The day you get home from a long trip is always excellent. You see people you missed, finally take a proper shower, don’t have to carry anything. The worst day of any trip, though, según moi, is the day before you leave, or in my case the day before you take the 300 pesos 8th class night bus (very curious about this one, as San Cris to Puebla tops out at a whopping 835 on ADO). You rush around the city, trying to eat everything up, drink everything in. You pillage the market, overflow yourself with street juices, take the same pictures again. You’re mentally transported to all the places you visited over the last couple of months, the whirlwind of images and memories and sensory imprints on your brain twist and turn, run and jump, explode with the sensations, the odors the flavors the colors of the voyage. It’s wonderful, in a way, but sad, bittersweet, if you will.
This has been a magical seven weeks. Though traveling is always about the exploring of the unknown and being out of your element, the experience you get when you travel knowing the language and the culture is unparalleled. Going back to places you’ve already been and seeing them through the eyes of a year-later you is exciting, as is seeing it with new friends. The thrill of crossing a border into a foreign country is orgasmic; so is coming back into an old one, switching currencies, changing the time on your watch.
I’m not gripe-less, of course. This trip has made me never want another beer, and if I never step foot in another Ladies Night I’ll be totally content. I yearn to sneak into the hostel of all dreadlocked douchebags and cut them off with a Bowie knife. Hostels in and of themselves are so 2010. I’m generally irritated by every conversation I hear in English and French, as with their speakers. Ex-pats, let me say, are generally wretched alcoholics who spew nonsense all day while poisoning local culture. Being on your own for a while can be frustrating, the innate need to DO something every day exhausting. I’m tired of exploring shit and I want to watch television. Yes, extended vacations can be difficult indeed.
That said, this trip has indeed been me riding a wave on my mercury surfboard. It’s been Pacific beaches with not-so-pacific waves, energy-laden lakes, and muddy puddles that splashed water going up a hill. Thunderstorms in Antigua and Puerto, and endless sun everywhere else, with a couple of perfectly-timed cloudy afternoons in San Pedro that were just what I needed.
Pescado frito, pozole, Gallo, Victoria, cappucinos, coconut, blackberry smoothies for 5 Q the morning after the night before, fried chicken, cocaine, tequila, mangoes, avocados, tacos al pastor, torta Milanesa, coffee, steak, weed, chicharron, chuchitos, tamales, pepian, soups, eggrolls, buffalo wings, mezcal, posh, tlayudas, peas, chocolate, and wine.
Mountains and highlands, volcanoes and cities. Hot days and cold nights among strangers and dangers. The realization that I could die at any moment, punctuated at several occasions: Bodies on the road, terrifying bus rides on treadless tires, drugged-out and blinded, numb hands and a heart attack, blackouts, fires.
Obviously, the friends. To everyone I met in Puerto Escondido, Antigua, San Pedro, San Marcos, Monterrico, San Cristóbal, and buses and taxis in between, thank you for being part of this most fabulous of experiences.
And now I’m off to Puebla, Mexico City, Veracruz, and in a couple of weeks, New York, to see the next phase of this bizarre existence.
Life is beautiful.