Tuesday, 18 March 2014

El Ritmo Del Desierto

Everything takes its time here in the desert.  Nothing is rushed, not even the sun set.  It takes hours to fully set behind the mountains.  The pace of life is so much slower.  You wake up around 9 with the bright morning sun breaking through the windows.  Eat some breakfast, have a coffee and then work on music for a few hours.  We eat the main meal at around 1 or 2, when the sun is at its hottest.  After the meal comes ´La Sagrada Siesta´.  The sacred siesta is a vital part of the day, all shops close and hardly anyone is out in the streets or walking.  Things pick up again at 6 when the beautiful evening sun starts its course.  The only thing that seems rushed and fast paced here, is the insect life.  They scurry about so fast all over the place.  Instead of hearing the noise of constant traffic, you hear the buzz of many wild and beautiful flying creatures.  Dragon flies that glow green, bees are this deep shiny blue, wasps have very long legs, parrots squawking like old women in a charity shop, and of course flies.  Everything eats eachother here.  You see dead insects being carried off by a pack of ants; nothing that dies is ever left.  It returns to the eternal cycle of the desert.
At night time, the insects change shifts.  It is the Moths, the spiders, the grasshoppers, the frogs and other strange designs that take over.  You stand outside and things just throw themselves at you.  The grasshoppers are really funny creatures.  You look into their eyes and they look like happy comic like aliens, with long bodies and powerful wings.  The moths come in all shapes and sizes; there are some giant beautiful pure white fluffy ones that stick to you.   I am told it´s good luck when they do.  They really are so beautiful, but, persistent and numerous. I enjoy watching the ant life the most.  Then every now and then you see these giant beetles that run so fast on their back 2 legs, with their other legs out in front like they are boxing.  I always imagine this cockney accent saying ´Come on, who wantsa foight then? ´.  The frogs are massive here, they just come up to the patio as big as your hand with friendly eyes and deep ´ribbits´.

My first night here was so beautiful; Niz and I smoked a Peruvian joint then went outside.  I saw the stars like I have NEVER seen them before.  It was like you could see the galaxies, the constellations and the map of the heavens so perfectly.  They shone so bright and clear.  My gaze was transfixed on them; I stood bare foot, with my head in the heavens smiling in wonder at this strange, beautiful new world I found myself in.  I had always dreamed of seeing the stars like this, in England they are just dim blurs through the light pollution and smog of plane trails, but here they are so perfectly bright and heavenly.  You can understand why the Meso American cultures understood the star cycles so correctly; It´s because they had the best seat in the house to view them.

During the next couple of days I wrote 5 songs, 2 in gypsy jazz rhythm, and 3 in open Dm tuning.  I just felt this wave of creativity hit me.  Being in this little desert hut with a perfect view of these giant red mountains, Nizha helped me write some lyrics in Spanish, and I found a voice of an old Spanish man come out of me, so I stuck with it and really felt myself progress as a musician and songwriter, and of course, when Niz plays with me it becomes even more special.  Niz was playing with a few friends for a music project, so I would have some afternoons and evenings on my own.  I would walk through the landscape smiling at the huge Mountain View and desert life.  I would call in to see her Mother, have slow conversations between Spanish and English and drink a mate with her.  Her mother is great.  I think Nizha looks so young because of her parents.  Her mother is 67, but looks no more than 45!  Nizha tells me they have Inca Princess ‘blood in their ancestry, and I truly believe it.  We were drinking a mate one afternoon and talking, and her Mother tells me about the French philosopher Voltaire (Nizha´s mother, Norma is a philosophy master) She says that when war between the English and French was at its most troublesome, Voltaire was caught by the English.  They were about to beat him and kill him and then he said ´But what worse punishment is there, than not being born British?´.  As she was saying it, she turned so elegantly and said it in almost perfect Queens English, but with that beautiful Spanish tint.  I felt proud to be English.  Maybe you have to be away from the Isles to feel that pride.

