Saturday, January 7, 2012

Post eleven: Serendipity and fire in the sky

I had just plopped down at my regular table at The Meeting Spot in Cusco. I looked to my right and noticed that there was a man telling me that his name was Jeremy. The thought skipped across my mind “he looks like a Jeremy.” We began the normal conversation about how long we were each traveling, where we have gone, and where we were going. The conversation then diverged to the topic of employment and work. I talked all about how I tried to become an attorney and how I found the legal field wanting. He told me that he was living in Cusco and was at The Meeting Place that day in order to get some work done. He told me about how he had been a paralegal for eight years and asked me where I went to law school. I told him I am from Orlando.

As it comes to find out, he is from Orlando also! He went on to explain to me how it’s possible to be entirely free of the rat race; how he makes his living from any city in the world. He described to me a lifestyle where he does not have to answer to the man. He then went on to show me his website. I read his name “Jeremy Hillpot” and a flood of memories burst forth unto my mind. I knew this man, he had been kind to me, he had even done me a favor.

Although we had never actually met yet, we were supposed to, that much is obvious. We had both been members on There are some pretty comical details about our conversations in the past which I will not divulge in my travel blog, but it’s hilarious that I ran into this cat in Cusco. Actually, I had had a pretty rough night the night before. Something had made me sad and I had been upset. I didn’t really have anything to do and it was New Year’s Eve. Up until the time I ran into Jeremy I’de been feeling pretty down, but that all changed very quickly. Jeremy explained to me that he was having a New Year’s Eve party and a lot of couch surfers were going to attend. He is paying $100 a month to rent a huge house on the hill in Cusco. From his house we could see the fireworks in the plaza, he asked me if I would like to come.

I went to the house around 9 PM and began to fraternize with the guests. Around 11:15 PM we walked down to the Plaza de Armas to watch the fireworks. This fireworks display was unlike anything I ever could’ve imagined. It went on for an entire hour. The city wasn’t exactly putting on the fireworks, it was more like the people, and hundreds of them. Fireworks were going off everywhere. If you weren’t careful they  could even be going off in your face or on your leg. The closer it got to 12, the more fireworks went off. At 12 o’clock, so many fireworks were going off in so many different directions that it was staggering my comprehension. The next thing I realized, Jeremy was grabbing my hand and we were running into the center of the plaza along with the masses. Apparently the Peruvians have a custom of running around the plaza counterclockwise, as a practice of good luck.  There were 1000 bodies all pulsing and pushing in the same direction, screaming and laughing, running and stopping, then walking.  The fireworks were still going mad. At one point when we were all running, my foot slipped upon a puddle of booze. I fell beneath the crowd and I feared for my life. For a split second I saw myself dying by being stampled to death by a crowd of festive Peruvians who were making their way around the plaza for good luck. Just about when my visions were to become reality, Jeremy grabbed my hand and pulled me back from jaws of death. It looks like I owe a favor.


The hostel where I stayed in Cusco was only $12 a night. It wasn’t the cleanest but it was safe and the owners were nice. I had Wi-Fi so I was happy.


The taxi from San Blas to the bus station costs about $3 and takes about 15 minutes.  The bus from Cusco to Lima cost about $80 and took 24 hours.  If I had to go again, I would definitely go with lineas de Cruz del Sur.  I was supposed to have gotten a full cama seat, but these camas must have been designed for people who were 3 feet tall.  Nonetheless, I made it here happy and alive.


The handicrafts in Cusco are exquisite and somewhat expensive. If you have a budget for it, I would save some money for their purchase.


Did I mention that I ran into an internet friend in Cusco?; and that he set me free and then saved my life?


I stared straight into the eyes of serendipity on New Year’s Eve. I was greatly set free from the oppressive ideas that have been beat into my head as a Westerner. Now, the horizon I see is limitless; the only thing that can hold me back is me. Somehow I do not foresee that this will be a problem.


I wish I had bought my gifts in Bolivia, rather than in Cusco.  You will pay about 7 times as much for silver in Cusco, but the quality will be the same. 

The weather is rather rainy and cold all of the places I have travelled on this trip.  It is summer here.  When you come, brings some warm clothes, some close toed shoes, and a poncho.

I am sure there are some other great summary points, but they aren’t leaping out at me just now.  I will conclude my Peru/Bolivia travel blog here.

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