It has been an eventful two weeks.
I met my Little Brother in Lima, where transit strikes canceled our first set of plans. This wasn't such a big deal. We managed to make it to Machu Picchu, despite some serious train problems, and then once we got there, we were stranded in the town of Aguas Calientes for almost a week with about 2,000 others. It was a really intense week--a slow roller coaster ride, to borrow a choice phrase from my friend Chris. Every day we got up hoping to figure out what the hell was going on, sort of hoping we could get out and continue on our journey to Lake Titicaca. But that couldn't and didn't happen. We were finally airlifted out on a helicopter on the sixth day.
So much went on that it's hard to figure out where to begin. There was a weird breaking off into tiny communities of nations: the Argentineans, the Brasilians, the Canadians, the Japanese, the Chileans, the Australians, the Americans. There was the animosity that developed as nation-centric rumors of corruption and bribery rippled through the town. And then there was the underlying panic concerning shortages of food, water, and level-headedness. But nobody really knew what was going on. With no organized way to disseminate information, everything was just hearsay. On the other hand, the stranded tourists were mostly 20-something backpackers, so every night was kind of a party. It was a very strange dynamic--something like Lord of the Flies meets Woodstock.
In the midst of all this, you'd think I would have some very interesting things to rant and rave about. Like how cool it was to ride in a Peruvian military copter over the Sacred Valley. Or what it was like to live in limbo for a week in such an international community. Or how the guy from the U.S. embassy in Lima sent out to mitigate Argentinean-American conflict looked kind of like Orlando Bloom. And I do...but somehow the biggest thing standing out in my mind from this hugely dramatic experience is that when I finally got to check my email somewhere around Day 4, I'd received a 30-word email from a boy I met in Uruguay just before New Year's, which sent me into a complete state of ecstasy despite the tenuous circumstances. And this, instead of all the other tremendously more interesting things that happened this week, is all I really want to think about.
I'm just as fucked up as so many of us in this regard. More than natural disasters and states of emergency, what fascinates and excites us the most is the possibility that there could be someone out there who finds us as appealing as we find them. And this is where the real excitement begins.