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?

lunes, 1 de noviembre de 2010


So I´ve moved! Overall good decision, I think i was somehow feeling too much part of the group at the last house it was like a hostal, try to socialize everyone, etc. and the neigborhood was so dead.
I´m in barrio brasil a beautiful place which much more life yet I´m still kind of at a loss at what I´m doing here, but I´m just sitting with this mood at the moment, it´s natural of course and not the first time.
I´ve yet to reallye explore the neighborhood, maybe I´ll get out today and snap some pictures.

2 things to keep me going. A possible stepping stone as far as my career goes. We´ll see how my possible connections in Buenos Aires go, that´s something to look forward to.

I still am stuck in this rut of moving on from the past and now worrying about the future. I think I´ve made a step forward in sitting with myself, facing my sincerity. My landlord actually gave me a good lesson. I wasn´t feeling comfortable living there and all he told me was that If I really felt that way all I had to do was tell him. But that can be so hard for me.

So then I moved and a felt like myself again, and I´m still being sincere with myself or at least I think I am. My Zen bible is helping me with that spontaneous factor and not grasping to the ¨idea¨that I have of myself.
I´ve confronted my state with Ralphie and come to terms with my true feelings, at least I think. Even now I´m hesitant to write this as I imagine in my head that he´s reading this and that say I still miss him and love him would be manipulative, but for god sakes! It´s My BLOG! And those thoughts are only holding me back.
He´s given me one thing to respond to and that is to leave him be, so I´ll wait until that day. All I need now is to find a comfortable space and be okay with that. I feel as though I´m close. Just let it be yes?

I´ve still got plenty of progress to make on my own. Self-discipline. Something all us youngins work on or at least I feel will do me good.

I now have a companion with the Ley Seca. That is I really want to just have no sex. It´s messy and I´d be kidding myself that it has a lot to do with considering Ralphie, but I also want it to be more independently my decision. Sex has lost its importance to me and I want to respect myself a bit. I feel as discipline with only help me be more centered and confident in myself.
What else? Less alcohol, certainly and if I can help it solely beer. I feel as though others put me in a different state, or at least further from the sober one than beer.
Those are the 2 big ones, the others I refer to my journal.
3) Yoga Every Week, that is at least once a week. I´m consistently going 2-3 times a week, but I don´t want to be too strict because I´m allowing other things in life to happen. I also want to find a medium where I don´t become too dependent on it. I find that I feel amazing after yoga but it usually only sticks for one day. This needs to continue, that euphoria no worries attitude.
So with that comes 4) More meditation, possibly every day? I´m hesitant to say every day because I´m so bad at setting up routine, but at least that or some simple physical exercise everyday. It´s important to be close to the body, be aware of it and not be too high up in the head. I spend too much time in my thoughts.
5) Continue eating healthy. I´m still grabbing for chocolates and cookies and empanadas, etc. But I´m maintaining a healthy diet at least with the main meals. Let´s try for less impulse snacks shall we?

6) And yes, don´t contact Ralphie. It takes discipline, but I already feel a far more centered person and I hope that when that time comes I´ll be able to explain myself better to him because God knows I was a pile of confusion that only made things more difficult for a relationship. Clearly I wasn´t ready then and at least for now I can say I´m more ready than before. It´s amazing what a couple months with yourself can do for you. I wish my 21 yr old mind could´ve handled that sooner.


