November 10th, 2005


day 2

we didn´t wake up til about 11 am this morning

and it was slow...

but after Jim left the room
i took a shower
and organized my things...

--noticing i had an acute paranoia...
so i got the key the safe-box in the room
and locked up my money and passport and tickets... Jim´s too...

then i left Jim in the lobby reading a magazine
to walk around the city.

-- as Sao Paolo did last year, the air here kinda burned my nose and throat...
big cities...
just the slight difference of pollution control between here and NY makes the difference..
and i´ve been used to the clean air out in the desert... so i´m actually breathing deeply..

---i walked down to the ocean..
beautiful high cliffs covered in morning glories
tourists parasailing
gardins of beautiful purple succulents...
it´s spring here...

there was a large section of the garden made for lovers...
a huge statue of a man and a woman laying together and kissing
mosaic benches about 200ft long
in a U shape
... creating an intimate space..

and the ocean beyond..
the green cliffs down to the road, the beach
a little dirt trail for those who would walk..

i took pictures
and smiled at the people who were curious of my look
-- beautiful women..

but i had to be aware of time: we were meeting the guide at 12:30

i got back just in time
but she was a half hour late...

South American Time!
-- it gave everyone in the group a chance to talk.
9 of us on this Pre-trip section

all couples, except one woman from the mountains outside of Denver, CO
a german/latina couple from Tucson
a spanish speaking couple from near San Antonio
two female friends from NYC (jamaica and Ronkokamo)

we piled in the bus
and drove down to the retaurant
all telling stories of or lives and travels
-- i hardly remember anyone´s names..

then we drove off into Lima
(we´re staying in a nice sea-side tourist district called Miraflores --- litterally "Look at Flowers")
the old architecture
the slight dilapidation... the colours..

our guide, Nieves, pointed out a man sitting down on the corner with a clip-board
he was marking what time the busses went by
if a driver wanted to
he could stop and ask when the last one was
to know if he should speed up or slow down..
and he´d give him 20cents for the information..

people do this because they make more money at this than the minimum wage.

men were sitting next to stacks of cardboard boxes:
they sell these to anyone who needs them to organize things in their houses, etc...
2 or 3 Soles...
but maybe 35 for a refrigerator box..

ah... the stuff we cast off in the US is still usefull and precious here.

we went to the natural history museum
and i very quickly got out my camera and started photographing the strange drinking jugs with two pipes to a single mouth piece--
all sorts of faces and characters
people having sex, masturbating
animals, gods, trophy heads

san pedro cacti sitting in pots
so our guide could explain to us the strange transformations of the Shamans into Jaguars...

i bought a little change purse
and some chocolate
jim bought some jugs of couples copulating

and we got back into the van

driving further into the centre of Lima
we started seeing the really interesting ornate architecture and colours
... stopped in traffic
i was taking pictures
and the idea occured to me that this might be the first foreign trip i have pictures of..
most of my negatives were destroyed from the time i lived in england as a 17 year old
before i got to print them
and the mongolia trip, Kwai took all the pics and i´ve only seen a hand full of them..
i didn´t have a camera in south africa, but a few were taken, i have one envelope of them
but i had no camera in europe:
just the photobooth pictures
my return trip to america had all the pics i took from my crapy archos mp3 camera
and i took many with it in Brazil
but it was stolen upon return to the US in Miami..

i opened the window to get a better shot
leaned out the window to take some pictures

and a man jumped out from behind the bus and grabbed my camera and ran off with it..
--- the sensation was so strange
i was surprised
but at the same time
if someone interracts with my body so intimately as to remove something from my hand
my first impression is that they are supposed to be doing that
or that i know them, somehow
a relationship is assumed
so i kinda let him do it before i realized what happened
-- i´d never had anything stolen from me directly: only when i wasn´t around

it only took me a second to realize what happened though
and i tried to follow him, of course
the people in the bus were shocked and confused when i bolted out
running through traffic
but when i got to the sidewalk
there was no trace of him
just people staring at me
... however strange i might have looked
it was obvious enough that i was a tourist
thus, getting no help from them

i took a breath
and let it go

walked back to the bus
and explained what happened

it put a bit of a damper on things
and people kept bringing it up
telling their stories..
it heightened my paranoia..

when we got out to walk around the square
beutiful old buildings, great colours..
mustard yellow
powder blue
moss green...
with old ornage wooden balconies
and an elaborate fountain in the centre...

i started feeling angry with all people staring at me
(looking like jesus)
all the people asking us to buy things

i did my best to just relax and release

what else to do?
buy a little bag to hide my wallet in so i wouldn´t be worried about pick pockets..

then into an old Franciscan monastery...

that certainly helped calm me..
down in to the catacombs
the piles of bones
arranged into patterns

have fun..

the guide suggested i file a police report to see if the traveller´s insurance would cover it..
so we dropped off the rest of the group at the hotel
and headed out to the police station

she explained to me that we´d have to kinda lie to them
tell them it happened here in Miraflores instead of down town Lima
or we´d have to go all the way back there
and it would take much much longer
--- so she made up a story and told it to me and told me i had to tell it..
"this is how things work here"
... yes, i know.

the police who took my report did not speak english
so she did all the lying... i just complied.

when we were finished
she got the paperwork
and went back to the hotel in a taxi..

