Search results for: solo

Travel solo and discover a lot more

Yes. You can quote me on that.

After my second time as a solo traveler outside of Europe, I’ll continue to preach to my friends – and on this blog – about how crucial it is to travel solo once in a while. If I were to make a list of its benefits it’d be long, entailing topics like personal growth, out of your comfort zone, encountering fears, empowerment, finding yourself and many more cliches alike. But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about the simple – and eye opening – fact that when you travel solo, you get a lot more observant.

As you’re spending a lot of time on your own, from waking up to strolling the streets, going on excursions to eating late dinners, you’re observing a lot of the things around you without the constant presence of someone to share that moment with. Saying this, I’m not saying it isn’t great to share these things with others too, because of course it is. But traveling alone shapes a journey differently.

Solo traveling forces you to open up more to everything and everyone around you. As opposed to when you’re with someone you know and feel safe with, and whom you can constantly talk to in your own language. When on your own therefore, it’s quite probable you get a lot more new friends along the way. It be other travelers or what’s even better; local people from the places you visit. And remember, local people are the ones behind the curtains of most experiences we get while traveling actually.

Like these fellas running one of the bamboo juice stands you’ll find on any corner in Mumbai.

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How quickly wouldn’t I’ve got confirmed that trying a cup of bamboo juice is a bad idea if I was with another Western traveler in front of this place? Before moving on while exchanging stories about stomach bugs and so on… Fair enough; stomach bugs suck, but this time I took a chance – and ended up having a long conversation with the two vendors, learning a little about bamboo juice and getting a recommendation about a hidden paper factory down the road.

Apparently it often takes three men – like here – to run a bamboo juice stand. The hardest work is to chop up the sticks before cutting them into smaller pieces (and it’s interesting to see who’s given that assignment in this case), before they’re boiled down with tons of sugar, chilled and served to the never ending approaching customers for 30 cents a cup. Yummy!

Now, you could say that some people perhaps prefer to just observe and reflect over what they see on their own. Without talking to anyone about what they see and think of it throughout the day. But honestly, when you’re on your own, I think it’s rather difficult to not engage with strangers, and this way get new perspectives onto your own reflections. Besides, if you’re not approaching people, be sure someone will approach you anyway. It’s pure psychology don’t you think? That people talk more to people who sit on their own eating, drinking or reading. At least I do.

When in India recently, it happened several times that I became aware of this, and I just loved it (and I´m not referring to the day I ended up as an extra in a Bollywood production, no). After a week in Mumbai on my own, I realised I had seen so much more than I would’ve ever seen if I was to focus on a co-traveler as I went. Not to mention all the people I actually talked to on my way; it be street vendors or staff members in my hostel, taxi drivers or street beggars at night. Then I remembered how I felt the same way while traveling solo in Bolivia.

It might not be a proven fact, but in my experience traveling solo makes me see and hear so much more, so to feel and reflect differently.

Go on and read what I’m talking about!

Da reiseluksusen ga meg nye perspektiver

Vi som kommer fra et moderne land som Norge, ser på det å reise som et viktig og ganske selvsagt gode. Dette har jeg skrevet en del om tidligere, blant annet ved å minne om at reising for de fleste av oss handler om noe mer enn ferie og rekreasjon, at det handler om selvrealisering, utfoldelse og utvikling. Å være i en slik situasjon bør i det hele tatt anses som luksuriøs, og som jeg skal fortelle mer om i denne artikkelen: Den luksusen kommer med et ansvar.

I know. Kjedelig ord det der. Ansvar. I mangelen på et bedre begrep for det engelske konseptet Responsible Tourism, må vi nesten ta til takke med ansvarlig turisme/reiseliv. Eventuelt etisk turisme/reiseliv. Slik også Ethical Travel beskriver det samme på engelsk. Britene har i det hele tatt skjønt poenget med ansvarlig reiseliv lenge før oss nordmenn; som her bekreftet av TV-stjerna Simon Reeve.

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La det være sagt først som sist: Selv har jeg (og kanskje noen av de menneskene jeg var inne på i tidligere nevnt artikkel), kommet ut av tellinga hva angår utenlands ferieturer og lengre opphold i utlandet. Flyturene har rett og slett blitt pinlig mange i løpet av mitt voksne liv, og selv om jeg vet at det å fly er skadelig for naturen, har jeg ikke hittil gjort så fryktelig mye for å korte ned på dem. Hvorfor? Fordi jeg bare oppleve det verden har å by på! Jovisst. Det er en selvmotsigelse i dette “å ta ansvar for klodens vel og ve selv når man reiser” og samtidig innrømme at man har flydd/flyr pinlig mye, og hvis du har lyst til å lese mer om mine tanker om det, henviser jeg til denne selvransakende posten fra en stund tilbake om min rolle som miljø(aktivist)svin.

I denne posten derimot, vil jeg ta opp hvordan jeg selv fikk øynene opp for dette med ansvarlig reiseliv gjennom egne reiser. Jeg har mange synspunkter om at selve industrien bør ta mer ansvar den også, for at reiseliv skal bidra til mer bærekraftig utvikling enn det gjør i dag – da spesielt i fattige land. Noen av disse poengene ble publisert i Dagsavisen for litt siden.

Så. Vi nordmenn er altså blant folk som flyr aller mest i hele verden. Det er rett og slett få av oss som ikke har flydd. Og det er fryktelig få som har flydd færre enn ti ganger ila lviet (!). Ser man dét opp mot det faktumet at cirka 80% av klodens befolkning aldri har satt sine bein i et fly, er det gode grunner til å forsøke å se reisingen sin i perspektiv. Personlig, har i alle fall slike tall i tillegg til utallige reiseinntrykk i det globale sør, og studier om fattigdom, gjort meg ydmyk ovenfor reiseluksusen jeg så ofte har tatt for gitt.

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Cuba, 2004

Jeg husker veldig godt når det sistnevnte skjedde meg for første gang, og jeg begynte å bli bevisst på hvor heldig jeg er. Det var etter et to måneder langt opphold i Kariben, som i tråd med det jeg skrev i artikkelen Reising = selvrealisering , naturligvis var en vanvittif lærerik og eventyrlig opplevelse. For meg i alle fall. Og skulle man tro reisemarkedsføring er jo det det viktigste. 😉 Neida.

Men jo. Når sant skal sies fikk tiden på Cuba meg til å stille noen høyst nødvendige spørsmål om verden jeg lever i, og min plass i den. På ganske kort tid ble jeg klar over at jeg nærmest tok for gitt de mulighetene jeg hadde til å realisere det som var en drømmelivsstil for min egen del. I de utallige unge såkalte vertinnene jeg møtte (hvor i blant mange av dem kjapt viste seg å være prostituerte), så jeg etter hvert meg selv – om også jeg hadde vært født der. Etter å ha blitt ranet på åpen gate to ganger, skjønte jeg fort hva jeg ville bedrevet tiden med om jeg var i deres situasjon.

