Monday, March 21, 2011

Woo, new country!

It looks like I'll be flying through Panama on my way back from Peru this year. The prospect of checking another one off this ridiculously long and stupid list makes me happy.

Chichen Itza

It is embarrassing how long it took me to go to Mexico. Living in Arizona I was often just a short drive from the border...and yet somehow I managed to make it to Japan nearly a full decade before I hit Mexico.

I did finally meander my way down on a cruise in college. In all honesty, 80% of the reason I went on the cruise was because I had a chance to go to Chichen Itza. The other 20% was because I could eat unlimited crab cakes.

Tour Guide: Excavations have resulted in many interesting archaeological discoveries.
Tourist: Did they find any treasure?
Tour Guide: They found a lot of bones.
Me: So they DID find treasure!!

Bio-archs: our definition of 'valuable' is probably different than yours. ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I was born in West Germany on a Wednesday. 

By the next Monday I was being shuffled south to Italy.

It really shouldn't surprise anyone that I developed the heart of a vagabond during these formative years. My wanderlust, cultivated early, is deeply embedded, and this trait that has served me relatively well.

However, I recently had what I would call 'a moment.' 

I found myself sitting in the airport after landing in 6 states in less than 2 weeks, eating my 3rd helping of shitty airport food in as many days. Same uncomfortable chairs, obnoxious announcements and crappy lighting, but a different city.

I looked around and suddenly realized I was so incredibly tired. 

It wasn't just the current trip that weighed on me; it was months and months of impermanence (granted, impermanence caused by my insistence on running away from things). Somehow, in all this fleeing, a new desire had crept up on me; I wanted somewhere to return to again - somewhere that mattered.

So, in the middle of the Chicago airport I thought deeply about my life.  After those intense 5 minutes of pondering my existence, the decision I had thought would be difficult --the decision I had dithered over for weeks -- turned out to be entirely simple. The right grad school was picked, a better pizza was bought, and a happier me started the final flights home.

Don't worry though - while ending my hobo days is awesome, I will be traveling again soon.... it looks like I leave for Peru in 24 days. :)

Paris 2007

The posts have been a little Peru-heavy lately, huh? I guess it is time to mix it up! I give you a piece from my collection of Paris street art.

 I've always wanted to know if he was pointing me towards something - towards my destiny perhaps! Or even better, towards some excellent crepe place. 

Friday, March 11, 2011


Once upon a time, I went to the Ayacucho circus. After this truly momentous occasion, I can honestly say that I don't think I will ever, ever go back to an American circus.

Here are the order of the acts. Please keep in mind that there were no safety nets or regulations. And yes, this is 100% real (ok, maybe 97% real, seeing as my memory for 9 months ago is a tad spotty): 

1. Two scantily clad women salsa danced. I enjoyed it; I'm not sure how the small children in the front row felt.
2. A guy in a Mexican wrestling outfit did acrobatics to Soviet marching music. There is really....nothing I can add to that.
3. There was a long montage with a regular clown beating a dwarf clown. A really, really long montage. 
4. A very depressed looking monkey was forced to carry around baskets of fruit to music from the movie Grease. Yea, that was the entire act. The monkey tottered around in a circle and pleaded "kill me for my fur because that would be more dignified than this" with its eyes. But hey, it did have a pretty dress on!
5. The above monkey then refused to peddle a bike around in circles, so a human ended up just pushing the monkey while it sulked. Seriously, this monkey gave the saddest dog in the world a run for its money in the emo department. 
6. A small dog was forced to climb a ladder 20-ish feet into the air;  it did so while looking completed dejected. It then flung itself off a platform and into what appeared to be a pillow case. I can only imagine that this dog and the monkey will one day band together and make a break for it. They can ride the little bike off into the sunset and never be forced to wear dresses again.  
7. A 4 year old little girl had a noose-thing put around her head and neck. She was then hoisted about 20-feet into the air and did acrobatic tricks. This was the part where I really wish we had had safety nets. But I guess it is one way to make sure your kid is worth feeding.  
8. A scantily clad dwarf woman did sexy salsa. Sexy salsa seemed to be a theme. 
9. Then there was a dance montage where Dracula killed Michael Jackson and Daddy Yankee but was later turned into a fairy by the Numa Numa dance guy. YES REALLY. THIS HAPPENED.    
10. An odd bit where a clown did a "kids say the darndest things" skit with a bunch of 8 year olds. Except in his version, he made the little boys pole dance, and then had a little boy and a little girl kiss. After that skit, I am pretty sure I have to register as a sex offender. :/
11. Finally, a llama had its 15th birthday party and danced around. In a dress

Photo proof. FYI: This circus was called the "Siberian Magic Circus." I mean, a magic circus is one thing, but a SIBERIAN magic circus takes you to an entirely new level of awesome. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bill Gates didn't finish college, you know

In Arequipa, Peru I found the very prestigious College of Bill Gates. Looking back, I probably should have applied there for grad school.  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The day the Greyhound died

I often have to defend my decision to ride the Greyhound. For the most part, I feel that I have defended the ol' lady well, proving that buses can be a reliable (and entertaining) mode of transportation in America.

Yea, well...I have to break up with the Greyhound. We are done.

This week I got the brilliant idea to just ride the bus across Arizona in order to visit a school. The majority of this trip was so traumatic that I will never speak about it. But to give you a taste of the horror:

Guy sitting next to me- " I shot a guy, so I served time. But I'm not like a cold blooded mother fucker. Man cut my homie's throat so I got even. He deserved it." The way he talked about killing someone was one of the scariest things I've ever seen.

This man soon after tried to fondle my legs in the most repulsive pick up attempt ever.

I just...can't.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I've been really unhappy with the gypsy story. I probably should have held off on posting it, but I felt bad for my already excessive delay.

This week I finally cleaned up some of the worst grammatical offenses, but then I realized that it had pretty big stylistic problems too. I don't even know why this bothered me so much; it is not like I am writing Madame Bovary here. But my ego is a truly wondrous thing and it demanded that I redo the story. Twice.

I guess I like it more now? Maybe. I'm probably just not a talented enough writer to capture the elusive gypsy spirit with my words.

Gypsies 4, Aly 0