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True Poverty

It feels like Christmas outside. I’m sitting in the kitchen… in my pajamas trying to acclimate. I knew I had entered the United States of America when I entered the airport in Georgia and was met by several sour faces and had to run the gauntlet of shoe removal and liquid checking by security. I accidentally said, “lo seinto” and “gracias” on several occasions. Don’t mistake this as complaining, mind you, I haven’t any right to. I was so incredibly lucky in my travels to: never run into any crooked cops; packs of wild rabid dogs with flesh barley clinging to rib cages and nipples dragging on the ground; any pickpocketers who cut your pocket open while you’re in an orgy of bodies on any given chicken bus; the really tricky and clever pickpocketers who throw their baby at you and when, in utter shock, you go to grab the falling baby they lick you clean of wallet, passport, overpriced camera, etc. No, the worst I can say is that my Tevas were stolen while I wandered barefoot and stoned on scalding back sands. And, lets face it, it was for the best, because now none of you will ever know that actually owned and wore with pride a pair of Tevas. And I haven’t any reason to complain about coming home since it has become obvious quite quickly that I have returned to the most incredible and generous friends on this cold little island. In my last week I traveled with two very comical French men. Simone was 50 and quite large. He slept in his speedo and snored

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combination of the two. We traveled to the Tikal ruins together, which were lovely, but that was due mostly to their setting in the jungle; otherwise I have decided that seeing such things is only complimented by good company and somewhat devoid of mystical power because of the reconstruction and tourist families making it all feel like I was in Maya Land at Disneyland. No, not really. It was beautiful and terrifying to climb temple number 5 which takes

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you far above the tree line, and the tour guides love to tell you about how many tourists have slipped and fallen to their death on these temples. After that Simone traveled back to France and Emmanuel and I traveled down to Rio Dulce which is both a town and a big river on the eastern edge of Guatemala. We arrived at night and after taking a look at the ratty hotels in town took a boat to the nearest hotel on the river bank. We were taken to our dorm room which was basically a tree house fort cabana over the water. Basically the best thing ever. The next morning I walked around to discover that we were staying at a yacht club full of richies. Mind you, our awesome fort only cost us five dollars a night. I met a dirty old Italian man who invited me to sail the Caribbean with him, and he told me tales of islands with shores awash with bags of cocaine that drug sailors had dumped to

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avoid getting caught, and he told me of the locals’ brutal style of taking the law into their own hands. He also told me that when he first saw me he wanted to give it to me and then when he talked to me he found out I also had a brain in me. Very sweet, very sweet. I have his number if I ever decide to become an old Italian sailor’s babygirl, so . . .future plans?

Tanks Giving

I ate tacos for Thanksgiving and saw fire flies for the first time. Now I’m back, sending text messages and taking hot showers. I will be around for the next month and then I leave January 6th for Congo to begin work on a big documentary project. more to come.

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Pacaya

Well, first of all, I booked my fight home. My heart is kind of way up in my throat just thinking about it, but I think it was the right choice and I have one more week to really tear shit up. I don´t know what I told you last, but I climbed a volcano. Just outside of Antigua is an active volcano, Pacaya. I fell in love with our Guatemalan volcano guide– he called me his girlfriend by the end of the hike and made extra sure I traversed the molten lava safely. The thing you must understand about Guatemala is that it´s pretty lawless. We hike up a huge mountain and came to the foot of a volcano which was oozing all over the place, and then the guide says, ‘Okay, now go down there to the lava’. It was a super Lord of the Rings moment. There was, like, this giant reptilian eye at the top watching our every move, we had walking sticks, etc. So you cross a field of black lava which is basically like a field of shifting glass. I cut the hell out of my knuckles. Then you walk right up to molten lava, in fact it’s flowing right beneath the lava you’re standing on. We brought marshmallows for roasting but the rocks were so shifty it was way too risky to step right up to the lava. And then the sun set and you were in pure black hell, and by hell I mean awesome.

