THE DESERT PARTY.
Trip Start Feb 14, 2012
39Trip End Apr 01, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
san pedro backpackers
rumors spread through the hostel like wildfire about a saturday night desert party. go to the plaza at midnight. wait for the cute. the buses come. for what? nobody knows. we assumed it would be in the desert with mixed industrial grunge music, dancing, lots of sand, bright stars, and most definitely smoke. everyone smokes here, and whenever i'm offered i consider it for a second because it's there and i'm there too. but then i realize it would just be a means to an end. there's smoke everywhere. we're hanging around the campfire before midnight
i didn't get the memo, but everyone else is wearing hoodies and sunglasses. manillie from america, marco from slovenia, patrick from australia, luka from austria, and other guy from britain. we wait with the smoke. then we arrive at the plaza and nothing, nobody.
we have to wait. patrick is in love with all the stray dogs and feeds them leftover bread. have i mentioned the dogs? i want to take a photo of every single dog i see in chile and make my own chilean dog blog, maybe it's not too late. there is every dog breed imaginable which is strange because they are all inbred mutts. must be the minerals in the water around here because all the san pedro dogs are gigantic, much larger than the typical chilean stray. the unwritten general rule about foreign animals is that you don't touch them on the street because A) disease will follow you and B) the animals will follow you everywhere. but patrick cannot resist their lonely begging eyes and claims that he's building an army of dogs for protection. why didn't i think of that?!?
luka is on his 14th cigarette and is leading the pack around town, although i don't know why. he's 20, has a diver's license, and speaks german, dutch, spanish, and english fluently. i feel lazy because i'm not even sure if i speak english fluently. he goes on a rant about bureaucracy and spits out words in english that i have never heard before
patrick is my new watchdog. i make him promise to make sure i get back to the hostel before 10am. i have to check out at 10am. he's from melbourne, which i cannot pronounce correctly. he is also well over 6 feet tall, a real brick of a man, but also a real teddy bear who walks very fast and loud with his flip flops. his shaggy hair and jungle beard makes him appear older, but he's only 25 years old. a dermatology doctor taking a leave from work to clear his mind. and discover himself. isn't that what traveling is all about? discovering yourself
we stop waiting and start walking to the edge of town. walk walk walk down a pebble covered sandy dirt road far away from the lights of el pueblo. outside the center of this small town, the stars become more bright. there's orion's belt! the clouds cleared from the evening lightening and thunder storm. hear the music? we make our way through a desert path to this desert party and everytime i write "desert" i want to write "dessert" instead
everyone is smoking outside the shack, which is good because it will force me to do laundry. otherwise i risk my backpack smelling like an ash tray for the remainder of my trip. a chilean girl named tami offers me a smoke, and although i decline we become friends. i joke to the guys about charging admission since there are over a hundred people walking down the sandy dirt path to the party. a strange 50 year old man with short curly hair looks like he's out for a 1am jog. he pushes through the crowd and starts charging 2000 pesos to enter the shack, which is ridiculous. either he owns this place or he stole my idea and is making millions. i consider heading back to the hostel for 1 second and then realize that i may never have the change to experience a desert party again. i try to follow tami in the crowd. red shirt red shirt red shirt long hair. red shirt red shirt red shirt long hair. within minutes, she's gone and i am both surrounded by a hundred people but on my own
oh the mix of this desert party, the mixture. many countries many haircuts many ages many fashions lots of music and some dancing. i am usually the dancing maniac but tonight i pretend to be an anthropologist trying to understand this desert party nighclub culture. it's unlike any other party because it's a desert party. the brits are fancily dressed and saying splendid
i am petting a gigantic white dog that looks like half furry bear and half miniature pony. he is also petting the dog so we bond. in broken english, he tells me to never feed the dogs because they will follow you around. obviously...he doesn't realize that by doing this you can create an army of dogs for protection. we attempt to speak a mix of spanish and english with each other. it's one of the most difficult but hilarious conversations in my life. my mind is strained, words are sticky in my mouth, the wheels are turning. occasionally his buddy helps to translate but even his friend's english is difficult for me to understand. when i finally figure out the translation, it's usually a very simple question like, "do you like chile?" or "where are you from?" or "do you like cheese?"
our conversation was a mixture of spanish and english and went something like...
me: "spanish is hard for me to understand. where did you learn english?"
him: "i am 25 and work at a restaurant. i served you the other day when you ordered salmon ceviche"
me: "i did not order salmon ceviche but that sounds good. i must have a twin. do you like your job?"
he did not understand the joke. i realize that i converse solely in sarcasm and it doesn't translate well into another language
him: "it's just a job. it's hard to understand what people are ordering because they speak very fast"
finally! we are talking about the same thing!
him "i really like your nose"
i understand him clearly, but don't know how to respond to someone liking my nose. i don't know if this is a compliment or not so i just ask him to repeat it a few more times and then change the topic
me: "chileans speak extremely fast!"
he nods his head, agreeing
him: "yes, yes just like you i have a dog"
ah, maybe we are not on the same page. i try to say that his dog is very big and like the size of a bear. expect halfway through the sentence i remember that i do not know how to say "bear" in spanish. he wants me to act out the word. having nothing left to lose, i perform my best bear impression. he seems to understand and tries to describe the word to verify. his hands are going crazy and he keeps talking about a big box on the wall that blasts music. he is talking about speakers, and he is so excited when i catch on. bears, speakers, it's all the same
yet again we are having an entire conversation with ourselves while speaking to each other. our languages merge and at times i don't know if i am speaking in spanish or english or both and i don't know if he is speaking in english or spanish or both. our words mix and dance together, eventually falling apart. it's a fun challenge just like sudoku. i don't know his name, yet. he reminds me of the main actor from the movie "while you were sleeping" and antonio banderos
the dog is leaning against his legs. it might be my imagination or misinterpretation but i think he says he has better ideas but can only ask me simple questions. i want to ask so many things but just smile. the police come at some point and everyone is shushhhhing. the music stops, the crowd freezes, and we must leave. everyone starts strolling back into town
my buddy system failed and my hostel friends are nowhere to be found. he walks me home. i am still on edge from the robbery, but i feel safe and connected to him despite our language barrier. nevertheless my mind runs away...he could have a knife, what if he's waiting for a dark alley to hurt me, what if he uses my own knife to harm me, maybe he wants my remaining 1000 pesos in my pocket...but the what if's are just what if's. there's no real path home, so i must rely on trust
along the way he points to the sky. i am breathless speechless. i honestly cannot describe the true absolute bueaty above me. i feel like i have a life purpose, like i have found my soul. soul in spanish is alma and it is also the name of the largest telescope in the world in san pedro. i am amazed because it looks like the heavens have opened. i am the luckiest girl in the world to be right here right now just me and the sky
for some reason i think, "it's best to appreciate moments as they are"
i am home. it's 4am. and then i come up with the best worst idea.