domingo, 17 de octubre de 2010

This is what I´ve been waiting for

I´m still a little taken aback I guess. I´m finally getting a real looking into Chile, its identity. Away from my fellow extranjeros and my party hostel house and a look into the real lives of Chile.
Here in Valdivia there´s a varied view of the country and Santiago, as the principal city. One couple spoke of the centralization and she spoke of trying to force some decentralization by moving out of Santiago. It´s true, that more than 1/3 of the entire country lives in this one city.
I spoke to a guy early on who told me there´s a saying, ¨Santiago isn´t Chile¨. And living there I´ve grown to understand that. It´s quite obvious at least in downtown center, where it´s basically like any other consumerist, materialist society. Mall after mall, people walking to work and school and nowhere else. Where is the damn culture?!
I have found it, venturing out of the center, to barrio Brasil, Maipu, and I´m starting to meet some genuine people who give me an idea of the place. I´m still looking to see more and with time I suppose I´ll understand this city, this country more, as I´ve only been here 3 months. That´s nothing really, I didn´t quite identify with SF until a good year and 1/2.
Today I had a really affecting encounter with a man. He stayed in the house I am couchsurfing at and he accompanied me to a movie. We began talking about Chile and how it doesn´t really work as a whole or separate. (the other guy mentioned that each province really has no legitimate representation and that everything is feeding to and from Santiago). But I was interested in this guy because he´s from Valparaíso, lived in Santiago for 4 years and now lives in Ricavilla, near Pucon and right in the mountains, very close to Argentina. He´s obviously lived a good part of the country.
But now I´m still dazed because I thought I understood where he was coming from. It seemed he had a positive outlook on Santiago versus the more pesimistic attitud of others. He spoke of how there´s an immense history in the city (that of the dictatorship) and how there are barrios like Brasil, like Yungay, where you do find an identity. He spoke of a synthesis, and I thought I knew what that meant (I go to research on Wikipedia), okay I think I did understand. But he seemed so positive, that Santiago is very fragmented as I suggested, but there´s also a synthesis of the people of Chile. That seems positive right?
But then when I brought up the idea of positive thinking, that I need time to appreciate Santiago. He asks me what I mean and I say, because of what you said, to think more positively. And he says, no, I was being negative, synthesis is negative. What?
And this is the last thing we talk about as he says ¨You can see it. The people of Chile are sick. Their culture, their people.¨this isn´t word for word but basically what I got from our conversation.

I´ll have to give this more thought.

sábado, 16 de octubre de 2010

Writing more

Who knew I´d write so much.
Here´s a few a let go the other day mid-walk after yoga. It comes most naturally then probably because the of the clear mind and all.

Quién sabía que escribiera tanto.
Aquí son un pocos que salieron el otro día en medio camino después de la yoga. Viene más naturalmente por la mente clara y todo.

What is a mid-life crisis?
Well it´s between life and death
Is it an identity crisis?
But what is that? What is identity
It´s already there and
forcing it, seeking it
looking for it in others.
It´s nonsense

¿Que es una crisis de la media vida?
Pués está entre la vida y la muerte
¿Es una crisis de identidad?
¿Pero qué es eso? Qué es la identidad
Ya está y
forzarlo, procurarlo
buscarlo en otros.
Es una tontería

Creativity is nothing but taking, taking action
We all have ideas floating around
but when we let them out
onto paper, canvas, film
out of mouth, hands, heart
That´s when you can call yourself creative.

La creatividad es nada sino tomar, tomar acción
Todos tenemos ideas flotando alredador
pero cuando las dejamos salir
sobre el papel, el lienzo, la película
fuera de la boca, las manos, el corazon
Ahí es cuando puedas llamar a sí mismo creativo.

Hesitation, does it mean
stop, change, or breathe?
Something natural pauses
But it´s not asking to cease

Hesitación, ¿qué significa
pare, cambie, o respire?
Algo natural pausa
Pero no está pidiendo cesar

Things that bring me joy: yoga, putitos, cooking, music, dancing, writing, escaping, spontaneity, reading, movies, experiencing other´s creative ideas, learning, adventures, exploring new things, internal silence, expression! (it´s hard), real people, being honest, loss of time, happy people, eating and soothing hunger.

Cosas que me da alegría: yoga, putitos, cocinar, música, bailar, escribir, escapar, espontaneidad, leer, películas, experimentar la ideas creativas de otros, aprender, aventuras, explorar cosas nuevas, silencio interior, expresión! (es difícil), la gente real, ser honesto, pérdida del tiempo, la gente feliz, comer y calmar el hambre.

Festival Loco!

