Terra-cotta tile roofs underlaid with corrugated tin and blue plastic tarps, covered in used tires that lodge it all from blowing away in the storms that kill up over Lake Titicaca and touch down sheet rain and nail-lean hail pellets, turning the narrow streets into speedy two-foot currents.
From the corner room on the third floor of this hospedaje, I be able to hear a man playing his plastic recorder, badly, with skin-covered stumps in favor of hands. An old guy peddling hidden chocolate and avocado-colored liquids in unclouded 5-gallon buckets, serenading their deliciousness in a gravelly, nasal utterance. School kids squealing with joy to patriotic Peruvian anthems resembling Nazi debt of nature march songs.
I’ve been in Puno at this moment for over a month, which is luxuriance of time to record its beating, its smells, its habits. Its the bulk of mankind are still elusive to me, viewed like they’d remain even if I lived here for the next fifteen years. But I’ve taken renowned pleasure in watching, like a flaxen speechless fly on the wall.
There’s the familiar tension between tourists and locals, apparently overridden by endless streams of parades, to which place folks from Puno and elsewhere come down upon the streets in obscenely colored homemade decorations, busting out rhythmatically to hand-painted base drums and pan flutes, catching cell phone pictures of each other, during the time that doe-eyed Americans and Europeans await on, armed with point-and-expel flash cameras, not knowing what besides to do with themselves. They fly rapidly in and out of shops selling alpaca hats and sweaters, in consequence disappear into their 3-star hotels.
Then in that place are the folks who belong to the corners, whose movements and utterances define the neighborhood as regularly as well-maintained temple clocks. A lady wearing six wool hats, who drags a plastic stool down the main tourist highway at a snail’s pace, sycophantic over a bent cane to more mystery location who knows how remoter away. A gentleman with acid-washed jeans, polarized hades, 4-foot amps and a Perry Como noise whose lounge tunes soothe away the honking of taxis and tuk-tuks perpetually clogging the streets. Uniformed seminary kids take over at 2pm, laughter, holding hands, playing tricks on either other. Cops in tight black pants watch into the bargain it all.
What does it niggardly to me on the move, in greater numbers-or-less constantly for 6 months, for this reason stop dead in your tracks? Well, in opposition to one thing, your body catches up, going into a bridle-~ of shock from the rest it’s no longer used to getting. Germs lurking in lungs or joints steal out to take advantage of a quieter material substance to attack. You de-toxify (bold you’re not spending all your time corrosive vast quantities of potato chips and chocolate time watching Spanish language infomercials and downloaded films from in 60-odd pounds of stacked Peruvian wool blankets). You sleep. You think (perhaps too much). And you straggle the same streets every day, recording the crowd that gets overlooked. The shadows and flitting gestures. The street trash. The reflections in windows, in successi~ the ground and occasionally, in clan’s faces.
So I have this repaired pattern of existence that’s entirely my own, governed only by the weather and some rather unique circumstances, as well as those of a friend with whom I’ve been expenditure time. It’s all about waiting, and learning how to extract disposition experiences from what is both extra and mundane. Time passes like a ticking bomb while we witness the corresponding; of like kind parades, the same restaurant criers, the sort tamale ladies whose shrill, guttural voices you have power to set your watch by, morning, noon and ignorance. Life is not unlike the movie “Groundhog Day”. I excite up at 6:29 every break of day and the rising sun casts the corresponding; of like kind golden light in the same address, at the same moment through the same machine-embroidered curtains.
In what course will I walk next? Will it offering anything new? Some fresh obscene graffiti, discarded waste matter or human poop never smelled judgment? Will the ever-present raw brick uncompleted facades reveal some new story ready their anticipated, permanently absent residents? Will I for aye leave this place?
Yeah. I demise. It’s just a matter of extracting myself from a uterus of sorts. A comfort zone that has some seductive-destructive qualities. I could induce lost here… but I have to worthless..
The microscopic bugs squirming around my intestines are (presumably/hopefully/God willing) dead. A week ~ne I submitted a tidy plastic small bottle of yellow liquid poo to a desponding uniformed woman in a room whose fluorescent-lighted walls were covered, knock down to ceiling, in red lettered palaestra of microbes. For 7 soles (well-nigh US$2), you can have your discharge examined. Mine turned up with Giardia (and E. Coli).
But the gurgling intestines and intense need to sleep, acknowledgments to 6 days of the aptly-named medicine “Flagyl“, have tapered off, and I be able to now face a standard-issue Peruvian plate armor of meat, rice and potatoes on the outside of turning green. And in a scarcely any days I’ll have a re-establishment for my stolen bike title, thus I can enter other countries semi-legally. Hallelujah..
In the meantime, I compose, think, plan, make stuff. Pouring from one side the photos I’ve taken, and pondering the sort of they’ll eventually become. Around the nonplus there’s a little tienda that sells ~ hangings, pencils, school notebooks and Hello Kitty stickers. There I erect some thick paper and pencils with lead soft enough to smear on all sides, and I’m churning out splashy drawings like a kid with a unyielding of finger paints. It’s a salutation break from the neat, tidy, repetitive stitches that animation into each embroidery. It feels genial.
Time is ticking away.. and my money is too. I have enough to win to Buenos Aires, but that’s hind part before it. Though I’m spending next to nothing to be here, and it’s subdue witch’s tit cold in the Uyuni Salt Flats, highly soon I will have to trail ass.
Bolivia awaits. I understand it to subsist the most desolate, remote and logistically beset with ~y country I’m to encounter in c~tinuance this journey so far. They’ve got a gringo custom on gasoline, where blondies pay three times repeated the price, in territory remote enough to cause someone with a 2 gallon gas tank some serious concern. And in that place’s sand. Soft patches with washouts that engagement ruby-red lake vistas with stupendous populations of flamingoes. Do I be lacking to risk another near-broken settle for a flock of birds?
This afternoon my loved and I went wandering through a hospital. Outside, the take away-choked grass and cracked concrete fashion it look closed. Inside there are scratched murals, dead electrical circuits, exhausted windows with thick dust and curled, used tissues left up~ the body their sills, bleached from the light of heaven. People linger in the dark hallways forthcoming the emergency room, waiting for better or news of their friends or subdivision of an order inside. The sick are draped in to a great depth wool blankets – the same kind I’ve been inactive under for two months – and the identical kind in which orderlies wrap the dead.
A manage approached us in her green fatigues, wheeling a tired-looking diligent. I worried that she would term us out on our voyeurism.. sue us what we were doing and try to throw us revealed. But instead she was just elegant. She wanted to know where we were from and invited a conversation. As we were leaving, we crossed her ~way one last time. This time, her semblance lit up. Then she sang us a melody.
* * * * *
A expression., for anyone interested.
When I return to the U.S. I determine be making art works based without ceasing images and experiences collected on this fault. In an effort to raise the cash I need to get myself and my bike back from Argentina, I am pre-selling plenteous of this work, asking 50% of the get price up front, the rest immediately after shipping. There will be prints, drawings, watercolors and embroideries.. a part for everyone, in just about each budget range. Prices and all other distinct parts can be found on this PDF, downloadable via Dropbox.
In response to this, some folks have offered to simply donate cash to keep the project going. For anyone who wants to transact this, I will make a literary production of art and put it lacking in the world in your fame.