Nowhere does time crystalize as it does at airport terminals. This empty space that is neither here nor there. This no man’s land that belongs to no country and to all countries serves only as a point of passage. A step in one direction or another.
Suspended in time, acutely aware of the minutes that pass us by, we wait. Mostly these vacant hours are spent trying to read, sleep or finally organize that pesky desktop folder that grows more convoluted with every new document saved, but sometimes these four walls of interminable waiting are filled by something else.
I have lived 14,935,786 minutes. Many of these minutes have been wasted, but there are also certain minutes so full of conversation, laughter and words that they can only be understood as they spill into the vacant space of an airport terminal. And because you are abroad with neither internet nor conversations to distract you. Because your only companion is the silence that follows you when you disconnect yourself from the world you left and the world you are moving towards. For once in your life, you are fully aware of what your fluid, shifting emotions amount to and in that moment they solidify in front of you in a waiting room where we all float suspended in jello.
Many encapsulated moments float silently over my head in airport terminals.
From Madison to Namibia: the near complete terror of knowing for the next 27 months you would be removed from everything and everyone you held dear.
From Alicante to Bergen: The intense awareness that the world in which you have lived for the last 14 months will vanish as soon as your feet cross the plane’s entryway. The fear that you may never love your life as much as you have in Spain.
From London to Boston: A overwhelming tiredness that only the dead could feel. We collapse on the floor oblivious to the stares around us.
The emotions of this week pour through me and out of me and join this collection of memories. In my world of comings and goings of heres and theres, may this airport terminal always remain crystalized.
We only spoke English, but somehow Spanish words run through my mind:
protegida, querida, sostenida, sanada, bendecida
And again and again one word
All around me other travelers show traces of a long journey. The 18-year-old German with blank ink stains from some Shamanic ritual. A group of Americans wearing gray ponchos and organizing their coins from three countries. And so many bright colorful bags.
7 days in Lima.
Nowhere else. No shamanic rituals. No Macchu Picchu. No llamas. No rainforest. No piranhas.
Just 7 days. 7 days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. And every minute filled to bursting with the substance that gives meaning to the long wait at the end of the journey.
What I ate:
Pachamanca (traditional bbq, meat cooked by hot stones) – Kusina Pachamac
Causa (layered potato dish) – Restaurante Cordano in the Lima Center
Ceviche – el cebiche de Ronald, Cevicheria Bambam in Miraflores
Guinea Pig (Cuy) – El Rocoto in Miraflores
Chifa (special Peruvian Chinese)-Chifa Union in Barranco
Anticuchos – Anticucheria El Tio Mario in Barranco
What I drank:
Chilean Wine – Cafe Expreso Virgen de Guadalupe in Barranco
Pisco Sour – Hotel Bolivar in the Lima Center
El Mercado Central – where we made our own juices in Mira Flores
Chicha Morada in pretty much any Peruvian restaurant you can find
What I read:
Pálida Arca de Insectos – José Ignacio Infantas Moscoso
La Tía Julía y el escribidor – Mario Vargas Llosa