Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guest Blog: from Argentina by way of Cusco, Peru

Okay, I'll admit it: I worry. Having a daughter studying abroad in Argentina has done nothing to make me worry less. You could even say it has made it somewhat worse. Okay fine, the usual worry has combined with my writer's imagination and developed into full-blown paranoia. With delusions.

You would think I could take it in stride that she didn't call on Sunday as she usually does. Or that it would be no big deal that she hadn't replied to the last three emails I sent. And of no concern whatsoever that it had been more than a week since I'd heard from her. Nine whole days. Not that I was counting.

So I finally got an email from her:

Well, [BF] hadn´t talked on the phone to his mom in a month! I´m way ahead of the game! It´s just that the computers at COPA are very slow, and there are only 3 for 41 people, so I don´t always have access to them. And I don´t have internet at my house, and I don´t go to a cafe with wifi everyday...it´s different here! People aren´t glued to their computers, it´s nice. But I am doing wonderful! I WENT SKIING!!! on saturday a group of about 15 of us went to a ski place for the day and it was so much fun, but the slopes are definitely a lot harder here than they are at snowshoe! i´m getting better though!

Oh, well, good. Because I was thinking maybe she had made some rash political statement that caused an international incident and was being detained until the State Department could be contacted. Or that rebel forces had abducted her and were holding her for ransom. Maybe next week. So glad it was just a ski trip. Now all I have to worry about is her falling off the side of a mountain and breaking a leg and being unable to summon help and freezing to death and leaving wild beasts to fight over her thawing carcass in the spring. Sigh.

I had asked whether I could post excerpts from her blog here. Because some of you were curious to know what she's been doing. Besides, I'm busy and have nothing of particular interest to say right now anyway. She replied:

i guess you can copy and paste some stuff of what i wrote in my blog, that´s just kind of odd though, can´t you just tell them what i´m doing?

Um, no. My version would contain too much anxiety over bad things about to ensue. Isn't it odd how the apostrophes are backward? Is that a magnetic thing in the southern hemisphere or a characteristic of computers used in Spanish speaking countries?

Here is some of her post about when she was in Cusco, Peru:

So, some key details about Cusco. While taking the taxi from the airport to our hostel, which was about a 10 minute ride, we put our lives in the hands of a truly Crazy Taxi driver. (Those of you who play video games will understand my horror.) There are no traffic laws, maybe two stop lights in the whole city, no lanes, no rules that anyone seems to follow. Our taxi driver drove seriously two inches away from the car next to us. I was amazed we arrived at the hostel in one piece. Also, attempting to cross the street was an adventure as well. Generally in the US pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks, and most drivers will stop before they run you over. Well, in Cusco it is the opposite. A driver will not hesitate to run you over if you are in their way. Also, there are about a billion punch buggies (VW Beetles) in Cusco.

And you wonder why I worry? She continues:

The food was incredible! Everything was fresh, which is something that is hard to come by in the US. Fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh vegetables, fresh meat, etc. It is incredible the difference in taste between fresh food and processed food. And everything was so inexpensive too! One night as we were going out to the Plaza de Armas for dinner we were stopped by a parade of children. It looked like elementary school aged children, and each grade/class was performing a different traditional Peruvian/Andean dance, complete with costumes and music and everything! They paraded around the entire plaza in the street, and the kids were absolutely adorable in their fancy dresses and costumes doing these wonderful dances! All of their families were out there taking pictures, it was truly incredible. From the restaurant we could continue to watch them because every restaurant in the Plaza is on the second floor and has a balcony (with windows to be open air or closed to be inside) where you can sit and eat and look out at the plaza from above. At the restaurant there was a band playing traditional Andean music, and the lyrics were all about harmony between people and the earth, and Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and very spiritual stuff, but spiritual in the sense of being connected to the earth and your surroundings. The music was so beautiful. [BF] bought their CD too!

Okay, that's enough for now. Maybe later I'll "let" her guest blog about the trek to Machu Picchu. It's harrowing, I tell you. Dangers abound.

3 comments:

McB said...

I'm enjoying following along on the trip as you post excerpts. sounds like she's having a fabulous experience.

Try not to worry too much. Okay, you will anyway. But just think, some day she might have kids of her own and then you'll get your revenge when it's her turn to worry.

jenb said...

This is a great way to experience this part of the world.. vicariously.
You have given her a wonderful gift. Hope she continues keeping a journal-so much to remember.
Looking forward to hearing about the next adventure.

BCB said...

Oh, she's having a great time. Got an email from her Thursday night:

"Well i´m leaving tonight to go to Cordoba (about 10 hours north east of mendoza by bus) with [BF] and about 5 other kids from our group. we dont have class friday, and monday is a holiday, so we are takign advantage of the 4 day weekend to travel."

With little or no regard for her mother's mental health, let alone punctuation and spelling.

Seriously, I'm delighted she's doing this. I'll just be happier once she's home again. And no, I have no illusions about how long she'll stay once she gets here.