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mercredi 2 septembre 2015


I used to feel so elated walking along the streets of Palermo, listening with intent, long faded footsteps of Jorge Luis Borges. BA and its culture entered my life for a  period so intensely that I began to feel at home in that southern sister country, That longing is like a butterfly that stays quiet at times in your heart and at other times flutter with excitement, its colourful presence always made aware. I may have been still at the medical school when I saw the movie SUR, with its memorable melody by Astor Piazzola and sung in that unique throaty voice of Roberto El Polaco Goyaneche,
On a day reeking of tropical languor, on the day of a harvest celebration, a ferry boat crosses the backwaters of Cochin, the ancient beauty of the Cochin Port receding , and the new wealth of Ernakulum rises up to greet you. I was watching the passengers, for most of whom this is a regular form of transport, but to the tourists, there is an element of romanticism mixed with exoticism. The tourists are snapping away with their multiple cameras while the workers are anxious to reach their work place amidst the beauty to which they may have become immune to.

Someone was supposed to meet me at the jetty. I searched for him, and then I heard someone asking me a question in English, her accent betraying her foreign origins. Matted hair that would give competition to any Sadhu, pierced nose and ears and the uniform of loosely fitting Indian style clothing which are de rigour among the backpackers in India, I could see all that in a flash but who am I to make a judgement? The sweetness behind that appearance had a name, Marie Luz and she was from Buenos Aires,
Shall we speak in Spanish and she was happy and we had a lovely conversation. She had a holistic view of the planet, and she was contributing her little piece without complaining of the rigours of travel in India. As we spoke, she was convinced that I was from Brazil, but that is a usual confusion because for reasons unknown, I do speak Spanish not with a Cuban accent but a Brazilian one!
She had lived in Bolivia for three years, always working in some societal project or organic farming or sustainable development. When she had gathered a little bit of money, she moves on to her next country. Three months in India, then three more months in South East Asia, including farm stays and a sacrificial visit to Rishikesh where she hopes to shear off the 15 year long tonsorial history, then she plans to go to Rio in Brazil to work at a farm and hopefully ending up in Colombia a little later.
It was nice to meet a backpacking tourist, who is interested more in giving back rather than taking from the country, adding to its pile of plastic bottles, a plausible form of responsible travel. Her work on sustainability of the planet is important and urgent.
Fue un gran placer conocerte, Luz
Tenes un nombre muy pegado con su caracter

She wanted to talk to me because of the hand of Fatima/ain/shesh/hamsa with a Star of David engraved on it; she then looked through her matter hair and found a similar one, a gift of a friend. I remembered that I bought my shish with Star of David in Buenos Aires!

Things always happen for a reason, say the American Indians...