I møtet med meg selv som enda en – for dem– utenkelig velstående turist som trålte Havana gatelangs daglig, skjønte jeg at det overhodet ikke var min rett å overse de som ropte og løp etter meg i håp om å selge meg frukt eller suvenirer. I møtet med utallige flotte kubanere – som etterhvert som vi ble bedre kjent – fortalte meg om problemene sine og ba meg vennligst huske på dem når jeg dro, skjønte jeg hvor arrogant, bortskjemt og heldig jeg var.

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Det “hjalp” kanskje også på perspektivene at dama jeg reiste til Cuba med kjente folk der fra før av. Som Pedro her. Ila turen vår tilbragte vi en del tid sammen med ham.

I løpet av oppholdet på Cuba, og senere andre fattige land, fikk jeg mange nye perspektiver på så mangt. I tillegg til plutselig å se meg selv som turist/ reisende gjennom øynene på lokalfolk, begynte jeg å se på turisme som et fenomen med store konsekvenser på lokalsamfunn. Jeg observerte andre turisters fremtredner og studerte lokalfolks oppførsel ovenfor turister. Jeg innså stadig mer av hva turisme kan by på av lærdommer for reisende, og hva den kan gjøre med et samfunn og folkene som bor der. På godt og vondt. Jeg gikk gjennom et tankeskifte fra å mene mye om en fremmed kultur, hvor eurosentrisk nok det meste til da var, og kom hjem med et løfte om å aldri noengang klage på noe som helst i Norge.

Eller, jeg kunne kanskje klage, men i såfall ville det være over de som klager på og irriterer seg over alt av idiotiske og trivielle i-landsproblemer. Temaer relatert til den slags, og problemfikseringen enkelte alltid skal fremme, fikk jeg rett og slett lite til overs for. Og slik har jeg det heldigvis enda, mange år etterpå.

Skjønt, jeg må selvsagt i blant minne meg selv på det såkalte løftet, og det er greit. Det vidunderlige på veien hit har uansett vært å kunne selvrealisere meg gjennom reising – både faglig, kreativt og medmenneskelig. Ved å bli bevisst min priviligerte status som globetrotter i en ellers ekstremt urettferdig verden, fant jeg ny mening og videreutviklet en nysgjerrighet ovenfor alt fremmed. Opptatt av å bevege meg utenfor min egen komfortsone, bega jeg meg også tidlig ut på soloreiser. Det jeg kjapt oppdaget var at det å reise alene oppleves mye dypere og sterkere enn en gruppereise noengang kan. Du får tid til å tenke mye mer, du åpner sansene i enda større grad, du må ordne opp i det meste selv og du må våge å stole på folk på en annen måte, slik jeg skrev om det etter min første ordentlige soloreise.

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Men altså. For oss heldige fra nord er reising selvrealiserende, og mange tar det hele for gitt. Utifra historien vår og utviklingen i Nord-Europa å dømme, er det ganske forståelig. Vi velger jo som kjent ikke hvor vi blir født, og samme hvor vi vokser opp blir vi derfor et slags produkt av hvordan det samfunnet vi er del av, tillater oss å leve.

Men vårt forhold til kloden, og eget liv på den – hvor enn vi befinner oss – kommer med et ansvar. Både for at det skal smake bedre for vår egen del (et typisk mantra blant folk i i-land), men også for å gjøre det beste ut av det for andre, er det derfor nødvendig, ikke minst for klodens fremtid, at vi tar dette innover oss. For igjen: Vi velger jo ikke hvor vi blir født, og er du blant dem som forstår det jeg skriver her og nå, så er du bare en av klodens latterlig heldige. Det er ikke din “skyld”, på noen som helst måte, men det er veldig greit for ens eget liv og andres, at vi er flere som tar innover oss hva som ligger i dette. Kanskje svir det til og med litt å erkjenne det, siden vi vet at måten vi lever på i verdens mektigere land, går på bekostning av andres lykke. Det får så være, og det finnes mange gode øvelser en kan praktisere når motstanden til å ta slikt innover seg vokser i en. De handler i hovedsak om å vende blikket utover.

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Som her da jeg besøkte en township i Sør Afrika for første gang, og ideen om masterforskningen min begynte å ta form.

Personlig synes jeg det gir mening ikke bare å gjøre mitt beste, men også å sette meg inn i de forhold i verden som jeg er med på å påvirke, samt hvorfor jeg i det hele tatt lever og reiser som jeg gjør. Hva jeg tenker omkring dét, oss som folk med våre vaner og “ta-for-gitt-holdninger” og andres likens vaner og verdier, utifra deres kontekst.

Igjen kan jeg bare snakke for min egen del, selv om jeg er veldig interessert i andre menneskers syn på saken, og for meg har det å studere meg selv som reisende, samt reiselivs påvirkning fått meg til å innse hvor viktig konseptet ansvarlig turisme er. På lik linje som etisk produksjon er viktig innen tekstilindustrien, kjøtt- og landbruksindustrien. Som forbrukere handler det derfor om å sette seg inn i hvordan bli en mer ansvarlig forbruker og å stemme på de politikerne og støtte de organisasjonene som fremmer verdiene vi tror er best for en mest mulig bærekraftig utvikling her på jorda. Når vi først tar aktive standpunkt til slikt og lærer mer om hvordan ting henger sammen, er min opplevelse at det oppstår en enorm selvrealisering i dét også.

En ekstra dimensjon av forbrukerlykke om du vil.  😉

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…et av mine slike standpunkt handler om kun å kjøpe varer lokalt som reisende. Som her i en av de utallige kokosnøttkioskene i Mexico. 🙂

Pst! Apropos ansvar innen turisme, og til konkrete forslag til hvordan du kan påvirke mer positivt som reisende. Sjekk ut denne!

Apropos de mer dystre sidene av næringen (kvitre, kvitre): Visste du at den faktisk er ansvarlig for tvangsflytting av lokalbefolkning, elendige arbeidsforhold, utnyttelsen av kvinner og barm, vannmangel og miljødegradering? Lær mer om organisasjonen Tourism Concern som jobber for å bekjempe slikt innen turisme her.

When your grandmother dies and you’re miles away

The reason for the sudden silence during my adventure in Mexico is that the trip took a brutal turn when I got the message from Norway that my grandmother had fell ill. And this time they said, she didn’t seem to be willing to recover.

