09 mayo 2006

unairbrushed humanity

dear mom,

I met my first ex-terrorist yesterday. he's a brother now and worked with his wife to install hot water at the house yesterday. they are really sweet together.

disclaimer/ apology/ author's note:
i'm almost hesitant to write anything, knowing that words cannot make you love peru or even really communicate why i love it so much. you will have to come and see for yourself. so all i can give are a few observations, a few emotions of my narrow experience with an insanely sanctified family in a living, complex country in a even more inscrutible (right word?) and living/dying world. the reality of this place is more beautiful, more ugly, more ecstatic, more miserable, more painful and more feeling than anything one might read from my mind.

i will include pictures asap, but don{t assume too much from them either. (by the way, i owe myriads of thanks to the brother steven holmes for letting us borrow his digital camera. what more can a girl ask for than to be in peru with unlimited photos and no development fees? this is bliss.)

thought one: re: juxtaposition

if one wants an aesthetic experience, get thee AWAY from thy art museum, AWAY from thy computer screens, AWAY from thy books and solitude. get thee with people. with humanity.

it{s all about juxtaposition. my prof in intro to fine arts talked about how "aesthetics" is NOT "beauty" per se, but rather the viewer entering into the experience the artist has prepared for him. the most shocking works, the ones that most stir people up and involve the viewer's emotions are generally those that make good use of juxtaposition. putting something together that one wouldn't think goes together.

Peru knows juxtaposition. we began with the flawless, smoothly commercialized world of airtravel, where the flight attendants are perfect, the food and courtesies are neatly packaged for maximum convenience, and the repeating square televisions show million dollar homes in new york and models in paris. then we see lima. ah lima. people. people. people. let it be known that lima is modern. you have pretty much everything that houston has, just with peru-ness. but the juxtaposition! "unofficial" porters are just as solicitous as flight attendants, but they have an aggressive quality to their courtesy. they help you because they have to eat. you HAVE to pay him, Senor, because he has children to feed. 10 soles is NOT enough, amigo, how can you do that to me? 15, amigo, 15... (more juxtapostition to come)

thought two: a profile

Lenin handled the porter. let me tell you about Lenin. yes, pronounced "lehn-een," the brother WAS indeed named after the 20th century russian madman. (this was 1981 in the peruvian jungle, pues. what else was his father going to name his firstborn? the neighbors already had little "Marxito." another one would have been just too confusing. just so you know, i totally made that part up.) but okay. back to hermano Lenin. where do i start? he graduated from college a couple of years ago with a degree in marketing or business or something. he works with his father and brothers selling cars now. he spends most of his time in lima (and everybody here pretty much hates lima, from what i can tell. but with 1/3 of the country's population, (of 28 million... do the math and think market) it´s an necessary vice) and gets home about once a month. ...and for most of the family's 30 birthdays.

he was our "chofer" (pronounce it) for the 8 hours from lima here to huanuco. bracy got sick (ever since then it's been: "Tia bekkah, you can't give me any more food. i don't like food. i{m going to vomitar. do you have chicle (gum)?") and several times from the backseat there came a piteous, "hermano, can we stop please here pretty soon..." dot dot dot (name withheld to protect the vomitous. she's fully recovered now, thanks for asking.) but never was there an exhasperated (sp?) sigh or a pained look at the watch. (we were supposed to get home before dark... because of banditos, you know.)

Lenin was our chofer and my first friend during our previous trips to Peru. the "policia" here have a bad habit of stopping drivers at random and searching their luggage/trunk to make sure everything was up to regulations. blasted regulations... always get those poor travelers. and the fines are so stiff too! 900 soles... (divide by 3.3) but the policia will be kind enough to let you go, they'd just like a little "tip" for their efforts to enforce justice and law in society. would you mind, amigo...? we joked that we always knew they were asking for their "propina" when through the back window we would see Lenin start to laugh. "no, sir, we are Evangelicos. we cannot give bribes... it is unjust... do i need to pay a ticket?" no, no, esta bien... 4 times, friends... this happened FOUR TIMES on this trip alone. what would you have done? lenin smiled and shook his head. no, we're evangelicals.

more to come. theres nothing like reality....


Anonymous Timberella said...

Thank you, dear.

The pictures of our beloved familia and your description of our 2nd homeland make it almost as good as being there!

Can't wait to see and hear more!

sábado, 13 mayo, 2006  

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