Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lima Epilogue – (South America Omnibus 7)

At noon.
First I go to my favorite Emoliente cart for my another refueling.
This time I am having Alfalfa tea, suddenly I remember about Gat.
What is Gat?
I ask the Indio, “Tiene gat?” (Got Gat?)
Indio makes a cross on his chest and sings, “Nooooo Señor, nooooo soy Pistoooooleer. ”
So this solves the Gat puzzle.
I begin marching for Miraflores because I cannot wait. Miraflores is an upscale area of Lima.
I take metro train to San Juan de Miraflores station. Lima metro is also new as Delhi metro and it is equally clean. But anyway South American countries may be as poorer than India but they are very clean. Nobody urinates or defalcates in the open. Nobody spits in the streets.

Train just outside of Lima in Andes Mountains
May be it is Christian culture. People wear clean clothes. One thing amazing that only a person from India can notice; even in the worse of the slums where several members of a family live in just one room. Everything is clean in the slums, no piles of filth and homes are also clean and painted or color-washed to the excellence. All dwellers of slum are perfectly clean and smiling.
Deuteronomy 23 (From Bible)
23:14 For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.
In India we may have tons of sayings in our scriptures about cleanliness but it is seldom followed. One white friend of mine visited India and he says that Indian only keep their home clean. They throw away all their dirt away from their home front, or at other’s front.
Well whatever, I am born desi and die desi.
But then I am after a Señorita from Peru.

Lima old railway station
I walk to Govinda restaurant and eat superb lunch that is so called Indian but actually it is a Globally Inspired lunch cooked by hit, miss and trial after reading this or that Indian recipes. An ad-hock Hare-Rama-Hare-Krishna-Devotee-Chef also used his own background and culture to create a fusion or mess or mix-up or mismatch . . . call whatever you wish. Food is eatable and not very bad. When I want to pay they tell me that I already got those tokens but anyway I pay my bill that was about 3 dollars. Rice, Raita, lentil and some strange subzi. After food I offer them my cooking services and they again gladly accept. Instead of cooking I end up chopping lots of Ghea and onions followed by cleaning of their kitchen.

Lima Beach
I leave at 4PM to find the address on the slip so to hover around that location. I still have 3 hours.
I buy a hat to look like an Amigo.
I am at the given address. A small cafe. People are coming or going and busy in their shopping chorus. At 7. 30 someone touches my shoulder and it is Isabel. She looks different, actually I saw her five minutes ago with another girl but didn’t recognized her because she is wearing makeup and nice clothes.
She also didn’t recognized me because I am wearing a cowboy hat.

A train in the high Andes mountains.
Now she is laughing brutally seeing a 2 gallon hat over my head.
I tell her that I got a Gat too. She laughs so much that her tears come out.
She is looking very pretty and very worrisome. I shake hands with both girls. I ask then if they want coffee or food. She is hungry but she is hesitating. I take them to Govinda Restaurant. At this hours only snacks are available so I order samosas with tea.
Everyone at Govinda knows me now, they keep bringing the object that they call Samosa and both girls keep eating it. They claim that they have never eaten such a tasty thing in their life.

A village bus
And I want to smack at the head of the ISCON devotee chef from Germany.
At the end Isabel wants to pay because I am a guest in her country but anyway Govinda Manager refuses to accept payment from either one. Secretly I leave 10 dollar tip about the price of the samosas.
We keep sitting in Govinda because nobody asks me to leave or may be they are only waiting for me to start my shift at their kitchen.
Isabel’s story turns out the story of the mankind.
Her family is very poor, father is no more. Mother is sick. They are five sisters and 2 brothers. She is eldest and breadwinner. Her sisters are getting married one by one but she cannot. Hardly she got the job with airline only because no-one wants to work at Aguas Verdes office because of high crime rate, guns and drug trafficking.

Village folks
She says that she cannot marry, or at-least now. She cannot leave her siblings and her mother or at-least now.
I try to reason out with her but she is adamant.
She says that she is now alone but a full Lungar-Party of dependents and even if she agrees to marry someone, her marriage will not last because of her problems.
She says she will be always a friend.
OK, for the time being this much is enough.
When the girl accompanying her feels that I am not a thug or scoundrel she leaves us. She had to take some computer class.

Street food
We leave Govinda restaurant, shattering Manager’s dreams, that I brought my girlfriend also to work in the kitchen. We walk out and she is amazed at my knowledge of the city streets. I bring her down the cliffs to the beach through a secret way.
We stroll on the beach that is always misty. I never ever saw a sunny day in Lima.
While holding my hand she becomes very romantic she asks, “Tell me Pravee, I saw in a movie that monkeys roam free in the streets of India.”
“Yes, not even monkeys but other black monkeys too. We call them Langoors.”
She held my hand tight and her nail is biting me now.
She cries, “¡En Serio”
“Yes yes, I am serious. Not just monkeys, we have goats and cows and bulls and donkeys and mules and horses and sheep and dogs and hens and ducks and buffaloes and camels and elephants – and – big rats and cats and bats and many more animals in the streets. We all share the streets, there in India.”
With wide open eyes she asks, “Y mangosta?”
I ask, “Mangosta?”
“Que mata serpiente.”
“Oh yeah, we have mongoose too on the streets in India some times.”
“La gente lleva serpientes en las cajas?”
“We call them saperas, they carry snakes in the boxes.”
“?Y los cerdos también en las calles allí?” (and pigs are also on the streets there?)
“Yes we have pigs also on the streets. Big black ones.”
“Pravee. I am scared to go to India now.”
She says in Spanish, “So many people and animals there on the streets and them all bite, kick, hit and trample each other all the time.”
Now I want to beat my head with my both hands.

