Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brand new year, Same old shoes

Just for today, I will be grateful.
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not get angry.
Just for today, I will be honest.
Just for today, I will respect other living things.

Let me introduce characters a bit:
Kerry (Extrovert, Driver, London, UK) is Tam's friend she met in Melbourne & travelled with for 5 months.  I'd been hearing about Kerry's man troubles pretty much since I'd run over Tam on the west coast.  She had also said something along the lines of how she was worried we wouldn't get along.  She's impossible not to get along with.  Boistrous laughter, forcefully grabs life by the horns & takes the good in everything.  She laughs in her sleep & in the shower.

Luiz (Extrovert, Driver, Sao Paolo, Brasil) is a CSer & I hesitate to leave it at that.  He knows about 8 languages & charms people in every one of them.  Makes me sick.  He is flabbergasted by the fact we didn't know he was gay right away & had to check his facebook profile.  Now we know better.  Oh, do we ever.  He is super open & honest & it turns out Brasilians have a clever saying about everything.  He constantly sings Blame Canada in my ear, while trying to get on my good side so I don't beat him up.  High five for not being beaten up!

Abraham (Analyst, Amicable, Orizaba, Mexico) is the most amazing optimist.  He loves everything.  He is very timid & tends to go with whatever is happening.  He doesn't understand the spanish in this area & the Veracruz accent is the most hard for me to understand so far.  He gave me a couple coins from Ukraine & Russia, where he just was recently.  He is a couple years younger than me, but has seen much more of the world.  He chases guys all over the world - Look out!  He is a sweetheart.

Lauren (Analyst, Amicable, NYC, USA) has her life in a bag as well.  She's been travelling for about 2 years & doesn't know where she'll end up.  I can relate to her alot, actually.  She doesn't like to be forced into things & can be indecisive.  I know how that is.  At night she is wicked & a crazy fun time; during the day she wears glasses & uses body language to say how she's feeling.  Hopefully she catches up with us.

-x-x-x-x-x-

"So, what are your new years resolutions?  Other than living in the now of course..." 

New Years Eve started trying to sleep on a bus crammed with people, which is especially hard to do when certain people are exercising their tounges/'s.  The 7 Wonders of the World are marketing schemes.  I'm sure of it.  That still makes them more impressive.

We arrived at Chichen Itza early-ish.  Mid-morning.  Luiz, Abraham & I didn't even think we could get up.  The girls didn't even try.  Learning about ancient cultures is constantly fascinating.  The holy sport in which you only use your hips, thighs, or knees & must get the ball through an impossible ring carved in stone.  Of course the winner gets sacrificed to the Gods - they are only deemed worthy.  The amazing calculations are impeccable.  The way El Castillo lines up exactly towards magnetic north, & along with the other temples is balanced for the directions, the elements, the sun & the sea.  The way on the equinox a snake slithers down the front side of El Castillo, the largest pyramid & towards the cenote, towards the underworld.  The cenote is where they make their daily sacrifices of treasures, living humans or animals - praying that morning comes the next day.  When someone theatened to toss me in is the only time I saw the gravity of it.  At 20m down, 15m deep & with 3m of slime there's no coming back.

We swam in a cenote afterwards that was way too supervised & way too popular.  The ones we saw the other day were infinitely cooler.  But, you know, swimming is nice too.  :)

Lauren, Abraham & I went to chase down the CS party that had already been over awhile, then dashed back up to 5th to scramble together some sort of countdown.  This was Lauren's first New Years in 2 years - last year she spent it on a plane.  We counted down the new year from outside some posh restaurant that has it on tv, found The Cat Empire playing on the street & danced.  We tried to squeeze past people on 12th but the crowd was too thick.  Lauren admitted she is claustrophobic, so I doubled my efforts & re-created a strategy.  I just wanted to get to the beach.  She says it's her first warm NYE as well, but I remember I've had 3 in a row now - Las Vegas, New Orleans & Mexico.  When we finally got some breathing room I saw Kerry shifting through behind us.  KERRY!!!!  With Luiz, Paoloco (Mx), Pedro (Brasil) & some girls (Daisy & Vidi, both Mx).  Un-be-lievable.  With the amount of people there that was definately a stroke of luck.  & I'm glad I got to spend NYE with my friends.

