Tuesday, July 28, 2009

this old house...

a week after i turned 35 at carnaval, i came home from a 3-month romp in south america. salvador de bahia, brazil straight to edison-suburbia, new jersey. the same town i grew up in since i was four. the same town i left when i was 18. the same town i came back to briefly when i was 24. and the same town that i pretty much avoid when i come home for the holidays. the whole 'running into old high school friends who are toting around their offspring' at menlo park mall all but gives me hives in odd places. instead, i choose to avoid such awkward encounters by hiding out in said house that i grew up in, leaving only to head out to the city or sprint to the mailbox for my netflix dvd. the irony is not lost on me that i have been pretty much wandering the earth for 2 years alone, and here i am, right back to where my life started. 35 and back home with the parentals. if this doesn't make you face yourself, i'm not sure what does.

of course, not everything is the same. i look around now and my parents have gutted the house so much and so many times that it actually looks nothing like the house that i grew up in, except for the basic foundation and structure. (you know, how joan rivers doesn't really look like joan rivers anymore because she's had so much stuff done to her face, but you can still kinda tell it's her if you squint? yeah well, that's like my parents' house for me.) the floors are black granite (ala cheesy korean karaoke bar), the walls a burnt orange sienna (a shade just above a starbuck's cafe), and glass-block room divider/shelf things (chinese mall extravaganza, i think.) it's weird, im not gonna lie. and if i ever meet those "people who aren't really people" contractors (my mother's words, not mine) i might hit them over the head with a hammer. i'm just sayin. but, for now, it's home again.

home because, as of 2 months ago, my sister and my 3-yr-old niece also moved back in. yup, we are all back under the same roof. hello, full house. my sister took the room she grew up in, and i am in my old room. which, again, looks nothing like our old rooms, but still, talk about weird... the voices of the house linger in the walls. the random memories of growing up and playing in the halls of this house whisper in my ears. the bedroom closet where many of my dreams were born, all hover in the molecules of this house. it's comforting, if also a bit unsettling, too. unsettling because it feels like i am living with the ghosts of who i 'used to be.' facing myself everyday from the ages of 4 until 18, and 24. and although i wish i could say that i am eons and mountains different than my former adolescent self, i am finding that i am still very much... dare i say it... the same. it's just like the house, isn't it? i may look renovated and updated, shorter hair and sun damaged skin, but the foundation and basic structure, thoughts and desires are still very much the same. well, that's just terrifying, isn't it? i mean, have i not changed? have i not learned from all my life experiences? have i just been this creature of habit running the same wheel all this time, just in different landscapes?

the other day, my sister went into the hallway closet to get a towel, only to remember that my parents tore it down to expand the bathroom to fit a jacuzzi. it's been a good 10 years since that closet was ripped out, and yet, from pure physical habit, my sister automatically went to that exact spot. whenever i chat on the phone past 10pm, i feel this persistent urge to go hide in my closet so as not to get caught. i am a grown woman and yet, these thoughts are ingrained in me. so it got me thinking... or maybe spiraling.... is this it? are we all just doomed to be the same old creatures of habit? will i leave this earth the same exact person that i was when i was born?!?!

(insert anxious driven scream here)

so, in an effort to curb my anxiety about all this, i decided to investigate it a wee bit further. i realize that there are things that will always be similar and that familiarity can be a good thing because it makes you feel safe. makes you feel steady. grounded. and in grounding, allows me to wander. so i will wander now, not into the world 'out there', but into the world i grew up in and have returned to. places i have known all my life, but may offer up new lessons and adventures.... edison-suburbia-new jersey, nyc, my family, and... myself.

then and now.

...and i thought a himalayan trek was daunting. eesh.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

chinese school dropout...

i sat in my little wooden chair with my wrinkled notebook in my lap, under the table, frantically trying to finish my chinese homework as the teacher began choosing the student who would go around collecting them. teacher's pets. disgusting. ok, i'm a hypocrite. in 'regular' school (this is chinese school) i played the part of the teacher's pet. i was the smallest in the class, as per usual, and i was the only chinese girl in the class. so i used it to my advantage, letting the teacher believe that i was the disciplined, sweet little asian girl that all little asian girls should be. hey, it's not my fault she bought into the stereotype. besides, it worked. and, i even got a free snack out of it. lemon cookies that crumbled and melted all over my teeth leaving a sugary film over them.

