Chapter 37::Table of Contents::Book3 End Pages

Chapter 38
Ruminations, Connections, and Farewells

MAY 11

How much of this can a person stand?

For the last 3 weeks we’ve done nothing, absolutely nothing. Our “connection” - José, is turning out to be almost as reliable as Tommy in Sucre. We gave up on Monica & Pilar. 2 of the most worthless women on God’s green earth. They gave us the royal run around for 2 weeks and then shuffled us off on José, Pilar’s cousin. At first it seemed like a sure thing. He had pot, or had a friend with pot, and would get it to us within a day or so. That was over a week ago. First his friend failed to bring it over. Then when his friend did come over (so he says) he never called. We’ve cornered him at work 4 or 5 times where he says, “When I get home I’ll call you.” He never calls. Today he said he’d meet N at 3 at Pilar’s. Of course he didn’t show. Then his maid said he’d be home at 6 and call then. He didn’t call.

The Bolivian mind cannot be counted on. What is it about this country that leads to frustration & boredom? If people can’t do something, why don’t they just say so? We’ve been lead around by the nose just a but too much for my tastes. N seems to enjoy it. He won’t try to pin somebody down, just lets himself get led from one empty square to another. I have reached the most bored point in my entire life. Sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. I’ve never been this bored. Positively nada to do. A person can only sleep so much. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, nobody to talk to (N spends more time with the guitar and typewriter than any person). Going out to visit Les & Amy is a brief diversion and exercise in frustration. No women is better than sitting around talking to two untouchable lovelies. I have reached a peak of depression and boredom.

For the next week it will only get worse. We have to wait for N’s pack and $1000 check, Hector’s telegram about the film and Ed’s about the receipt of goods. As it stands now, if José’s friend in Santa Cruz is as flakey as reason dictates he must be, the Bolivian Connection will turn out to be nothing more than a long, boring, pipe dream. It becomes a million to one long shot. All the seemingly hard problems have been solved, just can’t seem to find anyone willing to keep their word long enough to sell us the stuff.

This failure leaves me with thoughts of money. At the moment I’ve got $1100 in cheques, approx $2000 in an account, and another $1500 I’d rather not touch until next March. A plane ticket from here to Miami costs about $350 plus another $100 or so to Mpls. and I’m back home with $600 in my pocket, enough to buy a good pound and laugh at the hassles left behind. This leaves $2000 to be stretched for as long as possible. I’d still like to go out to Calif. to visit Fred, Spazz, Judy, Leslie, and up to Oregon to see Chris. This eats a big chunk. What are my possibilities of finding part time work around LaC or Mpls for the summer (preferably LaC)? I could take 200’ of ASA64 and copy slides all summer, maybe being able to sell prints by Aug. I could paint houses with Ed G. or work at any number of much sought after part times in stores, etc. This all means that I might not have to really “settle down” until next spring at the latest. Many many possibilities exist between here and there. I would have to buy insurance for my car, another $200, but basic living expenses could be quite low. I could live with my folks for a month or so, with Dudley & Jeff or with Ed at Kenny’s, or with Hector for a short time while working on slides. I could maybe live with Fred or Spazz for a while. If worst comes to worst, I could always go back to work for Ronnie.

The other possibility is to go back into Peru. This would take 2 more months, putting me back in the US beginning of Aug as opposed to June. It will cost another 4 - 500 to live for 2 mos here, 300 to fly from Lima to Miami + 100 to Mpls., leaving me with $200 or less but with a lot more pictures. Can I hold out this long? Am I just in the Horse Latitudes, needing only a brisk wind to get me moving? Why go back to Peru? I can’t expect to do any extensive packing either around the lake or along the Inca trail, as N’s & Dan will want to do, so I’ll be traveling more or less on my own. If I do go back to Peru, I’ll miss most of the summer in Minn; bike riding, swimming, friends, getting high, all the things that make me want to go back “home”. I could take my trip out West and extend my summer that way, at the expense of friends in MN. It goes on & on. First one possibility, then the other, flipping the coin of my future again & again, with the off chance it will land on edge, the big payoff, the Bol. Con.

MAY 18,

Well, the tide has come in and with it our film, that is, our film sent to the states.

The pilot was stopped and instead of opening the package he brought the stuff back. So much for that Idea. The Bol Con is out the tubes. Then José flaked out again. Last Monday he was to come by and take us out to green pickings at a friend’s. We beat ass back to the house from Gonzalo’s, where N was busy analyzing the current political scene in Bolivia, in time to meet José at 3:15. He never showed, never called. Then that night we got the word that the film came back anyway. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, I guess.

