I’m really enjoying my new style of writing. I find myself paying more attention to the things I see and the things I feel. It’s almost as if I’m experiencing this journey in a new light, as cliche as that might sound. So, here are a few of the things I thought about this week, a few photos, and an incredible video that I hope you’ll watch.
- The receptionist at the campground/hostel in Valle de Leyva, Colombia told me she likes talking to me more than any other English speaker she’s ever met because I don’t have an accent. She said that all Americans have accents but I don’t. She then proceeded to tell me that British and Australian people are even harder to understand than people from the United States. She also asked me why more French people don’t speak English. Her reasoning is that since France is such a strong country they should teach their children English. I didn’t know quite how to respond to that but when I told Will what she said he replied with “Because they’re French?”
- I have a lot of time to think, a lot of periods of extended silence and I take full advantage of that and let my mind wander. Lately I’ve been thinking about Ramadan and our time in the Middle East. We were at the Dubai Mall during our first experience with Ramadan. Even as non Muslims we were still not allowed to eat, drink, or smoke in public during daylight hours. However, at the mall’s food court the counters were jammed with people of all faiths. You see, food could be prepared but not eaten until sunset. We were still in line when the sun dipped below the horizon and the sight of hundreds of people tearing apart bags and boxes to get to that food is something I’ll always remember, along with all the other things I learned about Islam. Sometimes I really miss living in the UAE.
- In 2004 I spent two months in Thailand and Cambodia with an ex boyfriend. As part of my preparations for the trip I bought a McNett towel. I still have that towel. In fact, it’s the only towel I currently own. Sometimes I think, “Damn, that towel is 13 years old and I should probably be grossed out about it.” But you know what? I’m not. I love that towel. It works great and dries in a snap. But the real reason I keep it is because it’s the only tangible memory I have of that trip. When breakups happen couples argue about who gets what. Well, he got the photos (print ones, because 2004) and the Lonely Planet book in which we had carefully marked all the things we did. I have a few photos I was able to scan and put on Facebook but the towel is the one thing that reminds me most about that amazing trip, even though I got dengue fever in Cambodia.
- Yeah, Werner Herzog is kind of a weirdo but what’s also weird is how often his films have been a significant part of our travel lives. Will met him in Antarctica and Mr. Herzog also has a cameo in a film Will made while he was working there (Herzog was filming Encounters at the End of the World). Then we both traveled to Iquitos, Peru where Herzog filmed Fitzcarraldo. And, we were just in Valle de Leyva, Colombia where parts of Cobra Verde were filmed. I don’t know what this means because I really don’t like many of his films. Perhaps it’s just that his taste in film locations align with our taste in travel. I’ll likely never know. Note: Will has reluctantly agreed to let me share his film. Give it a watch. I think it’s hilarious.
- I’m sitting here looking out the floor to ceiling window in our fancy Bogota apartment. I see decidedly less fancy apartments marked by the laundry that’s hung from the dirty windows. There’s an abandoned building that looks like it might have caught fire at one point. Some of the bricks are charred. I can also see a tall office building and as I sat here sipping coffee at 8am it was kind of cool to see the lights start coming on as people began to arrive for work. If our apartment were on the other side of the building we’d have a view of the gorgeous mountains surrounding Bogota. I like this one better. It feels more real.
- I love television, good television. We have a fairly impressive library of television series with gems like Six Feet Under, House of Cards, and M*A*S*H*. But the one I turn to time and time again is The Office. If we’re getting to bed later than usual and don’t have time for a movie or a 60 minute episode of a series we watch The Office. When I’m making dinner in the camper I’ll put on an episode or two from a random season. If we can’t decide what we want to watch we watch The Office. And it’s never not funny. I’ve seen the entire series at least four or five times and I always laugh. Always. Will and I throw quotes at each other all the time and “that’s what she said” is part of our mutual lexicon. And don’t even get me started on the part where Kevin drops the pot of chili.
Thanks again for following along as I test out this new style AND stay tuned for a full post about how Will and I grossly misinterpreted a church in a salt mine.