I was biking around in Tulum at the time, soaking in the cliche looking Caribbean landcape, chugging coconut milk, petting stray dogs and bumping into iguanas, swimming in the turquoise sea and drinking mezcal with random locals I met on my way.

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Needless to say, I was far away in all senses from even thinking about Norway where autumn was turning into its last colorful shedding. I’ve probably not said it out this public by now, but after an amazing trip to the US since the end of summer (of which Ive shared some stories already), I was for good reasons – yet now suddenly unexplainable to me – very dedicated to go through with a solo trip to Mexico. I’d been living through a difficult emotional time as my man and I had decided to separate from each other after the US trip, and thus my mind was completely set up on the journey to Mexico. I felt happy and free in a beautiful and frightening way while I took off.

To be honest, I didn’t think much about others than myself while in Mexico, and on how to make sure to explore as much as possible about both myself and this – to me – new country.

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Therefore, when my mum told me three days before granny passed away that it looked serious, none of us actually understood what was about to happen. Or perhaps we were in a state of denial? It wasn’t until Friday October 18th, after a phone call from my mum and a text message stating the situation had gone a lot worse over night, that I finally understood I had to get my ass out of Mexico.

Despite of being in a state of panic and self-judgement, I managed to get dressed while throwing my things into my backpack and order a taxi to the airport with good help from the hostel manager. While waiting for the taxi I was on the phone with Delta airlines that after only twenty minutes could confirm they had found a flight for me leaving Cancun within 2,5 hours. It meant I would be home in another 16 hours.

As we hugged farewell the hostel manager kept telling me everything would be alright, one way or another. I left the hostel crying and sat in the taxi on the way to the airport crying. The taxi ride took about 45 minutes and what I remember the most is holding a neatly packed sandwich in my hand that the hostel keeper had prepared for me before leaving. I spent the trip looking down at it, thanking the beautiful soul of its maker, while occasionally looking outside the windows at the numerous hotel chains along side the highway in Playa del Carmen.

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Now and then I begged to all major forces I could come up with that I’d reach all the way to keep my grandma company during her last breaths. I knew she was ready to leave us now, and I hoped she weren’t suffering. Still, in my selfishness I wanted her to live some more hours so that I could be there with her and hold her wrinkled hand.

The coming flight was obviously the longest of my life. I spent the hours both thinking and trying not to think too much, until I found a way to focus on my gratitude for having had a grandma like the one I had. I watched childhood pictures on my Mac and reflected over how much she actually had meant to my life. To my personality. This isn’t a new thought to me in any way, but under such circumstances they feel quite different.

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Cancun from above the day I went

When I arrived to Amsterdam for my connecting flight and hadn’t got any answer back from my mum to my text message sent ten hours earlier, I understood it. Grandma was dead. I figured my mum would have told me in a message if she still lived, but not if she had died. By realising Ill never talk to my grandmother again – a moment I’ve feared since I was a teenager, I felt like a part of me died. I had never felt anything like it, not even when my grandpa died.

My grandmother was perhaps like any other grandmother in many senses; at times a little narrow minded and old fashioned, out of tune with what youth is up to, and worrying too much about what if this and what if that. To me in my life though, she has been my dad, my second mum and the funny sister all in one. For some reason we’ve had this special connection since I was born and I can recall years of making a lot of silly jokes of one another.

I knew it would happen, and now I can confirm it: I’ll miss her as deeply as I’m ever grateful for everything she has given me of love and caring.

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When I arrived to Norway my phone didn’t work as I had left my sim card in Mexico DF where I was supposed to go back after four more weeks of traveling. I asked a random lady to borrow her phone, and she had to stand there watching me getting the message from my mum that I was eight hours late to sit by granny’s side. The lady wept as I finished the phone call and gave me the warmest hug before I ran off to find my mum outside on the parking lot. I will never forget that lady and her hug.

By realising that my longtime fear ahd turned into reality: That my grandmother died while I was on one of my many travels, I began on a new journey. Tthe exhausting journey of a guilt trip. Yes, I know: There is nothing I can do about it! And I know I had the right to live the way I wanted, to travel and to say goodbye to her time and time again. I also know my grandma knew that I loved her deeply and that she loved me regardless of my gipsy lifestyle.

Still, it will take me some time to reconcile the fact that I wasn’t there with her.

Fortunately she had a close person with her until she took her last breath: Thanks to my wonderful and caring mum, granny was in safe hands until her very last breath. And as for the things I wanted to repeat to her and thank her for, it was delivered by my mum instead. I can’t express how happy it makes me to know that she finally could relax and let go to the sound of my humming and story telling mother, without fearing to meet death on her own.

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How Ill remember her. RIP Else Evelyn.

It’s only been three weeks since she passed away. I’ve tried to look back at where I came from prior to this time, but find it difficult. What’s weird when a far-away-trip ends tragically like this, is that your mindset about the whole journey instantly changes to something very blurry. Meaning that the place you left behind – full of so many inspiring and joyful memories – suddenly feels further away than ever before.

I look forward to going back to Mexico one day. With peace of mind and plenty of desire to explore again. But as for now, the only place I want to be is home, close to my beloved ones. After all, that’s one of the best side effects traveling comes with.

Getting spiritual in San Cristobal

Our relationship is in its early stage and yet, San Cristobal de las Casas fascinates me a lot.

There’s something with the energy. A special, like an increased spiritual one, energy. These things are difficult to define, let alone to explain, but it’s as if you can sense spirituality in the peaceful, awake and smiling local people, and on the streets among the old cars and worn out, colorful houses.

Perhaps indigenous history is responsible, or perhaps it’s the surrounding nature. Maybe even the bohemian expats living here does their share? Either way, it’s been a long time since I sensed so many kind and interesting personalities around me, overall good energy around any corner and knowledge in every wrinkly face passing me on the street.

photo cred: thefamilywithoutborders.com

photo cred: thefamilywithoutborders.com

There is undoubtedly an extra touch of spirituality in the many foreigners here too, many of which seem to be unable to leave this place. Most of the foreigners I’ve met in San Cristobal call themselves artists, yet aren’t interested in talking about anything related to ambitions in that regard. They’re simply into the making love, making art sort of lifestyle, as well as making sure to detach as much as possible from the capitalistic world view out there.

By the way, defining spirituality I like to think that:

 it’s an individual practice that has to do with achieving a sense of peace and purpose. It also relates to the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life and connection with others.

What’s inspiring with people like this, is that none of them know where they’ll go from here. It’s just not a topic. They rather show you how much they’re in love with this very moment of life, focusing on what happens here and now around them. Which – hands down – isn’t an attitude people overwhelm you with when closer to societies highly impacted by the rat race mentality.

