A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


The ability to go to a fantastic restaurant and order some of the best seafood you'll ever have in your life for all of 3 dollars, creates a certain affection for a place. My meal of choice is the Mariscos, a delightful blend of pasta or rice with shrimp, clams, mussels, octopus, and calamari. It's absolutely grand and makes for a nice treat every few days. By all accounts one could go out for food every day, but you have to be a little reasonable with the almighty greenbacks.

I'm still in Lima. A surprise to me after all the foolery of the first couple weeks, but I must admit that I've hit a groove on the new book I'm writing. 5 chapters done and still truckin along at a nice clip. Also I've begun teaching English here, to pad the wallet a hair. Doesn't pay much, but it adds to the larder just the same.

The sun is shining, its 85 out, and the breeze is just enough to make the palm trees sway. I understand now why in his day Hemmingway sought out KeyWest for relaxation and inspiration. Theres something about the exotic that appeals, and though you may have to travel further to find it than the old man did, its still out here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Flying Dog

There's a certain number of things that you have to come to accept if you engage in a life on the road. The first is that somehow somewhere you will be screwed out of money. Buses overcharge you because you are a gringo, cabbies do the same and often, airlines take a bite out of you nealy every way they can. Vendors shortchange you in hopes you dont check what they give you. Street urchins will nick your cigarettes while selling you candy and then sell them to your friend next to you. This is not an inditement against South America. It's happened to me in the States, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, etc,.

Nearly eveyone I've met on the road has met with some loss. An Ipod stolen, a passport lost, a strange sickness, a cancelled flight. But its something you come to accept and in time understand, and it bothers you less. You become part of the experience, no longer an observer. And you laugh about it sooner rather than later because if there's anything you learn out here, its that life's too short to let the small stuff bring you down.

I recieved my tickets finally yesterday, and though I was charged an obnoxious fee and had my time utterly wasted, I've nearly put the entire thing behind me. Something I can't say would've happened 5 years ago. And though bad things happen all too often in life, out here where your safety nets are gone you have to reverse the instinct. Have to revel in the accomplishment of living to see another day, making another friend, seeing a sun set on a sleepy city you may never see again.

And that brings me to friends and family. There's nearly nothing as important to a traveler than remembering home, but what you find is a strange world here where the adventuring homeless find each other, all on different paths that occasionally link before parting again. Here at the Flying Dog, it is as true as anywhere I've ever been. From my partner in sickness, Angie, to the legenday Sinead and her quest to save the streetkids, from cards with the boys from Jersey to Michelle at the vaccination center trying to score a great deal on Malaria pills. The DC couple of Jim and Lisa, Duncan and his journey across the Atlantic in a rowboat, Dutch Tamar, the rowdy Irish trio, the Finn, Karla the Amazonian, and of course the irrascible and kind trio of Beto, Chicho, and Danielle.

But at the end of the day, life is a series of trials. Out here they rear their ugly heads often enough, but its how you choose to respond that defines your character.

- c

Monday, March 06, 2006

Not the Dog's Bollocks

Ticketless. If it isn't a word, it should be.

I went round for round for an hour and a half with LAN only to have them tell me they need the exact tax breakdown of my original ticket in order to issue me a new one. But yet they wouldn't get on the phone with the ticketing agency to get the info and claimed their computer system wasn't equipped with the neccessary information. It was a heated exchange. No one would've liked to have been witness.


So, still stuck in South America.

Of other note, watching the Oscars dubbed live into Spanish may be one of the most vexing things ever struggled through. Not only are the joke's timing off, but the Peruvian sense of humor is much different here and their loudness varies greatly on how much they are amused. But I did come away from the experience with a few thoughts...

1 - It's not quite the same watching the show without Cory, Len, and JD. Just isn't.
2 - If Brokeback Mt were about two straight people wandering the hills trying to be in love, it barely would've been a made-for-tv movie.
3 - Best Original Song? If this is any indication, the Oscars are going the way of the dodo, or they were bought out by MTV.
4 - Best Foreign Film - no clips? Did they run out of money putting together all those montages and couldn't even show a clip of each film, which are undoubtably far better than the fare offered by America.
5 - Could Reece Witherspoon be any further from the best actress?
6 - Salma Hayek - wow.
7 - At least Kong got some cred for all the work it took to make. But just goes to show, the critics all go to see fantasy and science fiction films, buy the books, buy the dvds, sneak midnight glimpses of Harry Potter, Kong, Chronicles of Narina, but yet cant quite let themselves admit it come award time. I mean its decidedly more difficult to do the Art Direction for Harry Potter than it is for any period peice, or Memoirs of a Geisha, who won. It almost like admitting that someones imagination is vastly superior to your own, and certainly that can never be true.

All in all, another year of cinema, another year of art trying desperately to reflect life. Yet what I see is a pulling away. A continuing trend to explore the possible, to find escapist cinematic therapy. It agrees with me, with my love of creative expression and I hope it continues. Toward new untouched realms that can prod those delicate reaches of the mind to jolt you into another understanding.

more on this later..

- C

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sunny, with a chance of tickets

Mira Flores, Lima, Peru

I may have my ticket issues sorted out, but wont know until monday. It will cost around 100 bucks, but far better than repurchasing tickets at an inflated daily rate near 700 to 900. This is a lesson to all - etickets are the way to go. I had no choice and had to have paper tickets, but there's little you can do to protect them, so be aware. Most flights to Europe use etickets, but down here they just aren't equiped for it yet. They also aren't equipped to have sanitary water for drinking either, but that's another thing entirely.

Despite looking frankly at the ugly mug of death's door, I am beginning to feel human again. Talked to a doctor yesterday, (yes he left his bone rattle and snake oil in the car), who gave me a prescription that seems to be taking effect. That's the wonder about down here - you can go to the pharmacy on nearly evey corner and buy what you need pill by pill at a hugely cheap price. Just don't buy a bottle of Centrum - it's around 32$.

It's around 88 today and the palm trees are blowing in the wind. Paragliders are cruising over the city roofs and I sit on a balcony that overlooks Parque Kennedy, a sprawling european garden where kids play and vendors sell their wares next to umbrella-covered outdoor cafes. My notebook may be empty, but as the words drift and form in my mind, it won't remain so for long.

- a C-note