The only time I have ever felt scared here is a couple of days in.  Nizha was practising with her friends, and I had been in the desert house all day smoking and playing.  Juan asks me if I want to come with him to pick Nizha, I said sure!  So we drove into San Carlos through all these rocky desert roads, the car getting bumped and lifted by the hard terrain.  It goes through so much that car!  We drove through San Carlos by night, through these piles of rubble, dusty roads, and people standing on the streets, looking strangely at the foreigner.  Fires were burning, and there was this noise of a town at night, so different to what I seen by day.  It might have been the Peruvian, but I just felt a chill of fear pass through me.  Juan is such a fast driver also.  I trust him fully, as you can see the car is like a part of him.  We drive through all these strange back roads and come to the house where Nizha is practising.  About 5 dogs immediately ran up to us, and to be honest I didn´t want to get out.  Nizha came out and said to come in and listen, as they just have to go through the song one more time.  I found my way inside through dark pathway and immediately as I got in I felt at ease.  Ahhhh, the company of musicians is always good.  I feel at home with my own kind, regardless of the language.  I greeted them and took a seat and listened to what Nizha had been upto while we had been apart.  It was a very dark and haunting piece, with lots of changes that not all the band could keep up with, so it drifted into these uneasy moments.  It was still very beautiful to come and listen to it.   But I did feel a little jealous watching her play with other musicians when we had hardly played ourselves.

I told Niz that I felt a little chill of fear that night, and she said ´But did you see any angry faces? ´ and I didn´t.  It was definitely just the Peruvian smoke.  We got out of the car, and she had a little kitten with her.  I said where did this come from?  She tells me it was left in the trash and it´s only a few weeks old.  We need to help it and make it strong.   It was this little shaking furball , meowing so desperately and full of parasites.  We couldn’t let it sleep in the desert house with us, so we had to leave her outside and all through the night just came the desperate meows; each one a little more desperate than the last.  It was hard to sleep through it. The next day Niz was rehearsing again, and the cat and I had a day together.  I would walk to the main house from the desert house and she would follow me all the way.  She would try and be as proud as she could, hitting the long blade of grass with her paws.  I would feed her a little bit of food, and there was this moment when I went into the desert house and left her outside.  I looked into her eyes, and my heart broke.  I picked her up, and said ´awwwww, come here.  I don’t care about your parsasites! ´  I took her in with  me, made her a little bed up on the floor while I wrote some songs and from that moment, life in the desert wouldn´t be the same.

Niz came back that night and said ´Where is the cat?´ Till she saw the little thing curled up on the bed on the floor purring.  She smiled and said we shouldn´t let her in here, then I told her the story of our day together and she let her stay in the house for a bit.   She was so weak and her fur was just little bits, a lot of it had been burned by the desert sun and she was just craving some love, affection and food.  She ate very slowly at first; we had to put her by the bowl to help her eat.  We said it is our mission to help make her strong and get her prepared for life in the desert.  Each day we saw an improvement.  We got her some parasite medicine and she was eating more and more each day.   She would sleep in the bed with us some nights, but I would nearly crush her with my legs, and wake up with her putting her nails in my feet trying to get free.  She started to get used to sleeping outside,  but we would always worry a bit about her.

Nizha´s mother and father were leaving for Tucaman the next day and we would have the place to ourselves for the next few weeks.  A few days after they left, everything bad that could have happened, did happen.  From lightening striking, being without water, losing my beard, an unbearable dog joining us, terrible illness for us both, Niz and I falling apart and our future together hanging by a thread……..

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Por Las Puertos El Desierto

Seeing Nizha again, holding her and kissing her felt unreal.  Three long months of waking up each morning and still feeling her close from my dreams; missing her madly and feeling like I would do anything to have her back in my arms had brought me to this moment.  It had been a long journey to get me here, and as soon as we kissed I knew it was worth it.  She is such a beautiful girl, so strong, yet still so delicate.  Now we could make some plans together, wake up each morning and see what the day will bring.  Since my plane had been delayed so long, it was too late to make the journey to San Carlos, so we would stay a night in Salta and then leave the next morning.  We walked out of the airport and I was introduced to one of the most legendary, likeable men I have ever met.

