Hola! Long time no read! It’s been a little over a year since my last trip and man things have changed for me . . . new job, new city, new friends . . . but still me . . . and I still look for adventure :). Last time we chatted I talked about inukshuks of life, embracing chaos, my small perceived case of ADD, falling in love with the rain, and . . . screw it . . . let’s get into it. I’m jumping off a cliff!
So in Lima, Peru I strap on the harness which is connected to my paragliding pilot. Together, we will jump tandem off a cliff in Larco Mar Beach in hopes to catch the dynamic wind from the Pacific Ocean. This wind comes in from the sea and bounces off the mountain. This is how we ride in the air! I’ve never paraglided before but I thought it would be a pretty cool way to kick off my vacation in a new country. New Fear + New Experience + New People = New Adventure I always say 🙂 Good thing the winds are alive this Oct. 17th, 2014. As the winds pick up I could feel the parachutes pull me from behind and the straps tighten around my body. It’s as if Mother Nature herself was giving me the signal to GO. So, as with any good lady, I oblige like a gentleman. I lean forward, sprint from my toes and head for the edge of the cliff with my pilot behind me. I could hear the chutes roar open as I near the end of my makeshift runway. As I near the edge my feet say goodbye to the ground and I am lifted into the air! Any doubt about paragliding is left on the mountain, as with my fear of trying something new and dangerous. That’s the thing about adventure . . . you’re not jumping away from your present state, you’re jumping into a new experience, a new thrill, and possibly a new version of yourself 🙂
24 hours earlier on the afternoon of Oct. 16th, 2014 I was in a cab in Toronto, Ontario on my way to catch my flight to Peru. Whenever I’m in cabs I like to speak to the cab driver to: 1. Make the driver feel comfortable with her/his new passenger; and 2. To help promote the idea of driving safely for my well-being 🙂 Besides, I love connecting with people. It’s one of the sweet joys in life that I feel many people take for granted. I find it fascinating how people of diverse backgrounds, age, education, etc. can find common ground to help each other. As for my cab driving friend Quamrul, he kept trying to inspire me to have many different girlfriends on the go since I look 10 years younger than my actual age (I will leave that to you to figure out my dear reader!). With a smile on my face I responded, “I’ll think about it when I get to your age.” 🙂
The flight from Toronto to Lima was (thankfully) direct. No connections or layovers. Just a straight eight-hour flight. That’s why many Canadians and Americans enjoy travelling to Latin America. You can get a direct flight from Toronto, and the change in time zones is only about 1-2 hours. So it’s pretty manageable to travel from North America to South America.
When I land in Lima at 1:30 am I am greeted with a gentleman holding a sign with my name on it. My pre-arranged driver! Awesome! And his name is Lee! Awesome! You know what else is Awesome? He doesn’t speak any English and I speak zero Spanish! Awesome! Charades it is!
We get into Lee’s cab (which is actually a van) and start driving into the Lima night. Sorry, let me rephrase that . . . crawling into the night. Lee’s cab was so weak that we created a line up of angry drivers when we hit a small incline on a two-way street. Cars behind us honked mercilessly at the snail’s pace of Lee’s cab. The entire driving population of Lima was not impressed with how our vehicle sputtered up the hills that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. As long as we made it safe I didn’t care! I’d post a pic of the ocean but’s 2 am! All you’ll get is a black screen 😛
One thing that I learned about being a motorist in Lima is that when you are about to cross an intersection in the side streets you honk your horn. This is to signal any other vehicle travelling on the cross street to hit their brakes to allow you to cross. If there is one english word that Lee knows it’s the word “T-Bone”. 🙂
I arrive at my hotel, San Blas, at 2:30am. I give my name and surprisingly the Peruvians can say my last name! I grew up conditioned to the expectation that no one can say my Filipino last name . . . even from Filipinos. However, the Peruvians can nail it in one shot! I think I’m going to like this country.
As my head hits the pillow I dream of the upcoming adventure I’m going to have over the next 17 days — downhill mountain biking in the Andes, exploring new cities in a foreign country, climbing and camping on Mount Machu Picchu, kayaking Lake Titicaca, and living with a Peruvian family! And on Day 1, tomorrow, I’m going find a cliff and see what’s it’s like to fly with the birds 🙂
MOMENT OF ZEN: On the plane to Peru I had the joy of sitting next to two screaming, yelling, and upset brothers who were ages two and four. Their cries resonated through our cabin and our earplugs! The boys’ poor mother was on her own and was clearly out matched. Although I was impressed with how she kept her cool through the boy’s ordeal throughout the eight hour flight. Unfortunately I couldn’t say the same about some our fellow passengers. I noticed some passengers walking by and giving her dirty looks. I didn’t agree with their judging eyes. I would think “Bring some headphones and adapt to the situation people! She’s doing the best she can!” I could tell that other people weren’t happy with the screaming children. Not me though. Through my headphones I kind of enjoyed the sounds of utter chaos and uncontrollable emotion. It’s the sound of life screaming to the world “I am happy, sad, upset, mad, frustrated, hot or cold. I am alive!” And that’s what I’m looking for on this trip . . . opportunities to celebrate who I am in the world — vulnerable, confident, unhappy, joyful, giving, selfish, competitive, loving, and everything in between. My emotions will resound on the highest mountain peaks of Peru, and my spirit will be shared with the everyday people! And if anyone found my hunger for new experience annoying, well that’s their problem, not mine 🙂
So off I go. Jumping into a new adventure, ready to welcome new experiences and possibly a new me. PURA . . . wait. That was last year. This year (and maybe every year after that) I’ll say Peace, Love and Adventure! Because those are the three things that I want to give and receive in life 🙂