He's alive. The Reverend's report from the field...
Reverend jimm sent this to me after an inquiry I sent on whether he made it past the FARC and into Venezuela. Hope you like it...
jimm crosby <jimmcrosby@...> wrote:
From: "jimm crosby"
Subject: Re: He's alive....
Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 21:51:24 +0000
well, how's about this for fast turn around? i am down the block from the bus terminal and have six hours to kill because i want to take the last bus of the night north to maracaibo.....i will arrive at 5.30am which is a lot better than arriving at 3am......can grab breakfast, take a quick look about the town, see the lake and catch a bus for the colombian border.....so better to have the extra few hours on the pre side of the bus ride than the post side, at least in this case....in other words - more to do in merida at 5 in the eve than there is to do in maracaibo at 3 am.....especially since i do not want to pay for a hotel and might not be able to find one there anyway since my guidebook walked away in tunja - my fourth robbery in four months and my total losses have now gone well over $10.....in fact, it was the first two robberies that made up much of what i wrote to da goze way back when......one of the reasons i asked to have the message passed along to mark z is that i was finally able to accomplish something that is very difficult to do in the world of international travel and adventure: i was robbed on a continent that mark z wasn't!!....he and i traveled around the world on one of those round-the-world tickets (can't fault them for the choice in name, eh?).....and he was robbed, nearly robbed, mugged, cheated, or scammed on every continent while i blissfully went about my ways without incident; several explanations suggested that in the eyes of the pros i looked like an unprofitable target or perhaps even the competition and so got a free pass.....
but all that came to a halt in peru - lima, in fact, where everyone i know has been robbed; so i should have been more aware, but for the first though definitely not the last time, i let my guard down: i had about two hours to kill between buses (planned no stay in the hell-hole of all south america as it was so often described to me) and strolled about for a snack option beyond the fine fare available at the bus station - greedy me, eh? well it was those avaricious desires of mine that cost me so dearly.....on the adjacent street my eyes were fixed on the shops, cafes, and street vendors so that i didn't see him coming - well, except that i did because he was so, so.....well, he had one good leg (or at least one that was less bad than the other) and was hopping, jogging, skipping his way up the street - all four of his limbs looked as if they belonged to different people going in different directions: his hips didn't line up and his face had this glazed, dazed, chemicaly-induced expression of urgency (the i-need-a-bathroom-very-badly kind of urgency)...as he passed me he grabbed the hat off my head and straggled, stumbled, and dragged his limbs about 20 meters away (if we were in the states i'm sure he would have straggled about 60 feet, but this is s amer)....his one leg looking much more like a tail than a leg.....anyway, i had paid $2 for that hat on the inca trail and was tempted to get it back...the guy was only 20 meters away and trying on the hat - he looked so happy i would have felt bad taking it back; and i was laughing so hard that the effort of chasing him down might have been a bit much for me....but that's the thing that pissed me off: did this half (three quarter?) cripple look at me and think he had made it to safety by getting 20 yards away? it took him about two minutes to get that far while i stood there completely stunned and exchanged glances and comments with a couple street vendors who were all but wetting their pants at what they saw - i must have provided more entertainment for the folks on that street than they had seen in ages, although to be fair i must give most of the credit to the gimp....i just provided the bemused look of helplesness, though i am sure it would not have been nearly so funy to the locals without my dumb expression (interesting aside is that i met two other people who had hats stolen off their heads that week, in peru, one even in lima; i have never met anyone else to have had the experience and wonder if it is a carnival thing....they throw a lot of water balloons for about two weeks as well, and they all get plastered on swica/chica or some kind of strange local liquor product and there is a lot of strange behavior....so perhaps i was part of some great and glorious local tradition that goes back to inca times, and how could i possibly complain about participating in that?....then again: simple theft is probably a local tradition that goes back a lot longer than that, so...)