Juan Carlos Bustos, Nizhas father, is nearly 80 years old, but goes about life like he is 40.  He never stops.  He doesn´t have a home as such, he just drives and drives, stays at friends and families houses for a few nights here and there, is happiest when he has something to fix or do and somewhere to drive to.  He has a way of talking to people in a manner and voice that people just like him straight away.  His car is a miracle. He drives it like it is a part of him, it breaks and fails a lot, but he has this way of knowing exactly where to touch it to get it running again.  Sometimes it needs a push, sometimes a kick, but he always gets it going.  It’s a 20 year old Dhaitsu, and is converted into a gas engine.  So for 3 quid he can do 300 kilometres.  It has no clocks or dials that work, so you never know how fast you are going, or how much petrol, it is a true work of art.  Meeting him for that first time and shaking his hand, I loved him from that first moment.

We hit the road for the hour drive to Salta; it felt good to be finally free of the airport life. The province of Salta had a much different atmosphere to Buenos Aires, and I liked it immediately.  It has such a wild atmosphere to it.  Dogs run free, motorbikes with kids driving them are swerving all around you.  The old man chewing coca leaves sitting in the same spot in the shade that he has done for decades.  The dogs and cats have their own world here too.  They live freely; I have still never seen one dog on a lead.  When the sun is hottest, they lie with their friends in their favourite spot.  It is like a true canine community.  Wherever you walk, there are dogs running free, and some not so free.  But they are just left alone here.  There are people that feed them of course.  But they walk when they want to walk, and go where they want to.  Juan was once attacked by a ´Dogo´ it is a massive beast that has a lock jaw, he had to grab it by the ears and force its jaws off his leg.  I must admit, when you are walking and big dogs are coming up to you barking, you get a little chill of fear, but you always keep a strong presence, as that is what they sense.

When I got off the plane at Salta, I went to make a rolly, and realised I had lost my tobacco pouch.  I really loved that pouch, and was a bit gutted I had lost it.  It was a gift from my brother in law, and it made smoking much more stylish.  Oh well, easy come easy go.  We went looking for a shop that sold tobacco which is a rare import here; only the gypsys and foreigners smoke it.  We found a shop and I got 40 grams for about 1.50 quid.  To change your money from dollars into Pesos, you walk the street until you find someone saying ´Cambio´ and you change it with him for a much better exchange rate than the banks.  It was quite strange going up to a man in the street and changing your money.  They bribe the police so they are left alone to do it.  I changed a hundred dollars into a thousand pesos and had enough to last a few weeks.  Salta is a city that still has a lot of its colonial architecture; a massive pink cathedral sits in its central plaza.  All cities in South America are built around a square; they are the first grounds that a new city is built on.  The buildings around it are like something out of another time; old brown doors, faded clay bricks, truly beautiful vintage surroundings.

With some fresh tobacco, imported from The Netherlands we make our way to the house where we are staying.  It is the house of Juan’s´ good friends in San Carlos.  He stays there when he is passing through Salta.  It is a big communal house built by his friend Miguel.  They have 2 big dogs that patrol the roof, and another dog inside.  They welcome us in like family, and then they go with Juan to pick up some Empanadas and Cerveza.  Niz and I are alone together for the first time, and we talk, kiss, hug and I give her a bottle of beer I brought from England.  It is Heather Ale, and when we were in Edinburgh, it was one of our favourites.  Juan and the girls return and he shows me how to eat empanadas, bite the top off, and then put a little spoon full of spicy sauce inside.  They are deliciosa!  After the meal we go to bed, and we lay in eachothers arms for the first time in 3 months. 

