5-6 October, Travelling from Lima to Arequipa, Peru
In Lima I spent my last day sorting out my films. That is a full time job in itself. I stayed up the night before until 1.30am and then slept into 11am. The family laugh at my sleeping. They are really kind they walk around me as I am literally on the couch. They also laugh at the big pillow I put on my face as I like to block out the light and my ear plugs block out the noise. Whoever invented ear plugs deserves peace on earth in my view. He/she gave it to me. Anyway I got up and my coffee was waiting for me under a tea towel together with dry biscuits. It is customary to have biscuits with coffee in the morning, then have a big lunch and then fruit and bread for dinner.
I seemed to have lost my ticket and was ruffling around in my luggage, you know how you know you have seen it but it has disappeared into thin air. I went through everything, somewhat frustrated. I then tried to tell myself to accept the reality of the situation. My friend Enzo tried to find it but it was to no avail.
We sat down to lunch and had a lovely soup that was like pumpkin but more yellow. It was really nice. Then we had rice and carrots with vegetable and a little meat. I am allowing myself to eat meat even though I am a vegetarian. My attitude is that I do not wish to inconvenience people with my vegetarianism. Also I am not sending a demand signal as they are not buying extra just using what they have. I do not wish to add to the demand for cattle and poultry as it doesn’t sit with my dedication to peace. There is extensive research that cattle contribute to global warming through flatulence and I am not keen on eating chicken or fish. I just wish to try to work on minimizing my impact on the lives of others. I am not opposed to others making choices for meat, but for me I feel it is not in alignment with my values. However, I will suspend that whilst traveling when necessary but will strive for vegetarianism when I can.
Enzo is a guy with no job who allows me to stay in his home at some cost. I left a thank you gift for his mother of a little Peruvian pouch and US$6 but it turns out his family slipped it into my backpack. How beautiful are these people, the mother is supporting 2 daughters a son, her mother and sister (aunt) are all there. I am sure money is tight but they don’t take mine. Enzo explains it is hospitality. They also want me to feel their generosity as some Peruvians are not generous. It was a wonderful impression they left with me. I found these people quite humble and I feel as a culture they are introverted (inner oriented). Just whilst I am reflecting, I noticed even when we ate together they didn’t speak much, just a little at the table. They are not loud and raucous like my family. They don’t appear to have much or any conflict, I liked the peacefulness but I did wonder about suppression. Enzo told me when they were children they fought more but as adults they are fine. So it was a really peaceful time I had there. I felt very happy.
In the afternoon Enzo and I went for a bus but it was getting too late. I was a little upset with him as I was going to Arequipa to stay at his grandmother’s house, but it turns out the caretaker is away so that is not going to happen. That was my main reason for going. I went to step into her shoes. She is a remarkable woman, I felt her energy for life when I first met her. This is the 90 year old grandmother with 10 kids. She had a very simple life with no education. I really liked her. Anyway, I did feel a bit sad at the outcome but in my inner training with peace I have to learn to allow life to be what it is and return to peace. Enzo could see I was upset and he tried to give me instructions to the house and I know he did his best. It is ok at the end of the day, I will have an adventure in Arequipa and I am interested to see what happens as this was not part of my intention to go to Machu Pichu.
Anyway, the taxi costs $15 solas and takes ages I am not going to ask the time but I am sure it is close. I start to make contingency plans in my head, maybe I go to Cusco, maybe just catch a plane to Chile, I was feeling a bit downhearted and felt I didn’t want to go to Arequipa. We get to the station they charge me 5 solas for my lost ticket, I grumbled a bit, again the practice is to be still and go with reality. I am still learning. Anyway turns out I can’t change my ticket to Cusco so it looks like I am going to Arequipa, I resign myself, Enzo gets my bag sorted and I give him a big hug and kiss. He is a lovely person and he showed me the kindness of the Peruvian people. I am grateful for his time and hospitality. I feel very fortunate.
I find these days that feeling of joy is often present. This is a good sign. It is unusal for me to have a little cry but I think I was feeling a bit down anyway.
I get on the bus and sit next to a tico (Peruvian). I am trying to fit my backpack and seem to be frustrated (still down). Anyway, he kindly offers me his seat as I muck around with the curtains. We are sitting at the very front of this huge bus on the top deck. So it is a good spot. It took me a few hours to transform the feeling of sadness into positivity.
I read some inspiring words and I am attempting to take responsibility for my life. That means accepting what happens in peace and developing gratitude. I know that love is the pathway and it is also healing the past. It is important to let go of the past and understand that it served some purpose, sometimes we can’t see it, sometimes we try and force outcomes, but the reality is what turns up.
