I woke up refreshed in Lima in my own private bedroom at the Eurobackpacker Hostel. It was only $20, or S/58, to stay alone and well worth it for this night. I still can’t sleep past 7:30 though I wanted to crash until the 10 a.m. checkout time — but it feels good to be awake and alive.
I need to spend/waste some time in Lima before my 22-hour bus ride to Chile today, leaving at 5:30 this evening. I have a stressful transfer afterward but until then I will relax. The hard part is that I have to keep all of my stuff with me, both backpacks, which are getting heavier and bulkier daily. This is something I need to keep in check…both in traveling life and in my “real life.” Though the lines are beginning to blur. How much shit do we really need? It’s tired and often obvious to admit that more stuff doesn’t mean more happiness, but does anyone actually live like that. Life sometimes just feels like passing time by acquiring and discarding stufffff. Is there more?
For an artist that stuff could be projects and sketches and materials and finished works. For a tradesperson the stuff could be tools and jobs and manuals and other equipment. Without stuff it seems like we would die, without our food and shelter and clothes. We’ve spent thousands of years perfecting how to keep our necessary stuff with us in order to better sustain life that we’ve lost focus of why we were doing it to begin with — a circuit gone haywire running itself so hot that it melts and burns the whole machine.
So maybe it means that we shouldn’t have more stuff than we need to live — but herein lies my problem with this: I’ve seen people surviving and even thriving on so little (all around the world, not just here) that the line has blurred and bent and stretched and snapped back to slap me in the face. I don’t know what is selfish and superfluous anymore. There are no more objective standards and transient, ephemeral subjectivity reigns. So be it, the way of the clouds and the rain and the weather and time itself. Changing – moving – shrinking – growing…
There is not one thing, there are many all at once. A paradox. A puzzle that never asked to be solved that is unaware of its own existence. There is everything inside of nothing. I need to stop thinking for now…
Went down to eat breakfast at this hostel: coffee and teas and bread with jam, same as anywhere — but I met four French girls who are traveling for an internship at a hospital and a really nice German man who is a ‘craftsman’ teacher, the best translation we could find as he tried to describe the school where he works. It seems to be a professional or trade school for students who aren’t interested or can’t make it to university. The students learn trades like construction, plumbing, electrical work and mechanical skills to make a career for themselves. He started out this way but soon found he would rather teach the subjects that work in the fields themselves.
He is on sabbatical which is a common program in Germany where you agree to take less pay for four or so years and still get paid on the fifth year but you don’t have to work. So he is off to travel the world. He was in Spain for a while and now he is traveling in South America. It was nice to meet an encouraging and genuine person. We talked about German vs American work culture and life and language and things like that. It’s fun to learn how people live all over the world from direct conversation rather than strange pop culture transmissions and wikipedia. Americans seem to work more and too much in his opinion, but I told him that many people do it just to try and make ends meet with low phong jobs. Apparently even low skill jobs provide enough money to live with just a 40-hour work week in Germany but he admitted that professionals will work themselves to death trying to get ahead just like they do here.
I was lucky enough to find these folks at breakfast but the downside of staying in a private room is not meeting the other travelers and hearing their stories and learning about their cultures and travels. I’ve enjoyed learning about my fellow travelers’ countries (Brazil, Argentina, England, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Finland, Spain, France and the list is growing daily) as I have about the countries I’m visiting.
Driving in Peru is like a playing a huge game of chicken. Drivers force their way across lanes yielding to the cars that are more aggressive or that have more fucked up fenders and door panels.
I’m finally on the bus and every time I try make sure I go the same place as my backpack is a stressful event, but I think I’m in the clear for now. This bus makes three stops and travels for 21 hours before I get to Tacna and I bet this will be a stinky ride by the time it’s over. When I get to Tacna i have to make a border crossing by colectivo or bus into Chile which still makes me a little nervous but that will be tomorrow afternoon and I’ll worry about that when the time comes.
Next to me a man in full sweatsuit reads a futbol magazine, laughs out loud at his texts or Facebook or whatever he stares at on his phone and chomps chicharrones about as loudly as possible. He’s like a cartoon and he’s eating the damn things as if he’s putting on a show for everyone around him, leaning his head back and popping them in one at a time from a few inches away. And Lima traffic is stressing me out again.
Amigo, save some skins for later it’s a long bus ride bro…