All windows of all the houses have bars on them, and this very fine metal net to keep the insects out.  At first I thought it was become crime was so frequent here, but it is more that it is because it is so hot, and you need the windows open at all times.  The house is really big and well designed.  Everything is built with a communal mind.  Tables and chairs, BBQ´s, it is culturally strange to eat by yourself, drink by yourself.  You share everything, and that is the way here.  We spend the morning cuddling and talking, eating some breakfast and then when Juan returned we start our journey to San Carlos.  But first we eat some empanadas, drink a cerveza and then head into the mountains.  We drive through the desert landscape, past cactus plants, houses that are half built or half destroyed piles of rubble.  The tempo of the day is much slower here.  When I got off the plane at Buenos Aires, there were 4 guys with a cardboard fence around them ´fixing´ a tile on the floor.  There were hitting the tiles so slowly with no rush whatsoever.  You feel that tempo wherever you go.  You drive on roads that are just dust and stones, the cars get put through a lot here and the heat dries everything.  Industry and growth is slow, but still sure.  Life finds a way.  People build their houses, do their business, but just at a much more slower tempo.

We start to approach a mountain range that Nizha tells me is one of the most beautuiful.  The sun, the rain and thousands, maybe millions of years of existence have shaped.  They all look like they are human construction, you look for the first time, and it looks like there is a village there, the shapes can trick you along with the heat.  Mountains that look like giant man made castles with forts and moats.  Faces in the mountains and there is one where they even have live music.  A massive cavern has been eroded and gives the most naturally haunting reverb for people to sing in.  We drive past some of the most magnificent sights my eyes have ever seen.  Even in the mountain wilderness there are indigenous people selling handmade bracelets and necklaces.  I buy one, because I never can resist.  I like to have one for each place and experience I remember fondly.  We carry on driving though and start to approach Cafayate, it is on The Route Of the Vino, and is a very beautiful little town.  I ask Nizha about the wine and the cost, and she tells me that a bottle of the local produce from here costs about 60 pesos, which is 6 dollars.  I was surprised, as I thought it should be cheaper.  Until she came out with a massive 5 litre bottle!  It is better than any wine I tasted in England.

We drive 30 km from Cafayate to San Carlos and this is where we reach the true desert.  We are nearly 2000 metres above sea level and as we got to the Mountains, the heat rose massively.  We drive along Route 40, which is the road that runs from the top of Argentina to the bottom.  Cruising through the desert road as the sun draws every bit of moisture away we arrive at San Carlos which is a tiny little town, Nizha says ´Here it it´, I look out the window to see 5 half built shacks in the desert and I say ´What! ´ But then I look out the other window and see  many beautiful handmade clay houses (still lots of half built piles also).   3 km further into the desert is the home of Nizha and her Mother.  Wow, it is such a beautiful home.  Because the country is so vast; people own a lot of land and Nizhas family own like 4 hectres.  The house is a beautiful handmade wonder, built by an eccentric Italian.  That´s the thing, most of the houses here are built by the people who live in them.  They get help building them, but their homes are projects that can take many years to build.   So he I was, at my destination with the girl I love, with lots of new creatures, landscapes and feelings in my heart………..

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Home again.  I like to be here when I can.  And when I come home cold and tired.  It's good to warm my bones beside the fire.  While far away accross the fields.  The tolling of the iron bell, calls the faithful to their knees.  To hear those softly spoken magic spells.  Ticking away the moments that make up your dull day.  Fritter and waste your hours in an off hand way.  Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town.  Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.  The sun is the same in a relative way, but your older.  Shorter of breath, and one day closer to death.  Every year is getting shorter.  I can never seem to find the time.  Plans that either come to nothing, or half a page of scribbled lines.  Hanging on in quiet desperation, as that's the English way.  The time has gone, the song is over.  Thought I'd something more to say? Time - Pink Floyd

