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balance (2): 1/3 life crisis?

Monday, November 12, 2007

1/3 life crisis?

before i do anything else i want to plug the hostel i was staying in in cusco, home sweet home, as the staff (catherine and oleg) there were lovely and it really was a great place to stay-

(not to mention i had developed a crush on oleg by the time i left)

...i had reserved a nice first class tourist bus to puno today, but the agent who was supposed to pick me up and drive me to the station this morning failed to do so, so i missed that bus and was stuffed unceremoniously in the deep dark corner of an inferior bus that broke down along the way in the middle of nowhere. out the window during the drive were some of the most bleak and dreary towns i have ever seen ('god' forbid i ever get stuck in juliaca). peruvians still make their houses from mud mixed with straw and baked by the sun into bricks. it gives everything a very earthy feel, but it is also very monochromatic (brown). most of the buildings are left unfinished and dust and rubbish are the prevailing themes here. occasionally with an incongruous splash of rainbow colored shawls on women crawling out of the holes in the wall to gather sheep, or a splatter of paint promoting 'votes for eduardo' or forming crude inca grafitti. i liked the various animals- everything woolly; the sheep, dogs, donkeys, cows, llamas, cats, and even the chickens look more substantially feathered than normal!

puno is a very high (12500 ft or so) mountain town overlooking lake titicaca, which upon first glance did not impress me in the least. it's not as bad as people say though, i actually find it quite modern compared to the other towns i've visited, and there is a big university from which pours groups of students dressed in cute, hopelessly outdated "alternative" get-ups. i swear i saw a kid wearing ska suspenders (braces as the english call them) with a 'pantera' patch on his shirt. i was starving so i ate a very weird dinner at a place called ukuku's- basically a mish mash of various things piled on top of each other; grilled trout with avocadoes, fried cheese, papas frites, pineapple and ham, rice, grilled plantains, mango, and lettuce! it was actually pretty damn good, and i washed it down with a cusqueÑa beer listening to an (ubiquitous) american tourist family talking about their adventures doing a homestay on one of the nearby islands, before i came back to my hotel (which has heat!!!) to crash.

and crash i did, i guess. poor x! he got the full brunt of the weird little life crisis i seem to have found myself having. i think, as he said, that sometimes a place is just not right for you and it will bring this sort of feeling out. that being a feeling of being lost, lonely, no idea of what i want from life. peru is definitely not my type of place. i HATE the cold, i am not into trekking (see india and nepal entries in which i avoided trekking), not into adventure sports, don't feel safe alone in 3rd world countries, don't like staying in hostels (need my privacy) and thus don't meet many people... basically i am not sure what i am doing here other than fulfilling a (self-imposed) obligation to "see" it. and honestly, i can't see things getting better as i move towards bolivia. i really am more of a cosmopolitan city or tropical island/jungle type- into sociology and culture, art, music, food, film, language, wildlife, more than history and monuments and desolate sprawling mountain scenery. i think i made a bit of a mistake in my planning, and it has depressed me a bit. i feel isolated (doesn't help that there are large happy groups everywhere i go- how do people get their entire families or groups of friends to travel internationally with them and what's wrong with me?!?!) and old and like i am floundering a bit ...anyway i am headed to bolivia after lake titicaca nonetheless, and i may fast track it so i can get to my apartment in buenos aires more quickly, which is where i feel i ought to be. sorry for all the negativity of late- peru is really nice! i think i am just totally out of my element.

cafe wall



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