I´m here in Valdivia and it´s finally picking up. The first day was chaotic as is any day in festival, but mainly for me because I arrived without any real plan. It helps that I speak English, so they´re trying to use me for translating but at times that becomes awkward. Yesterday I dined with some of the English speakers, but it was mainly a chance to eat some great food! I also chatted with Juan Pablo, the main translator of the festival and a charming British woman. Very interesting to speak with her as she runs an "alternative" film festival in Barcelona. Connections all around! although I didn´t get her card before she ran off, but I´ll get it next time!
After this I went over to the festival offices, a way cool old wooden house, to help out the runner. This turned out to be a lot more fun, as in I had something to do more than sitting around. The runner drives the film prints all over town to and from theatres, so I acted as his assistant. Good times, Diego is really friendly and so it really wasn´t much work.
Today I help him out in the morning and today is yet another job. There´s a convention of "pitches" from 3-7 and I´ll be there to help out anyone who lacks Castellano. I´m not sure how much help I´ll be or exactly what I´ll be doing, but it bodes to be extremely interesting nonetheless. The idea is that each person has 7 minutes to pitch their project and 7 minutes of feedback. I believe this is in order to get funding, so I´ll be seeing films at their very birth!! Fascinating.
Afterwards I plan to catch the latest Pal D´Or winner at Cannes this year, the Thai film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. I tried for it last night but arrived with little time to spair and as it´s possible I´ll have to arrive early tonight!
Anywho I´m very glad I made the jump to call the festival. As you can imagine I´m basically just the handy volunteer and do what´s needed. Which make for an interesting week. I´d say much more than another week stuck in Santiago reading about political geography.

miércoles, 13 de octubre de 2010

Moving? Film Festivals!

What's more?
well there's been a saga of moving. I've been feeling less comfortable in this house of mine, not because of the house, it's still great, not because of my roomies up on my level, but because of the constant partying and the bad vibe I get from several of the Chileans, namely the homophobic ones.
I'm not one to let these things bother me so deeply, but If I have a chance to get out of the situation I will. I had a chance, an awesome one, a place with a good friend, in a better neighborhood for $140 (!) less a month, but yesterday, he regrettably informed me that the room is no longer available! So what am I to do. I was prepared to move, messaging dozens of people trying to replace myself, but there we go.
So I spoke to Edys yesterday and it seems I'll stay. It just makes more sense what with there only being 2 more months. I could save a lot of money moving but It's difficult when it's not a friend and a place you're familiar with. I'm still not completely satisfied with the vibe and I may get the guts to approach some of the twirps I live with, but I can also live contently with my fellow extranjeros, be more solitary and not socialize with people I don't like, easy enough, right?


Tonight I'm leaving for a good week to volunteer in a film festival! Yay! The Festival Internacional de Cine de Validivia. It's a 12 hours bus ride away, so I leave tonight, arrive tomorrow. I'm very excited already, reading up on the program it has an incredible selection. It'll be a good escape and really good to add another festival to the resume. And plus I'm going alone which is what I've been itching for. People keep asking me, who are you going with? and I proudly say, NO ONE! =)

Yoga's moving along. I'm consistently going 2-3 times a week and I feel amazing every time. No pictures as of know as I'm waiting to here back if the camera can be fixed! I hope I can get it before I leave today so I can share my Valdivia trip with you all.
And the Zen book is still keeping me focused, I through up some more quotes soon. This book is really guiding my growth as everytime I collect quotes they mirror my current stage, imagine that!

It's Ralphie's birthday tomorrow. I am still eternally grateful for silence he's giving me. I've probably learned more about myself from his lesson as I feel as though I'm the most clear minded I've ever been. Discipline is wise. Since I can't physically send him a gift I'll enjoy the gift he's given me.

Other than that, I'm doing really well on my own, more and more. Focusing on just being myself! Not worrying about how I appear to others or following my own silly rules. Just being. I've still got a long ways to go, and much more time to isolate myself in Chile. good thing I won't be bored!