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

The bus to London was leaving at 2am and my final night in Liverpool before I left for South America reminded me of every time I leave Amsterdam.  She always looks her most beautiful.  The sun always shines on her, and she glows Golden, her bridges and Canals sometimes seem dreamlike.  Liverpool shines in a different way; it’s the music of the city that gives her that sparkle.  My last night was no different.  My friend Louisa was releasing her first solo E.P at El Bandito and it was a lovely gathering of musicians, friends and a great atmosphere. She is such a talented Singer, songwriter and musician and she played a beautiful set of songs.  Playing also was Philly Moore from Raw City, I had the pleasure of recording his bands new E.P the weekend before and I love them boys.  It´s not a bunch of  super talented musicians that make a great band, it´s a bunch of great mates, and they are a big cut above the other bands of great mates in the city that there are so many of.  Some of my best musical memories are my band days  with White Trash ana Halfcast and The Dawn Fanfare, rehearsing in Crash, so loud that our ears rung and almost bled.  But being with your mates in a band, writing songs, smoking weed, playing gigs for peanuts, moving the gear all over town is a great feeling, and recording them boys, going to their practices, smoking a joint and drinking a beer reminded me of those good days.  Though, I did have to put my fingers in my ears at some points, because it was so loud. 
I had my suitcase and guitar with me, and after the show I popped over to the Mello to say a farewell.  Adam was working behind the bar, and he is one of the most inspiring musicians and songwriters I have ever known.  He has the most humble calm heart and is just a beautiful soul in this world.  There are people in this world who inspire me greatly and Adam is one of them.  He has a folk album inside him that will change and shape and influence people one day.  I would love to record it.  He got me a drink, a good big hug and tells me the open mic is on tonight.  There is still a bit of time left if I want to play.  It´s hosted by Ron Entwistle a legendary scouse poet, who, even if you bump into him on the streets, he will recite you one of his poems about the latest news and issues of the week.  Playing was a very funny act.  It was an old guy with a face of leather, playing (at  least trying to) Dylans ´I Want You´ I say trying to, because as he was half way through mumbling out the words, with a scratching weak electric guitar sound and then half way through stopped and said ´Oh Damn, I can’t do it´.  After him I got up and played 3 songs, and they went down well to the handful of people in there.  I think I did good, because when I finished I Heard someone say ´How can we follow that? ´.

My mates from El Bandito came to the Mello not long after that, and we enjoyed a few drinks and a good chat till it was closing.  I still had 2 hours left until my bus, so I went with Jimmy and Sophie to Sound and Music, a new venue just opening up in town.  I remember I was always worried because so many music venues were closing down in town.  But for every one that closes another 2 opens.  That is the power of the music in Liverpool.  You can take away the venues, but never the musicians. My mate Pete tells me also that in the backroom of a Pizza Shop they are having live music every week now!  A pizza place!  How beautiful.  My mates got a taxi home and I still had an hour to go before my bus, so I walked past the BBC radio station where I used to work to see if Tommy was in for a brew, I think he was sleeping so I walked past a few of the night clubs and went into Cava for a pint.  There was this guy playing the acoustic guitar.  He was brilliant.  Finger picking funk, and tapping the guitar for drums while singing.  Not one person was listening, and I sat right in front and listened to every note and Word.   It reminded me of those few gigs I played in Liverpool the last month where people weren’t listening and I would get angry, call them cunts, not resolve the songs on the right chords and generally do anything to get their attention.  And here was this guy with amazing ability, just happily playing to himself.  I shook his hand, wished him the best of luck and went to get my bus to start the biggest journey of my life. 

On the bus I smiled as I thought of how great a musical city it is.  I took it for granted before I ever left Liverpool for the first time.  I thought you would find this everywhere.  Then when I got to Paris, expecting it to have even more music than Liverpool, to find 2 open mic nights, 1 accordion busker, and not even a grain of the musical infrastructure Liverpool has.  It took me a few months away to understand what makes it so great a city.  And my last night, she shone for me in her unmatched, bright musical colours.  There are so many rules for busking in Europe, and even the rest of England.  But in Liverpool, you pick a spot and play as loud as you want for as long as you want, whenever you want.  Viva la Musica of Liverpool!