So, why does some places have this effect on people? Or why does some places attract these people? Or even; how do people’s attitude towards life effect a place or society?

Pondering over these questions quickly opens for the chicken and egg argument, I guess. And as always there are several factors to take into consideration when reflecting over subjects like these. Walking around in San Cristobal, and even while writing this, I often ask myself if the ‘spirituality’ is something everyone senses. Like, as something presently stronger than in other places?

When out traveling, I often sense it in places where nature is more present and important to people’s lives. And we all know nature is full of the purest energy. But so are human beings. And personally, I’ve always been more people-oriented than nature and landscape-oriented.

Thus, for some reason I assume the kind and relaxed energy I sense in San Cristobal is put in place by the people living here. But again, it’s obviously also adopted by the many visitors, and perhaps that’s how the place has been shaped over time. Various residents Ive talked to also claim that the mountains surrounding the village represents important spots where influential and spiritual individuals have lived for decades, perhaps centuries.

photo cred: google images

photo cred: google images

Apparently there are a couple of places where people arrange energetic and spiritual events open for all to attend. I’ve always wanted to try something like that so I’ll definitely go up there one of these days, hopefully to find interesting ways to treat whatever topics that concern me. Maybe it can be a good way to find the tools to stop worrying about some things, and be more confident about how I feel. A helpful way to enforce a beautiful inner journey, which I always find equally important as the outer journey we’re constantly on when traveling.

Because although we tend to forget, a journey is much more than seeing things and ticking of destinations. It’s equally much about being on an inner journey, developing as individuals and moving on with more knowledge, reflections and tolerance about the world and people in it. Though that’s not always something all places we visit evoke in us.

When traveling solo I think the above concept is even more predominant. Due to the simple fact that one has to trust strangers even more in addition to learn how to spend time with oneself. Both of which are good lessons for self development.

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one of the main streets of San Cristobal

Honestly, I didn’t expect anything special from this place, but quickly got that wonderful feeling that sneaks up to us when living now and then: that this is the place to be. There is no other place I’d like to be, right here, right now.

It be a coincidence or not, two beautiful souls I’ve met in San Cristobal by now have said things to me about this very topic without even knowing me or whatever I struggle with. Separately they’ve told me they think I’m in the right place to find out of things. Quite randomly they´ve both even claimed that people like me has to confidently live more through the feelings, as opposed to through the thoughts.

Fair enough. But what does that really mean?

I´ll continue thinking about that for a while, and hopefully Ill get more input on the matter as time goes and Ill get to know more people with more views on it. Right now Ill run out to grab some tortillas in my spiritual neighbourhood. 😉

Peace, J

Edit two months later: If you started reflecting about the advice the two men had given me as mentioned above (regarding living more through our feelings), I´ve now written something about it here.

San Cristobal de las Casas, where have you been all my life?

Honestly I can’t remember what I actually imagined about this place before coming here.

I was excited about it yes, as everybody I know that’s been to Mexico told me San Cristobal de las Casas is a must-see. Together with the smaller village San Juan Chamulas, it’s supposed to be one of the Chipas region’s hippie-like and colourful mountainy villages, I was told.

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Well. CHECK CHECK CHECK!

Besides, Oventic – where the Zapatistas live in their own demanded autonomy – is a neighbouring village, reachable for specially interested. I’ve indeed been especially interested in the Zapatistas since I first learned about the movement in University. (I´m very into social movements, but that´s another story).

Before arriving to San Cristobal de las Casas, I hadn’t worried about accommodation as Id seen online that the place was full of decent hostels. After three hours of traveling on roads of various standards, away from the weird little place Bacalar, the bus left me and my metall-seat-tired-bum at the station downtown. As I started walking with my overweight backpack towards the center I was quickly moved by the look of the place.

Welcoming me were old, narrow streets full of small cement houses painted in all kinds of bright colors and busy working women on every corner dressed traditionally with cotton blouses tucked inside wide woolen skirts. Already on the first block I walked down I’d seen a blue house with yellow door frames, two neon orange houses with turqoise window sills, a pink house with grass green borders and numerous worn out balconies with ceramic flowerpots and painted chickens on them.

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From the look of the people in the streets I felt much closer to the pre-colonial history of this country than in Mexico DF.

A closeness that comes with a price I’d say, because the streets are full of seemingly deprived indigenous people (including kids) working as street vendors. Everywhere I’ve gone till now, most indigenous people (out of whom only the women are dressed traditionally as mentioned above) seem to be selling textile, sculptures, fruits and cigarettes, or polishing shoes. Fortunately Ive spotted some shops and cafes managed by indigenous people as well.

Another blast from the past that visualizes on every corner are the functioning Volkswagen Beetles. They are everywhere, exist in all colors and seem rather popular. I mean, they even serve for driving classes:

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I asked a man in my hostel what’s up with all the Beetles.

Oh, el bocho, he said, referring to a beetle in Spanish. It used to be a very popular car when it first came to Mexico. Since then we’ve produced our own Volkswagen cars, therefore we have so many. I think the last bocho was made only ten years ago.

Now that I think of it, one could assume it’s due to the fact that I LOVE old beetles that I love it here already, and for sure it definitely has something to say with my instant good feel in this town. It took me a day to start dreaming of living here for a period with an old beetle to take me around, with a small flat in a pink-painted house whose balcony is perfect for my morning coffee hour and where I can create art in the evenings.

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One day maybe. Why not?

Regarding my hostel, El hostal de Paco, it’s perfect. I found it as a result of many coincidences, which of course adds up to my awe for everything here. As it’s located quite far away from the other hostels I had spotted on booking.com I realised upon arrival that my backpack was too heavy for me to get there walking. So I started walking towards a sign saying “we got rooms” on a random street, when a taxi driver stopped next to me and the driver asked if he could help me. After I had mentioned the name and address of El hostal de Paco, he confirmed it was in close distance to the town center and I jumped in.

When driving down the two main streets however, I understood the hostel was further out of the center than a couple of the others Id found, and got a little annoyed with myself never having booked a place before my arrival. Still, I decided to trust the driver and also knew that whatever is called town of San Cristobal de las Casas, is within small distances.