We ate 12 grapes for each of the months that have passed, as is Mexican tradition - but we counted each beer as 2 as well.  It was fun to relive the year & spit out or swallow the seeds from each month.  We ran to the beach & jumped 7 waves for good luck, as is Brasilian custom.  I can't think of any Canadian traditions, other than getting drunk with friends.  Check.  I lose the girls in the shadows of the crowd on the beach & someone tells me it's tradition to wait for the first sunrise of the new year.  In 2 hours.  No way, Jose.  But I'm thinking it'd be cool so I curl up to nap somewhere.  When I wake up, there's a guy next to me making sure I'm okay & that maybe I'm very drunk, but I'm not, & sunrise is that much closer.  My friend Duane is catching waves with his feet in the tide, his hands on his guitar & a smile on, as always.  He is concerned for a drunk who later almost drowns.  The sun rises again.  Without sacrifice.

Did I mention some guy was playing bagpipes on the beach?!

And There She Was......Gone.

When we got back from the ruins we found out Tamara & Levi had left.  Even though it was New Years Eve I felt some sort of relief actually.  I had been holding on to them for so long, it was nice to be able to let go.  I am horrible with goodbyes & I'm happy she could cut the cord for me.  When I woke up, it was a shock to be alone in bed without thinking about when I would meet up with them.  Now I know where they are, & when I see them next is up to me.  Feels good.

-x-x-x-x-x-

I am still convinced that kareoke is a good way to learn Spanish.  When I mention this to the nearby Couchsurfers, they sincerely disagree with me.  We have been at this dank kareoke bar for several hours & frankly, they'd like to move on.  Even if it is 2am on a Sunday.  They are still good people nonetheless.  :)

There was a day of hitchhiking & a day of indecision for some of us as well.  Los Tres Amigos (Kerry, Luiz & Abraham) had bus tickets for Palenque.  I was determined to hitch & Lauren wasn't sure what was what.  What a gorgeous day for hitching!  At one point I thought "This book is so good, I forget I'm in the back of this truck."  I am learning about Mayan & Brasilian culture & reading a book placed in Northern Pakistan - the American border guards won't like that!  I was lenient on the timeframe of travelling 764km, thinking it would take 2 days, but 4 rides, 4 states, 2 free bevvies, one 2 hour nap & 13 hours later I was chilling in a hotel room in the southern state of Chiapas.  Naked, under an oscillating fan.

Goddamn it is humid.  It rained that night.  Rained?!  It hasn't rained at all since I've been here!  I have stepped into a rainforest.  While visiting friends, we were all asking about the ferociously hoarse roaring coming from the jungle.  We are told it is a sanctuary from los monos.  Monos?  Oh, Changos!  Monkeys!  Howler monkeys!  Upon closer inspection I can tell which tree tops they're in, although they're SO loud you'd think it's a jaguar from further up the hill, but the trees are SO tall you can't see anything anyway.  Plus I almost fell down a waterfall by accident.

It was Abraham's birthday so we decided to let loose for once.  I know, right?  We bought all the fixin's for piƱa coladas - his favourite - except he forgot the Malibu at home.  We went to a nice restaurant, but it wasn't the one he wanted so he ate dinner alone.  We went to kareoke & all sang together.  My voice boomed through the room, as is normal but I think shocked my friends, and Abraham still holds the mic too far away to be heard.  This place has much more options for up & coming kareoke superstar Jocelyn McLean.  Some songs I was shocked they even had, like Gym Class Heroes or Cartel?!  Whoa.  Obscure.  Channelling my brother when I do this sort of thing - Bust A Move, Girl On TV, American Pie.

Despite cutting my finger slicing limes, losing my lip ring & leaving my sandals in PdC, Kerry´s beating me at misfortune.  She fell off the edge of an infinity pool a couple days ago & it looks like a very convincing shin fracture.  She practically ODed on eyedrops the other day.  She´s making my losing streak look good. We still do things like squeeze 7 people into a small car & shimmy together singing Estoy loco por mi tigre by Shakira.  So you know, we probably deserve it.

Hopefully things will continue to be held together by a thread for both of us. Knock on wood.
Or, as they say in Brasil - Bater na madeira.

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