With a good few pints inside me I slept easy on the bus.  We had to change in Manchester, so we went from an empty bus to a full bus.  But it wasn’t so bad.  I am so used to the Megabus´ now, that my body knows what to expect.  I just wish I could have found my travel Pillow!  We got to London at 8 in the morning and, slightly hungover, I did my usual walk around Victoria.  I like London more and more each time I go.  I used to hate the place, because of the North South divide.  But now it grows on me more and more.  I walked past Buckingham palace for my usual spit on the Queens doorstep and went and had me a full English Breakfast.  I had a few hours to kill before I took the train to Heathrow, I smoked a few cigarettes and kept building myself up in my mind for what I was doing.  First I take a flight to Rome, then from there wait a few hours and then take a flight to Buenos Aires.  From there find a bus to the other airport and take a flight to Salta where I would meet Nizha and drive 300 Km north into the mountains.  It was a big journey, but I felt strong and ready. 

After a few hours waiting in Heathrow I checked in for Rome.  The woman who was checking boarding passes was a bit concerned I had no return ticket, but I told her my Girlfriend was waiting for me there, and we would travel South America.  She stamped my ticket and let me board the plane.  As I was putting my bags in, I asked the girls at the desk if I could keep my guitar with me, as she was delicate.  They were a bit unsympathising, but a few winks and smiles they smiled back and let me take my guitar with me.  It was when they said that my suitcase would go straight to Buenos Aires that I felt the first wave of the reality hit me.  Before I was leaving Nizha told me to look after my stuff really well, as the thieves in Argentina are professional.  That made me a bit worried, but then I thought, so what.  Even if they rob my suitcase, it’s only books and socks and clothes.  Even if they rob my guitar, I could get another one for sure here.  Once I let go of possessing my possesions, I felt free and fearless.

People who work in airports seem so tired and unhappy with life.  I never met one face who seemed full of life and happiness there. The atmosphere is so dank, and gloomy.  People just wishing time will pass.  They make you wait hours in that place.  I think in this entire journey, I did more waiting than travelling.  You just people watch, you listen to the voices and sounds around you.  You drink so much coffee, smoke so many cigarettes, and just watch and wait for every minute to pass.  Then flight to Rome was nice, I had a window seat, but couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I just slept the whole way there.  Once in the Roman airport I had 3 hours to kill.  I just walked up and down for ages, hoping to find somewhere to have a smoke.  I tried to change 10 dollars into euroes, as the idea of a beer made my mouth water.  The least they would change was 50 dollars though.  I wasn’t doing that.  When busking in Liverpool I had been given a 2 euro coin, I used it as my lucky coin and took it with me on my journey.  I used to to buy a bottle of water in the airport, as it was all I could afford.  About half an hour before we were ready to board, I saw a sign that said smoking area.  I ran with all excitement to it!  I was gasping!  I got in there and smoked 3 in a row.  Ahhhhh.  A non-smoker will never know that feeling.  It was also close to where I was boarding to Buenos Aires, so after my cigs I dashed to the gate.

I got on the plane with no difficulty, and I was the only Englishman in sight.  It was full of Spanish and Italians, and I wasn’t getting a word of it.  People looked at me funny, my odd socks, bracers and bright blue eyes.  But I still felt good and strong.  The plane was massive.  It seated ten in a row, and had 3 carriages.  We could watch a movie on a little screen.  They brought you a few drinks, a dinner, a breakfast and were so nice.  They still had that airline look in their eyes though, but it was a very comfortable journey.  I watched 12 monkeys on the video screen, and did a lot of sleeping.  There was this beautiful young girl sitting on the seats next to me.  She kept looking at me and smiling.  She asked if I spoke Spanish, I said, errrr a little bit.  She laughed and we chatted a little bit.  It was sunrise and we were passing over Brasil, I opened my eyes and this beautiful red morning sun broke through all the windows.  It was the most beautiful site I had seen.  After coming from a cold January in England, to feel that golden red sun was immense.  The pilot told us we would be approaching Buenos Aires soon and it was 23degrees, and raining.  The plane started its descent with lots of turbulence, we landed good and safe, and everyone on the plane cheered and shouted Bravo!  It was a nice moment that. 

