Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I´ve arrived at the big city. It´s a beautiful city. I found myself on a hill overlooking it yesterday. It is buried in a valley of verdant hills with criss-crossing paths leading to it. The beautiful cathedral rose up in the middle. It looks like that part of the Wizard of Oz when they first spy the Emerald City.

I started on my way, wending through the countryside and green wheat, anticipating an easy entry into the city, just like the other cities so far. There was a bit of an industrial area on the outskirts with bulldozers and wires and such. Very suddenly I happened upon a huge, ugly road with two lanes in each direction. It felt like home, like America. In two weeks it was the first truly ugly part of the walk. It was as though someone forged an overdone contrast to the rest of the walk. Act I, Scene 3: Cars. Cars were whizzing by at dangerous speeds. Cars were stuck in traffic. Enormous tractor trailers abounded. There was construction and the stink of asphalt filled the air. Auto dealerships, auto rental places, auto repair places. Everything bad and car-related was concentrated in one place. Some of the other pilgrims complained; they wanted to catch a bus. I felt like it was some kind of penitence to slog through it all, to admit that I was, am guilty. I hadn´t even thought much about cars during the past two weeks. I didn´t long to be in one. I kind of looked at them from time to time, in the same way that I look at people drinking beer. Not jealous, not particularly interested. Apathetic. If they like nasty smelling yellow liquids, that´s their deal. Okay.

I´ve walked about 40% of the way across this country without ever being in a motor vehicle. I´ve never walked even close to that in my own country. It´s shameful, appalling. It takes me 4 days of walking to accomplish my round trip commute to NVCC.

The stretch ended abruptly, and soon I was wandering the lovely, narrow stone and brick streets of this old city. The lacy cathedral is visible from many places. I´ve been enjoying the many shops. I´ve gorged myself twice at an amazing vegetarian restaurant. I stayed at an actual hotel with an actual double bed in a room by my actual self. I paid actual Euros for this instead of the 5-7 I usually pay for a night´s lodging. I took a rest day today and slept until 10. It was amazing.

Since I didn´t have my usual 10 p.m. curfew, I decided to go to a movie. I had seen a theater on the way into town, though I had forgotten that my sense of distance is a bit warped. It was pretty far. Once I got there, I bought a ticket for Pirates del Caribe and was delighted at the idea of losing myself in the movie for a couple of hours.

I hate Disney.

I had forgotten that in their quest to take over the world, they dub in foreign lands. No English for me with some Spanish subtitles. Just two solid hours of Spanish. Two hours. About halfway through I decided that I wanted my bed a whole lot more than I wanted to watch a sneering, leering Spanish Johnny Depp, and I limped back to the hotel.

Incidentally, I don´t think the sun ever sets on the Spanish empire. Except for one morning, I haven´t seen darkness in this country since I got here. I am in bed at 10 and up at 6ish. Always, always sun. It´s eerie.

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