Her Juggling Feet

everybody's a nobody. and nobody's perfect.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

There`s Room at the Inn

Well, I am trying not to think of today as anything related to awful, but maybe just unfortunate and challenging. And the day isn`t over yet, so my eyes are watching hopefully for the silver lining.

I am in Navarro, a town outside of Buenos Aires, in the Pampas region of Argentina. I arrived in Buenos Aires last week, and stayed with Mana, the sister of one woman and mother to another young woman that are both in the Caravan. Heriberto was also staying with Mana, taking advantage of the arts scene in the city, with juggling classes, acrobatics, didgeridoo practices, and contact dance improv. Mana cooks macrobiotic meals for a handful of folks, and I helped on two days, making seaweed and daikon soup and rolling sushi. Overall, it was lovely to have a real bed (okay, futon) and a place to put my toothbrush. Mana`s apartment is old and charming, with hardwood floors, black and white tiles in the kitchen, and a bathtub with clawed feet (and hot water!). I entertained myself in Chinese grocery stores, antique fairs, vegetarian restaurants, and an indie short film-combined with a circus-acrobatic performance. I drank cup after cup of oolong tea.

And now I am in Gaia eco-village, volunteering for the next few weeks in the kitchen, the gardens, and with the children. The site used to be home to an old dairy operation, so there are several ancient buildings on the property, though they are charming, too. Save the gas stove, all the energy is produced onsite due to solar panels and wind turbines. The toilets are ´dry´or ´no flush´, the showers are heated by solar or by fire. All the the new buildings are constructed out of cob, and they are absolutely lovely. We are surrounded by 150-year old eucalptys trees. The kumquats are abundantly sweet and sour.

There are 7 community members, so our numbers are small. The two children, Cecilia and Tobias, are beautiful and brimming with imagination. Cecilia recounted the entire story of the March of the Penguins to me, and then whispered that she and Tobias will be going to Antarctica shortly with penguin suits. The nearest neighbors don`t speak Spanish--they moo, and you can only see pasture, more cows, and the occasional tree for miles. It is flat as a pancake here, and as someone in the Caravan told me, very Zen-like. It is tranquil.

Except for today, where I found myself in a taxi headed for the doctor in Navarro, due to some very intense back pain. All turned out to be okay--nothing is wrong with my bone structure, but the muscles in my lower back are quite in a knot. I ended up speaking more with the doctor about my experiences these several months, and he then proposed that I live at his home in exchange for English lessons. He has a wife and two children, so I don`t think it was that kind of proposal. Anyway, I declined, though who knows. Before leaving, he offered a hospital bed for the night, in case I needed someplace to sleep. No, I told him, I intend to go back to Gaia today. Thanks though.

I leave and find the sky bruised and blue, and within minutes, it starts to rain. I have no jacket, no umbrella, no anything, just sandals, a t-shirt, and shorts. Rain means that the last two kilometers of dirt road to Gaia, will be almost impassable, and since it downpoured yesterday, the roads are still a mess of fudge, basically. Every taxi station that I spoke with told me that in no way they could get through without getting stuck.

Then I meet Carlos, a man in his 50s, I imagine, with a few teeth missing, who offers to take me there, take me anywhere, he says, so he takes me to a coffee shop. I sip tea and he smokes, and he tells me (or at least I think he tells me--my Spanish translation isn`t top notch yet) about seizing the moment and etc. etc. etc. and I fabricate stories of my long-term boyfriend coming to meet me in Gaia at the end of the week, hoping that he´ll get the picture that I am not interested At All.

A lot was said in jest, and it was funny until all of a sudden, it wasn`t. So I left. Now I have nowhere to go in the pouring rain, and the Internet cafe`s computers are disconnected. So I begin a poncho pursuit. Five stores, circles of blocks later, I am outfitted in a blue plastic kids poncho. And then the sun comes out.

All of this with two pieces of thick wholemeal bread and honey in my stomach.

And I forgot to say--I am taking the doctor up on his offer, and will be sleeping in the hospital wing tonight. I have my own double room with a bed that moves up and down. A toilet that flushes. It will do.

I have slept in more random places, but I can`t, in the moment, remember where. This experience is certainly clouding my memory.

So for now, sweet dreams for tonight, and stay dry.

Lots of love from the intensive care unit... Amanda


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