I stepped off the plane in this strange new world, into an airport that could be anywhere in the world.  No matter where you are, airports are all the same, with the same atmosphere.  Like supermarkets, no?  I was hoping my bag made it here, but before I could check, I had to go to the immigration desk and give them my thumb print, and my picture.  Tell them why I was here, and what my plans were.  They seemed nice though, and let me go through.  I found the bagging belt, and found my bag.  Success!  I had made it all the way here, with all my belongings in one piece.  Now it was time for part 2 of the journey.  I found a bus that would take me to the other airport, I paid in dollars and went to find where I had to wait.  I was outside having a ciggie, and this family was there.  The mother was smoking, and coughing like something serious was wrong.  Her son was rubbing her back, and patting her, with eyes of worry, like only a child can sense.  I don´t know why this sticks with me so much.  I threw away my cigarette and went and found the bus.  It was raining thick drops of rain, but still so warm.  It was a weird sensation.  I got on the bus and we made the hour journey to the other airport. 

The bus started and we made our way.  The first thing that hit me, is that the trees looked so sad, and in pain.  They were all hanging down with big holes in them with big puddles and flooding rain in the grass surrounding them.  Palm trees that looked ill, discoloured. We drove past buildings that were destroyed by lack of funds and work to fix them.  But still people lived in them.  But there were lots of buildings that were just rubble, half finished, or half destroyed.  The roads were full of old cars like you see in the movies, but with lots of new cars as well.  It´s like you could really see the divide.  Old vans with 5 people sitting in the back of them next to a brand new 4x4.  The billboards and advertising were all for McDonalds, Coca Cola, Cars, and all western influence it seemed.  Still the trees seemed so sad.  I got off the bus when everyone else did, thinking it was the aeroparque.  But it wasn’t.  I asked, and he said next stop.  I wonder how many people got off thinking it was the airport.  I jumped back on just in time, and got to the airport.  I had 4 hours to wait until my plane, so as usual I just walked up and down.  I changed some dollars into Pesos and ate a salad, drunk a coffee and smoked way too many cigarettes. 

Because I had so much time to kill, I walked round outside.  It was right next to the sea.  There was a young lad fishing there.  He had caught a big fish, and was cutting it open, gutting it, and washing it in a puddle of rain water.  I bought some agua, and watched the sea.  It seemed so dirty.  There was a half sunken ship just in front, and some oil rigs or sea ports a bit further on.  I went back to the airport to check my flight, and it was delayed by 2 hours.  I really needed a beer, I asked at the Airport and they tell me 52 pesos for a small bottle of Stella.   I just couldn’t allow myself to buy it.  I walked out a little further this time; I found a little meat bar that sold cervezas.  It was only 32 Pesos for a massive 1 litre bottle.  I sat and drunk it with a smile and automatically felt better.  I had an out loud conversation with myself, with what I would say to Nizha, enjoyed my beer, checked the time at the airport, and still had another hour.  So I drunk another cerveza at the same place, and had a gorgeous meat sandwhich.  I went back, slightly drunk and checked in for my flight.  The people at the airport were so nice.  I got to my gate, and then the plane gets delayed another 2 hours!!! 

This hit me hard.  All this waiting really drains you.  Plus, I had 2 litres of beer inside me, and now couldn’t smoke.  I just watched every minute pass feeling rougher and rougher.  The plane finally came; I got on it and took the last step to getting to Nizha.  The flight was nice, I had a window seat, and they gave us free coffee and sweets as well as the comedic demonstration on what to do in case of a crash landing.  I get to Salta, find my bag, step outside and hear ´Babe´ in that voice I have only heard in my memories for the last 3 months.  There was my Nizha, looking radiantly golden brown, her hair a little longer, her smile still so full of love and passion.  After 3 months of wanting nothing else, we were finally in eachothers arms……….

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