Memories of South America

Oh what fun… to run across a handwritten vacation journal.  It’s from 1998, our first time in South America.  Gary was playing racquetball for Guam in the world championships.

I’ll share a few of my favorite paragraphs.  And while I’m at it, I’ll encourage you to write down special scenes from your travels.  Dates, times, temperatures, scores… I find them irrelevant.  Capture the moments!

“Flying into La Paz was incredible.  The huge snow covered mountains, shrouded in clouds, Lake Titicaca… it was breath-taking.  Landing there actually did take our breath.  The 13,000’ altitude made our hearts race.”

“While picking up our laundry a parade came by, apparently celebrating a patron saint.  Children dancing, old men playing crumpled horns, elaborate costumes… and then the most pathetic car covered in plastic dolls, stuffed dog toys, old silver tea service pieces.  A unique parade indeed.”

“Along the way I fell into a must-buy-something-at-the-market trance and bought a dress from India without trying it on, from a woman in a tiny stall.”

“The tour guide would give five or six sentences about the fabulous statuary, or a marble fireplace mantle, or a marvelous tapestry… then Marco the translator, in his limited English would say, “These are the dog statues” or “This is the special fireplace”.  It was a beautiful palace with wonderful gardens.”

“Mama and I couldn’t resist buying a little something from each table.  Our last purchase was from a little ragamuffin girl who had three items to show us.  We bought one for 3 bolivianos.  She was a tiny little thing who reached into her ratty dress pocket to give us our change.”

“We went inside the San Francisco church and stepped into another world.  From the bustling, loud, bright courtyard into the hushed, dark, tranquil interior.  Massive arched and domed ceilings, intricate gold work, huge displays of old saint carvings, people praying silently, and old women lighting candles in dark corners.”

“It’s been a fabulous trip! Wonderful memories…”

“Typing e-mails on slow computers with Spanish keyboards.”

“Telling the maid we couldn’t ‘dream’ at five in the morning because of the squeaking door.”

“Trying desperately to speak Spanish with waiters and cab drivers.”

“Stepping into the curtained room at the La Paz airport for a possible strip search!”

“Standing with a llama herder on the altiplano and showing him my tiny island home on my map.”

“Hearing Saya music coming from so many places, and feeling the unusual beat.”

“Children in Cochabamba asking for our restaurant leftovers, but equally delighted to have a little conversation.”

“Watching Gary carrying the Guam flag with a huge smile on his face in the parade of nations.”

“The architecture of Lima.  Flowering vines pouring over courtyard walls.”

“More than anything – women with two black braids down their backs, colorful wrap on their backs, usually with a child in it.”

“Ciao – Sud America!”

And thus began our love affair with this gorgeous continent.  We’ve been back three times since then, and are always looking forward to our next visit!

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3 Responses to “Memories of South America”

  1. lawaanda calton says:

    What a surprise! so much to remember!

  2. Robin Green says:

    Remember the silver pin you found for me there? A woman carrying a child on her back. I still wear it often and it is my favorite. Thank you!

  3. Sandy says:

    Mama… I’m so thrilled you went with us on that trip. Robin… I love it that you love that pin so much!

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