May 1, 2015
Have we all heard about memory foam? I bought a piece for my bed in the van and I am not so sure with all the lumpy stuff that I have underneath that it does much good. Well, maybe this piece will do something a little better.
On my travels, it was obvious to choose what to write about so this is about some of those things that made life especially sweet.
Ice. The tropics are hot and humid day and often at night except if I am parked at some sort of altitude, then it cools by around midnight. Ice becomes a sought after relief for the lukewarm water bottle. But the very best is: iced coffee! In Guaymas, Mexico I found an especially charming coffee franchise called: Caffenio. It was a quite charming drive through with a patio set up in front with wrought iron tables and chairs, tall posts with lights for the early nights before closing time about 9 pm and a well cared for agave and small palm garden. People were sitting around when I drove through. There was a beautiful Latina lady serving. She made me ambrosia in a cup of coffee with the cool refreshment of ICE. Happiness.
Ice cream. Real dairy foods are hard to come by in Mexico and Central America. Seems all the worst of the additives are in everything dairy-like. One description fits them all: too many ingredients. They are not milk or cheese, per se, they are products.However, the scourge of western marketing, good old Wal-Mart, has in many of its larger places, yup, Hagen Daz ice cream. It’s not that I am so addicted as I often talk myself out of the indulgence but the stuff is so rare, I am hard pressed to refuse my palate its pleasure. And owing to the same hot and humid tropics, it is necessary to consume an entire pint of coffee or chocolate or plain vanilla with maple syrup (while my supply lasts) all at one go. Bon Appetit!
Beer. I am not much of a drinker. I like a little champagne during the winter holidays, the bubbly comes in some fine vintage and I actually have a bottle of Moet and Chandon here with me that I will find the right moment to crack and share. I’m only sometimes related to wine with a favor to the big reds. However, in my view, there is hardly anything else that will go down as smoothly and with such satisfaction after a day of hard work and sweat as a fine pilsner beer. ‘Nuff said!
Breakfast. It’s desayunos in Spanish and it varies with the Latin countries that you might find yourself in. I do not eat out much because first, I like my own cooking and I buy only the most wholesome and organic items that I can find; and second, it can become an expensive business with some mystery of all the ingredients used. However, once in a while, I vibe out a place for breakfast. In Mexico I love huevos rancheros. In Central America there is cuisine ‘tipica’ which is a scramble of eggs and ham with rice and beans and often some side of fried banana, a little queso white soft cheese, and even more rare, a garnish of tomato, cucumber on a lettuce leaf. Makes the morning a little brighter!
Kids. Darlings, kids be kids everywhere! They are free, rambunctious, they dance about, they hop and skip, they bob and ambulate in all their wondrous ways. They are always a joy to behold. Many children here in Latin America are inclined to be quite solemn, wide eyed and almost non-plussed to see this funky white haired old lady who for them is Abuela, Grandmother. I love them all. They are our hope.
Women. There is something about our gender, my lovely sisters. When I was in Vancouver at an Expo, I went to one of those especially large bathrooms with rows of cubicles and a counter with many sinks and soap bottles hung with mirrors behind.
I can report to you in this now that no matter where these ladies came from anywhere in the world, no matter what their age, their appearance, their attention to fashion or not, every one of us gets in front of the mirror and does their habitual primping, the hair, the lipstick, the view from the front of the mirror. It was fantastic to understand that we, are all of us, are kin.
There was a particularly lovely, very dignified woman sitting in a restaurant in Cara Soucia, El Salvador, where we also had gone for a dinner. As is my habit, I am smiling and gesturing to the women around the table next to us. This wonderful lady asks me in her language if I like her country. Yes and yes, I liked her country. Of all the places that I have been in Central America I have enjoyed myself most in El Salvador – just everywhere I went people were smiling and joyous. There is an undercurrent of great loyalty and pride in these people about their country which they went to war to wrest back from the occupiers. I like their country. I may find myself returning soon to where my friend George lives to regroup and restart my way to Ecuador. I will be very happy to be there again.
Dogs. I have never owned animals just because, I think, that in my young life neither of my parents approved of keeping them likely because they were affording to feed us and themselves first. I love the cats. I love the dogs. I even fell in love with a dog: I didn’t know it was possible until I met Amigo, a ½ shepherd/timber wolf mix who was black-brown with a bright orange ruff behind his shoulders. It was love at first sight and when he was done with that body, he showed up in a dream as an ally in another world.
Here at the hostel we have Oreo, variation on the theme, a little of this and a little of that, black about with white hind quarters, elegant feet and the same white collar in front. Oreo is perfect! He was a stray, according to Allan, our host, who just came in one day and hung around until he got a bowl of food and a dish of water all of his own. He is not an alpha dog but he is very smart. I watch him stand just inside the boundary of the front of our place and stand off the other typically yard dog types who come to intimidate. He comes around to those of us who are around more than a day or so to get his smooch and scratch and to leave a nose kiss. Dog. God. Well, figure that one out for yourself.
Extraordinary kindnesses. While I was in the US, I was until quite recently quite happy to be there. I left Canada in 1970 because I was tired of ‘behaving properly!” Americans were friendlier and they liked rock and roll. All that has changed as the control system has been walked into place over these 40 something years. People have subtly changed as well. There is more paranoia, fewer smiles and a lot of very cool people seemingly barricaded into their privacy.
This Journey of the Lotus has shown me a lot that I have not had the pleasure of in all my time either in Canada or in the US. Catholic Latin countries respect and even revere their older people. Grandmother is taken care of. The first thing I was asked in El Salvador when I began to reside with the family was: where is your brother? Why isn’t someone in the family helping you?
Along the way, in various instances, I have been the recipient of extraordinary kindness. The one that comes to this piece comes from a really heavy day in Costa Rica. It was raining one of those torrential rains and visibility down the road was very obscure. I had not a dollar left in my pocket and less than ½ tank of gas. I can say, I was truly demoralized and my well being was suffering.
So I simply asked the universe to find me a parking place and quite soon turned off the highway into a driveway, into a large yard with a house and some outbuildings around it. There was a large stand of tall coco palms about and areas of green grass. I pulled into the drive next to the house but not in front of the car port, and just slid myself into the back without getting out. And went to sleep. About an hour later, there was a cop knocking at the sliding door.
I motioned him to the driver’s front window and opened it to talk to him. In the next few minutes he and the owner of the house became convinced by my obvious stress, my reassuring tone of my voice and no doubt my older, wrinkled face that indeed I was not there to steal anything, not to cause any harm. I was sick and needed to rest. The owner, not understanding my English, made a gesture that told me that I might be there as long as I needed to be: he put his two hands folded in front of him in the universal gesture of sleep with a very sweet smile on his face. Thank you very much.
I slept for two nights there without any disturbance. I needed nothing from the house as I had water and surely wanted no food to eat. It made the difference to me at the time.
Human beings, dear friends, are good. We are compassionate, kind and helpful. Everywhere. In any language. Let us have our world back from the controllers who would have us as enemies not only of their system but of each other.
We need, I believe, to make peace within ourselves and to give the peace to each other.
No one need to give you permission to do good, or to do what is right.
People say I’m a Dreamer, but I am not the only ONE.
Let us dream together a new dream. May we participate together to begin something wonderful. My choice is Ecuador. Will you work with me to have this dream come true? Your participation is critical and welcome. Thank you very much.
Love and Blessings, Amraah