Words can´t explain how happy I am today that I didn´t go for that tiny gut feeling in that taxi! The welcome committee in the El hostal de Paco was beyond imagination and made me realise in a second that I’d chosen the right hostel. I think I have to write a story one day about all the personalities I´ve met here, but for now these features are worth mentioning:

  • The owner (Paco) is the perfect chill host with a big C and H. He´s as weird, funny and occasionally annoying as can get , but since I tend to like odd personalities, I think I almost love him. His way of yelling WELCOME HOME! YOU ARE ANDREA RIGHT? WE´VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU!, actually made me feel a bit awkward in the moment I entered the building with my huge backpack on (and admittedly a bit annoyed after the long journey), but after finding my place here Ive realised that that one glimpse of a feeling like WHO THE HECK IS THIS MAN AND WHAT KIND OF A PLACE IS THIS? WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME? only were products of my own realisation of Gosh-Jeanett-you´re-outside-of-your-comfortzone-now-travelingsolo-on-top-of-everything-feeling-a-bit-insecure-about-it-all kinda thing. I even forgot about my potential allergies to the two adopted (former stray) dogs living in the hostel who jumped at me when I arrived, and decided to trust Paco who assured me that they never enter any of the guest rooms. Honestly though, seeing how he treats the dogs was another reason I was convinced this hostel is the best in town! I´ve made it clear right? I feel at home here.

Other features:

  • I’ve been placed (for my self) in an authentic old fashioned 7 people’s dormitory that must be over three meters tall, with the walls painted in sky blue.
  • A German retired man with a US citizenship has lived here for 2 years (!) and the first thing he did when I came was to show me his German museum: his room covered with miniature castles and train stations from Germany made out of paper or plastic. Yes, he is another oddy that´s for sure, but I also already love him! The story about his life and reasons to be here is to be continued, but to give you a picture I’ll share this picture I took of him this morning while I had my breakfast in the kitchen. He always starts his day like this:

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He sits there, in the middle of the hostel´s patio, which he calls his office, for an hour or so with a book, coffee and beer.

  • Then there’s a young, beautiful Australian couple – that’s been traveling in Mexico and Guatemala for a year – renting a room for two months. Due to having adopted a dog (that they had seen in a small cage in a pet shop and felt sorry for) on the way, they’ve now planned to work in Canada for 6 months over winter season in order to save up enough money to get the dog with them overseas back to Australia.
  • More stuff worth mentioning about the owner Paco then; he´s extremely friendly with regards to longstay guests and seems much more into having longtime guest as opposed to random tourists just coming for a day or two. It´s as if he´s creating his own little community here where everyone is invited to come and live. Hah! He´s also constantly making jokes about the German man, and never answers seriously to any question about himself or the dogs, which can be a little pain in the ass attitude at times, but as for advice for where to eat and travel and what to visit however, he is the King.
  • Last interesting guy around is a Mexican in his late 20s who came for a month to escape some love issues back home. He works on his computer and seems to be going through an interesting phase of life. I already consider him a good friend after having spent several days with him in the village, out on bars, chatting, drinking tequila, laughing and sharing life stories. There you have it: I already have a new person in my life I consider a good friend, only because of this weird little gem of a hostel (and random pick of it).

Today this new friend and I went to the neighbouring Zapatista village together. We´ve talked about sharing an interest in visiting since I came, and finally found a good day to go.

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I honestly got some mixed feelings about the whole trip and need to reflect over it, but overall it was super interesting (for us at least…). When I get my head more around it Ill try to write a piece about it.

All in all: VIVA San Cristobal de las Casas!

Now I’m off for some delicious tacos in town. Adios!

Mezcal (2) – Me (0)

I don’t know if it’s a personal record, but the truth is I’ve been in Mexico for two days and already gone drunk to bed twice. One thing is to blame for that: The Mezcal.

And I speak about good Mezcals. The ones that trustworthy Mexicans recommend are equally good to drink as Tequilas. The first encounter I had with Mezcal while in the country it’s from – Mexico – happened the night I arrived to Mexico DF.

A Norwegian friend of mine put me in contact with a Mexican girl she knows that offered me to stay in her flat for some days. Fortunate as I am with my friends, the welcome committee this Mexican girl put together couldn’t be better for a slightly nervous and emotional (after saying goodbye to everybody in Canada) girl starting the third big solo travel of her life.

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Maria and her boyfriend were up waiting for me with big smiles on their faces at 1130pm when I arrived with a taxi from the airport. So was their tiny cat Fer, that welcomed me by running wildly from one living room corner to another, stopping only to look at me from behind the sofa. Considering I’m probably the biggest woman he has ever seen, I don’t blame her.

Maria showed me what was going to be “my room for as long as I needed” where I left my things before the couple insisted we had a beer and a Mezcal. We sat down in the brown sofa next to the wall covered with a full book shelf. I spotted mostly academic content in genres like politics, history, anthropology and human rights.

Part from books, shelfs in the living room was decorated with all kinds of ancient Maya sculptures and some old records. Maria’s boyfriend surprised me with a serious interest in Mezcal and showed me his selection. As if wine tasting, we smelled the different types while he taught me their attributes. Then Maria came back with a plate of chopped apples and three types of chilli powder to eat in between the sipping.

“Remember to only sip the Mezcal. What you guys do in Europe with the Tequila shots is something you’ve invented. … And it’s dangerous!” they told me.

I agreed to that and confirmed I also had some drunken-on-tequila-stories in the bag. I don’t know why foreigners started shotting Tequila or Mezcal, but it may have to do with the taste of the bad variants we use. Because quite frankly, a good Tequila or Mezcal doesn’t give you the chills every time you take a small sip.Besides the fruit-on-the-side trick is very smart. Mexicans are of world class with regard to mixing sweet and spicy, bitter and hot.

“Let’s have a beer and a mezcal” led to at least the triple meanwhile we spent two hours of intense chatting about their study times in the UK (from where the girl knows my friend), kidnapping in Mexico, Human Right issues, Indigenous people, the purpose of my journey, advices for the city and had plenty of quesadillas.

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We went to bed and I remember they said that the best about it is apparently that a good one doesn’t give you a hungover…

Now two days later, I can confirm this is a fact that is 50% true.

Because although it’s true I woke up fresh as a cucumber yesterday (and bragged about it all day, which probably resulted in chugging it again on my second night), I woke up looking like this today:

 

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Hello there..

At first it took me a while to memorize were I got that necklace…

Then I remembered it all! An elder gentleman (supposedly a bank director) gave it to me during a karaoke session we both ended up in yesterday night. Randomly I bumped into him, his colleague and another lady that were out for some after office drinks.

I was on my way to a Couchsurfer meeting in a bar when I passed by them and for no specific reason – other than enjoying random encounters – I accepted their loud offer to have a drink with them.

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As all things in life: One thing led to the other, and here I’m sitting slightly fringed out with a cup of coffee, yet very happy to be two interesting Mezcal experiences richer.