A festival dance
We walk for one hour.
She leaves by bus at 9 PM. She said she will stay in touch by emails.
So I got a friend in Peru. A best friend.
I gift her my 2 gallon hat. She refuses to accept anything else.
I return to my hotel and Satbir is there waiting for me. We walk to liquor shop and buy his choice of Pisco Liquor. It is a grape based liquor.
Over the drinks I listen to more of his pathetic stories.
Before his this rendezvous, an agent took him to Italy and there he was deported from the airport.
He is gulping his drinks like crazy.

A dance at wedding
High alcohol contents in Pisco mellows him down and he starts singing Punjabi Songs.
Suddenly he asks me for my USA passport.
I give it to him.
He puts it on the chair and he himself sits down on the floor. He does its pooja.
He stands up and shakes my shoulder and stammers, “P pp pp Paji, you got any aggarbatti?”
“Nope. ”
“Any d d d dhu dhu d dhoop?”
I reply, “Nope.”
He goes in the bathroom and returns with my hair oil bottle.
“Any mmmmmm maaa machis, I must light a joth?”
He orders me, “You can get it from the bald man on the counter. He smokes.”
I look at the old wooden walls of my hotel room and now I am worried.
He goes out himself and I hear a crash. It appears that he fell down.
Baldy comes in the room dragging Satbir by by his collar.
Baldy shouts at me, “Gang que no puede disparar directamente.” (Gang that cannot shoot straight.)
Baldy dumps him on the floor, he walks out shutting the door behind.

Peru Railways
I shout at Satbir, “Tera kya hoga Kalia, tune Daku Gabbar Singh ka naam poora mitte mae mila diya.”
Satbir is belly down on the floor and his broken nose is bleeding.
He crawls to the chair where he placed my passport for pooja.
He shouts at me, “Thakur yeh passport muzhe de dae, Thakur.”
Next day I leave the streets of Peru and return to USA.

A village train station in Andes Mountains
It was 5 years ago.
Isabel is a Virgo.
If a Virgo girl left alone she will never marry. You need a shotgun to make her a decision.
In all our Latin America visits, many interested women were always around us but I always picked an impossible target so to get further excuse to stay single.
End of this segment of this series.
Someday I will write the rest of my Peru saga because we arrived in Peru 4 weeks before and then traveled across the country to Amazonian. In Iquitos I almost drowned in the piranha infested waters of Amazon river. From here we caught a very high speed boat to Brazil’s Amazon river outpost town of Leticia (400 kilometers on Amazon river / 12 hours). Then to Columbia and then to Ecuador.
I wanted to write just one post on Balwinder Singh of Ecuador but it snowballed to many posts.

Bajaj Auto-rickshaws in a small town of Peru.
Wait a minute. I forgot to write the further story of Satbir Pal Singh.
That day he stole more than $100 from my room (whatever he was able to mop up). I was lucky that I was wearing my money belt so most of my money stayed safe. I gave him all my clothes, backpack, shaving kit, medicine kit, etc and etc. I just gave him everything except the clothes I was wearing to the airport.

Old town Lima
He made it to USA. He abandoned his wife and small child that he had with his Peruvian wife and she was again pregnant.
He became a small time drug dealer in Peru. His papers allowed him to travel till Columbia. From Columbia he crossed into Panama and then somehow with the aid of smugglers he made it to Mexico very fast. He spoke fluent Spanish that always enabled him to merge with the general multitudes.

A shop selling herbs
His relatives in USA recruited an agent from Punjab to get him across Mexico/USA border. A drug gang took him along with 50 others to the border of USA in Texas. He successfully made his crossing near Mission, Texas. Most of his group were murdered by a rival gang. A group of illegals is a commodity and commodity destroyed means profit lost, since more than half the money comes only after people make it to the other side.
He made it because he was a survivalist, very lucky, foxy, clever and street smart.

A Village street
He petition for Political Asylum is pending.
He works in his relatives’s restaurant who paid his passage from Mexico. The cost was 20,000 dollars and he must pay it back by working there.
He is cocaine addict, he picked up this habit during his stay with other Punjabi boys in the amazonian tri-country border area of Bolivia-Brazil-Peru.
About Alpaca/Llama animal.

This animal is found on the Andes mountains in south america and resembles Camel. This animal is not popular and was not imported to any other countries and made to much use because it spits. It usually targets the face and aims and shoots disgusting spittle so people avoid dealing with it.
Some animals just cannot be tolerated, same thing is with Zebra of Africa, can be made docile but problem is that it bites so cannot be made to serve mankind much. Same this is now happening with Yaks in Himalayas. Yak is big animal and need to graze whole day, since now newest variety of hardy vegetables, beans, potatoes are appearing and even high altitude areas are being cultivated – Yaks destroy those crops. People are avoiding them so this animal is also diminishing.
End of this Series.
Satbir’s name is not real.
Isabel’s name is not real.
Balwinder Singh’s name is real as he requested.
Praveen Wadhwa’s name is real but he never wanted to be known.
He loves to walk being unknown.
Blessed are those who are unknown.

1 comment:

  1. bhai in the middle of all this i keep losing track of what of the story could be real and what couldn't be. who you are and who you aren't.


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