Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tip of the Wiracocha

The wonders of Bolivia are truly mind-bending.  Space and time combine into a singular and interwoven realm, where synchronicites arise regularly beyond the imaginations and minds of people who live in countries run by machines and computers.   Even Einstein would have appreciated the knowledge hidden among these cultures and perhaps he could have opened even more doors into the world of quantum mechanics had he spoken to the shamans of the quechua culture.  Here the people may be monetarily poor compared to us, but on the contrary they are fantastically rich in textiles, dance, music, legends, lore, and agriculture; they have held onto the groundings of the precious Pacha Mama, the world we have forgotten, the world we no longer know or understand. 
After visiting El Calafate and the glorious galacier there, Perito Moreno, we worked our way south to Puerto Natales, a small town bordering the magnificent national park, Torres Del Paine.  This particular park was what I had been looking forward to and apparently it had been looking forward to me as well. The first day entering the park, on a rather simple and straight-forward trail I took a bad step on a rock and rolled my ankle on one leg and gashed my knee-cap open on the other.  That pretty much ended our trekking right then and there for the next two months to follow.  On the following day after my accident I hobbled down the trail back towards the entrance with a crutch and a taped-up ankle.  We did not get to do the famous ¨W¨circuit through the park but we did take a ferry across one of the many lakes bordering the mountain range and were able to take some beautiful pictures nonetheless.
From Puerto Natales we took a bus into Tierra Del Fuego headed towards Ushuaia, the Southern-most city in the world.  Because of my rough fall we weren´t able to do any camping there so we just bunked-up for about a week to let myself heal.  Ushuaia is a calm, little town, surrounded by a cold bay to the south and jagged snow-capped mountains to the north.  We signed up for a day tour to visit some islands filled with penguins and sea-lions and ended up striking it rich when we became lucky enough to see a group of killer whales only meters from our boat.  Other than the wildlife extravaganza we experienced, perhaps the most memorable part of Ushuaia was the precious pink stone sold there known as Rodochrosite.  Also called, La Piedra Del Inca, this beautiful, pink stone is sculpted into magnificent figurines and jewelry, and is also incorporated into meticulous pieces of silver china.
On the plane ride from the small city of Ushuaia to the humongous conglomerate of Buenos Aires, we couldn´t control the strong feelings of intimidation arising.  And what a city it was, with the widest avenue in the world accounting up to 18 lines of traffic, we were a little dumbstruck.  The city was loud and bustling, full of night-life, wonderful restaurants, and a hodgepodge of cultures continuously inter-weaving and head-butting all at the same time.  We enjoyed a very interesting graffiti tour on one day and had a great evening at one of the many Tango theatres.  After a few nights with little or no sleep we were ready to continue on, realizing that the big-city life was a little much for us to handle.
The most amazing part of our trip was waiting at the border of a serene, tranquillo, pueblo known as Puerto Iguazu.  Las Cataratas de Iguazu were ultimately unfathomable.  Nestled between the borders of Brazil and Argentina the phenomenal waterfalls of the mighty Amazon ¨tributaries¨ mute all who comprehend tranquility and omnipresence.  The trillions of gallons of water that spill from the mouths of hundreds of falls in every direction reserve the meaning of what it is to be completely speechless.  Encircled by a nearly complete 360 degree view, rivers the size of the great Mississippi fall with thunderous velocities into a massive valley below.  Some falls drop nearly a thousand feet before erupting into deafening noises that shake the very inner bones of your body.  The amount of water that falls every second is utterly incomprehensible, flowing at rates that cannot be calculated but only estimated. 
In the large valley below the falls we were able to board a rubber, river raft that was make-shifted into a speedboat.  Our driver ran the boat directly into one of the largest falls.  The water droplets stung with great velocity and within seconds we were pushed back towards the sandy bay.
From Iguazu we visited a few places along the way before reaching the town of Tupiza in Bolivia.  Upon entering this beautiful and magnanimous country one experiences many ancient, intuitive feelings.  By far the most outstanding country in terms of culture and love, Bolivia speaks to those yearning for a lesson from the past.  Today I bought two intricate, multicolored textiles woven by hand from a woman on the street.  One textile shows representations of the fall harvest while the other symbolizes marriage and and the festival of Carnival.  Both the pieces together took the woman half a year to weave.  Each string of lana is naturally dyed from a variety of objects including minerals, fruits, insects, and plants.  Each pattern represents an event or symbol and each line of weaving contains meaning beyond comprehension.  The lady told me that one of the designs on the textiles was passed on from so many generations ago that she was not sure how old the origin of the pattern was.
So much to tell, so much to explain, and words the only feeble attempts of translation.  The eyes and ears absorb so much more than is expressible and I hope that a few strings of shimmering light can be passed on from author to reader, yet I know so much will be lost.  Live on, and live strong, love and embrace, share and rejoice, in all that encompasses our small yet intricate world.

Mucho Amor, Yohan
"There is no need to search; achievement leads nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns and relax into the world. No need to resist life; just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else too! It's all the marvelous play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don't worry, you are already free!" - Way of the Peaceful Warrior