Friday, November 12, 2010

lima, peru (i)

Here it began, and here it all ended. I find myself in a small, kinda grinny looking store, front open to the narrow streets of the back alleys, check. Ceiling fan grinning away overhead, check. Smell of cheap stale cigarettes lingering in the air, roger that. Cheap cracked walls with wooden self made tables and stools, absolutely. Up front kids playing catch with puppies, kicking balls around and making funny faces that seems only the pups understand. Empty stacks of beer bottles on one side and stacks of dried bread on the other.

Leo (last name unknown) insists that here, in what you might call a torn-down place of a cafe, lies the mother of all mothers. Café con leche. Scalded goat milk with bold coffee. Yes. None of that expensive creamer/milk wannabes and no instant coffees. Pure and simple. Coffee with goat milk, and i fell in love.I truly understood why coffee in Peru are drinks of royalty.

Leo was an Australian who immigrated to Calgary and found life with the tar sands. Being in the union and all, life was pretty much set for him. No matter where he went, the union always had his back. He could come back 6 years from now and still get a decent non-minimum-wage kick-ass of a job if he so wishes.

We met at the España few days back. He's here living off the land and touring the whole southern continent. We sat, talked and discussed how our travels have been so far. Exchanging tips and pointers, we found that we had something in common. We both, still to this very day, loved our large double-doubles. owh yeaaa.. so good.

to the future


I also met a cyclist (whose name escapes me) in España. He was sitting at the patio, all smeared up to the bone with dirt, cooking his dinner with his camping gear. In his eyes you'd immediately notice that he's the kinda guy who would look in the mirror and never, ever, felt ashamed of himself.

I was ticked.

I knew this man had stories and i wanted them filling up my brains. I mean, how often do you see a person sitting in the middle of the patio, with an open fire, cooking dinner in a hostel? You tell me? He told me he's been cycling for 4 months now in the south, another 2 to go ending in Colombia. Living life cycling and sleeping on the road was a no brainer for him. He loved it. Being free and what not, he starts as early as the sun rose and stopping whenever tired. Gump much?

the sun

He told me this is his second tour. First was 6 months from Europe to Asia. All the way from Sweden to India (and yes, crossing the war zone), and all the way cycling (except for one stretch in Afghanistan where he had to take a bus because cycling is not prohibited along the desert highway). No biggie.

Good luck my friend. May we cross paths again, and i truly mean it.

espana's front desk

the alarm clock

Lima, a place full of life, a melting pot. Its where you'll find people from all over and beyond. Sitting at the main plaza, an old lady came up. She spoke spanish and i english. But this much i understood: "If you ever come back to Peru, i will be sitting right here waiting for you on that very day", smilingly she said.

the morning after

spanish dances

And of course i eventually did come back, 6 months later, but she wasn't. Nonetheless, i sat on the same spot for the second time and paid my respects to her promise. I felt accomplished and loved.