Some might argue that I’m not being careful enough when I bump into people like this, but trust that I definitely take my precautions. Part of my nature since I was a kid is that I keep running into random people. And I love it. In this last case I could have just left the drunken bank men after a little while in order to make it to the Couch surfing thing, but as I had no commitment there either – other than getting to know people – I somehow felt that the meeting I already had with the loud Mexicans was interesting.

It was especially nice to hear all the stories from the oldest man’s life. He had the saddest looking puppy eyes in the middle of a very wrinkly face, and told me he had survived three marriages. After two kids and ten slightly dramatic years with one lady he went through a hard separation before he fell in love again with a much younger woman. Her dream was to get kids, but apparently she wasn’t fertile so they had to go through a long process of applications and agreements for adoption. When their adopted kids were 4 and 6 the mother got cancer and died within four months, leaving my old friend a single father of two at the age of 55.

He told me that to get through it he had to take one day at the time, and that now looking back, the experience has changed his way of seeing love and life. To the better. Now, twelve years older he is the proud father of four and step-dad of two. With glittering eyes he showed me the pictures of everybody.

Then we talked for another hour before insisted on adopting me. At least being here for me no matter what. He was like: If you ever need something in Mexico, Ill help you out. After all this I see you as a daughter.

True story. Though it might have been the Mezcal that spoke of course..

Anyway, meetings like this is what makes traveling so beautiful and interesting. It forces you to trust people and listen, to see the world with other eyes.. And even more so when you travel alone. Which is what I love about it!

And I say that without recommending that people drink too much Mezcal, of course. For Christ sake, CONSUME RESPONSIBLY guys. Ill tell myself that from now on too, as ever before.

Still fascinates me though… That the below plant can create what it can in people. 😉

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photo cred: tripadvisor.ca

Concerts on my bucket list

Yup I still keep searching for the artists I love and their gigs around. Among them are (un)fortunately plenty I haven’t seen live, but to not bore you with a very long list, I keep it at my lucky number which is 7.

The below list extends the last list I wrote back in 2010 over artists I dreamed at seeing then. I just realised it needed to be updated.

1. Radiohead (or Thom Yorke solo)

2. Fleetwood Mac

3. Cinematic Orchestra

4. Moderat (but I did see Apparat!!)

5. Femi Kuti

6. David Bowie (can’t believe I had forgot him on the last list?)

7. Daft Punk (fuck them for not coming to Glastonbury this year the way eeeeverybody predicted…)

Since the last bucket list I could line these over

8. Jonsi (All alone at Sonar weeping my eyes out)

9. Bonobo with band (at XOYO, London)

10. Portishead (PURE MAGIC at Glastonbury 2013)

11. The Rolling Stones (Sorry I’m cheating as they weren’t even on the last list, but I did see them for the first and probably last time in my life at Glastonbury 2013. It was wicked)

12. Trentemoller. TWICE! (And can’t believe he wasn’t on the last list either..)

Before March 2010 I was able to line these over:

 Depeche Mode

Tori Amos

Antony & the Johnson

Bjork

Madonna

Ingrid Olava

I wish I wish I wish

Here is another list of dreams for you all. I already have a list of what artists/ bands I’d love to see if alive, but now I’ll write a more cheerful one.

As a dreamer and a LIVE music lover, I keep searching for the artists I love and admire and their gigs around. Among them are unfortunately still plenty I haven’t seen live, and to not bore you with a very long list, I keep this at 7 for now..

My top 7 list over artists/ bands I dream of seeing live asap:

1. Radiohead (or Thom Yorke solo)

2. Bonobo with band

3. Fleetwood Mac

4. Cinematic Orchestra

5. Moderat

6. Portishead

7. Jonsi

Recently I could fortunately line these over:

8. Depeche Mode

9. Antony & the Johnson

10. Tori Amos

11. Bjork

12. Madonna

13. Ingrid Olava

Mumbai’s endless creativity (II)

Remember I told about Mumbai’s endless creativity a few months ago, that ended with a picture of a little man with carrot-colored hair in front of the famous Dhobi Ghat laundry?

Well, I’ve finally finished the following post to that story.

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Ajay (57) approached me while I observed the public laundry from the bridge above it. As much as he understood the whole thing was a spectacle to me, he took his time to tell me how hard the people worked down there. He told me that the washers, locally known as Dhobis, work in the open to wash the clothes from Mumbai’s hotels and hospitals. He found it amusing that they’ve become a tourist attraction, to which I agreed and tuck away my camera. Still, the bridge on which we were standing was an apparent hang out place for locals, so I figure there’s something with this place people like.

Ajay told me that he, like many others in Mumbai, also delivers his clothes to laundries. He even suggested I should deliver my clothes to the laundry he uses down the road. Having little to give away part from what I wore that day, we agreed it would be a bad idea, but I liked his manners and so we became friends.

He proudly stated to often work as a private driver for tourists, and asked me whether Id like him to be mine that evening. Loving the idea of having a local guy show me around, I agreed to it. For a moment there I was like: Solo traveling, in your face.

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A short drive from Dhobi Gat, you’ll find one of the oldest and most popular antique markets in Mumbai: Chor Bazaar. As it’s located in a muslim area, most of the vendors are muslims, thus many of the antiques are inspired by the Arabic world.

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I absolutely loved this place.

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The man on the above picture was a ‘friend’ of Ajay, whom he meant had the best prices in the market. I know, Indians are creative in their ways of getting commissions from taking customers to each others’ businesses too.

The man had a lovely gramophone for sale though.

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Not to forget this random beauty. Note that all the jewelery and textiles in the “painting” are real textiles and jewelery! Hah!

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In the car on our way back looking for a recommendable food market I had asked Ajay to show me, he couldn’t resist but suddenly lay his hand discretely (creatively?) on my thigh. His wife gave him so little, he said. This made a rather sudden and sad – yet pretty necessary from my side – end to our friendship that day, and so I went back to solo traveling!

After eating downtown by my hostel, I went for a stroll by Taj Mahal. There I found to my biggest surprise there are illuminated horses and carts everywhere along the walking promenade. My eyeeees!

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Walking home, I finally had the pleasure of chatting to a betel nut vendor on the Colaba causeway, the main road of downtown Mumbai. Thing is, when traveling in India, it’ll take you less than a day before you realise that it can’t only be due to bad mouth hygiene why so many men have brown- or reddish colored teeth. Then you start seeing the red spit on the sidewalks in addition to men – and some women – spitting more than what’s normal. And chewing more than what’s normal. All the time. What is it?

It’s Betel nut mania. Betel nuts are often sold in stands like these.

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The gentleman above told me that Betel nut chewing (Betel paan, in India) is “an old tradition” in India. Why, I asked. “We like it,” he smiled. Logical, I thought.

