part is done. Awareness. Now I just need to stop trying or forcing or one of the words.

Change doesnt equal failure I say!

jueves, 4 de noviembre de 2010

There´s always one of us in these labs

That is the computer labs or crisols as they call them here. I guess it makes sense, but I always neet my fellow gringos in the computer labs.

So I´ve been struggling with my plans for next semester. I´m set on opting out of the program. I´ve spoken to the dad and stepmom, this may be a surprise to you mom as we haven´t been able to speak much.
But the more and more and more I see myself somewhere else next semester I feel great and the more and more and more I´m here in Santiago or thinking of school and all that I just get all tense and unhappy, so there´s no more obvious sign than that eh?
It´s not as though Chile´s awful, but at least Santiago specifically doesn´t inspire me. I could stick it out, but I don´t see any sense in that. I´ve now realized that I should´ve gone about this escape in a different way, independent of school, but that was the easy route. Now I take a likely more difficult road with really not a clear direction but already so many possiblities ahead. There´s so much I can do.
I´ve set my sights on Buenos Aires, specifically because of the BAFICI film festival in April. We´ll see at what level I can get involved but it´s possible I already have connections. Other than that the possiblities are endless as simple as teaching english in BA or somewhere else. I found an incredible program in the highlands of Ecuador. There´s a yoga retreat I can go and work with and experience. And plenty more.
It seems I should´ve have just gone with these ideas from the start beacause what I wanted was an escape from the vacuum of institutionalized education.
I´m Still Finishing! no worries there! As long as they don´t kick me out! And I am aware of the consequences, but it´s time to start meeting those. I think I might talk to my advisor today. There is precedent for this as I know a guy who left mid semester from the same program in France.
This is what I want and what I need. And something to distract me and keep me going. I´ve realized that a big part of this was escaping the life that was forming for me in SF, I suppose I was scared or something? But that is what I want. It wasn´t perfect but it was real. So now I´ll keep myself in the continent, get that Spanish down, meet great people, have great experiences. This is all possiblie I TELL MY SELF!!

And now, a few more writings inspired from the thought process of the last week or so.


Education Is

I see education as a gift
lessons learned from life experience
this regurgitating, ramble consuming
it works me to the point of disaffection
education should be voluntary
but in its current structures
it´s nothing but obstacles
This isn´t the real world
we´r just stuck in limbo
if the real world is there and waiting,
why stay behind and let opportunities slide.

To opt out is a dream
who would I be disappointing?
Not myself
Again comes that patience factor
look at this time to develop yourself?
Read those books and write and make friends.
But this education won´t allow it.

----- Clearly it doesn´t flow to well, because I´m still in doubt. Here we have a different state, lovelorn, life dissecting, dreaming. Not still sure if I´ve found it.

A Life Más Simple

My heart and soul
they reach for adventure
but what is more
than that of a simple life?

To make a life and share it
to travel and enjoy las cosas simples
just let it and it beomes
a savior for an empty life

To watch a movie or cook a meal
lay in bed and watch the rain
the slimpler things bring the most joy
and while an adventure
once and a while, to break the course
brings insight and wonder and spirit,
I look at a life with companion in hand
as one to hold for a life entera

AND HERE IS TODAY. I feel like I´m done questioning myself or at least getting there and so why not confront those questions with more questions. I like this one the most.

Why Not?

Why do you think so much
Why does it matter?
Why don´t you support your ideas
Why when it´s what you want
Why do you need to be happy
Why can´t it just be natural
Why are you so self-aware
Why are you not?
Why do you live in the head
Why not vacation outside
Why are others so important to you
Why reject yourself
Why do what makes you happy
Why write this on paper
Why not?