Monday, July 26, 2004


South American Moment

I just had a South American Moment.  'Moments' come upon you unexpectedly and must be, I reckon, the major reason why people travel.   You can have Asian Moments or Italian Moments or Manchester Moments, according where you are at any given time.  Naturally, I had a South American Moment, or, more specifically, a Peruvian One.  I was walking down Balta Avenue, and I could see the banana yellow of the central cathedral contrasting strikingly with the deep blue sky.  The sun was shining through the tall dusty palms that line the avenue.  I looked between two ramshackle buildings and saw a beautifully tiled shady colonial passageway.  And then I had it... that feeling when you just totally catch the vibe of a place, and really see it's true charm.  Although these feelings are fleeting, they give you an insight which is not easily forgotten.  I find 'moments' also give you a lasting sensation of attachment to a place, which beats the culture shock into submission.  You've got to wait for them to settle on you though; whether you are sitting at a bustling street cafe, lying on the beach, trudging through freezing rain, speeding through busy streets in a tuk-tuk, or sharing a laugh with a local - you can never tell when you'll have a 'moment'.  But once I've had one, I always try to keep the memory close at hand for solace in those more difficult times when I want to throttle the local post office staff.

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