But my question today is about the people you cross paths with in life. Is it circumstantial? Coincidental? Fate? or pure damn luck? I would call my encounter in my 1st 19 hours in Buenos Aires as serendipitous.
This post won´t be the usual Jeanne travel post. You won´t hear about dislocated shoulders, exorcist-like food poisoning, travel snafoos, bed bugs or any sort of off-roading adventures. In fact, this post might be utterly boring or maybe even too opaque or perhaps esoteric. But this post is for me because when you encounter serendipity you need to mark it and not forget it.
After a 10hr flight from DC to BA where the airline stewardist asked if i was writing a book since i was about halfway through my journal of non-stop, free-associated transcription of my half-baked, processing thoughts, I still did not feel any lighter. I continued my mad writing as i slowly shuffled through the custom lines for an hour. And upon exit of the BUenos Aires airport, i put away my ´book´and practiced my spanish during the ride with Marcel, my driver to Carlos´s place. I clearly need more practice.
Carlos posted his place on airbnb, like i did for my place in NYC for the month. Airbnb is my favorite company right now. I really should buy stock because i am their #1 fan. It represents many of my travel values - people deep down are good people and a travel experience is enhanced if you give them the local experience.
I brought Charlie back a shopping list of vitamins and health supplements he ordered from the US, who knew there were such exorbitant fees and taxes to ship vitamins to south america! I thought it was the least i could do for him since he was inviting me into his home. He thought that was beyond generous and called me an ´angel´. But if there is a such thing as an angel, i think charles might have been my angel.
The first sign came when i arrived to his place and we grabbed a coffee and limonada at the corner store. (as a side note, i loved the neighborhood feel. The waiters knew Charlie. Charlie knew the pharmacist across the street. Everyone was laughing and did not seem in a hurry. The fact that this stood out to me means i have been in NYC for too long! And the shop owner at the corner fruit market gave me a boquet of bright yellow flowers, just because. I like this city already. ) Anywho, Charlie is a london guy who has lived in BA for 15 years. He has traveled more than anyone i know, including me. His outlook on life is open and positive. When he referenced beliefs on one topic that was ciruclating in my head, i thought it was a coincidence. when he shared another statment that hit the nail on the head on another topic i was processing, i thought that was strange. When i experienced this for a 3rd time, I relized us crossing paths was not an accident. Call me out there. Call me loca. Call me mystical. But this just can´t be a coincidence. It´s amazing how things kick-in more when an absolute stranger says the same thing that your friends / sis might have said, but somehow it gives a different a-ha moment when someone says this after spending less than 10 hours with you.
So day 1 consisted of a neighborhood restaurant in palermo, a 30 mile bike ride through the city to el tigre, a pit stop on a swing set, an enlightening convo dining at el museo de eva perone, a traditional tango dance club and a sore bicycle riding ass (my own self-imposed ´sign´to not forget this day). Now at the Tango club, i did not attempt to dance. i was purely an observer. the women sit on one side of the room, while the men sit on the other, eying the women they want to lure out on the dance floor. I have to admit, something seemed oddly awkward about this dance, yet highly passionate. The women are angled with their face and chest pressed up against the man, while their stomach and ass are pushed at such a far and odd distance from the man it looks a bit uncomfortable. BUT, from the face of both partners with their eyes closed and their lips pressed tight, it looks like they are in a moment that can never be experienced again. There´s so much passion exuding from their facial expression that i don´t doubt that i am missing something really BIG here. And a moment of applause for Charlie for dancing til 5am, returning to send me off in my taxi. I turned into a pumpkin early, but I am pretty sure that in less than 24 hours in BA, I encountered an angel - or call it pure damn luck. Regardless, it gave me a perspective on thoughts that have been recently swimming in my head that made my mind feel pounds lighter. It´s a good start to the trip. i can only imagine how much at peace my mind will be on day 31. But don´t worry, i am not rushing to the end. Bring on Day #2!
NEXT STOP: El calafate - departure point for the 5 hour bus ride to Chile and the 5-day W-Trek.