|Emails from Ben
March 26, 2001
Well, Argentina does have superior telephone service and availability than Brazil, but they sure do value its employment to contact the States. A phone conversation of any reasonable length will cost at least as much as a crab pot. They value many aspects of American culture here, but a person is far more likely to contact Germany, Italy, or France than our fair nation.
So rumor has it late April is when conditions with the sea and politics are most ideal for your departure. I would be interested in how certain and/or variable a timeframe this is. As for myself, I'm currently in a sort of floating transition and suspended decision-making point. I kept a pretty serious pace getting down here and meeting Phoebe in time. When she was here thoughts of after her departure did not exist. Now she's on her way back to Yellow Springs and I find myself in Buenos Aires Argentina some two months before I have a plane ticket from Costa Rica to PDX. Giving thought now to how best to spend this time I have come up with several options.
Plan Montivideo would have me taking a ferry back over to wonderful Uruguay, taking a bus to the capitol, finding long-term lodging, and temporary employment and staying in one place for the remainder of my trip to better learn the language and cultural scene. Airplane prices resurge this morning, however, discourage flying anywhere from Buenos Aires.
Another option is to head over to Santiago within the next couple of days and either spend a good amount of time there or head up through Peru and Ecuador. At some point either from here, Santiago, Lima, or Quito, I need to get on an airplane to fly over Columbia.
The best deal is to fly from Quito to Panama City and then bus it up to San Jose for my flight home, but I may be able to find a flight from Santiago all the way up for not much more, and may or may not want to spend a lot of time in Chile. I will have a better idea of the situation when I get there.
In respect to our rendezvous, Uruguay is not a favorable option and we are left, as I see it, the two general options, both of which I think would be great. You could fly into Santiago, Chile sooner rather than later as it gets colder every day and we could go south together take a boat through the islands, do some hiking, maybe go all the way to the bottom of the continent, see some penguins, scope out the fishing industry, whatever. Or you could fly into Lima Peru after I've left Chile, nearing the end of my trip, late April, early May, be escorted or meet me in Cuzco and hike up to Macchu Picchu and explore Peru a bit. We could also meet in La Paz, Bolivia, check that country out and still go up into Peru or whatever.
I'm interested in what you're thinking. The northern option will probably be easier on the wallet, but discards my option of staying in Chile for longer period of time. I will give my situation some more thought and do some more homework on plane tickets. In all likelihood I will get on a bus from Buenos Aires west toward Santiago within the next couple days. Buenos Aires is a very good spot for email and I will keep in regular contact until I leave. Take care and excuse my rambling as I found sleep elusive last night (contrary to the norm, do not fear), pura vida, and learn, learn, learn. -Ben.
March 5, 2001
Mother, thank you for news from home. Everything is great here. I will head south tonight or manana, and was glad to hear your and Dad's voices. Directly afterwards, I had an opportunity for a Brazilian weekend road trip I just couldn't turn down -- we were well insured and safe. I write you now with an important message that should be passed on to the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission (I take my scholarship seriously). While there is an abundant species of local crab, they are quite small and do not have a high meat yield and have no large attractive leg sections for sushi, so I have discovered the sushi joints (of which I'm very familiar with almost all of the area) all use fake crab everywhere crab is used and call it crab without shame, or even knowing their heinous crime. Some of these joints are quite classy or at least charge and act that way, while serving hotdog of the sea and California rolls along with mango instead of avocado, which is understandable.
I would love it if Dad came and would have sounded more enthusiastic on the phone, had I not been pretty tired and hungry. Also assure Dad I will somehow be able to access the Internet if we need to communicate. Passports take 60 days if you don't do rush order, so you guys should get on that if early April is the time available. If Dad doesn't come either Noah or Phoebe might come around my birthday so I need to know as soon as possible. Great that he is home, also glad you were able to help with Grandma Betty. Next time I'm out I'll take in some quality Japanese food and cure any appetite issues for sure. Thank you again, for parental information. My next stop is south, Belo Horzonte Salvador or wherever the bus goes, if those tickets are sold out by the time I get there. Give my best to everybody.
April 7, 2001
My thoughts are with you all this evening. Please give everyone my love and know that I will be having my Passover Sader in Hebrew with a bunch of Israelis in Puncon, Chile. By chance it seems I've ended up where they all meet in this part of the world. Yesterday I climbed a 10,000 foot active volcano, saw lava spewing into the air, and slid a good part of the way down with an ice ax for a brake. Today I can hardly walk and will focus on reading, laundry and fighting off illness. Next year in Jerusalem. Love - Ben.