Random notes since Jan. 15:
Took ferry to Guiria, Venezuela Jan. 16.
Indian T&T woman on street in Port of Spain said “Love You” after giving me directions to Duke Street.
Bought new pants and shirt in PoS before leaving for South America: $100 T&T ($20 US).
Sidewalk politics are mostly physics: space and time (plus good intentions).
Stages of assimilation vary from person to person. Stages of development vary from society to society. T&T into totally upward-mobility.
T&T is, according to Adrian Minty, an “exercise culture.” I saw tons of people working out in gyms and on the street early on the morning of Jan. 16 when Adrian drove me to the ferry, as well as the night before when I was walking to Tricia’s in Maraval.
Venezuela night bus: loud music!
Fishing trawlers near Pier 1, where ferry to Venezuela left from. Ferry is the C/Prowler.
Went to market today here in Cumana: the fruit and vegetables are definitely NOT PERFECT. The US is having a problem with agricultural production of TOO PERFECT fruit and vegetables. It’s very bad to go for this kind of unnatural perfection.
Indigenous people still in Venezuela: Yanomami. Pemon.
At fortress (“castle”) here in Cumana, a guide told us about the importance of salt. It was/is used to preserve food (of great importance); it was used as payment (hence the word “sal-ary”). The pirates came to Cumana to try to get salt from the lake here. The fortresses around the town at that time (17th century) shot cannonballs at their ships.
Everyone on board the C/Prowler had to show proof of having had a Yellow Fever shot for entry into Venezuela. Otherwise, you had to get one. I had proof of mine.
Joropo is the pop music that’s rocking Venezuela now.
The dogs on the streets (ubiquitous) are like wild animals. They are pretty healthy, well tolerated, and have their own lives (including sex lives, of course).
The beaches Katya and I went to (shared taxi to Santa Fe, then bus to beach) are around Muchima National Park here near Cumana, Venezuela. I had two beers. We walked up the highway to three little tiny beaches: Playa Colorada and others.
Nice dinner back at the house. Jean Luis cooked good spaghetti and I bought two bottles of red wine (Jean Luis, born and partly-raised in France) picked the wine. Juan Raul (CSer) came over and joined me, Katya, Susana, Jean Luis, Jean Franco (his son), and Franco’s mom (Jean Luis’ ex-wife).
Juan Raul asked me for my address in the U.S. so he can get a visa to enter the U.S. I was surprised and told him (and everyone) that I use my son’s address but I don’t live there so I can’t give him that address. I was surprised that Juan Raul, a lawyer, doesn’t know anyone from the U.S. to ask. Jean Luis told me I am the first person from the U.S. to surf his couch. Katya said it’s almost impossible for her to enter the U.S.; she’s from Russia.
On the bus from Santa Fe back to Cumana yesterday, some people were drinking rum and laughing at me because I’m from the U.S. I remembered the old lady a few years ago somewhere in Mexico who told me (in Spanish): it’s better to not know too much Spanish (or any language, was what I understood). I believe she was a Gypsy, I know she was right, and I know what she meant. Keep to yourself and your own group (Gypsies/Travellers) and don’t care if you don’t understand what they’re saying. It doesn’t matter. Don’t assimilate.
Many fishing boats at the beaches we went to. They are all just big rowboats with motors. They have long, high prows and the whole front of the boat rises up out of the water when they go full speed across the water.
At a bank, I can get 4.3 Venezuelan bolivares (money) for $1 US. On the street here (or from my CS host’s brother-in-law), I can get 15-18 bolivares for $1 US. Daniel, Jean Luis brother-in-law is going to buy something online and I’ll use my Visa card; he’ll then give me c. 15 bolivares for every $1 US I spend.
I’m going with Jean Luis and Susana to do Ayahuasca Saturday night. Lots of people here do it because the Brazilian Amazon is so close.
People who have consumed ayahuasca report having massive spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth, the true nature of the universe as well as deep insight as how to be the best person they possibly can. This is viewed by many as a spiritual awakening and what’s often described as a rebirth. In addition it is often reported that individuals can gain access to higher spiritual dimensions and make contact with various spiritual or extra dimensional beings who can act as guides or healers. It’s nearly always said that people experience profound positive changes in their life subsequent to consuming ayahuasca and it is often viewed as one of the most effective tools of enlightenment. However, during an ayahuasca experience, people sometimes report nausea, diarrhea, and cold flashes. Additionally, vomiting almost always follows ayahuasca ingestion; this purging is considered by many shamans and experienced users of ayahuasca to be an essential part of the experience as it represents the release of negative energy and emotions built up over the course of one’s life. There are many reports of miraculous physical as well as emotional and spiritual healing resulting from the use of ayahuasca. There are no yet known long-term negative effects.
The Magic of the Forests : Ayahuasca, Yage, Natema, Santo Daime
Ayahuasca.com is a multi-disciplinary project devoted to the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca (aya-soul/dead, wasca-vine/rope), and its home, the great forests of the Amazon. Ayahuasca is a medicinal tea prepared from Banisteriopsis Caapi, a jungle vine, found in the tropical regions of South America, often combined with other plants, commonly Chacruna/Rainha (Queen); Psychotria Viridis.
Ayahuasca has a rich legacy of associated traditions, myths, therapies, rituals and aesthetics, spanning from the primordial roots of the indigenous tribes of South America, to diverse syncretic spiritual movements emerging across the planet.
Many women here in Venezuela are over-protected, sheltered, kept at home (by their own fears and lack of information). Some women police; no women taxi or bus drivers. It’s a very communal society here, which means men and women live traditional lives with traditional gender roles. Family comes first. Jean Luis’ home is great because he and Susana make me feel like I’m part of the family. His sister and her son and husband also live here. His mother died of cancer in this house last year.