So whats new

Many things.
First my mother's request is my encounter with gypsies. I great day in general, tough as in great and challenging yoga session and so my emotions were raw and I was happy. I'd just picked up my camera from the repair shop and was walking down the main drag of Santiago when I came upon a rooming asking for "monedas", coins. I gave her a few and continued on, but she grabs my hand muttering something, asking me to come and sit down.
Now in my Zen mode I though, why not? She starts reading my hands and muttering some more, my Spanish is still improving but also not at a level to understand everything. I did get the gist though.
She asks, "Do you have faith?" and I say, yes, but what do you mean. She asks me to pull out my wallet and show her the money and I did that. Then she asked for a $10 and, very hesitantly, I let her have it as I was sitting in public and she didn't seem like she would run off. Next her accomplice comes over and overs some weird plant and they have me hold it as this first gypsy (who happens to be holding a newborn as well) proceeds to wet my bill and destroy it.
But I saw something before which I believe was an already wet clump of paper along with my bill in her hand. After "destroying" my money completely and discussing how this was to show that money doesn't hold importance especially considering where I'm from (all true) she must have assumed I'd be satisfied. But I knew she ripped me off and so I brought this up.
"You just robbed me, I know the money is up your sleeve", "How am I to have faith if having faith got me robbed" "I'm not going to give money to another Gypsy or have faith in anything related so what good does this do?"
Of course they have responses, but nothing of any substance. Just a bunch of wahooey. So as I didn't looked convinced (maybe not as stupid as I seemed even though I had just handed over nearly $20), another came over and tried to explain to me their religion showing me a doll of their sacred one or something. And I'm not sure if she was cursing me or what, but then in a matter of seconds, out comes her breast, Squirt! and she sprays her milk at me.
At this I was just getting more weirded out and I basically told them thanks for robbing me, what good are you doing really? The other tried to comfort me by telling me my money would return within 2 hours and they basically told me they had to leave, assumedly to rob more idiots like me!


martes, 21 de septiembre de 2010

Saintly virgen of the hill,
oh immaculate Mary!
From this sacred moutain,
Look at me with tenderness and love
and beg to our father God
Pardon our sins
Today I consecrate myself to you.
I offer you my heart,
So that your son Jesus
Increasing my week faith,
Give me relief and salvation,
I beg you to intercede,
For the good of my family,
For the whole Elqui Valley
and for my lovely homeland.
Protect us from sickness
Earthquakes and landslides
and I beg you for Vicuña,
that you hear there prayers,
from this blessed sanctuary
Help us to participate,
in the gifts of the spirit
to be able to make a pilgrimage
to the encounter with you,
the the whole and infinite heave,

Me odio this format!

It's really difficult to add captions so I'll explain as best as I can here. The hike was great! 6 hours! We headed up to the Sanctury for Vicuña's Virgen. The message as you can see is really beautiful, I'll try and translate it for you all after this. This picture is really special to me.
I was sitting there in that blank spot and I just sat there for a good while, silent and then I opened my eyes and we were all sitting there completely silent. It actually brought me to tears, something so sacred happening so naturally. Here I came up with a new mantra for me, "Out of the head, into the heart". I've been using it a lot because I've realized it's natural to dwell on things, but it's the manner in which we take in those thoughts. I'm looking at them more with the heart rather than complicating them with crazy thoughts.

Anyways.....we headed way up a mountain, even doing a little rock climbing! It felt so good to get some exercise. As you can see the view was incredible and we had a nice little picnic at the top. So much peanut butter! I forgot I missed it so much!
The hostel we were staying at was so perfect too. It was the darling little old lady named Juana, my heart melted the moment I saw her. She had her daughter and grandchildren there too, so as we were making dinner we got to share in the family feeling. It was good for all of us being so homesick. She also makes delicious jam made of membrillo, look it up, it's some bizarre fruit here in Chile, but it makes really good jam, reminded me of Christmas with the cinnamon and all. The picture of the old lady is actually of her mother, but I couldn't resist to take it because it's so grandiose and probably the most impressive portrait I've ever seen.

La Serena, the beach feels so nice!

And our campsite in Pisco Elqui right by the creek and we had our very own unicorn!
The horse pics are you you dad.

And the sky! So big and beautiful, a bus trip worth the ride to Vicuña.

This "campsite" was actually someone's backyard, so we stayed in a hostal the next night.

And the highlight of the trip, our hike! Finally some nature, cacti, a sanctuary for el Virgen, ironically surrounde by the town's signal towers.

Transcending nonreality

It seems it took a weekend of debauchery, not being myself to swing my back to a sense of reality. A weekend birthday in Pichilemu, a small surfing town about 3 hours away from Santiago. I've learned so much, maybe too much this weekend, but in a good way. This will keep me thinking for a while, but it's all very much for the better.
First off, for some reason I can't handle the alcohol too well here, so that's over. It's easy to get carried away especially when everyone else is doing the same, but that's not me blaming them.

