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  • hardie karges 9:28 am on October 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Peru,   

    Now I just need a parallel reality, 


    and that never the twain meet. Half a world away, a full 180 degrees, lies another world ready and waiting, a tablet upon which to write, Peru, the flip side, the mirror image. Thailand is great for people with low self-esteem, but ultimately may be a dead end. Thais themselves tend to have low personal self-esteem for which they tend to over-compensate with a national superiority complex, notwithstanding their generally low ranking in many of the world’s important statistics, such as education, research, and development, etc. Peru seems to be the South American equivalent of Thailand, slightly bonkers, a relatively open society, and nice-looking women. Obviously I want both worlds, single and married, East and West. Maybe that’s one thing one can do in Thailand, as long as one defines the situation carefully. My ancestors followed cows across continents. So can I.

     
  • hardie karges 12:44 am on March 4, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Peru   

    Peruvian Gray 

    Peru’s northern coast is so bleak that it becomes transcendent.  Like the night defining blackness or a snowstorm defining whiteness, Lima and most of the coast define grayness.  There are places where the sky and the sea and the sand meet in a continuum of grayness that is seamless, the perfect background for something, like maybe a shopping mall or a carnival or a hallucination.  It reminded me of New Mexico.  That day way back when in New Mexico was the only true whiteout I’ve ever seen or felt, driving through hundreds of miles of landscape almost undifferentiated by whiteness.  When I lost one of my snow chains I couldn’t even stop in the single non-snow-drifted lane.  When I needed to piss I couldn’t even use the snow-drifted exit ramp for fear I’d never get back.  So on I went, hours and hours in a little capsule through the whiteness flying on instruments, using dead reckoning to plot my course.  The only reason I didn’t get vertigo was because there was a road under me.  At least I think there was; I never actually saw black asphalt.  It only changed when I got to the Colorado state line, where the road was totally clear all the way to Denver.  Apparently New Mexicans don’t like to work in the snow.  How can they expect me to sacrifice myself in the service of industry if they aren’t willing?  At least I got to see the OTHER Las Vegas.

     
  • hardie karges 3:59 am on February 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alan Garcia, , Peru   

    South American Disease 

    Peru used to be the larceny capital in the world, after Colombia, of course.  I used to walk down the streets of Lima zigzag, just so that if I saw someone else doing the same, I’d know something’s wrong.  I’d walk with a fistful of coins in my hand, just in case I had to take a swing at someone, there’d be some weight behind my punch.  As if it weren’t bad enough that a hundred bucks would be a bag-full of those god-forsaken intis that passed for currency during the first Garcia regime, then you’d have to walk through a den of thieves with them.  Garcia told the Gringos to fuck off, so why shouldn’t everyone else?  While standing at the edge of a crowd in the Plaza San Martin, a thief riddled through my shoulder-bag so fast that if you’d stopped the video at the point I realized I’d been hit, I probably wouldn’t have been able to pick the guy out of the crowd.  He went for the main compartment and settled for a side one all in the space of a few seconds, without getting anything.  That leather bag seemed to attract them.  I could just feel eyes casing it out constantly, or was I just imagining things?  So I decided to leave the bag in my room.  The next day a Peruvian I’d never met asked me, “Where’s your bag?”  I could’ve died right then and there, convinced that the world was an evil place.  The first time I’d been to Lima, it was just an overgrown village really, naïve and sympathetic.  This was a far cry from that.  The last time I was there, six weeks ago, it had almost reverted to its former innocence, pollos a la broaster and all that.

     
  • hardie karges 2:31 pm on February 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Colombia, , Peru,   

    Revolucion 

    Peru had its own Marxist tendencies for a long time, but that seems to have subsided now.  Not unlike the Shans in Burma and the FARC in Colombia, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether they’re revolutionaries or drug dealers.  The Shan claim they no longer deal drugs but that’s probably only because heroin is not ‘in’ like the 1990’s grunge era and the Afghanis are back in business, also, after being shut down by the Taliban.  Score one for capitalism.  Peru is one of the few countries in the world that’s had a leftist military coup.  Usually the army is in bed up to their necks with the rich and powerful.  Peru, like Thailand and Haiti among others, is one of those countries where logic falls short of explaining events, and sexuality plays a larger than average role, like gold during a currency crisis. 

     
  • hardie karges 10:13 am on February 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Peru   

    BOLIVIA 

    Peru’s okay, and Bolivia one of my favorite countries of all time, always a poor man’s Nepal, and now a smart one’s also, what with the Marxist insurrection in the Kingdom, not so different from Peru itself circa 1990.  You’ve got to be pretty pathetic to be ‘going Marxist’ in the 21st century, socialist maybe, but not Bolshevik.  Tourists notwithstanding, Nepal is so poor that Nepalese go to India to work.  I was in Kathmandu a week and didn’t see the mountains till the plane took off.  I thought for sure that I’d be going back; maybe I will.  La Paz is already there amongst the peaks.  The plane lets you off at 13,000 feet in El Alto where Teodora lives; then you go down 1500 feet to La Paz, skyscrapers rising up toward you from below.  It can be quite an effort just to breathe sometimes, especially after climbing the steep sidewalks.  But Bolivia’s another world, almost.  There is not a paved road crossing any border into Bolivia, at least not the last time I crossed.  Yet, they have buses more modern than any in North America.  There’s logic there somewhere.  You cruise across the lunar landscape as though there’s nothing more normal than riding a bus at an altitude higher than some airplanes fly.  The local Indians look like leathery-skinned Martians with pointy caps serving as secret transmitters to the mother ship. 

     

     
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