Gilad is doing South America

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I walk alone down the streets of Lima, Peru. It's noon, it's sunny and warm - a perfect wheather. I am a nomad, a nameless gringo Mochiler in south America. I'm a nobody. People pass me by, watching me. For them - I am many things. Beggars see me as a walking dollar sign. Locals see me as a dumb gringo. Waiters at cafes see me as a rich traveler willing to pay so much for lunch in the touristic area (5$). Some Peruvian women see me as a potential way out of their poor lifestyle, others envy my white skin and green eyes, others are simply indifferent. Alone, but not lonely, I sit at a cafe. The waitress is smiling as I order cappuccino and a snack. My pronunciation in Spanish is perfect, she seems confused. It takes just one question that I struggle to answer in Spanish for her to realize that I am not as fluent in Spanish as she thought me to be. Blown my cover... Damn.

My mind is free, and so is my body. My thoughts drift away to far away places, much like my body, and remain fearless, emotionless and clear. I am free. I may stay here a week, a month or just 3 hours. I may take the next bus, tomorrow's boat or the next week's plane to an unknown location.

Todo posible, nada seguro (everything is possible, nothing is certain). That's the phrase printed on the back of my fleece. It couldn't be more true in any other part of the world. Drug dealers spot me from miles away. They call out in Hebrew "Shalom shalom ahi!" (hello hello brother!) and say "Yesh li yarok, yesh li lavan! Mastul?" (I have green, I have white. Are you stoned?). I answer politely "No gracias amigo" (No thank you my friend) and smile. I don't have friends here, only amigos. If you can't tell the difference - travel in south America for a couple of months. Israeli travelers walk by, they think they can really profile me accurately. They believe I am 22-23 years old, ex military officer (My sunglasses are giving me away) pre university. They're puzzled over 2 questions hovering over me - Am I before or after the psychometric exam, and why am I traveling alone. They know nothing of me. Israelis travel in groups. They find strength and confidence in large numbers. I travel alone. I find strength in being anonymous, and confidence in being a nobody.

I get to choose who I am traveling with. If I am with you today - it's because I want to, not because I owe you or myself anything. I choose my company and leave it as I please. Alone in south America is much more calming than one might expect. I see many people on the street. I am free... To reinvent myself. Every woman is a potential lover. Every man is a potential robber, or a drinking buddy - a new amigo. Todo posible, nada seguro. How true.

I am invisible, blending in with the crowd. Just another gringo, nameless mochiler in south America. No liability, no obligations. A nobody.

I like it, it's refreshing...

  • Prologue - The beginning
  • May 23, 2011
Trip Start Oct 12, 2010
Trip End Jun 15, 2011

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