Anyone out there interested in what I did today? Entonces, mira.
So after a hectic yesterday full of running around town, some movie auditions, and finally a private class in Chapinero (Northern Bogota) that lasted until 10 pm, I ate a small bowl of ghee-sweetened rice and found myself five hours of sleep before my first alarm sounded at 5:25 am.
I forgot everything about my dream, which continues to strike me as some deep loss.
So I pull together, turn the key behind me and turn down the street toward Jimenez when my "Leave the House Now" alarm goes off at 5:55. I take an experimental route, which eventually gets me where I want to go, but ultimately proves to be entirely stupid. It involves way too much walking and my chosen buses go unecessarily roundabout. Today I can clearly see my undue reliance on the Transmilenio, and an instinctual lack of faith in the Colectivos.
In any case, I walk through the door at 7:04 (early, since my "Start Class Immediately" alarm was set to sound at 7:07). Naturally, I'd neglected to bring any ID (who carries ID these days anyway?), so I have a nice long talk with the security guard, who eventually accepts the combination of a dirty printout of my birth certificate, a Delta Air miles card, and my passport number.
I find my elevator and am on the way up when I check my phone. Lo, a message. My client, the lovely Claudia, writes (with almost impeccable grammatical execution): "Hi. I am sorry. I can not meet with you today. I will speak with you more late. Claudia" Like I said, almost.
Okay. "No problem. See you Thursday".
This is, in fact, entirely fine, because I get paid anyway and now I'm awake and have the whole morning free. First I have to get home. The building where Claudia works is one of a cluster of classy-looking office buildings out near the airport, North and West of where I live in La Candelaria. So I hail down a bus displaying a wooden sign in the front window which lists, among place-names I´recognize but don't know, CentrO. That's me, we hope.
Calle's and Carrera's slide by, sinking from 68 as we move South and East toward the mountains. We pass a black pyramid. Things are going well until I begin to overthink, and soon I'm second-guessing whether this is a Cl or Cra, and what's this Diagonal 22? I can see Montserrate, but it ought to be nearer; now it's passed, is behind me, drifting back from where we've come. I see a cross-street I like and hop off.
I didn't even make it to the South side, reaching Calle 0. I could take a two-dollar taxi, but it's a beautiful morning in Bogota, so why not walk? There is rarely an ugly morning here; the trusty rains arrive in the afternoon. The walk was uphill, but otherwise uneventful, except for the crazy statue outside the Colombian Finance Ministry building.
There is this statue, maybe 13 feet tall, of a thin man striding forward. The man has the head of an eagle. I wish I could remember what it said, but it it made reference to an Egyptian pharoah from 1400's A.C., which I assume to signify Antes de Cristo, or, Before Christ. It's a representation of Horus, but I believe all the early pharoahs adopted the name Horus. So yeah, curious. I will do some research and report back to you on the specific esoteric symbology in operation here.
On the way home I buy a canteloupe, some granola and a delicious cinnamon-flavored oatmeal-based beverage. Breakfast.
After breakfast is meditation. Super peaceful; my practice is strong these days. I have set up a small altar upstairs where the desk used to be. I will post a picture soon.
Listo. Next I get the grand idea to inflate my new soccer ball. I won a red Budweiser 2010 Word Cup soccer ball at the Hard Rock Cafe on Saturday night. I am not at liberty to publicly discuss my reasons for enjoying drinks and an extended dinner there (seriously), but the Bud girls did come around, so I bought a beer and played their silly little mini-game and won, (of course), scoring 2 out of 4.
So I have this soccer ball, but it's pressed flat. I walk two blocks to the closest mall, and climb the ramp and stairs to the 4th floor where the indoor footy courts are. Hand-pump, done. Crappy ball: lop-sided from the start, with seams coming exposed when a little air-pressure is added. Nonetheless, I have my very own soccer ball!
I buy a lighter on the way home. Home, I sit in meditation for some minutes more, just because it felt so nice the first time.
Then off into the street, wearing grey basketball shorts and Uncle Jay's t-shirt, with a Canadian Maple Leaf stamped on the front of a classic VW bug. I am wearing white sunglasses and carry a quarter-full 5-gallon jug of water. The ball is at my feet. First, it occurs to me to check the hostel, to see if anyone wants to play, but no, still asleep, hungover. Fine. Good.
So down to the closest plaza. If you search GoogleMaps for "Parque de los Periodistas, Bogota, Colombia", you'll see what I'm talking about. I set my jug of water down by the big circular monument in the center of the triangular square, and start juggling. I make some darting runs, play myself two or three through balls, then turn with a quick change of pace and blow right by the unsuspecting pedestrian defenders.
A siren sounds, at a pitch far more frightening than any tornado warning. As I consider becoming concerned, the pitch goes up, intensifying for a moment before winding down. It leaves a very loud silence in its wake of sound waves.
Eventually someone else wants in. A young man with skin so black it's damn-near purple shares my enthusiasm. Our errant passes invite others into the game. Soon we have a group of 5 hitting long balls, juggling, taking clumsy touches and chasing around downtown. If we had had mini-goals, we could have been a World Cup commercial, the one that comes on immediately after the national anthems, enthusiastically ruining all the excitement and momentum they create before kick-off.
After lots of laughing, showing off and one or two confused headers from passers-by, the fun runs its course. It is down to just me and my first friend. We are just juggling, getting a little lazy. The ball rolls toward two men dressed in orange jumpsuits, complete with yellow reflector vests. The nearby Las Aguas Transmilenio station is under construction. After passing back the ball, one of the workers says, slowly, in a tone sprinkled with condescension and pity, plus maybe a splash of envy, "Buen-nos noches", his pitch sliding ominously upward at the end.
Turns out my dude Manuel (he had lots of other names I could not understand) is from El Choco. He is happy to hear I've been there, and is inclined to agree that it is "como paraiso".
The rain comes pouring down as soon as I step inside the outer door of my apartment. I shower. Now, I have been sitting at this computer for more than two hours. I have now finished my two beers, meaning it is time to go. Soon, I will head North to collect a fresh teaching assignment from Peterson's, followed by an intimate dinner with Autobiography of a Yogi (my second time through since I've been in Colombia), before attending a free reading and discussion with the Russian poet, Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
(Update: Mr Yevtushenko apparently gave his reading at 11 this morning; the reception was at 7. I was under-dressed and not brave enough to crash it. Plus there was a line. Oh well, next time.)
Opportunity for ecstatic experience continues to slip through the thin filter that is my ego-consciousness. I am grateful for what this has allowed me to learn thus far, but these days that filter seems like little more than a crack in the dam, destined to expand and eventually explode out, allowing a flood of divinity to overcome previous restrictions and cleanse all in its path, a grand letting go that allows us to simply embrace an existence beyond distinctions.
Life is fun if you let it be.