Sunday, 29 September 2013

La paz and sucre

I haven't been in the mood to write, maybe because I've been living in altitude and feeling tired all the time. I have spent a week in Sucre going to school everyday to learn Spanish. It has been great fun and really helpful. I've decided once I reach Peru and settle down again I will begin lessons again. After my week in Sucre I caught a bus to la paz, where I spent 3 days eating and drinking and being generally unproductive.

I see La paz and Sucre having a rivalry similar to that of Sydney and Melbourne's. The difference is, Sucre is the capital of Bolivia but La Paz often takes that title being bigger, more well known and more government buildings. I fell in love with Sucre, I couldn't say the same for la Paz. Although impressive and boasting an incredible backdrop, the city just failed to grab me as anything more than a grimy big city with dynamic people and buildings. Upon arriving in Sucre we were greeted with a festival filled the city with vibrant color and life. Marching bands, dancers and hundreds of bolivians filled the street all enjoying the festivities. I was staying in a huge red house called Quechua inn, owned by a man called Ricardo who was ever so helpful while suggesting the best things to do in Sucre. A week flew past and I found myself wishing I was there much longer.

In La Paz I stayed In a much more party orientated hostel called loki hostel. I must be getting old cos I scoffed at the idiots at the bar every night chanting Loki Loki Loki, Oi oi Oi, before they emptied shots of jagermeister and red bull into their mouths. Tom and I decided to enter Peru and meet up with a mutual friend in Cusco. The border crossing was confusing. We left from a town called copacobana where we caught a boat on lake Titicaca. The highest lake in the world. We trekked an Inca trail on isla Del Sol that took us about four hours. Arriving back at our hostel that night we pretty much passed out.

I'm back in Cusco now so I will skip that part for now and move on to detail pisac. A small town about 45 minutes from Cusco. The main reason for visiting this beautiful little town was to be a part of an ayahuasca ceremony. Ayahuasca is a vine found in the amazon. Peruvian shamans have been cooking this vine with another plant for thousands of years and using the muddy broth as a medicine to cure all kinds of ailments. The ayahuasca vine contains DMT, known also as the spirit molecule. Every living thing contains DMT, including us. Our brains release this chemical into our bodies when we are born and also at death. I was naturally very curious, especially with the great amount of faith that Peruvians have in the medicine. The town of pisac has a temple at the base of a mountain which practice ayahuasca ceremonies weekly. Pisac is also home to some incredible vegetarian food, great markets and spiritual activities like tai chi and yoga. Friday arrived and I was very nervous for the night to roll around and to join the ceremony. I've written a very very vague run down on the ceremony.

Ayohuasca is highly recommended. A powerful journey of self discovery, understanding and compassion. I went so deep in to my consciousness and was shown some pretty dark things. Although absolutely terrifying, it was also nurturing and compassionate. I had conversations with different parts of my body and was shown that every aspect of myself and others were just important as any each other. I'm still trying to grasp what most of my visions mean, but the feeling that remains is strong and present. I remember being in a swamp in the jungle, with all life bubbling and glowing around me with beautiful rainbow lucidity until I fell in to the swamp and dived into the underworld. I saw some nightmarish things, all of which frightened me immensely but also seemed important in some way, the visions were showing me darkness inside me but they were trying to help me purge. I was really scared and was pleading with ayahuasca to be kind and help me leave this place.

She told me I could handle it and I would be fine. I disagreed. I remember in this collage of organs and blood and flesh of rainbows and reptilian beings, some sort of being with a jesters hat reaching out to me. His hand unravelled and his fingers extended and became tiny spiders which crawled up my feet and legs into my stomach. I heard a voice saying surrender and the spiders enveloped me as the bubbling and popping got louder. I heard a high pitched ringing which escalated until unbearable. The spiders crawled through my veins until the made their way through my mouth and I purged into my bucket. As soon as I threw up, the shaman began to play an icaro which is a song they say comes from the plant itself. The timing was surreal and perfect. I remember feeling so much love from within me and the visions became explosions of color and light. I felt hands reaching out for me which I couldn't tell if they were real. All I knew was they were trying to help. My body temperature began to rise but I was still seeing visions and lessons about myself that may be too personal to share. I felt so hot but it seemed irrelevant until I just felt the feeling of ayahuasca telling me I needed to cool down.

I don't know how to explain it  but I felt as though there was 5 or more beings with huge jungle leaves waving wind and mint infused smoke in my direction. I felt fingers tug on my hoodie zip for a split second. I unzipped my hoodie and placed it to my side. As soon as I did this I felt something like a nod or a yes. I couldn't tell but I knew ayahuasca wanted to move on. I was in the jungle now except not really. I felt somewhere completely different and was no longer scared. Ayahuasca shared some deeply personal, emotional things with me. Some lessons after hearing or feeling them I would grin or laugh and feel that it was so clear and obvious. Like I said, I'm still trying to piece things together, but it was a highly confronting, personal and insightful experience and I have learnt and felt things that are completely different to anything I have felt before. I also felt like I barely scratched the surface but that I was only shown what I was ready to see. I have a new appreciation and sense of understanding for all living and individual things. Very crazy and eye opening and at times scary with some visions of death that are terrifying but beautiful. But ah yes, so confusing to rationalize but the feelings I'm left with are crystal clear.

I knocked on the door of 'hyperspace' and whhatever answered the door
was so fantastically astounding that I tucked tail and ran home to mummy!

It was not threatening .... but simply so profoundly REAL and BEYOND ANYTHING EVER IMAGINED that it freaked me out!
I like that .. it takes a lot to freak me out.

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