I found Jose Luis to be one of the youngest 57-year olds I’d met. He spoke good English thanks in part to having lived, married and had children in the US, and acted as though we’d known each other for years. I thought it was because he had met Chris in January, but this was just how he was with everyone!
|Jose Luis's Place|
Bordering the large shared horse-pasture was the landlord, Olivier’s, peculiar three-level house that was home to several tenants including James the Brit and his Estonian girlfriend, Maarja. The building was intricately decorated with large horse-themed figures painted on the exterior and adding to it's distinctiveness was the shape: the main building's width was excessive in relation to depth; so much so that it almost appeared to be a converted barn. With mountains as a backdrop in the distance, everything combined to create an atmosphere that encouraged “presence”; potentially the perfect place to transition to Mexico. Even the dogs & horses had character!
|James, Maarja, Jan, Alex|
While I’m not typically impressed with other travelers, these two impressed me. Especially their original anecdotes and opinions about places like Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Africa. It’s all relative, but that made my hopping of freight trains and hitching Idaho seem a bit...stale!
Sound like anyone you know?
Beyond his impressive musical skills, I was surprised to play witness to what I can only describe as an impromptu, interactive jam session, led by Norberto, and joined in by everyone else--on whatever they could find to play: cans, pots, pans, tables. Whatever.
It was fun to experience this spontaneous communal recital of The Rolling Stones Satisfaction and Sympathy for the Devil although having neither rhythm nor an ounce of musical talent, I excused myself by filming it! As the evening went on, we found ourselves chatting almost exclusively with James (the 25-year old Brit living next door) and his girlfriend, Maarja. I also found myself laughing a lot in the process!
Since arriving in Mexico, they had stayed for an extended time in Guadalajara, had bought a VW Combi in Mexico City, and were now staying in San Cristobal for a few months and waiting on a replacement for James’s stolen passport. From Mexico, they were planning to take their VW and explore the US . When they invited Chris and I into San Cristobal to find some live music, even though I was still feeling far from prime, we agreed.
They told of scamming their way aboard a Caribbean-bound boat by telling the captain (falsely) that they were seasoned sailors, managed to pull it off for an extended time, and how James had been nailed by a stingray in the process. James told of visiting Machu Picchu and about getting a severe case of dysentery and having to be flown to Lima for treatment.