So for weeks there’s been weird stuff going on with my left eye that has finally morphed into a sty monster of sorts. And for all of these weeks, I have been pretty much completely ignoring the accumulating symptoms, other than occasionally noting them to Morrison. Instead I have been worrying and obsessing about much grander things. I am so consumed by thoughts about large things that are basically out of my control that I neglect to notice something happening right in front of me, or rather, on my face. I’m using my eyes to take in data that I turn into worry and stress and I don’t even stop for a moment to take stock of the faulty equipment. I’m sure that Buddha or Gwyneth Paltrow has some fine reflective phrase about this. Probably something like: take care of your physical self so that you’re able to face (or even SEE) the storms ahead of you, imagined or otherwise.
I would just like to formally apologize to every actor who came to callbacks for The Cake last night for how much I was frantically writing during every read. If I were you, I would of course assume that I was making a long list of everything that was annoying about my body and voice and just me as a human, in general. But actually, when a playwright sits in on auditions for their play, suddenly all of the emotional holes in the scenes become clear, and the playwright must frantically write these holes downs along with any ideas re: how to fix them before they escape. Unfortunately sometimes this must happen while an actor is beautifully emoting. Basically La La Land is a documentary, and sometimes, I AM THE VILLAIN IN THE ROOM I’M SORRY.
One of my favorite things about going to another country for the first time is seeing what the houses are like. I like to watch people coming in and out of them, sitting outside of them, listening to the radio, shucking corn, living their lives, and I especially like to look away really fast when I make eye contact with one of these people, like I wasn’t just turning the poor person into a poem. Obviously in every country there are big cities with fancy parts, and basically all of those people live in condos with lobbies and farmers sinks and walk in closets and flat screen TVs. But when you step outside of the big cities, you can really get a sense of what’s unique about the country and its homes. Here’s a piece of the outskirts of Cusco, from the window of a bus:
What was most striking to me about Peruvian houses was the fact that a lot of them are constantly in progress, being built upon. You see them and think, oh, no one is living in that house, it’s a construction site, there are bricks and tarps. A lot of the roofs have these metal rods sticking out of them which I finally realized (by which I mean, Julien explained) that it’s prep for a second story of the house. I think in America we’re obsessed with presentation, with things being Done and looking a certain way. But in Peru, and certainly other parts of the world that I have yet to see, a house is a thing that is built over the years while you live inside of it.
We spent our last night in Peru staring at the sunset and then eating food while also staring at the sunset.
It’s always hard to re-enter normal life after adventure, but I must say, when I stepped on my flight to Atlanta, the stewardess called me honey and told me I looked plum tuckered out, and I was so grateful to hear my language and it’s weird intricacies that we ACTUALLY HUGGED, because maybe the only thing better than briefly bearing witness to other cultures, is stepping back into your own.
HUGE NEWS! Lima is not just a bean, it is in fact also the capital of Peru. We are here for just 24 hours before we head home, but it’s the perfect place to you know, be at normalish altitude again and maybe allow the stomach to return from angry dragon monster to standard napping cocker spaniel. To really round out our White Girls In Peru Adventure, we are staying at the Hilton, which boasts a roof top pool, filtered water, and toilets you can put toilet paper in to, which is to say, THINGS THAT WHITE GIRLS LOVE. ALSO THERE IS A PARK FULL OF CATS.
Travel internationally with a small rolling suitcase like you’re just popping over to New York for the weekend. Stick out like a very cool thumb. Shout things like IS THIS TIMES SQUARE? People will like you and it’s NOT because they think you might be mentally ill!
You kinda never know what you’re going to get with a hostel. Will it be full of over zealous undergrads that you are forced to socialize with? Will you have to lock your belongings in a scary medieval barrel? WILL THE NUNS MAKE YOU GO TO BED AT 8 PM? This is just me remembering them from my own solo European vision quest. We picked Hotel Sauce In ollantaytanbo because Julien wanted to live for a night amongst the locals but also mostly because of this fine wall of hats.
Since it’s the off season, we are two of just four guests here, which means we basically get the place to ourselves. More specifically means we get a beautiful breakfast laid out just for us with milk and yogurt and eggs from the farm up the street.
As suspected, Machu Picchu is, how they say, pretty okay. I am basically awe struck and humbled to have seen it at all. It is mystical and strange (they still aren’t sure exactly why it was constructed) and feels connected to something inexpressible from a very long time ago. Julien and I climbed the highest mountain that either of us ever have climbed and I’m fairly certain I now share DNA with clouds.
The best part about visiting any natural wonder is when the wonder itself is so breathtaking that you know there’s no point in taking 100 pictures like everyone else seems to be doing, and that really the best way to capture the moment is to just truly inhabit it.
The second best part of visiting a natural wonder is the moment after you have a moment about how there is no need for pictures in which you TAKE A HUNDRED THEM.
The third best part is when you then put your camera away and return to your original moment in which you are just breathing everything in, the rocks and trees and histories, remembering (as Julien aptly pointed out) that the point of nature travel is to remind ourselves how very small we are, and from this woke and spiritual place, look upon others taking pictures with soft pity and disdain. They are tourists, you are a child of the earth. QUICK GET A PICTURE OF YOURSELF LOOKING LIKE A CHILD OF THE EARTH OH WAIT THERE’S SOME ALPACAS GET THOSE INSTEAD
It’s quite the quest to get to Machu Picchu, which I think is one of the great things about it. There’s no ‘popping on over to.’ It’s definitely requires intention and planning and approximately 900 tickets.
We don’t go into the actual ruins until tomorrow, at which point, I’m sure it will somehow be even MORE worth it, were that even humanly possible,
After much flights and much carbs and sweaty active wear and prayers and none sleep, Julien and I have made it to the Andes mountains in Peru! Cusco boasts one of the most dangerous airports in the world as it is surrounded by steep jagged mountains and about 900 layers of clouds that the plane must descend (plummet) through. After a brief 3 hour diversion at a local airport that I will call Alpaca as literally no one here speaks English, we finally landed in Cusco. It was stunning, it was terrifying, it was worth every moment, it was ZZZZZZZZ BUENOS NOCHES MONTAGNES