then.......two days later i am again walking around the bus stations, this time in huarez (in most of s amer, each company - and there are dozens everywhere - has its own station) when this kid keeps bumping into the back of me, leaning on me, feeling me up....i was trying to dig up enough spanish to request he use a condom before we go any further when i notice he is rifling through the side pocket of my backpack....i am staring at him from 12 inches away (ooops - no inches down here....must have been about 30 or 35 centimeters) and he is oblivious......i had a used chapstick, a pen, and my last 2 peso note from argentina in the pocket....so i didn't fear losing much and was about to ask him to finish up and please close the zipper when he was done but then, as with the last peruvian criminal mastermind i had encountered, i sensed this great feeling of accomplishment: he really thought he was committing the perfect crime; so i watched him walk off with the cash haul....but this is where i found the most amusement because argentina had just devalued and their currency was absolutley useles outside argentina (and pretty much inside argentina too) - i mean paraguay, for crissakes, wouldn't touch the stuff and they're neighbors - poor neighbors.....i mentioned to rich that i thought those anti-globalization people may have a good point or two...here is a struggling poor person in peru working as hard as he can to make a living in the only way he knows how (and that's being pretty generous since he obviously doesn't know how very well) and yet, he's screwed by the imf; it is their refusal to grant emergency loans to argentina that caused the debt crisis which caused the devaluation and so it's some banker in washinton who makes a decision that takes food off the table for this fumbling petty criminal in peru.....just doesn't seem fair, does it?
medellin was a little different story since it was two knife-wielding assailants who made off with $5 and my spanish dictionary (in my backpack)....but they also got my replacement hat (another $1.50 gone) and a roll of toilet paper which was to become a major incident the next day when one of the local hockey guys needed to use the bathroom at the pool and relied on me - the tourist - to come up with the goods,,,,,,i had not yet replaced the tragic loss and it was much to the amusement of the rest of the team that he walked off to the facilities without the necessary equipment for the job (and yes i noticed those were commas).....the locals were very upset (about my experience -sincerely) and i quickly had a replacement backpack - though not for long (see next story) - and the consolation of one of the guys who told me to just imagine how very disappointed the robbers were going to be when they opened their prize catch of the night and found the contents of my backpack
and then in tunja - changing buses on my way out of colombia - i went down for the fourth time; i couldn't tell which bus was mine and so had to step away from my bags a few times to look at the front of the incoming buses....someone must have noticed this pattern and waited for just the right moment because i took five steps, turned around and my little bag (the replacement from medellin) was gone: three apples (two weeks old!) a snickers bar (there was a mini snickers in the last backpack) my cementos hat (free from the company, but still - my third hat!!!) another roll of toilet paper and a couple borrowed books: my guide to venezuela (guy who runs the bogota hostel gave it to me and said that if i ran into someone heading south i could send it back - it was a few years old and he had newer copies for use of his guests) and two spanish books (one lent to me by a former employer; the other cost me about $9)....so with the dictionary from the previous incident i am out three spanish books, three hats, two rolls of toilet paper, two snickers bars (what a pattern eh?) and a cd! i only realized yesterday that i had a cd in the backpack in tunja...it cost $1.50 (purchased in huarez, peru - see above - of all places - interesting how it all ties together isn't it?) but i really really liked it (hugo montenegro's greatest hits from the spaghetti westerns)
so anyway - you are now all caught up on the victim-o- crime portion of my travels in latin america...sure hope i don't have to update it.....maybe the next installment will be all the beautiful local women in my life in the past ten months....fewer than the number of crimes (but just barely) but more pleasant conversation and memories
well....i did want to get a bite to eat....you won't believe how long this has taken me to type (poke)...if it fails to go through i will just give up and try a long-hand version on a dead tree and the old fashioned method of sending it with stamps and all that stuff......why is it that none of the two-line messages disappear into the gdbgbh? no - only the big efforts that cause unremitting pain as they vanish into the e-bermuda triangle
so, before this takes even more effort with it...i will send....if this doesn't make you regret asking for info on my travels, i'll send you more as i can......
regards to the bride.....seeya soon
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