Highs: El Cafayte, La Familia de Tilcara, Nona Beba,
My Nona passed away a few months ago. She was vibrant, confident and beautifully vain in every way. We spent many hours sharing coffee and wine playing a certain Italian card game: the same card game I’ve been playing a lot of lately. She’s been on my mind, soon I would meet her again.
I had just arrived in Purmamaca after hours of bending and winding through the beautiful Andes. It was a surreal ride, half way through the journey the endless skies melted away into unforgivable fog, it was impossible to see more than 15meters in front of the bus and we were driving along those cliff faces that your Mum begs you not togo near.
This lord of the ring style fog would mean no more buses for a few days - mine is the last in fact. The hard ground brought comfort.
Night sky was getting close, I had decent walk before I hit town so I regrettably used a unreliable guidebook recommendation and found a bed, I realised it was shitty after putting my bags down and walking around the 5 streets that make up this picturesque town.
A beautiful old red door caught my attention and through it’s worn glass I saw a confident old lady smoking a cigarette, tempting the James Dean character in the movie she appeared to be staring in.
She warmly greets me with a cheeky smile and tells me her friends calle beba. (Baby Doll)
Her hostal is beautiful, she is beautiful. I tell her ill be back in 10 mins, pick up my bag from from the shitty guidebook place and go back to Bebas house where I start the adventure that introduces me to new family members, teaches me lessons about what it means to have to be silent and return to my roots of being a poor young spirit learning about the world with no money.
Diego was the start of the family, we laughed over Beba poking the fireplace with her hands, looking up at us with that smile and saying ‘you can’t burn fire with fire’ He offered me Matte and that was that. Soon we were 9 strong sipping Matte in the afternoons and drinking wine from bottles at night, dancing at Empanada festivals and sharing huge feasts followed by songs at Hostel Tilcara.
Im a confident person, I’ve always relied on my happiness, openness and being silly to convey who I am, gain trust, make friends fast and learn about other people. I like to have people around me and l like to talk. None of my new friends spoke english which was a real test on my Spanish - even more on myself as a person. I was not able to gain peoples trust and friendship easily like I would normally do. I had to learn todo so as an accidental introvert, I was quiet, withdrawn, nervous and timid. I didn’t feel like me, not the me I know anyway.
I felt weak. Like people were looking at me and treating me differently and It made me realise that I too often have preconceived ideas of people from the way the act in groups, that maybe sometimes I see people as withdrawn or uninterested, uninteresting when really they just lack the confidence to be able to express the creature they really are.
As the sun brought shadows on my final night with my new cast of friends and the clear night sky began to twinkle I realised we are all characters in a film, sometimes the lead role, the vilian, the dame, often we are extras but we all are needed, equally important as each other.
Most Tweakable: Sometimes being part of a family means constantly waiting for people to get ready.
Yum Yum: Huge dinners at the Hostal Tilcara
Sound Track: Druming on tables, Guitars, Harmonicas and the sound of everybody’s voices singing together