Puerto La Cruz, Northeast Venezuela.

Grant me the ability to be alone,
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day
among the trees and grasses,
among all growing things
and there may I be alone,
and enter into prayer
to talk with the one
the I belong to. 

-Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlaw

 
Woke up this morning at around 6am to walk up a hill very close to the hostel. It was already sweltering hot and humid, and the path up was lined with soft, red dirt, rocks, and great canyons of a tiny nature. At the top I could look straight ahead to the path that continues along the ridge line and lopes back into the village, down to the village, out to the ocean. I sought solace and existed there before returning. 

Last night a bunch of us climbed the corrugated metal fence to cross the dirt road to the beach. The ocean is quiet at night, and the surf stronger. It was the first night that I could see the stars. Imagine boats without their motors, varying in colors, staggered along the coast, against the dark ocean and equally dark sky. I believe I shall draw it.

The hostel itself has no rooms closed to the outdoor environment. Hammocks stretch towards the ground as people settle into them to relax, read, and inevitably fall asleep. We drink from metal cups and white, plastic plates. 

I love how the clouds come in around midday. They melt into the ocean, and fog and sea lock together. 

The other day, I stayed in town with a British friend as the rest of the group returned. When we left the internet cafe, hidden in stairs and hallways behind a strip mall by the ocean, we met a deluge of rain. Las tiendas en los calles retreated to the buildings´ awnings and people hung out in doorways watching the rain pound the streets. It was interesting to observe how time and movement stopped nearly completely to let nature do its thing, while keeping one´s clothing dry. We got soaked as well as lost, darting awning after awning con permiso, in our search for the elusive bus stop. I haven´t seen rain like that since the streets of downtown Los Angeles flooded last winter. It was lovely and I found it equally hilarious. The bus ride home, we sat in the back and of course the windshield was actually plastic held together by that brownish tape- and yes, I sat there and stayed soaked. 

Two girls on the bus kept looking at me and kind of giggling. We just smiled at each other and eventually attempted to have a conversation. I asked where a local spot to go dancing was, and still need to go. I´ll probably end up going with them, being that most of the people at the hostel seem to not be my kind of adventurous. Still, I dance. 

It´s relatively frustrating to be a girl here. Often I have felt constricted, or unable to be friendly and inquisitive. There are guys who creep me out. I think I´ve figured out the remedy, or the antidote- be respectful and say Hola, como estas, buenas dias, before they can say something I don´t want to hear. Of course there are guys who are equally respectful. It´s the same here as in the United States, but in a different sense. Needless to say I´m skipping around it and not letting it limit me- at least not as much as when I first arrived.

At the hostel, I´m drifting between Spanish and English. It´s tripping people up when I speak Spanish, but I don´t want to speak English. I think that when the next group comes in, I shall pretend that I don´t know English at all. I guess I´m the first US citizen who has come through the hostel in quite a long time. Right now there are people from Canada, Britain, Wales, Germany, and Denmark. Conversations about gender roles, perceptions of race, etc. Veering away from politics. Still not the conversations I want. I don´t learn so much from them and more feel like a gentle teacher. I feel more free on my own than with those at the hostel. 

Had an interesting fruit the other day. Looked like a great long bean pod, opened by pounding it on a rock. Inside instead of peas were white fluffy cocoons surrounding a flat, oval brown seed. Delicate subtle flavor. Am in Puerto la Cruz again and wandered quite a while before I found this place. It´s fun to be here. The road to Puerto winds along the coast and it is green trees, vines, blue ocean, hints of clouds (because it´s sunny today). At every beach there are cars, umbrellas, and people. I will describe the houses and hopefully get a picture of this one wall of graffiti soon. 
 
My brother sent me a message that I appreciate:

Me alegro de que está teniendo la oportunidad de experimentar esta gran cantidad de sentimientos y de la ambivalencia que a veces les acompaña, estar fuera de su elemento y no saber cómo dar sentido a lo que hay alrededor es lo que experiencias de este tipo debe sentirse como , creo. Tal vez usted no debe tratar de dar forma a su experiencia para que signifique algo para ti, lo que significa es una construcción cultural, y estás en una cultura diferente ... tratar de sentir su experiencia, y no como muchas cosas diferentes como sea posible. Deje que su viaje que forma! En cuanto a su seguridad: la gente tiene la mala costumbre de ocupar los dos extremos - ya sea overamplify o subestimar el peligro potencial de un lugar. Tanto la evidencia una ignorancia subyacente o la pereza de entender la realidad de su entorno. Pregunte a los lugareños acerca de dónde es seguro o no seguro a donde ir y prestar atención a cómo te sientes con respecto a su entorno y se le multa. Por último, ¡Te quiero! Divertirse y pasar el rato con los que hablan español - así es como vas a mejorar.

Loose translation via Albert Schweitzer- “Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.”

I don´t want to be a tourist here. I don´t want to feel like I´m on vacation and am looking into options. Will keep y´all updated. Abrazos!

PlayaColorada