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essays | places


surreal feel


ut of all the lives I’ve lived, my life in Bolivia was one of my favorites, like most, but in its own way, like all. Forget about nature. Nature is queen in the moment, your skull all emerald on the inside when you look at these word-defying landscapes. But I hardly ever wish myself back there. It’s these grimy little alleyways in La Paz I think back to, and that street up the hill which is lined with markets on all sides where we bought the pots and pans, and the avo rolls, and these drunk nights and drunker friends, the front yard of the language school I worked at, the lessons, the other lessons, those millions of bricks, the two-dollar-three-course meals in Sopocachi, the movie nights on that silly little DVD player we bought from a different decade, the commute on those sub-micro buses that were built for six but carried thirty. Without any room to sit diagonally, my legs would end up deep inside the backrest of the seat in front of me, where they usually took a nap. One time, they went all the way into REM and when I hopped off the bus, they gave in like the legs of a balloon giraffe. Wasn’t much of a hop at all that one and had me flat on the sidewalk to everyone’s surprise and amusement. We spent a green Christmas at the outskirts of the jungle in Coroico, and on our way to Argentina we passed by that exoplanet Uyuni. Another visa overstayed, third in a row, but this time there was no way of doctoring my passport.


a glimpse

passages   OUT THERE NOWHERE | Out there nowhere, nowhen, none the wiser. Still on a silverfish search for the soul of this place, feeling out our cog in the grand machinery. But once we come to find that there is no way around crossing these forever rails, laid out long before us, it is the defeat of all defeat. And with eyes wide open it is easy to see that they have led toward, not away, all along. The promised land was never straight ahead, or West, but wherever our feet are pointing.

Bolivia · 2014


   NOT LOST | We thought we were absurdly lost that day. And on paper we were. But we were paperless, left to our own devices. No map, no guidebook, no being lost so long as you keep walking. Reaching for the blue heart of Lake Titicaca, the right ridge towards the north of Isla del Sol was far from us. But we were far from lost and we had the vista to back it up.

Isla del Sol / Bolivia · 2014


   ECHO TRAP | – and following his own echo got him trapped in his jagged ways before he knew it, and after he knew it. But it was a shortcut to himself and his self-determination, his agency, and, ultimately, his well-chosen freedom.

Valle De Las Animas / Bolivia · 2014