Sunday, March 05, 2006

Reunion


Before leaving California, Jo Musha of Saint-Gobain Containers gave me this "Freedom Bell" for good luck. It has been a little reminder of the good wishes that accompany us, and it often evokes a smile when its tinkling cuts through the other sounds of the road.


It has now been ten days since I returned to Santiago. During this time, I've barely left the hotel, devoting ten to twelve-hour days to the computer, working on a back-log of notes, e-mails and general clutter. In running all over Patagonia, "things" had become quite disorganized (and "we" hate disorganization!)

One of the great pleasures in my travels (I know, it's sad), landing in a hotel with all the conveniences: comfortable beds, running cold and hot water, toilet paper, soap, internet and a simple breakfast. A place where I can empty everything out of their storage containers, clean and reorganize, even shower two or three times a day if I want. It's refreshing and rejuvenating. Psychologically, the effect is clear. But I also have to remember that the luxury is costing $40 a day.

In Santiago, I fell into a pattern of starting the day with breakfast at the hotel: three pieces of toast, one portion of jam, a cup of Nescafe and a glass of juice, then turning to the computer, until 8:00 or 9:00 at night.

Generally, I have only ventured out in the evenings to find a meal, then returned to work for another few hours, until 2:00 or 3:00. ("And," you may wonder "this is all you have to show for it?")

There was little variety in my evening dining choices. I usually went to Botto (the cafe-bar near the hotel) or Tiramisu, the up-scale pizzeria downtown.

The weather has been sunny and warm, with only a single overcast day. A very comfortable climate, much like Southern California.

***

It's time to come up with a plan! I can no longer dally. But my thoughts are scattered and are not coalescing. Now that some of my friends are turning north, maybe I should try to ride with others? Or perhaps I should retrace my path, and revisit places, with a new and different perspective?

I began compiling a list of possible destinations along a north-bound route. Would it be compelling enough for me to continue?

***

Johann Goethe said "doing and thinking, thinking and doing. that is the sum of all things." In modern society, many feel we must always be "doing". We lose the other half of the process. It is so difficult to stop the movement and create new plans.


YESTERDAY

Saturday was March 4th, as a friend, Charles Randall once put it: "the only day of the year that's a command!"

But it wasn't to be a day of much action. More work on the blog. "Well, I probably won't be going anywhere today. There is still some work to finish up here."

I did venture out for dinner at my favorite haunt, Tiramisu. As I was being seated, a woman called out “Tim?”

It was Sophia! She and Pia were sitting at a table with a couple of young men. They immediately  invited me to join them. Over a beer, we caught up on our travels. They had particularly enjoyed backpacking the Carretera Austral and Torres del Paine, having a much different experience than mine. They ventured into the back country of Torres for four days. (So there you are! A report that contradicts my cynical review of Torres del Paine.)


TONIGHT

Keeping our originally-planned "date", we met again for dinner tonight. They suggested returning to Tiramisu. No argument from me.

We met at 9:00. They had walked for twenty minutes to get there. (Both had bikes stolen here in Santiago.) Over pizzas and a nice bottle of Montes Alpha 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, we discussed their school and career plans. In Sophia, I found someone who actually supports some of George W. Bush’s policies! Especially those regarding the "protection of life."

(On this I am compelled to point out the painful contradiction that many, most notably G.W., who support the protection of the unborn fetus - and here, I don't even feel qualified to weigh in - also support the war in Iraq. Is there a difference between one kind of murder and another? Not in my book. Where is the outrage over the slaughter in Iraq?)

Both Sophia and Pia, philosophy majors, hope to apply their knowledge working on global moral and ethical issues, within non-governmental organizations, NGOs.

Tonight, I "finished" the blog, up to arrival in Santiago. Now I can start thinking about the future!

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