but, every saturday at chinese school, my guise was up. i was the delinquent in the corner scrambling to finish my chinese writing homework. scribbling the characters down as fast as possible. the problem was, in chinese calligraphy, things need to be precise. each detailed dash, slash, and cross is to be exact to create one uniform character that measures the same in height, width, and length each and every time you write it. it's an art form. and i was basically jackson pollock-ing it. a dirty mess of scrambled lines, crooked dashes, and lost dots scattered about, and not one character contained in the one inch by one inch box provided.

i was busted.

violent red slashes marked entire pages of my homework. like a bloody gash across the face of a gladiator. it seemed to scream across the table as soon as i opened it. calling all the other students' eyes to it like an awful traffic accident. their over-achieving eyes widened in terror. i slammed my flimsy notebook shut, the red rushing to my cheeks. if only they knew i was the teacher's pet during the week, they would not dare judge me.

a week later, i am sitting in the back part of our bronco, a.k.a 'the trunk', hunched over with my erratic pencil re-doing the same homework that got murdered the previous week. i look up at the approaching new york skyline, and pray that the holland tunnel is backed up something awful. some stillness would really do the trick right now. no luck, the tunnel is in the clear and my blotched calligraphy is starting to look like 49 miniature Rorschach inkblot tests. 49 distinct blots to say, "you are psychotic if you think you will ever pass second grade chinese school." the blots were right. i stayed back in second grade chinese school, and eventually dropped out long before i ever reached the halls outside of primary chinese school. you could say i was a chinese school dropout.

back then, chinatown was different. it had the smell and grime of greasy chinese food all over the streets. i strolled past the school last week and it looks different. cleaner. i thought for sure it would look grimier, and, wow, was that church always there? the hallways were always dark in the school and the bars on the windows made it seem more like a dungeon than a place to further my chinese education. a stroll pass the noodle shops and everything seems to look wiped down. the windows that used to have meat drippings splashed across it are now filled with zagat rating cards and laminated food critic reviews. the cooks who used to have blood and guts caked onto their aprons, are now in button down shirts. i peak inside the restaurant and there are more tourists than locals. chinatown has reinvented itself as the more astute version of the old. it's more tourist-user-friendly, with a museum (the MOCA- Museum of Chinese in America), tons of souvenir shops, and garbage cans on every corner for visitors from all over the world. every silk scarf, red lantern, and tofu shop precisely placed to paint the perfect picture inside that little chinatown box.

i'm not sure why, but i felt ripped off. this unwarranted nostalgia for the dirty tip-toe-around-fish-guts-in-the-gutter chinatown. i had no right to these feelings. i only came out here on saturdays (until my poor calligraphy showing forced me out) and chinese new year (to light firecrackers and run for my life as the dancing lions paraded down the crackling streets), it's not like i grew up here. i didn't have any memories of daily activities in these crooked streets. it's not my home. it's not my upbringing. yet, that feeling of loss was still there.

because what little i did have, was a sense of part of my history here. the part where i looked around and saw the other side of life beyond the suburban nj neighborhoods of colonial homes and split-level houses in different colors with sprawling green yards and abandoned bicycles in the driveway. the part where we got to slurp down oily shrimp and pork dumplings at dim sum. the part where i bought chinese comic books. the part where full-sized chickens hung from the restuarant windows. the part where everyone spoke cantonese. coming to chinatown was entering a different world. a world that was contained inside a split level in suburbia. a bumpy hour-long ride in the bronco trunk, and new york offered up it's dirt to me. gave me the permission to scribble and scrape my way around the culture that ran deep in my parents but only sprinkled on me occasionally. it was chaotic. it was smelly. it was dirty. but it was great.

so maybe i did suck at chinese school, but i still like chinatown as messy as my calligraphy... and i'll keep looking for it. next stop, flushing, queens... the 'real chinatown' in new york now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

sometimes i like to get mushy...

i'm back. for really reals BACK... on US soil... in the good 'ol garden state of new jersey. to be completely honest, i've been back for about a month now... letting the past few months sink in and live inside me without looking at it too deeply. just letting it swirl around and find a space inside my heart.

how was this trip different than india? has been the number one question. there is no comparison. each, in its own right, has been uniquely special. yet, as i turn the corner of 'backpacker travel mind' to 'back to home in NJ' mind... i leave you with a letter i started to write for my brother after our trek up to manchu piccu... it pretty much sums up this trip and why i love traveling. it's really mushy... consider yourself warned.