Although he already had nearly fifty beautifully prepared “betel paans” on his table, he agreed to show me how to make one. As it’s common in India to add flavours to the betel nut to enhance the taste, he asked me which flavour Id like: Tobacco, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, aniseed, coconut, sugar, syrups or fruit extracts?

I picked coconut. He said tobacco and cardamom are the most popular. In fact, I should consider to add tobacco he said. No thanks, I don’t smoke, I replied. Now understanding why everyone goes around chewing betel nuts.

So, to my coconut betel nut: First the Betel nut craftsman slices the nut into thin strips and lays it on a green leaf. The leaf is already soaked with lime or lime powder, he told me. After sprinkling some coconut on top of it, he rolls the leaf together.

I managed to both suck, chew on and keep the betel paan – tucked together in one ball – inside my mouth for like four minutes. The desire to spit even after fifteen seconds is remarkable. I went spitting all the way home. I’m still sorry I didn’t get a picture of the red path behind me.

Reading about the Betel nut mania later, I realise it’s an important cultural practice in many regions in south and south-east Asia and the Asia Pacific. So, chewing Betel nuts is basically a tradition  important role in social customs, religious practices and cultural rituals. And highly addictive. See more.

Another late night, as I started to feel ready for bed after a long day out, I still chose to take a new road back to my hostel. It was 1.30 in the morning, but what the heck: traveling solo means any street is an adventure. And as always, adventures pay off. There; just around the corner from my place, I discovered a pitch dark narrow street full of holes in the walls that revealed there were life and lights behind them.

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As I approached the lights, I found out the street I was walking in was full of neighbouring night open workshops. Workshops full of working men. Doing laundry. Being mechanics. Making rubber. Like I wrote about in this previous post, it amazes me how friendly and welcoming people are. These guys for instance, was more than happy to tell about their job, how business is doing asked interestedly about my thoughts of India.

So let it be said; despite of the incident with my private driver, which to be honest was rather innocent in all its rudeness after all, Ive felt nothing but secure and taken care of as a solo traveling woman in India. It’s an important point to make, so that more women dare to travel this way in the future. The sense of freedom and possibilities solo traveling gives us to grow as a human being, is much more worthy than one man’s desperate, impulsive or sleazy ideas will ever be.

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I hope you noticed the veteran scooter being fixed in the above picture. See what I meant in the initial post about Mumbai’s creativity?

Talking of fixing cars, and of uhm… sleazy men: There’s one more moment, that by looking back at it seems too crazy in all ways. One evening, when I was going out to meet one of the couples I met at the shooting of the Bollywood commercial,  I jumped into a cab without hesitating to only realise I was inside of the world’s kitschest looking car.

Rather stunned, especially by that lamp in the ceiling, I forgot everything about agreeing on a price for the trip, and instead went on complimenting the driver for the look of his car…

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As I realised he wasn’t keen to talk about such superficiality, and demanded a three times higher price than what’s fair, I began to worry about being inside of a cab in a city I hardly knew together with not one, but two men. Luckily they stopped the car shortly after I politely asked them to.

Happy to have met them and to be let out of the car without hassle, I asked to take a picture and they were like: Sure, ma’am. But smiling is sooo 2008.

PS. Why not read about my day as a Bollywood-star too?