I enjoyed the bus trip and with my eyes closed could feel it swinging from left to right, it seems we are on a mountain. So I look out the window and yes we are indeed spending much time on mountains climbing. What I marveled about was seeing the ocean, the islands and what seems to me to be desert. It seems a dry arid landscape. The mountains appear made out of sand and yet some are rock. It is fascinating to see such a landscape. Some of the windswept mountains reminded me of the painted desert in Arizona, yet it was endless desert. I have never been in this before. I also enjoyed looking at the little villages and the thatched houses like baskets. They were small box style buildings. Some had little verandah’s, you could see the power coming in. I felt the sense of the traditional life and then you see the modern free way and toll ways. Definitely as Peru grows it is faced with those who are traditional meeting those who are the new modernists, particularly the young ones who are very globalised in attitudes. It is not unlikely to see young people with sophisticated I phones. Apparently they are growing rapidly. You can see shopping centres going up in Lima and new metro systems (bus) and a large central plaza area with ornate Spanish buildings and modern high rises starting to be built. It is industrializing. Consumerism is well entrenched. Even the television is following the US, I saw a Spanish speaking chef program, other dancing programs, not dissimilar to what you’d find on US television. Much of the music is English and modern on the radio and there are stations with traditional Peruvian but you can feel the onslaught of western capitalism.
I reflected on these things as I was in the bus and also my own work on inner peace. To go with the flow, I see I am in Peru and how amazing it is to be traveling on a bus to an unknown destination in a very foreign landscape, it is fascinating.
The next morning as the sun comes up I am excited again at the landscape and villages. I take many photo’s. I see fertile squares as they have fertilized the desert to grow food. I figure this is to support villages and cities. I see a few cows walking, dogs running around (that seem happy enough), I don’t see any other wildlife apart from that. I spotted some people working in the fields and a lady carrying a baby traditional style in a sling on her back. I felt I could be in Bolivia or mexico. They seem somewhat similar.
We arrive in Arequipa and I have to work out where I am staying. I ask a western looking guy if I can borrow his lonely planet. He is French it is in French but he translates. I am after hostels since I can’t stay at the grandmother’s place. That’s fine though and he guides me to a few hostels. With that I get my bag and then go looking for a coffee shop. Get priorities straight, haven’t slept much and need a coffee to work out what I am doing. I try to get internet, free wireless, but it seems I can’t find anyone to give me codes. So I finish my coffee and go to the Tourist travel place. I speak to a guy and ask him to book the Home Sweet Home place, he then offers me another place for 40 solas a night with breakfast and transfer. I decide to take it. He comes with me in a taxi to the hotel. I am shown my room which is a nice double bed with ensuite shower. Fine for my needs.
I am then introduced to a guy who will go through tours to Machu Pichu. I didn’t like the original price of $350 (US), I told him I am on a budget and can do some research. He offers me a tour for $150 which takes me by mini bus to Aguas Calienters, where I will stay overnight and then go first thing to Machu Picchu. The first 400 people can walk to the top. That is what I will do there is also a Temple of the moon which not many tourists are interested in. As I am interested in the spiritual side, he suggests to go behind the mountain. I will do that. So I check with a couch surfing host in Cusco and she says it is a good deal so I will go with it. It is expensive actually overall given Peruvian standard of living, but it is popular and American’s drive the market and are big spenders, so that is the way of it.
I went for a walk in the city around the churches, there is much white stone work. A lot of bottle shops near where I am staying and alcoholics anonymous. I was surprised to see one shop after the other, it didn’t make me feel too good. I also past a school and decided to go in. I offered to come as a clown and talk about peace. They agreed and I am scheduled tomorrow at 11.30pm. The rest of the day was buying a few necessities, having lunch in a tico shop (cheaper than the ones advertising $US) and was able to have a conversation without Spanish to a Spanish speaking woman. It was amazingly easy to communicate. I then went for a walk around and headed back to the hotel.
On my return I was about to organize a chair for my room when I met a NZ lady called Leah and her husband Peter. They are traveling South America and are currently learning the language, they speak well. We are going to try and meet in Chile. We ended up talking about peace and life. Leah is a nurse, I didn’t find out what Peter does. I invited them for coffee. This turned into a beer at a local tiny bar (small retail shop). A tico guy interacted with us and we invited him to sit. He then was telling myself and Leah that we were beautiful and blowing kisses. I quickly transferred my ring to my wedding ring finger and told him I was married. No point having him keep trying when it isn’t going to happen. He was sweet in his way but he did get the message and didn’t push it. He kept offering drinks and cheers. We felt he was lonely.
We headed back to the hotel and had some sandwiches and coffee and a better discussion. We talked about world affairs and I talked about loving the ones we feel are not loveable. I showed them my slide film of my trip and we talked for some time after.
I stayed up doing my blog and uploading film and photo’s. as I said it is a full time job to keep on top of this but I feel it is worth the effort. I wish to share my life openly and visibly with others, for me truth and transparency help others to see there are other ways.
For me life is a wonderful journey and I never cease to feel amazed at the people I meet along the way. always wonderful. What a world. One I definitely treasure.