Been walkin an awful lot lately. Seeing ridiculous, wonderful things. Like a chicken, running away down an alley, white tufted bottom bouncing.
Like the words “S & M Forever!” spray-painted onto the sidewalk, as I am listening to talk of the myth of sex addiction as it relates to BDSM on the Savage Love podcast.
And other strange beauties. I don’t mean to brag, or to presume, but life feels pretty fateful right now. Well, equal parts fate, happenstance, and serendipity.
Things are good, and things are about to change, and change is good. That’s all.
Hey, guess what, Friends? Lima wasn’t all bad! There was lots of walking, remember? And while I walked, I ran across beautiful graffiti. Along the side of the road…
…on school buildings…
…in the park…
…and even a work in progress:
I wanted so badly to chat with these girls, but couldn’t work up the nerve. Partly because I was so lost in my solo reverie, and partly because they seemed cool as hell, and I didn’t want to be the dorky gringo tourist. Next time, though. Next time.
McDonald’s and Starbucks: A Love Story
We arrived in Cuzco in the grey, pre-dawn hours–hungry, tired, and not knowing where to go. Just like so many of our arrivals this trip. The bus station was filled with tourists and sketchy “tour-guides,” with people at bus line kiosks screaming out destinations (“Arequipa! Arequipa! Arequiiipaaa!”). After arguing with several locals and guides about whether or not there was a train to Macchu Pichu directly from Cuzco (turns out they were right on that one…), we headed into town to figure things out for ourselves and watch the sun come up.
Then we spent an inordinate amount of time (on-and-off throughout the day) in McDonald’s and Starbucks. Because there was wifi, and familiar food (soy milk!!!), and clean bathrooms. Which I may or may not have sullied with my bird-bathing, teeth brushing, underwear changing ways. Yep. Life on the road.
They were particularly well-curated fast food chains, however, so as to match with the central plaza in Cuzco. You can really see the Spanish influence in this city’s architecture–the tiled roofs, balconies wrapping around the plaza’s main buildings…
European style has not completely conquered, however–there remain segments of the city’s original walls, made of massive blocks of stone and miraculously held in place by great design and no mortar. They were warm to the touch in the mid-fall sunlight. I got in trouble for touching them.
We wound up planning our trip to Macchu Pichu through a tourist agency by happy accident–we stopped a man headed into the train station to ask a question, and he turned out to own a tourism agency (likely, in a destination city like Cuzco…). He gave us a great deal, which meant that we’d be leaving Cuzco that very night, on a train bound for Aguas Calientes. In the meantime, we visited museums, ate falafel and burgers, hiked up and around the steep hills surrounding the center, and enjoyed the free internet and immaculate bathrooms at Starbucks.
I do, what can I say? And I’m not the only one. Example: In Tours, we all had to take turns giving little presentations every Friday, and one girl did hers on graffiti. She wasn’t the one you’d expect to pick such a topic–a quiet, sweet girl with a slight southern accent–but she knew her stuff and defended it whole-heartedly.
As it turned out, pretty much everyone in the class knew something about graffiti, or “street art,” (we debated the difference), and everyone agreed that it is the unexpected aspect that makes graffiti so breath-taking. Art where and when you least expect it. I like that. And I think we can include other stumbled-upon displays of creativity, like a particularly interesting window display, or an uncommon form of public sculpture or design. You know, the things that give you pause, make you smile.
Art along the way, to brighten your day. Here’s my small collection from Tours:
(That last one was part of a series that I couldn’t capture in its entirety. Basically, huge metal cut-outs in public parks all throughout the Loire Valley, in commemoration of famous artists and musicians. I caught this guy in particular between Tours and Montlouis-sur-Loire, on that bike ride with Adam).
(That one’s actually the inside of a public restroom. Europe has some amazing public restrooms, in terms of art. I think I know what I’m talking about, but here’s further proof).
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And this was a work in progress, that I passed by every day on my way to school, or, really, my way to anywhere, as this shop was just right down the street. Each of these photos is from a different day, over the span of 4 weeks.