Foerste stopp i BOLIVIA

Da er jeg vel fremme i Potosi, Bolivia, hvor det foerste reisebrevet fra min foerste soloreise ever skrives.
Reisen fra Buenos Aires til grensa ved Bolivia gikk over all forventing. Litt slitsomt aa sitte paa rumpa i nesten 25 timer i strekk, men noe er det med motordur og meg som hoerer hjemme som haand i hanske. Sovner umiddelbart. Dessuten hvis det blir kjedelig med bussing, vises det filmer i et strekk. Fra Argentina- bussturer har jeg vaert med paa ymse utvalg av gamle klassikere som Rocky eller Terminator, som jo baade forkorter turen og forlenger livet (pga laettisene de fremkaller). Er man heldig blir man servert noe klissete til dessert, som for eksempel “Glitter” med Mariah Carey (!?).  Igaar var det ikke mindre enn to eldgamle Mel Gibson filmer paa agendaen. Nostalgisk. Takket vaere sovehjertet sov jeg meg gjennom samtlige av dem, kun vekket av vertinnens servering av noen alfajores (kjeks med kliss inni som Argentinere er veldige glade i) og hvitt broed med ost og skinke, foer jeg sovna paa ny.
Ankom Villazon paa grensa igaar morres, iskald etter den sinnsyke airconditioningen de hadde paa bussen, og sjokkert stotret jeg meg ut i 40 TOERRE grader og til en komplett annen verden enn hva jeg er vant til. Vakkert! Fargerikt menneskemylder, smaa boder med salg av diverse hvor i hovedsak Bolivianere staar i koe for snart aa krysse grensa til Argentina. Enten reiser de for aa besoeke venner og familie i sitt rike naboland, ellers er de paa jakt etter jobb. Jeg var en av faa turister paa bussen min, folk flest var nok Bolivianere bosatt i Argentina som skulle hjem til jul. Vi ble alle stemplet inn i landet av en ung kvinne som stod der litt stiv i blikket med en paatatt mistenksom mine og en stor synlig pistol i beltet. Like etter bar det i vei paa egen haand i sentrum av Villazon for aa finne viedere bussforbindelse.
Jeg kjoepte meg bussbillett til Potosi, gruvebyen som er kjent for aa ha blitt robba for rubbel og bit av hovedsakelig soelv like etter at spanjolene oppdaget landet for 500 aar siden. Bussbilletten for de neste 12 timene kostet forresten ikke mer enn 50 NOK! Her et bilde fra bussstasjonen vi satt og ventet paa.
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Ankom Potosi idag tidlig til forventet tid (0530) etter den verste bussturen i manns minne. Vi kjoerte hele natta innover i fjellomraadene, kun paa humpete grusveier uten gatelys. I en stappfull buss satt jeg helt forrest til venstre rett over sjaafoeren. Var fornoeyd med aa kapre den plassen da jeg kjopte billettene og saa paa forhaand for meg noe mer luksurioese tendenser (ettersom langdistansebussene innenlands i Argentina er av temmelig god standard og jeg har tatt noen av dem siste halvaaret), enn hva som viste seg aa vaere tilfellet.
Vinduet til hoeyre var knust og erstattet med en papplate, vinduet paa min side var halveis loest og forsoekt festet med en jernstang spikra paa plass horistontalt. Den var perfekt plassert i oeyehoeyde naar jeg satt i setet. Etter ca et kvarter la jeg merke til at veiforholdene i dette landet er hakket verre enn i Argentina og den humpete veien ga huet mitt en skikkelig fin sleng, slik at det slo mot den jernstanga hele tida mens jeg sov. Vaakna litt fortumlet hver gang jeg fikk meg en paa trynet, men forstod ikke foer etter en fem – seks slag at jeg kunne gjoere noe med det. Surret et skjerf rundt stanga for aa myke den opp og la meg til aa sove igjen. Ved foerste pause paa en slags bensinstasjon gikk jeg paa do og foerst da skjoente jeg hvor slaatt jeg faktisk var! Og det gjorde vondt. Har ikke mindre enn en liten blaaklokke over venstre oeye. Nice.
Mot slutten av reisen ga jeg opp selvskadingsprosjektet og satte musikk i oera paa full guffe i forsoek paa aa overdoeyve stoeyen fra baade motor og vei, og de 55 bolivianere med unger som hadde hefitge samtaler om ymse omkring meg. Proevde aa foelge litt med paa veien, tenkte det var eksotisk aa befinne meg i et saa annerledes land hvor asfalt er et fremmedord. Vi dundret i vei i svarte natta med egne frontlys som eneste belysning over dumpete veier brede som en enveiskjoert gate i Oslo. Oppover, oppover og atter oppover i landet, med svinger langt krappere enn de som er i Trollstigen i Norge… Plutselig gikk det opp for meg at mine sjanser til aa overleve en eventuell utforkjoering var av de mindre paa bussen, for hadde vi kjoert ut ville det blitt til venstre, siden fjellet stadig laa til hoeyre. Med doedsangsten i halsen maatte jeg etterhvert lukke igjen oeynene og be en aldri saa liten boenn til hoeyere makter.
Da vi reiste fra Villazon timer tidligere var det grisevarmt, men ryktene sa det kom til aa avtaa paa veien innover og oppover i fjellen saa jeg hadde en haug med klaer med meg inn i bussen. Overlevelsesstrategien jeg da la var at posene med de ekstra klaerne kunne fungere som en beskyttelse mot et eventuelt slag fra venstre.. Men ingen ulykke skjedde og det var bra for de klaerne trengte jeg snart aa ta paa meg selv. Fordi, da vi gikk av bussen i Potosi 0530 idag morres var det like foer jernstanga siden av meg var dekket av rim. Folk froes ihjel allerede i doeraapningen paa vei ut av bussen. True story!
Der stod unggutter i kjeledresser og maste om aa hjelpe meg med ryggsekken, og det virmlet av bolivianere alle vegne som rett og slett VET aa kle seg. Hoppet inn i foerste taxi som saa aerlig ut, og ble kjoert av en mor og en soenn opp i sentrum for 5 bolivianos. 3 kroner og 50 oere. Ankom hostellet litt for tidlig til innsjekking og ble plassert i tv stua inntil rommet mitt var klart. Dro paa meg alt jeg hadde av klaer i sekken og sovna doenn paa sofaen. Ble vekket av sjefsvertinna som sa hun hadde rommet mitt klart. Sola straalte og det var plutselig litt koseligere aa vaere turist. Fikk et enerom, hvor det fakta er tre senger, med privat bad, (HAH) til den nette sum av 60 NOK! Tok en digg varm dusj og satte meg i steikende sol i bakgaarden og drakk cafe con leche! Ingen av de ansatte paa hostellet ser ut til aa kunne stort engelsk og jeg moret meg i noen minutter med a observere to unge tyskere som stilte turistspoersmaal til et par damer i kafeen paa baade engelsk og tysk samt det de hadde av kreativitet av nord-europeiske kroppsspraakevner. Hjalp dem med litt spansk og lettelsen virka enorm. De tilba seg aa bli Facebook-venner som takk og det hele. Det faarn si. Paa kroppsspraaket til de hotellansatte aa doemme innbiller jeg meg det nok er en sannhet at lokale behandler de som kan snakke spansk litt bedre.
Etter kaffen og med stigende kroppsvarme tuslet jeg en tur i byen for aa bli kjent.
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Her er det faa mennesker som glor, med andre ord en deilig kontrast til Argentina. Tenkte foerst det egentlig er litt rart med tanke paa hvor annerledes jeg ser ut i dette landet i fht i Argentina. De fleste rekker meg til under armen. Umiddelbare foersteinntrykk er at det kryr av abuelos (besteforeldre) i gatene med sine skrukkete snille fjes og en fiffig klesstil mange sikkert har sett paa tv eller i blader: Damer i fargerike struttende skjoert, ullstroemper og foettene plassert i sandaler (av alle ting), ullcardigan og gedigent sjal i type Bolivia-/Perufarger som de bruker til aa baere barn eller hva enn det maatte vaere i, paa ryggen. Og altid med lange sorte og bowlerhatt. Mennene kler seg litt 50talls i smale bukser med press, bukseseler og en cardigan i ull og gjerne en bred hatt paa hodet. Ungdommen er mer vestlig inspirert i klesveien, men her i Potosi, kanskje fordi det ligner mer en landsby enn en by, er flertallet av jentene ogsaa kledd i de tradisjonelle draktene. Nesten alle har straahatter med blomsterbroderi og lange fletter og verdens nyyydeligiste ansikter. Oyene som alltid er observante og smiler! Folk virker aa ha en litt forsiktig fremtoning, har enda ikke blitt ropt etter eller kommentert paa gata av noen.
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B6
Paa dagen kledde jeg masse paa meg i fare for aa fryse, men som de fleste guideboker ogsaa har sagt, paa dagtid er det ofte veldig varmt igjen. Saa det ble hett. Temperaturforskjellen fra natt til dag maa altsaa vaere noe av den stoerste (kanskje generelt i verden i byer som dette.) som finnes!!?? Kanskje ikke overraskende da Potosi er verdens mest hoeyestliggende by, med sine 4100 moh. Har heldigvis ikke merket noe til hoeydesyke som saa mange advarer mot, men kjenner paa en ny litt trykkende foelelse i hodet hele tiden, som jo naar jeg tenker over det kan ha med hoeyden aa gjoere! (Trodde foerst jeg var fyllesjuk som vanlig, men det stemmer men jeg har ikke drukket paa to dager!)
Naa venter soelvmuseet hvor de har en gedigen soelvmyntsamling som vitner om gedigen soelvutvining i de nevnte minene. Spanjoler og andre europere har raska til seg over 9/10deler av det som er blitt utvinnet gjennom historien, men heldigvis er det da altsaa nok igjen her i Potosi, selve soelvutvinningsbyen i Latin Amerika, til at de har faatt lagd et museum ut av det. Enda godt.
Paz y amor,
J.