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Published: August 14th 2015
Everything I'm bringing. Almost all the clothes fit rolled up in the green bag.
Hello friends and family! This entry is from Tuesday’s flights; I’m a few days late in posting this due to computer problems. I’m now on an overnight bus to Cusco.
Partial packing list: 2 pairs pants.
One is for hiking. The other is my mother’s 30-year-old long underwear, with a cream background and tiny pink rosette design. I swore I’d only wear them under the hiking pants. But here I am writing this, wearing them loud and proud in the bus terminal. It’s cold and the other pants already smell. 4 t-shirts, 1 sweater, 6 pairs underwear. 1 pair hiking boots, 1 pair canvas shoes.
I bought cheap flip flops after becoming acquainted with hostel shower floors. Even my barefootedness has its limits. 3 rolls biodegradable toilet paper. 3 packs of anti-diarrheal pills
to pass around the camp fire. 1 malfunctioning miniature laptop 1 badass water bottle with antimicrobial filter
. You have to vigorously suck the water up through the filter, making one appear like a hamster. Without the filter, each gulp blasts a hiccup of air into the back of your throat, making one appear like a
choking mess. 2 books. No machete.
Just a dull Swiss army knife. 1 pepper spray.
The kind in the pink case. I support breast cancer research, not violence. 1 rosary, 1 shell, 4 dozen photographs, 4 letters, 1 compass, 1 ring
to buoy up the sinking heart. 1 traveling apothecary’s case of various pills
I am ready for any 15,000 ft mountain, any insidious stomach bug, any mutiny my body decides to attempt.
All told, my pack and small bag weigh 24 lbs. It is a new and good feeling to have all that you depend upon for survival (albeit a soft survival) on your hips and shoulders. Power is the lightness of self-sufficiency.
We flew from LAX to Las Vegas on Tuesday. To distract myself from the cocktail of excitement, dread, and moroseness that my heart’s bartender was pouring down my throat, I took pictures of your city. I thought of all of you down there, unaware of my surveillance. Downtown LA spiked into view, and I imagined I saw Eagle Rock.
Flat circuitry of city gave way to crumpled desert mountains. Trails traced the spines
Where America got it so wrong.
of some of them. I thought of how we grid our civilization above ground, carve trails across the rugged parts, and all the while, millions of years existent, there lies below a labyrinth of faults, the torn seams of the earth. Regions of weakness, pressure, and deformation overcome themselves to form the great stony beasts we like to climb and think we’ve conquered.
From the plane all you see is furrowed brown. The feathery shadows of clouds on dusty hills. Desert towns, then the suburbs reappear, and we are descending over the Strip.
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