duuuuuuuuuuuude, we did it! you did it!! you roughed it dude, and you survived!! WHUUUUUUT!! i'm so proud of you. so very proud of you on so many levels. i'm already getting mush-bomb on you, but deal with it. we just had an amazing experience together. i'm allowed to be a mush. it was a spiritual one. a life-long, never forget the moment one. and to see that experience swimming in your eyes is pretty incredible. as much as you surprising me in india last year was a moment i will never forget, the moment of arriving at manchu piccu with you was a feeling i will never stop feeling...

after days of trekking, not being able to breathe, following your little bird, having 'club lam' tent party, baby wipes bath time, running in the mud & rain DOWNHILL... for 2 HOURS -- lord of the flies style!--, getting cliff woozies, and sharing meals under a tent, tucked into these enormous snow-capped mountains under the brilliant stars... i feel like i know you better now than ever before. you know my favorite photo game is to play... where's puper? in my old high school pictures. as my friends and i would hang out in the basement playing terrible versions of beatles songs, your little shaved head would always pop up randomly in the background, like a little puppet trying to find it's place in the world.

this week, i saw you taking your place in the world... and it was pretty spectacular. to watch as you took care of other people, the time and patience you put into helping others was by far the most fantastic gift i could receive. just to witness it. i mean, what are you?? like a real person now?? when did that happen? i suppose it's one of those things i will never really let go of... that you are my little brother (even though people think you're older-HAHA) and we always do random, crazy stuff together. but this time, this trip, opened up my eyes to the person you have become and continue to grow into... and i gotta say... you kinda rock, dude.

on those hard hikes up, when we could chat, we chatted about random stuff, about life, the rest of your PHD, life ahead... and never once did you approach it from a fearful, nervous place... you were open to whatever life was going to give you. ready to move on, to take life by the horns, and to enjoy it all. this is, by far, my favorite thing about you. your ability enjoy life. to see the bigger picture. to approach life with such an amazingly calm outlook and to do it with such a caring, giving heart. i remember when ge and i used to tease you all the time about the little girls around the neighborhood who would literally love to whine your name... KEEEENNNNNNYYYYYYY. in that flirtatious, annoying way. KEEEENNNNNYYYYYY. it was the way they liked to call you because i suppose they had a crush on you and whining your name would help get your attention?!? huh? i don't know, but it continues to this day. valerini told me your students do it and i think i may have heard it a couple of times on the trail... keeeeeennnnnyyyyyyy. maybe it was just nargus being funny, but the sentiment is still there. people like to be around you. it makes them happy.

and i gotta say, doing this tough trail with you, that historically, is a spiritual one for the inca's was one long trail of happiness for me. it reminded me of how much we have to work to get to where we are... with hiccups on the trail and moody weather patterns to shake things up... but along the way, if you have a smiling face to encourage and cheer you on, life is that much sweeter. we watched in awe as the porters would run passed us with the entire kitchen on their backs or tents or bags and we would thank them for their hard work... and they would smile their sincere, open smile back at us... with a kitchen tied to their backs... in the rain! then we would look at each other, shake our heads in disbelief... of their ability to work hard. to believe in their work. to embrace it. to enjoy it.

then it hit me.

i saw all these same wonderful traits that i admired about the porters reflected back at me from your face. and it made me proud of you. so very proud. because you see, when i travel, i might go alone, but i can never do it alone. it takes the help of so many others to get me from one place to the next that it amazes even me that i have somehow managed to arrive in one piece. and so, in seeing and knowing that you help people in such an open, giving way... it makes walking into the unknown world that much easier for me. because people like you exist. and they do.

so, for the rest of our lives, when i look at the manchu piccu pictures and get all crazy choked up, you'll know why. this was the trip that i got to celebrate you on... the one thing i took from all the history oscar told us about manchu piccu was that the city was built on the top of the mountain because the inca's wanted to be closer to god. the closer they were to the sky, the closer they were to the heavens, and hence, to god. i look at our pictures, i remember all the poignant, funny, crappy, and profound moments we had trekking, and i think... this trail brought me closer to you. my baby brother. and i smile.


so with that giant mushball letter, i end my south america travel blog... thanks to everyone who read it, commented on it, wrote me back, enjoyed it.... i can't stress enough how much traveling makes me so grateful for the people in my life. thank you. un beso grande para todo**

more info to come soon on where my adventures lead me next.... in the meantime, i'm going to continue posting my east coast adventures here... so stay tuned.

you know you wanna....

