Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself

Tehuacán . I arrived alive and feeling pretty decent. I now have a full kitchen and to prove to myself I was feeling better I devoured 3 large plates of pasta and meat sauce without taking a breathe. After two weeks of soup, crackers, banana's and yogurt I had to put my belly through a stress test plus I took a minute to realized I had a massive hunger on once I got going. The pains in my belly were not the remnants of my bout with food poisoning, they were hunger pangs that I was ignoring. So stretch my stomach I did, I needed some calories man.

New, Modern and Safe..well except for the pat down and "just in case" photos
The bus ride from Oaxaca to Tehuacán was just over 3 hours. I took ADO Bus Lines. Modern, safe and comfortable. North America has quite a bit to learn about bus service when compared to a company such as ADO. Similar to an airport I checked my backpack and a crew of very clean and polite baggage handlers took care of the rest. A bus driver in a new pressed white shirt greeted me with a smile and verified my ticket and I was feeling good. Then the military police did a quick pat down and checked my day back but finished with a "gracias senor, bien viaje". I sometimes forget that I am in Latin America and there are serious problems here, especially Mexico. I like that they were taking care of things efficiently. Once aboard another person came on and took pictures of us all with a video camera. I knew why and it creeped me out knowing that was for identification "just in case". Well the window seat was comfortable, I had a hot coffee and Van Morrison on my Ipod so I leaned back and relaxed knowing that at the very least they would be able to identify my dead or kidnapped body.

Once we got outside of Oaxaca the journey was stunning. We drove up well paved and maintained mountain roads in a brand new reliable bus. This certainly was not Bolivia. The mountains came out of nowhere but suddenly they they were with deep green valleys and cactus for as far as they eye could see. The bus driver maintained a safe a reliable speed (do you hear that Guatemala?) and at no time did I feel unsafe. I have traveled far and wide in buses from Mexico to the South tip of Argentina.  Whether its a modern beauty in Mexico or Peru or a run down smoke spewing, brake squealing, 80s music blaring over crowed chicken bus in Guatemala, I like traveling by bus. I like everything about it. The people you meet, the non rushed felling (see airport stress) and having the ability to just stare out the window lost in your thoughts at the passing landscape for hours at a time.

"If I should die in a car wreck, I hope Van Morrison is on my tape deck"
-- Lyrics from U Li La Lu  by Poi Dog Pondering

In case your wondering the answer is yes. I start every bus trip listening to Van Morrison.

Not sure if I can find a cactus in this picture
I am settled into my shared apartment in Tehuacán. It will be fine for the 4 months I am here. Contract extensions are very common but we will jump that cactus when we get to it. The town itself is a non "Gringo Trial Town". If there is a back packer wandering around they are very adventurous or lost. I am betting lost. I wandered into the downtown the last couple of days and could count 1 gringo, me. The upside is that the town has a friendly non intrusive feel. Coming from a tourist town I get how you can resent them even though you need them, probably why you resent them. The circle of tourism. Here there is no need to pry my tourist dollars from my wallet. Its a robust healthy and clean town. Plus its cool. Not hip cool, temperature cool. After 6 months in the cauldron that was Leon Nicaragua I am now in the middle of a desert with cool evening breezes. There are the same roosters, all night barking dogs, random late night fireworks and car alarm but I will never escape that while in Latin America.

Tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo and I am in Mexico. It commemorate the Mexican victory over French Forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. I guess my main question is, what the hell were the French doing in Mexico? Anyways it will be beer, tequila, music and fireworks all over town tomorrow. How will I rock Cinco De Mayo. By being sober and in bed by 10:00 because that is how I roll.

Finally. Along the way I came across the phrase "Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself" and just love the play on words. As much as I have freed myself from many of the personal shackles, systematic belief systems, negative people, and consumerism that has steered my life, I still have a long way to go. I stumble with "shoulding all over myself" all the time but did not realize it until I read that great phrase. Like "Deaths Coming, Lifes Foreplay" before it I am going to put this phrase into my "fear bank" and use it to take what I would like to think are bolder steps forward. This is not solely about travel. This is not just about having great experiences. This is about being in the world and embracing all of it and coming out the other side with a clear vision. It may take a while and I do not know what that vision is, but I can see it in the distance.

Unless I loose my glasses then I am completely fu**ed.

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