I find it so hard to wrap my head around everything these days. I can't imagine a bigger culture shock. There was the park for what was only 6 weeks but feels like half a year at least. Then there was a fantastic send off party and hours and hours on busses to Buenos Aires. 50 hours from Santa Cruz, Bolivia to Buenos Aires, Argentina on one bus without air conditioning through road blockades where we all sat on the side of the road and watched the sunset and drug searches and a birthday where we got up and danced in the aisles. 75 hours in total from when I left the park, send off party and buses buses...
Then there was Buenos Aires and Em was there. There was operation de-jungle and I bought some new clothes and got a hair cut. I washed the bog mud from my sandals and send my clothes to be cleaned. Em and I had nice dinners and talked and while I grew to understand our friendship much better in those two days, my mind still hadn't really caught up with my body.
And then it was 22 hours in airports and planes and BA to Lima to El Salvador to LA. And then it was California with all of it's millions of cars. Cars cars cars all fighting by themselves to get to where ever faster. And it was operation buy a new bike (more news on that later) despite having the flu (yeah, better living through chemistry). And after 4 and a half days (one day spent doing nothing but sleeping off a fever) with a shiny new bike, we got on the plane to Italy.
And it was more airplanes and airports and then it was Florence and then Anthony's family friend's house and then the fever came back and I was down for nearly a week. There was a doctor and a possibility that the whole house might have to be quarantined because I could potentially have swine flu. But recoveries come in time and I'm back and running but somehow I'm still waking up not knowing where I am and looking in the mirror not really knowing what I'm doing here.
But let me show you in pictures:
Ambue Ari Schedule
Every day I woke up to the sunrise and monkeys running across the roof and fell asleep to the sound of crickets. And when I think of the park I can imagine what they would be doing at any given time of the day.
The spider monkey, Moracha, would break into the kitchen multiple times a day. Here she is eating beets, which would then still be served, as is, as lunch to volunteers. Better not to think where those monkey hands have been... but that's the food we have.
There were all of the goofy 19 year old gap-year kids or summer break-ers, full of energy and idealism and enthusiasm. Full of bravery over experience and the desire to prove themselves. Here, two of my favorites are showing off.
Ana and Moracha relax on Saturday afternoon
There were Saturday afternoons off and laying about relaxing.
There were endless scratches, bruises and blisters from shoes, from boots, from clearing trails, from the animals, from the plants and trees, from the cages....
Party at Dona Lauri's
There was partying on Fridays and Saturdays at our favorite bar with out walls, a dirt floor, and a jukebox. The power grid ran only from 6pm to 11pm and after that we had to go home (or convince them to run the generator for us.... )
Morten, Amy and Rauiri freak out
There was a lot of entertaining ourselves by being stupid, silly, random...
There was the daily walk through the hip deep, smelly bog.... mmm. but with a sense of humor it was a beautiful place
There was beautiful Maggie.
I'm checking Maggie for ticks under her collar while she was on heat.
Morten and Maggie
And now, I'm in lovely beautiful Italy. Things are clean and beautiful. Everything is old and well cared for, though people don't seem to smile much on the street. The couple we are staying are absolutely fantastic and have a lovely home and cook gormet food and entertain smashingly.
procuito and cantalope at Josepina's
Columns of the Roman bath at Motecatini
And it's all perfect here. But sometimes I miss Maggie kisses. It's hard to wrap my head around...
Maggie doesn't look too happy