Monday, March 9, 2009

poor kid?

i got robbed. by a kid. who looked me square in the eye, leaned in, smiled his syrupy thick smile while he...

ripped my necklace right off my neck. RIGHT. OFF. MY. NECK.

it's strange because the clearest memory i have is the sound of my necklace snapping. the thick silver chain cracking and echoing in my ears. like a shout in the grand canyon. CRACK...RACK... ACK..CK...K....

the kid turned around and started walking, not running, away... arrogant little bugger. for a moment everything just froze. a slight burning sensation began to heat up on the back of my neck where the chain broke. it must have fueled my adrenaline because before i know it, i've chased him down, got his shirt wrapped around my right hand and i'm shouting, "YOU LITTLE SHIT!!" (very mature of me... i know.) but he's Brazilian and has no clue what i'm yelling. i'm just shouting like a mad woman. he struggles to get out of my grip. his shirt tears. we stumble. he begins to wrestle out of what's left of his shirt. i lose my footing, and WHAM! we hit the floor with a thump. his torn shirt still death gripped in my hand.

the second sound i remember is of my necklace falling through the metal grates we were on top of. specifically, the charms scattering and scraping. again... the echo. he must have dropped it when we fell. i release my death grip.

he's wriggled his way out of his torn shirt by now and is scurrying to get up. in the chaos of it all, he has also lost both of his flip-flops. he runs off, barefoot and shirtless. he was twelve. maybe. somehow i've got one of his sandals in my hand and i watch as he takes off into the carnaval parade. for a split second, and ONLY a split second, i think about throwing the sandal at his head. don't worry... i don't throw the sandal at his head... luckily, my senses kick in and i see that he is just a kid. small, skinny and probably a bit shocked, if not scared. i drop the sandal and five minutes later, i break down into a jitter of tears.

"poor kid." my parents say when i recount the story to them. they are both shaking their heads. huh? poor kid?!? can i get a little "poor me?" ummm... just a little bit?!?

i think it was gandhi who said that he once had his pair of shoes stolen on the train but the man dropped one when he jumped off the train. gandhi then threw the other shoe onto the train tracks. when asked why, he said that the person who stole it obviously needs them more than him, so he may as well give him the pair...

but then again, i've seen slumdog millionaire and i certainly don't want to encourage this kid into a life of ripping people off...

yeah, i'm still workin' this one out. either way, i think my parents are right... 'poor kid' that he has to steal for any reason at all. that just plain sucks.

ps- a quick shout out to my wonderful, sweet friend lizzle. she bought me this necklace before i left for india and then got me another one when i left for south america. it's protected me for both trips. and now, it's somewhere under the streets of salvador... protecting others...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

should i stay or should i go...

(written enroute to brasil... a couple of weeks ago)

it took 3 cramped, crowded & coughing buses, 48 hours along pothole-pocked dusty roads, 3 brasilia check points with military men in reflective glasses rummaging through all my dirty laundry, 1 italian-boliviano (marcello!), 1 peruvian minister (miguel!), and 1 argentine hippie family to get me across the border and into brasil safely... but here i am.... and already i LOVE it!

we crossed the border yesterday at 4pm, almost 48 hours after we started our journey in la paz. i had no idea how dodgy the bus was going to be. (sorry mommo and bubbi!) but since the border crossing (in the middle of the mosquito-infested jungle) here is mostly for the locals (and people who don´t have passports or proper papers (hippie argentine family), you can imagine the array of...err... 'colorful' people that occupied the bus... drug dealers, drunks, and prostitutes! OH MY! two rows behind me were these young, drunk guys that were transporting god-knows-what to god-knows-who from bolivia to brasil and back again. in the row in front of me, two girls with all sorts of body parts squeezing out of their infant-sized outfits, and to the left of me, an indigenous woman with her young daughter cradling an even younger baby in her arms...

normally, i don´t get too nervous when i find myself in these seemingly precarious situations anymore. i breathe and surrender to the situation and take it moment by moment. it is what you make it. i glance over to the left and the mother of the child with the baby places a pail in the aisle between us. the boys in the back are starting to crank out obnoxious laughter like crazed hyenas. i try not to look and focus on the stains on the back of the seat in front of me. i burn a hole through the seat, but still i find my eyes wandering to the left as the boys' raucous shouting starts to build. and then, i like a horror freak show, i see the woman, put her dress over the pail, squat down, and pee.

