Dreams are powerful tools that can help guide anyone to success and happiness. They represent some cherished aspiration, an ultimate ideal of achievement.

The word sylvan refers most directly to a setting associated with the woods. Reflecting on the vigorous life that abounds in sylvan settings is a very powerful force in my life. For me, this word evokes feelings of transcendence, clarity, and unity.

A Sylvan Dream is a dynamic compilation of my life dream. It is an attempt to seek out and document the truth, beauty, and clarity that exists in this world.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Necesito una pistolera por favor!

Well, the last couple days have been composed of hours of sedentary waiting and writing, accentuated by moments of intense and utter confusion. Claire and I have been taxi'ing all over Lima, trying to meet with people who are helping us procure our research permits from the government, while trying to round up the last minute supplies we need for the next four months in the jungle. These are menial tasks, which back home would take perhaps twenty minutes to an hour in most cases, but things run differently here. Things don't get done as quickly, and Claire and I are rather hilariously stumbling through spanish conversations that are more hand and body gestures than actual spanish conversation. However, every few minutes we both are able to muster up a good sentence here or understand a whole sentence that someone says back to us.

Buying things: It isn't as forward as buying things back home. Once you get someone to actually understand what you are looking for, they usually don't have it, so they tell you to go somewhere else, which we don't understand until they start pointing out the door. They then give us directions, a whole other test in itself. Once we get to the new store, we have a better idea of what to say, and things generally run more smoothly. Once we find what we need, our specifications are usually much more acute than what most people need. For example: I needed a transformer to allow me to plug my chargers into the outlets here since the electricity would fry my goods. So, once we got to the third electronics store, we found one, but it took about 10 minutes to make sure the person thought this one transformer would work for all of my belongings. I was skeptical, so I figured I would plug my least necessary amenity into the wall first, my shaver. That quickly ended with me realizing I now needed an adapter so the freaking plug from my razor could plug into my transformer. So, that required a whole other trip in which Claire was also looking for a very specific speaker cable with two male ends of different, but very specific sizes. At our second store, I procured the plug I needed, only after slightly offending the lady who was helping me because apparently I had to buy two of them at once, and couldn't buy one. I figured it was a ploy to make more money, and continually repeated I only needed one (this was after a long conversation in which I repeated myself three times, obviously not saying the right things, to get the lady to understand what I needed). The lady became frustrated and said something a little quieter under her breath that could have been something mean, but I am giving her the benefit of the doubt, thinking she may have only said, "Well we only sell them in packs of two sir."

So, then (no it's not over) she gave me a ticket, which by then I was becoming familiar with. I finally understood I had to take that ticket to another person and pay for the item, then go to another person and actually receive the damned item. I took the ticket to a door in the back, and uttered something, but realized there were no cash registers as the lady stared at me with nothing on her face at all. I tried to utter something, but had no clue how to say anything. I looked back to the lady up front, who was helping someone else, nothing. Finally, someone else saw the debacle, and showed me to the other door only 5 feet away, where I paid, then went back to the original door, and collected my damned plugs. Whew.

After this, Claire had been directed to another store, so we walked down the corner to another store, and this felt good immediately. We walked in to see pieces of electronic equipment and cables strewn everywhere. By this time Claire had gotten her bit down about what she needed, and all of the sudden, they were like, "Yeah, Yeah, you need it now?"
We were amazed. They measured out the cable, pulled out the correct plugs after pulling out the wrong ones three times, opened up the plugs, cut the ends of the wires, soldered the plugs to the wires, and voila! After watching for an hour, we had two new completely amazing custom made radio speaker cables. We were so stoked.

The boss-like man came over and inspected the work, "Es muoy cara, muoy cara para el gringo!" he said a few times, luckily joking with us with a big smile on his face. I appreciated how someone else could make light of this hilarious situation as well

Today we found a shoe taylor, and tried to tell them we needed a pistoleramade of leather for our huge, phallic microphone. After talking to them for about ten minutes, punctuated by minutes of no one talking as if we weren't there at all as if the matter was solved, a nice younger muchacho told us there was another store down the road, and took us there. Finally, we arrived to a shop with a wrought iron door. Inside sheets of leather, all colors and patterns, hung from the wall. We were let in, and luckily the shoe taylor explained what we needed, and left after we thanked him for his help. I love these people.

We negotiated exactly what we needed with the guy, and luckily he knew how to speak to gringos, or at least idiots. He spoke using the simplest sentences, and spoke very slowly, most of the time only using a verb and an adverb, or something like that. He told us six hours, we paid half of it then, and will hopefully go back tonight to pick up our pistolera para microphono de selva.

This stuff is pretty fun, and intense, and wonderful. I really appreciate how people approach time down here differently. When someone you need isn't present, you either wait for a few hours until they show up, or come back later. You don't call them and expect them to come back to the office just because you are there expecting them. I love it.

Tomorrow it is off to Puerto Maldonaldo, gateway to the jungle. It is like 15 degrees here, which is almost chilly, and there it is currently 32 degrees, freaking hot and very humid...woohooo! We will be stopping in Cusco, but not exiting the plane, so hopefully I will get to see something out of the plane of the andes and the fabled Cusco. I have been drinking Cuscena this week in hopes of good luck for seeing the city.

I will write more when I have time.

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