Sunday, July 27, 2008

Artistic and Mysterious Animals

Leaving our grand museum guesthouse in Lima, we went to the bus stop to get a ticket for Nazca, eight hours away. We had three choices, economic, business, and executive. Because of Peruvian Independence Day, the prices had more than doubled above their normal and so we decided to take the economic route (again, ¨we¨consisting mostly of I, although the others were fine with the decision). The bus was dusty, late, and slow as it winded down the PanAmerican through beaches and deserts but it got us there eventually and everyone felt pretty good about the ride overall...
I´ve thought a lot about expectations lately and how they affect emotions, situations, and ultimately relationships. In my opinion, your expectations and how they are met (or not met) make up a considerable portion of the dynamics in romantic relationships, general everyday life, and especially during travelling. For instance, I remember going to Budapest, Hungary after wanting to go for six or seven years... mapping it out, researching the history, etc. and when I got there it was nothing but disappointment. Krakow, Poland on the other hand... I had barely heard of it, and so was continually impressed with my findings. In reality, Budapest probably had a lot more to offer than Krakow, but because of my expectations, my lens will be forever tinted towards Krakow and against Budapest (unless I go again of course).
In the same way, having read that Nazca was just a dusty town with nothing to boast of other than the famed mysterious lines made over 1,000 years ago (if you don´t know about them, they were the ultimate ¨crop circles¨with elaborate animals and spiritual ritual designs... to this day, no one knows why they were made and some people think they were a result of aliens...), our expectations were very low (hoping mainly just to get the glimpse of someone that we could theorize might have alien ancestory).

Anyway, we found it to be a lovely and charming little town and ended up staying for three full days. The independence day celebration (or week celebration rather, this is Latin America) had jacked the prices to see the lines way beyond our range so we settled for exploring local cuisine, music, hanging out, etc.

It was a very positive time for me because I got to see the group willingly break into the culture. All along traveller routes, there are almost always possibilities of foreign comfort food, foreign comfort buses, foreign comfort hotels, etc., but not only are these things unsustainable financially for a backpacker, but they also make it harder to soak into the culture (although in small portions, they have the opposite effect and energize to travel more).

For example, JooYeon and I stumbled into a local restaurant one morning and ordered two cafe con leches (coffee with milk). The waitress eventually brought us out two cups of steaming hot milk. When we asked if there had been a miscommunication, she pointed to a corked bottle in the middle of the table and said, ¨There´s your coffee, this is your milk.¨ We were a bit disappointed at first because we´ve really been enjoying the fresh Peruvian coffee each morning, but we added some of the concentrated solution to our milks and... WOW! It was excellent! Minutes later, a musical group from the highlands came in and played for everyone (keep in mind this is no fancy restaurant... our egg sandwiches were only 35 cents apiece for a nice full portion). JooYeon successfully asked for an extra portion of onions in Spanish which was a high for her, and a very elated mood was set for the rest of the day. (Yes, these things seem small, but again... expectations)

Even the dogs seemed happier in Nazca...

And then there are times when the local route is a bit extreme (like feet in my chicken soup), so I just pick around the edges... being a vegetarian definitely helps in this aspect.

It´s also been interesting to see how the two boys approach travelling. Despite the fact that they are 23 and 27, JooYeon occasionally treats them as little children, keeping in line with the traditional Korean age culture. However, as they gain confidence more and more through travelling, they are increasingly willing to step out on their own and seem to be maturing significantly. Which really has nothing to do with this picture of JooYeon tucking Kiwi in (to protect his nose from dust allergies).

Pienso que debo escribir algo en espanol por mis latino amigos (y prima, hola Kathryn!) que puede leerlo. Casi cada noche, leo una cuenta para ayudar mi espanol. Si Ud. puede escribir en espanol, escribame ( y podemos practicar juntos!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, talking about good coffee almost makes me want to go brew a cup. Any room to bring coffee back? Mom