ummm, what.

yes, folks, she is peeing into a pail in the middle of the aisle on this filthy cramped bus with a bunch of drugged-up, drunk teenagers screaming behind her. now how am i suppose to surrender to THIS situation? and then, as if the freak show couldn't get any worse... she takes the pail, opens her window and pours it out the side of the bus. really?! is that really necessary? considering we're stuck here for the next 48 hours, i guess it actually IS necessary. my bad. note to self: NO DRINKING WATER, NO FOOD, NO WATCHING OTHER PEOPLE PEE IN PAILS. close your eyes. feign sleep. the bus chokes to a start and i begin to feel the pangs of terror electrocute my system. do i get off? what do i do?!? find a potential buddy. i look around and immediately realize that there is not ONE person that in the awful chance that there is an emergency i would feel comfortable asking for help. not. one. single. person.

the bus starts to pull out of the terminal and i am playing 'should i stay or should i go' in my head. i quickly do the pros and cons in my head. PRO- get to brasil by tomorrow if i stay on the bus... CON- don't make it off the bus alive. tough call. and then, just as i'm nearing my decision to leave, the bus screeches to a hault. it's a sign, it's got to be a sign... get off the bus, NOW! the drunken hyenas grow wild hissing at the bus driver to get on the road. mayhem seems to be brimming. i grab at my bag and get up to leave. just as i stand up, in walks... marcello.

the universe always provides.

marcello. my italian-boliviano angel had arrived. and wouldn't you know it, he had the seat right next to mine. he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and said kindly, "permiso?" as he made himself comfortable next to me. he smiled his shy 45-year-old, doctor's assistant smile and i smiled my i can't believe it, thank you so much for being real and smile back. and for the next concussion-inducing-BUMPY 35 hours of jungle roads, marcello watched over me, worried about me, fed me, communicated for me, walked me across the border, protected me, and handed me off to a minister before he felt okay to leave me. he looked me square in the eye before he literally handed me over to minister miguel and said, ´SUERTE! CUIDADO! CUIDADO!!´ then he hugged me tight, gave me a kiss-kiss on both cheeks and walked away into the sunset... gracias marcello!!

not to worry... i am completely safe in the hands of minister miguel now. he won´t let me out of his sight. poor guy. i just want to whisper to him, "don't worry. the universe always provides."

yes, yes it does.

pop like popcorn for carnaval!

the boom boom bass of the samba rattles the street with mini earthquakes...
people shake. shake. shake.

their booties.
their titties.
their popcorn souls.

and then.
they shake some more.


balloons the size of planets sail between the buildings,
beating to their own heartbeat.
glowing like comets...
celestial cinema.

confetti, newspaper, and silly string waterfalls...
splash the parade like a giant decadent cupcake.

and in the middle of the street...

a little ecstatic 'scarlett-siu-jie popcorn',
shakin´ and poppin' it like she means it,
stares up at the drizzling speckled sky...
blows a kiss of birthday bliss...
to her "old peach" bff...

(... AND, thank you everyone for sending me their birthday looooove & wishes too... i am doing my best to spread it all over salvador!)

***beijos muito grande from carnaval! POP. POP. POP!

8 days a week...

right now, i´m sitting in an internet cafe in santa cruz, bolivia with 7 hours ahead of me, waiting for my next bus to the border of bolivia and brasil that will take no less than 16-18hrs. it´s hot. the kid playing video games next to me is humming like a racecar. i think he just crashed. it´s humid. i´m sweating. i must smell like a peach....

last night, i grabbed the bus from la paz, bolivia. it took 16hrs to swivel down from the high altitude to this more tropical side of the country. at hour 12, the bus became so hot, humid, and wet (it´s pouring outside...and so, subsequently, its also pouring all over my entire right side, of course it ís, why wouldn´t it be??), that i considered letting the indigenous woman sleeping in the aisle have my seat. (i´m such a generous person... wait until the seat is a proper puddle THEN offer it up. better late than never??) i peered over luisa, the teacher who just got separated from her husband of 10 years because she wants to switch jobs but her husband thinks she´s cheating on him´(???), so they had to separate b/c he was getting increasingly more loco - (all told to me in spanish) snoring softly next to me, and lightly tapped the woman wearing her customary top hat (which acording to luisa, helps to keep the grey hairs away) but she only rolled over slightly and ignored me. her colorful sack of goods crackled under her weight. i sat back in my soggy seat. drip, drip, drip. this is not helping the fried onion smell that is permeating the bus. it´s like soggy fried onions mixed with vinegar. drip, drip, drip.... only 4 more hours to go...