Another thing, nothing I do can be blamed on someone else. I was also reminded that although I've imagined myself as an open and honest, genuine person I still have a lot to work on in the field. It starts with being totally honest with yourself and I think this weekend got me there or at least very close. I'll be working on a lot on making life less complicated and I see good things coming my way.
I'm also going to be letting a lot of things go. I've been dwelling on a lot of things lately and although they won't go away completely I'll be approaching them differently. I came to Chile to make progress. I'll always be making progress even with set backs, but I hope I can maintain an honest and genuine quality about myself because that's what I appreciate most in others.

Don't be too scared, but I'll have a nasty scar in a couple of weeks to remind me of all this, that's good right? Someone's making sure I never forget! Literally the most ridiculous weekend of my life, I've only imagined these things happening, like something out of The Hangover.

And again the weekend before in Valle de Elqui, much more calm, and learning a lot as well. And so my life gets a jumpstart again! ahhhhhhh.........

So with that, let's see some pics!

jueves, 16 de septiembre de 2010

Almost a month!

Even now I´m in a computer lab right now hurrying to write this as I´m meeting up with some Chilean friends, that´s good right! We´re going to a ¨fonda¨on campus which is a traditional party where you eat food and maybe get a little tipsy.
Yes it´s a celebratory weekend as it is my birthday but also Chile is celebrating its independence. I see this as a good excuse to relax and not focus to much on myself and just have a grand ol´time!

Sorry I´ve been neglecting the blog. But as I look back on these last weeks it´s probably best I refrained from writing here as most of it would´ve been depressing homesick-fuel, focusing on the past, etc. But now I´m back to sort of normal, feeling happy about where I am.
This past weekend I took a weekend trip with some friends from my group to Elqui Valley. It was good to get out of the city and my quickly forming routine of school and not much else. I finally got to see a more ¨real, authentic¨ part of Chile, which I guess just means the more rural side. Santiago is great, but it´s just like any other big city and you become isolated quite easily.
We spent the first night camping in Pisco Elqui, good to feel dirty again! relaxing in the sun, and a bit of dipping in the creek. The plan was to go to the Mamalluca observatory to see the stars but because of the climate that never happened. Luckily the first night there was clear enough so we had our own show with the naked eye. Beautiful sky! So clear that the stars illuminated the surrounding mountains, nothing short of ethereal.
The next day we wanted to continue camping, but with little preparation that didn´t go through very well, so instead we stayed in a hostal, essentially the home of the most adorable littly lady I´ve ever met. Juana, was so kind as she shared her home and her family. It was a good cure for some homesickness. AND the next day! We went for a 6 hour hike in the cerros (hills or mountains) so beautiful and I hope to get pictures up soon.

All I can say is this refueled my excitement about being here, I just need to get out more. So here I got on a hopefully more adventurous experience of this country. I went about this trip with as little expectations as possible and so doing that I enjoyed every bit, now I only need to maintain that mindset and apply it to life in general.

So there we are, I hope to speak to y´all much sooner and to grant you some fotos!

miércoles, 18 de agosto de 2010

I'm wearing shorts today!

Although I'll likely change once I leave the house. It's blue skies today and I'm just imagining what will come in the next month. I can't wait!

Before it's too late, here are some pics from my weekend trip to Valparaiso!

It wasn't the best weekend for a coastal visit, but not even the fog can disguise the colors of Valpo.

Our climb to the Hostal, look at the steps!!!

Even those parts with out graffiti have a certain attractiveness to them.

La Sebastiana, Pablo Neruda house #2

Here's where the night journey started. Remember me complaining about the group doing nothing? Well here's what I experienced instead of staying in to watch The Matrix. So glad I turned that moment around, this city is just as gorgeous during the night.

My best lady friends, Hannah and Aspen.

This dog was the sweetest, fluffiest, most incredible ever! I called him over and he rested his head on my lap for a good 2 minutes, I had to pry him off when we left. I love those moments.

Stairs, stairs, stairs!

It seems the poorer you are the higher up you like. You can see the endless about of stairs.

The local cemetary

The graffiti! Isn't it incredible?

It seems virtually every surface is covered in graffiti, but the kind you wouldn't mind to cover your outside walls.

Vina Del Mar, the casino, more ritzy town that neigbors Valparaiso.

We went here to get some of the beach air! So nice to finally make it to the ocean. I missed it!