Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting a grip

I realized this morning, that not having my computer charger should not deter me from catching up on all of the things we have experienced before and since the calamity in the mining town of Calama (where my day pack was rudely taken from me). There had been a lot of really great and memorable experiences after our trip to La Paz (...that is, if I leave out Oruro and Potosi, which I will definitely not take the time to write about). And if I wait for my charger that may take another week or so to purchase, I may never catch up.

It has been a hard few days for me to get over the incident. All I could think about was writing about how it happened and how sad I was about it. Mostly about my little box of earrings.

I am realizing that I need to get this off my chest before I can move on and tell you about the wonderful town of Sucre and our overnight bus ride to Tupiza and meeting the nicest two Swedish boys you could ever meet - and spending four days with them discovering the salt flats of Bolivia. And of course how we all got food poisoning together. You know, the experiences that bond you forever ...

But first lets go back a few days. In the last three days we have been in three countries. We left our Swedish friends in Uyuni, where we finished our amazing four day trip. We boarded a bus to cross the border into Chile and stayed a night in Calama which is a very well-to-do mining town where stealing my day pack really should not have happened. Everyone drives a big car there and restaurants are full of local mining types drinking beer and eating steaks and fries. Everyone lives in a nice prefab house, dresses well, and from what we could tell, no one there had any need for my cute purple day pack or my camera charger and computer charger. OK, I admit it. I am still angry ...

Our plan was to leave Calama and take a bus (which we did, sans one day pack) to enjoy the wonderful resort town of San Pedro, before taking another long bus ride to Salta, Argentina, where I am sitting at a computer terminal writing this post.

Losing my daypack, my chargers and a few other replaceable items was traumatic and embarassing. Embarassing because our clean record is now ruined. Up until now, I could say nothing bad has happened to us in almost two years on the road. It is not that we let our guard down. It is simply a reality that shit happens and eventually even with the best of precautions, it can happen - even to us. Which means it can happen again, which is the traumatic part. Even though we are ok and nothing really bad happened, it still is amazingly unnerving.

And then there is the deep sense of loss. When you are traveling as long as we have been, with few possessions, you become attached to what you have in a very different way. Although you can replace things, the items that get lost or stolen along the way leave a deeper scar.

I had a small cardboard box of earrings in my day pack. I think there were 5 or 6 pairs in total. They were carefully chosen to go with my travel clothes and they were my most favorite. Each pair was from another country and they each had a story. Now they are gone. Sure I can buy new ones, but I will never be able to replace them. That stings.

I have one pair left that I was wearing. As luck would have it, they are white 9mother of pearl) and go with all of my summer travel clothes and we are now in warm weather. So I guess there is a silver lining to every grey cloud. And I hold on to that everytime I get mad about the man who tricked me into putting my day pack down for one minute to clean the shmutz off my big bag (that he put there to take me off my guard).

I am going to get a grip, and get past this because there are a lot of good stories to tell and I need to get to them all!

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