2 nights ago i was on a boat returning from the isla del sol on lake titicaca. yes, that´s the real name of it. lake titicaca. where if you try and take a dip in the lake, you will freeze your titi and your caca off. it´s the highest altitude inhabitated lake in the world. it´s breath-takingly, literally, gorgeous. the clouds are so close you can practically pick some off, eat it and let it melt in your mouth like cotton candy.

3 nights ago i found myself dancing in the streets of puno, peru with HUNDEREDS of electric and eclectic groups of costumed dancers from fuzzy white bears, to sparkly-space cadet soldiers, to vegas-style-feathered mistresses... it was a rainy mess, but that didn´t stop them from celebrating until the wee hours of the night, drunkenly stumbling with half their costumes hanging off their bodies like an over-stuffed coat rack. it is a very strange sight to have an enebriated half fuzzy, now brown bear almost fall on top of you in the middle of a cobblestone street. very strange. and yet, at 8am the band struck up that same ól tune again, and there they went stomping through the puddles towards the cathedral to offer up their dance in prayer and celebration.

4 nights ago i found myself huffing and puffing up the steep alleyways of the witches market in la paz, bolivia staring at dried llama fetuses on sale. dried. llama. fetuses. apparantly, if you bury it in the ground in front of your house, it wards off evil spirits or brings good luck to your house and family. um, okay.

5 nights ago i found myself dancing with local bolivians to both traditional music and their version of dance-club hip-hop cumbia cumbia.... to be honest, the moves were the same. the music just changed frantically.

6 nights ago i found myself in sucre, bolivia dodging pre-carnaval water balloons thrown by adolescent boys that would ear-graze passed my head in whizzing speed in the center square where the indigenous people were holding a protest in front of the government house. ear-splitting booming dynamite was going off every 20 minutes or so to call all the villages together to protest. i watched as a man tried to cross the protest line on his scooter and he was literally pushed and pulled OFF his scooter and onto the ground. within moments he was hovered by the angry shouting protesters. a friend told me that a bus recently crossed a protest line in bolivia and the driver was dragged out and beaten, and some of the passengers hurt too. you just don´t cross protest lines in bolivia. the passion and need to be heard is both staggering... and humbling. some might find it scary, but i find it rather intriguing. when a friend educated me a bit on the plight of the indigenous people, it gave me goosebumps and filled me with compassion. so much history. so much oppression. then i got tagged by a red waterballon on my left leg. score.

7 nights ago i found myself on a yet another bus from uyuni, bolivia to sucre with a new friend who decided that i was going to be his human pillow for the entirety of the 9 hour trip. really, dude? really? YOUR space... MY space.... but i forgave him his ´´too quick to cuddle´´ ways as he DID help to stop the bus when i couldn´t get to my backpack because the travel agency had locked it away and decided to disappear for an hour as i waited, sweating bullets, outside. wouldn´t you know it, just as the bus took off, the lady came slowly waddling down the street. ´´no understanding of personal space´´ guy ran and stopped the bus for us. so i guess it´s okay that he crushed my lungs for a good 5 hours... only to have to transfer from bus to sedan ´´taxi´´ car at 1:30AM for another 3 hours with his head rolling back and forth on my left shoulder and the backside of the old bolivian man´s hand tapping on my right thigh to music so blaringly LOUD that i felt like i was going to throw up from the pounding bass. i didn´t have the nerve to ask the driver to turn it down for fear he would fall asleep at the wheel and drive us straight off the cliff into the deep, grey mining town of potosi.

8 days ago i found myself dancing in the otherworldly, blank white canvas of the salar de uyuni in bolivia... where the sky and the ground is such a pure white that you can´t distinguish between where the ground ends and the sky starts... there are no words, metaphors, analogies to describe the incomprehensible feeling and beauty of this place... so i grabbed my ipod... ran towards that blank bleak beautiful canvas and just started to DANCE DANCE DANCE... WAAAAHOOOOOO!!!! painting it with my breath.... my smiles, my laughter... after a good thirty minutes of this... i turned to the sun, did 3 sun salutations to give gratitude for my family, my friends, and my life... thank you, thank you, thank you.... then i skipped my way all the way back to the jeep.

ready to paint my life along....