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Pedro y Ana (Lima, Peru, 2013)

This one’s serious.

It was our last night together in Lima and our last night traveling together outside of the US. Kenny and I finished up a food binge and were walking through one of the parks in Miraflores (perhaps with the ulterior motive of finding marijuana) when we saw and heard a man and a woman on a bench beckoning to us. We walked over, and both of them excitedly asked us if we were “Hindi.” (After being mistaken for Israelis all over Argentina, this was welcome). They told us they loved music, and that they loved Indian music.

Pedro and Ana introduced themselves. Pedro — about 5’8″, paunch belly, wearing capri-like pants. Ana — a little shorter, jeans, t-shirt. Both had weathered faces and laughed a lot. They invited us for a drink at a nearby bar.

We were hesitant, pussy travelers, but we went along. I stumbled with my Spanglish when we came to a little hole in the wall bar (I don’t know if it’s even fair to call it a bar). Pedro was friends with the owner/family — a small, squat woman who brought us 40s. We sat on the second floor and some salsa videos were playing on the TV. We giggled and talked and laughed, drank many beers. They told us about Peru, about Peruvian women, about having fun, drugs, life, music, faith.

We noticed the way Pedro and Ana talked. A little jittery. A little crazy. We noticed them sneaking off to the bathroom one at a time, and coming back with renewed energy and optimism. They seemed sad but hid it beneath this veneer of gaiety. Ana brought out a joint for us. “For the cute Indian travelers!” she said. It was shitty, welcome weed. Ana kept telling us to be happy, to pick up some Peruvian girls. We all were getting progressively more drunk.

Ana told us that Pedro was doing cocaine in the bathroom. That he did a lot of cocaine. Pedro told us he was a professional musician. He gave us his CD. Ana taught us to salsa dance — we were awkward ostriches, they made fun of us.

Ana broke down crying, and pressed into our hands some twined necklaces and beads. “Charms from the sun,” she said. She said she didn’t have long to live, that she was suffering. Pedro was talking, and talking, and laughing, and disappearing to the bathroom.

I paid for all of our beers. We walked down the street while Kenny comforted Ana. I was really drunk, and I didn’t know how to feel. I kept it inside. They found us a cab back to Guadalupe’s hostel (Kenny had a flight to catch in a few hours). I still don’t know how to feel.

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The Sensory Deprivation Experiment (New York and San Francisco, 2013)

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I don’t have many words to describe these experiences other than that I would highly recommend it and that it basically feels like laundry for your brain. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at it.

I attended Blue Light Floatation in New York a few months back and it was awesome. Sam is a great guy and guides you through the process. It was expensive but worth it. I was pretty shaken up after and just took a long walk in NYC.

In SF, I got a Groupon for Zazen. Smaller tanks and a bigger scale process than Blue Light and good vibes.

People have asked me about going whilst high on weed or something. I personally wouldn’t recommend it, but some people might have a better experience that way. If you tend to get paranoid or flip out on weed, don’t do it.

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Fifty Shades of America (Santiago, Chile, 2013)

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Typical morning in Santiago: Kenny and I were really late to a guided walking tour of the city. Luckily, we had the map of the sights with us, so we planned to just surprise the guide on the route.

We arrived a big square in the center of Santiago and promptly got lost. There was a lady standing at the corner offering free eyeglass cleanings. I got my sunglasses cleaned by her, and stammered to her in broken Spanish asking for directions. 

She asked me if I was from America — I’m like yeah. The next words out of her mouth were “Ahh… cincuenta tonos de gris?” I’m like I have no idea what that means. Kenny comes over and translates for me. “Dude… she’s asking if you’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey”

LOL

That’s how Chileans know America. Through a BDSM sex novel. Whenever I’m down, the world never ceases to make me laugh with its sense of humor.

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The Mystery of Chilean Legs (Santiago, Chile, 2013)

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(Photo stolen from the Internets)

Chile and Argentina sit on two sides of a dichotomy in many ways. Argentina has a reputation for beautiful women, good airs, and a shit economy. Since we decided to fly to Santiago after bussing around Argentina for a month, our Argi friends sat us down (cue sense of foreboding) and warned us about the, um, “ugliness” of the women in Chile. We had to see for ourselves…

OK, so there was some truth to what our Argi friends claimed, but the most interesting thing was the Chilean no tapered legs. Seriously, their legs don’t taper down into their shoes. Yeah, it’s weird, and no, I’m not making this up. I really wish we had some photo evidence but that pic above was the closest I could find.

The weirdness of Chilean legs is just not talked about. But the mystery pervades every aspect of Chilean culture. They even have cafes con piernas, which are coffee shops where the main draw is just that the waitresses don’t wear pants (they show off their legs). They sell (non tapered leg) sex appeal. 

ImageBut the legs don’t taper.