Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just an average Saturday.

My pulse beats to “The Violet Hour” by the Civil Wars -- new favorite band thanks to a music-savvy friend who is much more hip than I am.

Guess where I am? My favorite East Village coffee shop, B Cup Café. (if you know me, then you knew that already. Where else would I be?)

Since i've been irresponsibly neglecting my blog for the past year, will start with a quick 30-second posting on life's happenings. I moved back to the Village in August - best decision i could've made. Was drowning in Finance folks living downtown. If I had to overhear one more conversation in an elevator beginning with "dude, gotta tell you about this sweet deal we closed today..." I might have had to beat someone over the head with my blackberry. I'm back where I belong amongst the East Village crazies. In fact... stepped over a homeless man rolling around near Avenue A to get here today.

Quick side note: don't you just love how un-phased city children are by just about anything? "Mom, what's for dinner?" ***cut to naked homeless man mooning everyone*** "ummmmm not sure yet, honey." ***child skirts to other side of Mom to avoid twirling, spitting woman*** "I want hot dogs!"

... What percentage end up in therapy by age 30?!

Other updates - work is going well. Getting great PR / marketing / Communications experience on a project for an industry i never expected to tap into. Also managing projects myself, acting more "strategically," etc. All in all... long hours, but good times.

Starting NYU Stern for my MBA in T-60 days. Will be getting educated during evenings twice a week. Here's hoping I will Iearn something useful! Will meet some interesting new people at the very least. Not sure I remember how to study either (did I ever know how to study?)

(have been seduced by B Cup's music and have given up on my own playlist. How can you turn down a live version of "Layla" followed by Dust in the Wind?)

So that's life. Work. School. Village.

More interestingly (I hope), i recently took a trip to Peru. I'll start with a clip from a frantic email I sent to the family on Day 10:

So tonight we are staying with a Peruvian family in a small town called Puno. Tourism comprises most of their economy. Tour groups (including ours) visit the town to see Lake Titikaka, the highest lake in the world. We are 4000 meters high. I've been drinking muna tea to avoid further altitude sickness! We toured the floating islands earlier... tiny little islands made of mud and straw. A few families live on each. They have their own gov't and elect a president each year (though I can't imagine he has much power since there are probably only about 5 eligible men on each island). We took photos in traditional dress and I bought a few things.

We then met our family.. Satornino picked us up from the boat and his wife Julia served us lunch. Some sort of potato soup, followed by rice with vegetables, cheese and coca (plant that Coca Cola and cocaine are made from). I did tell Neil I had reached my limit at lunch - we are in nowheresville with extremely underprivileged people, we can hardly communicate (they speak Quechua, language of the Incas) and we are eating foreign food 3 times a day while asking each other "what do you think this one is" and batting away flies. I haven't had to go to the bathroom in a hole in the ground.. But close to it. We've met these two couples who have had nearly the same itinerary as us so we've become friends - Brian says he's proud of me for being a city girl willing to come on a trip like this!

We will spend the night in their guest room (I'm becoming pretty good at making myself look presentable without a proper shower) and then continue down the lake with our tour group tomorrow.

... and that's pretty much how it went. Absolutely incredible trip and an amazing experience, but not something I'd feel compelled to do again. We worked with a tour company that planned our full itinerary (it's pretty necessary for this kind of trip), so had a jam-packed schedule of traveling and touring each day. Most of the towns we visited were touristy because they were home base for travelers who then left during the day to explore. Machu Picchu was amazing (obviously). Learned lots about the history of the Incas, but more interestingly, learned how present-day Peruvians live (outside of Lima, of course). It's not so different from how they lived during the time of the Incas (1400s-1500s). 40% illiteracy, 70% below the poverty line in mountainous areas. Unfortunately, Spanish language and culture were imposed on the Quechuans (the correct name for the Incas. Inca actually means King in Quechuan) in the 1500s when the Spanish explored and conquered Peru. Quechuan culture only survives by being passed down from generation to generation in the home.

Trips like this really put things in perspective for me. People who have so little and work so hard are happy because they have their health and their family. It's a nice refresher sometimes of what is really important in life. But that's obvious! I'm in it for the food. :)

Full photo album to come (it's in the post from London). Stay tuned.

1 comment:

mjr said...

Fascinating post Kris. Whether it's in the East Village or Peru, you certainly do run with an interesting crowd. Well Done!