In Tapachula. My Couchsurfing host, Adrian, and two of his pals took me up in the mountains yesterday. We went past some Mayans’ houses, and the people there seemed to know Adrian. They gave us permission to park off the road and go down to the river. We walked downhill for 3/4 hour to the beautiful river where we swam and lazed around for a few hours. The guys played guitar for awhile. Bliss!
My calves and feet were cramping up after that long Tica bus ride from Panama City to Tapachula, Mexico. Three days. Got off the bus the second night for a stay in the San Salvador motel at the end of the Tica Bus line there. $12 for a lovely, clean little room with my own toilet and shower. Towel, toilet paper, soap provided. Wake-up knock on the door at 6 am.
Total cost of the trip: ticket $172. taxi to bus station $4. food en route: c. $35. border fees: $24 total (Costa Rica, I think it was, charged $20). Tica bus motel $12. charity (beggars) $15 or so.
Panama: very beautiful with little settlements and individual country houses.Simple, natural. But few opportunities should someone want something different…
Honduras and Nicaragua: haven’t seen the beauty there.
Guatemala: all Mayans. Wonderful.
Mexico: Love it. Feels like almost-home. Great food.
Dad and Mom never fully assimilated into American culture. They were upwardly mobile, but, thanks to WW II, they never were able to assimilate. Mom did pretty well; Dad couldn’t get past the starting gate. His accent and other obviously Germanic (or at least “foreign”) attributes, like his almost Nazi-style walk, made him a natural outcast.
This surprisingly made me able to choose to drop out of American society without too much trouble or angst. It also reduced the tyranny of the Catholic Church in our lives. We just weren’t “valued members” (i.e., we lacked status and tons of money) of the Church so we were free.
As both immigrants and as individuals, Mom and Dad resisted assimilation. This is astonishing and laudable because most proles (proletariat) refuse to venture beyond the boundaries of their class. Of all the social classes (except the lowest of the low, below the proletariat), the proles are the least likely to travel outside their own culture/country. They take pride in working hard and providing for their families. They stay put and often barely wonder about what lies beyond their own lives. Mom and Dad came from the proletariat.
Mom was a free (in her own mind) woman with the soul of an artist. She loved theater people, travel, and beauty. She read the newest books fiction) and subscribed to popular magazines (Life, Ladies Home Journal, the Post). Dad’s work (photo-engravings, eg. Breck shampoo ads) was in these magazines sometimes.
Dad planned our European trips down to the last detail. He was a tireless worker and provider. He had no close friends, but then Mom didn’t socialize much either (though she always had one best friend [these changed once or twice during my life]).
Days on the road, travelling, are not discreet entities as they are when I am settled (for any period over a few weeks long). Days on the road run into each other in a whole. The whole is the road, the journey. It is the travelling life.
The travelling life is about never stopping, never settling down. It’s always (about), “When we move on from here….”
The concept of moving, travelling, of CHANGE seems to have little or no place in the lives of most (all?) indigenous people. And many other people, too. They reject even the notion of change. Tradition rules. The way it has always been is sacred.
In Western culture, we build on the past and prepare for the future NOW.
I was taught (as we all are) how to see my life and the world. I learned the meanings of things from my parents, friends, and school. Later, I realized that my vision and the meanings I had accepted were just ONE VIEW of life. I set out to explore the meanings and create my own vision based on who I am.
J.K. Rowling said that she built her life’s foundation on Rock Bottom. Me, too. My life started off hard (surrendered by Jeanne to the Catholic Church which had taught her parents and her that babies born out-of-wedlock were bad and wrong [Jeanne and I were both victims of the Catholic Church!]) It’s all up from there; one’s life can only get better when they start at the very bottom.
Some people see me as an individual. Others see me as their society has taught them to see people: as “things” with a monetary and sexual value. These people see me as old, female, and useless (to them). It’s quite a strange feeling to be appraised by people like this after being seen and valued as an individual so much lately.
Here’s what my Panama City CS host (husband of Leslie Sirag) said to me today on Facebook: “you a true zen blessed road warrior, my dear.”
At internet cafe across the street from Adrian’s little house in the Cafetales section of Tapachula. Very few tourists come to Tapachula so I am stared at.
Jan, one of my CS hosts here, says that in his native Sweden you know what will hap,pen every day. Life is planned and secure. Here in Mexico, he says, you don’t know what will happen in the next hour. Life is freer and wilder here.
I am being more generous, both with my CS hosts (when I have money) and with beggars on the street. My new policy is to give money to whomever asks me for it (on the street).
All my plans from March 6th on have changed (due to Social Security calling me back for a meeting). I love it! It’s practice in letting it all go. Letting go of my plans, of my wishes, of what I think is best.
Interfaces I like: where houses meet up with wild places (I look for these special spots as I’m cruising by on buses); art and physics; Psychology: science and spirituality (transpersonal psychology).
The worm turns: me seeing my life in a new way. It took me dozens of years to reframe my picture of my life and my self-awareness. Now I have a more accurate, truthful picture of who I am.
I just got a good slice of life in Tapachula, Mexico, thanks to Adrian “Angel” Casanova and the Jan/Noemi duo.
I identify with outsider/minority groups wherever I go.
YES to: searching, liberty, being in-motion, curiosity, insolence, assertiveness, expressiveness, choice, options, fun, courage, daring, peace, contentment.
Haiti. Kuna Yala. Ayahuasca. These are three of my favorite memories from this trip. And some special CS hosts (you know who you are).
On the streets of Tapachula: dogs die slowly in public. Death is accepted as a reality (not like in the US where we prefer to believe it’s impossible for privileged beings like us to die). In India, I will probably see humans dying on the streets in public.
Recycling is in its infancy here in sleepy Tapachula, Mexico.
I have given up the freedom to have a close family and many close friends for the freedom to be an individual, free from family coercion (tyranny), free to be myself and do whatever I want. I’m in charge of my life. And I’m someone who knows I’m not really in charge, but at least no other humans are in charge of me and my life.