Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tourism/Terrorism/Burma and Chepa's Baby

Until I moved to Peru I never took a guest out to the jungle whom I didn't pay for. If they came with me it was because they were my friends and I took care of them. But when we were moving down there in 1998 I knew I would need some extra money so I agreed to take people into the jungle and up to Cuzco occasionally. I prayed that I was not compromising Julio, my teacher and the great curandero, and I worked hard not to compromise him and I think I did a good job. I had a few people every couple of months and they were always wonderful people and Julio loved having them and so did I.
But when we moved back to the US it was different. When I lived there I could have things ready for a trip in a day. From the US I have to spend a week just getting my team together, and then another week or two getting hotels. For a trip I've got in October--just a few days in Cuzco/Machu Picchu--prior to my stomach operation there, and which will pay for the stomach operation, I've already spent parts of two weeks getting them all internal-Peru plane tickets and booking hotels in Lima/Cuzco/Ollantaytambo/Aguas Calientes/Puno/Copacabana and then back in Cuzco. And four of the hotels are already booked. That's a far cry from 10 years ago just saying "Chep, can you call the Nilar and tell them we need hotels for xyz days? I'll pay when I get there." From here each deal is a Western Union, which is a trip to the store and several phone calls. Ick.
And from here I've got about $4000 to spend before I can do the trip. Which means I've got to charge enough to add in that $4000 before I can make a penny (my plane fares, living expenses, a month's worth of bills here and money left to feed everyone while I'm gone). But guests don't understand that, and the woman who's organizing the October trip doesn't understand that.
Worse, her people, for the price they're paying, won't understand that to get that woman and me to Peru for their trip, nearly $8,000 of what they've paid is coming off the top, rather than going into fancy hotels.
So from where I am sitting, lots of money passes hands but there is nothing to be made other than a month's worth of bills and I would have made that here in Joshua, Texas if I stayed home.
On the other hand, getting to share good things with people looking for adventure is a great great reward in itself. So I do come away richer for the experience, if not in cash.
Now cast that against what our boys are dealing with in Iraq and Afghanistan and I'm embarrassed to even mention it. One of my son Italo's friends who did two tours with the marines in Iraq was over last night and all I can think of is what the crazy guy on Taxi told the young guy (famous actor, I forget his name but a regular on the show) when the subject of Vietnam came up and the young fellow had served there and the crazy guy hadn't. "I salute you, sir. I was against the war but all for you brave young men." Or something like that. So here I sit and bitch that I am not going to make enough money on a trip to the Andes Mountains but there are tens of thousands of our boys and girls, our young men and women, fighting in a place where people are trying to kill them and way way too often succeeding. The war stinks. It always did. But you soldiers I still admire.
And in Burma, well, I don't know what to add to the chorus. Monks with slingshots fighting against automatic weapons. I only wish the weapons misfire millions of times and that the soldiers finally realize that both they and the monks are wearing flip-flops on their feet and so they are finally the same and on the same side. I could go on on this one but I'll bet you good readers could also. Same as in Darfur. We must stop being these people and become new people. We must stop hurting ourselves in others.
And then the last note for today is that Chepa had a 3=D sonogram today and the baby, at near seven months, is looking great. I was at Madeleina's soccer game when the sonogram was happening (Madeleina's team got creamed like canned corn by a team of 12 year old's to their age limit of 10) but Chepa passed on the info.
So things are good here and I'm praying for the rest of the world.
And if the football Giants are playing tomorrow, I want Michael Strahan to stand up and be counted. If you skip all of training camp and the pre-season, you better damned well be able to come in an play.
Have a great Saturday night, everybody.

2 comments:

Tamain Paw Thout said...

Nice your blog,

Your right,
Myanmar (Burma) is One of the most interesting countries to explore in Asia. In a very sense, travel to Myanmar is not only a voyage into a different geographic region, but also very similar to traveling back in time. We have an excellent range of Myanmar travel packages and tours to suit your interests and budget. For your next Myanmar vacation, Burmese Travel & Tour, www.burmesetravel.4t.com, a well established and authorized Myanmar Tour Operator, is standing by to assist you.

Lyn Lyn

Tamain Paw Thout said...

Nice your blog,

Your right,
Myanmar (Burma) is One of the most interesting countries to explore in Asia. In a very sense, travel to Myanmar is not only a voyage into a different geographic region, but also very similar to traveling back in time. We have an excellent range of Myanmar travel packages and tours to suit your interests and budget. For your next Myanmar vacation, Burmese Travel & Tour, www.burmesetravel.4t.com, a well established and authorized Myanmar Tour Operator, is standing by to assist you.

Lyn Lyn