On Tuesday we had a big birthday party for Cacho, complete with peanuts, pretzels, potato chips, cheetoz, olives, cheeze, 2 kinds of birthday cake, plus much pisco & 7/piña juice. He made a little speech over the cake, I took pics with a free roll of out-dated GAF 64 Slide film that has yet to come back from processing and a late nite good time was had by all. The next day I went out to visit Leslie. She gave me explicit directions where to visit her in Ca. from Aug 15 - 30 and seemed to be getting friendlier. It’s so nice to talk to a woman again. Perhaps we will wind up spending a good share of time together after all out in CA. Maybe we can share more than time. Since she’ll be back in early Aug and I’d like to meet her in mid Aug, this sent my mind to working again about going “back” to the U.S. I thought perhaps I’d just fly direct from Lima to S.F. without going to MN.

I came back home with a marvelous gut ache due to all the shit-food of the day before. Then sitting at the rest. on the Prado yesterday with N, I began to consider, really seriously for the 1st time, the possibility of going back sooner than Aug, like the 1st of June. On the plus side: I could bring all our goods and film back without having to pay air freight, I could work on slides in Mpls for a couple mos., I could see all my friends before going out to CA, I could bike ride, I could avoid more blisters and being a drag for N’s & Dan (if he shows), I could live cheep for a couple mos, I could get high. I could avoid the general hassles inherent in traveling, I could then drive or fly out to CA. for the winter without missing seeing my family & friends. On the neg. side; I would miss the area around the lake, Macchu Picchu, Cuzco, Lima, and all those photos. Coming back to Peru would not be hard from CA, charter flights are cheap. In the US I would not have to buy film (take 200’ of 64 back with me) or pay for lodging for several months. Just have to feed myself and my car. In my mind, the pluses outweighed the minuses. Peru, Chile, Arg, will all still be here if I want to come back. MN will be there, too, I suppose, but I’ve much more to do there than here.

Besides, it’s summer in MN and this is the 1st time I’ve had a chance to have a true summer vacation there in several years, or will have for who knows how many years to come? The last time was in 75 living near Augsburg with(out) Jan. A good summer. Seems like I went out to CA. that fall, too. But I’d like to spend time lazing in LaC. Does this all look like rationalizations over homesickness? Perhaps more than that, reactions to boredom in Cbba. It’s a choice that has to come sooner or later, if not now, in Peru when I get to Lima. Eventually I have to go back. Why not do it while I can take full enjoyment of being back? Summer in MN after 8 months of SA. The last 2 mos here in Cbba. 1 month in Baños. That leaves only 5 mos on the road. Not very much. We’ve seen a lot, but the more you see, the more you haven’t seen. “Always leave them wanting more” I guess.

But my traveling days are not over. I’ll still be living out of a pack for months to come. Perhaps for another 9 or so. Looked at that way, I’ve only reached the midway point of an ever changing adventure. So, it seems, the coin of my future has come up tails, that is, turn tail on SA and go back. What will I think about this decision sitting in the Miami airport? What will I think over a joint and 3000+ photos at Hector’s? It has been a long trip, 9 mos since Ronnie’s. Will I regret not spending every last penny down here, blistering my feet to the bone, taking photos of everything that moves in Peru? As Wolf said, “don’t think you have to justify yourself to anyone”. My decision will affect only me, I will have to live with it, right or wrong. It’s a situation where I can’t really make the wrong choice, just one or the other. I can analyze myself into the ground, but when it comes down to it, the actions make the only difference. There is no future for me here in SA. My future lies in the good old USofA. “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” “Still it’s hard to be bright and bon vivant so far away from home.” Or, perhaps, like Spazz says “got to stop thinking so much.”

MAY 29

Well, the ball is rolling.

I’ve paid for my airline ticket, given away my tennies to Leslie, packed my bags and started thinking of life back in the “real world”. At this point I do not regret my decision. I will be a bundle of butterflies boarding the plane to Miami. But once through US Customs and on my way to Mpls, Cochabamba will seem a long way away.

Our trip has been successful in some ways and un in others. As we were walking from the pool with Leslie & Amy this after, Leslie & I were talking about how much the States will have changed in the last 9 mos. I realized that I have probably changed more than the states. It will be enlightening to be among old friends and to perceive this change in them and their reactions to me.

Chapter 37::Table of Contents::Book3 End Pages