---up to this point, i´d not see any of the Cent pieces..
only 1, 2 and 5 Soles coins, along with the bills..
most of our group didn´t even have Soles... prefering to use dollars
which work here just as well
thought it´s slightly more expensive... less hassle.
i was a bit worried that i was too much in the tourist circuit
an wouldn't even see the cent pieces
but when i paid to have the police report photocopied
i got 60cents change...

i went to buy things at the artisans´ market...

colourful pointy hats for nayland...
but some bags (i needed one... and could share)
some gloves
some socks
and a hat for the bright sun in the jungle...

i walked home
down the main strip
a little boy followed me
at first
i thought he was just following me
but pretty soon
i realized he was begging..
which was funny, i thought about giving him some change when i first saw him
but thought it would engender bad habits in him..
as i walked along
and he hopped next to me
i sang him little songs about
Desculpe... los siento.. que lastima.. Little Boy...
he kept repeating something
but it wasn´t really TO me
he didn´t say it loud enough
i told him he´d have to get stronger..

and eventually he got tired of following me.

when i got back to the hotel
jim had gone out to eat already
so i just dropped my stuff off in the room
ate some dates
and came down here to write before heading out to get a bit to eat myself.

jim walked by a little bit ago
i gave him the room key..

and tomorrow
we leave at 4am for Iquitos.

i am pretty sure i won´t have internet access when i get there
so i´ll back-date the days when i´m back
along with a current one.

i´ve got a paper book i´m making notes in to be able to write more interesting daily accounts on here

------------ (updated at 10:42) ----------

i just got back from dinner:

i walked out the door after posting the Day 1 entry
and realized i didn´t know where i was going..

i turned left
turned right
and started walking..
deciding i didn´t want to be out late
because i have to be up at 3am...

the first restaurant i came to was a nice little italian perrilla (grill)
and i was happy enough looking at the menu that i went in and asked if they were still serving food (in my very broken spanish " su... Abierto? ")
he assured me they were
and i sat down at the table behind the door
set for four

he handed me the menu
and while i perused it
he cleared the rest of the seating..

it seemed so strange
but made me grateful he did so
--- to not draw attention to my eating alone.

i decided to get a glass of wine
Morcilla (blood pudding, a house specialty) for starters
and a Milanese con Funghi... which i didn´t know what that was.

the garlic bread he brought out had three wonderful condiments:
oil and parsley with garlic
a wonderfully spiced hot chili paste
and a sour cream house dressing thing

they balanced eachother wonderfully
and i was half through the basket when the morcilla came
... i hadn´t eaten blood sausage since switzerland with my friend Wolfgang..
and that was the only time i´d ever eaten it before...
it was wonderful in Zürich...
nothing much to speak of here...
warm and filling and energizing..
i could feel the blood pumping
like i was filling up with iron..
but it didn´t really taste like much
... but cooked blood.

finished with enough time to finish the bread
before the Milanese came out
and what was it?
a breaded veal
pounded out and covered in cheese and mushrooms

i enjoyed it
but by the end
was just shoving it in my mouth
coz i was tired and had to poo and wanted to get home..

paid him 45 soles
and thanked him
walked out onto the street
turned right, turned left
and decided to walk to the ocean.

turned out this was the exact street i took down to the ocean earlier today
so i breathed in the air
watched the lights
and walked left
back towards the lovers´ monument..
there were many couples kissing on beanches as it was..

where were the fags though?
perhaps by the pissoir?

no, that was locked for the night..

i noticed a little seat on the other side of the fence
right on the edge of the cliff

i crossed the barrier and sat down

watching the waves lap at the shore
pushing themselves back out
and heaving in...

wondering if someone would come up behind me and push me over...
wondering why i was so scared here...

i got back up
and walked along the embankment behind the area i walked earlier

a boy and girl making out in the dark..
was she holding his dick?

i walked on

and saw a path starting under the fence..
a steep drop
but it only took me a second to realize i wanted to put my feet in the water........
so down the edifice i went..

weaving down the cliff
slipping on the rocks
traipsing through the morning glories..

--- it doesn´t rain here
they had watering hoses hidden in the vines.

when i got down to the road
a cop had pulled a motorcyclist over

i hoped he wouldn´t stop me...

... he didn´t.

but when i got to the freeway
i noticed a big wall... so how was i to get to the sea?

i walked along
and found a stairway
long and winding down and out and down and over and down.

to the beach!

which wasn´t a beach...

i noticed they called all the parkinglots in Lima "playa" today..
maybe it´s coz no one knows what a Beach is?
it was all pebbles... rocks.. to stop the erosion?
but no sand of which to speak
well... perhaps a bit
but it was all covered in bigger stones!

in fact
the cliffs were made of the same thing
some dirt.. gravel... stones...
looked very unstable..

i got to a place the ocean could reach me
and lifted my pant legs up
and let the water lap at me..

i was a bit worried it was polluted..
but i figured i was already... and i´d come all this way
so i wasn´t going to let that stop me.

it felt great.

then it was time to head home.

up the stairs
up the cliff
back along the ocean walk-way
a girl passed me twice on a bike..
was she circling all night?
what was the thorne in her side?
i know mine...

i stopped and did pull-ups on a bar
and found the same road back to the hotel:
Francia to Grau...
back here
and i really need to take a crap (and pack for tomorrow)
really need to let go of some things..

like how i was thinking of "the power of now" again
and how i remembered that when i was a 19
in my acid and mushroom days
i came to the understanding that i could succeed at finding peace
but it would probably mean that i´d have to give up my idea of being famous for being a tortured artist...
as that is all i loved at that time: the beautiful utterances of the suffering.
and it was turmoil for me..
i wanted people to hear my wails of pain..
i didn´t want to let the bastards who made my childhood Hell to get away with it...

but over the years
that´s just not important to me anymore..
but the programming is still there...

what have i got to lose?

why not?