Semuc Champey

This week I made my way over the the middle of Guatemala and stayed in a little riverside town called Lanquin. We stayed in what was basically a Euro/Israeli adult summer camp. The were little cabanas and hammocks slung to and fro. I jumped in the back of a pickup truck in only my Budweiser bikini and an inner tube and the drifted down crystal green river waters. Nearby is one http://cialisonline-lowprice.com/ of the most serene and beautiful spots in all of Guatemala. It´s called Semuc Champey

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and it is paradise. I climbed through a cave in water up to my neck with a candle as my only light source, and I jumped from the inner wall of the cave into a black pit of water. I told you, lawless this place. Later that same day I jumped from a huge bridge into the river; my

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landing was not optimal and so my Guatemalan souvenir is a severely bruised ass. AND online cialis THEN we swam in a collection of crystal pools and waterfalls. There was a jungle rain…and the appearance from water level was that it was raining up. Oh wait, and then our guide brings out this rope ladder, loosely lashes it around a rock, and throws it over the side of a waterfall and then says,”Okay, climb down”. So you climb down with a waterfall on your head and a rope ladder twisting all over the place, emerge on slippery rocks to a drippy cave beneath the waterfall. So, that was fucking amazing, well worth the risk of losing life or limb.

Water Caves

And then I just got out of control. I went repelling down a fifty-meter cliff with shoddy Guatemalan rigging and a single rope. I am afraid I am not really fit for such activities. I basically crashed my way down the cliff, one horrifying attempt to regain my balance after another. I felt like I was in that Stallone movie, you know, the rock climbing one. I was quite literally holding my life in my hands. I am pretty badly bruised and scraped and sore as all hell, but it´s pretty hilarious to think of me dangling from a cliff, eh? Anyhow, I left summer camp today and am now traveling with two funny French guys. We are headed to Tikal, Rio Dulce and then, yes, home. cialis and viagra for sale I have to go now tho, Frenchi is getting impatient.

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One of these again. So, I´m in Guatemala, just arrived today. These last two weeks have been a lot about not knowing what I´m doing. I

took a bus to Oaxaca City alone and the first night there I met two Mexico City University

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students who were working on their thesis project: Rafael and I don´t remember the other one’s name, but he had a French accent when he spoke English and never looked at you when he spoke. The university was footing the bill for their expenses and so they took me out to eat for the first two days.

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They also taught me how to swear, the truth about Mexican men, and got me drunk. I got the flu after that and then drank half a bottle of cough syrup and took a 13 hour bus ride to San Cristobal de las Casas to meet up with Amber. It was terribly cold there and it spit rain all day. However, we visited a Mayan village just outside of the city that was preparing for Day of the Dead. The village is extremely traditional and although they allow outsiders they are fairly hostile towards tourist snap-shots. I saw a Mayan girl spit at a woman taking a picture of the cemetery. Their traditional dress includes this fabric that cannot be described other than looking like a gorilla costume. The women wear skirts made of this material and the men wear giant sweaters made of it. It looks incredible. The church was amazing. The floors were covered in pine needles and rows of candles, the church walls were lined with glass cases containing porcelain-faced saints; totally spooky, they were draped in fabric and had multiple mirrors hanging around their necks. There was a ceremony taking place in which the individual cases where being opened and then flooded with incense smoke. There was also an awful lot of ceremonial folding of cloths. My descriptions here are truly unacceptable, even to me. I´m sorry, it was amazing. At the cemetery all of the graves, which by appearances where very shallow, were covered in marigolds.

diadelosmuertos.jpg

This, however, was the extent of our Day of the Dead festivities. As it turns out San Cristobal is not so much into the pomp and ceremony. Amber and I found this out a little too late as we emerged in skull-face to find that we were the only, I do mean this, the only people in the city to have painted

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their faces. We were well received tho, and as a result we made friends with a group of local hippies, one of which whose resemblance to Jack Sparrow seemed a little more than coincidence. Today we traveled about 12 hours and are now in Antigua. Our plan was to head to Monterrico tomorrow, a beach with black sands, but it´s our running joke to be ill-informed about our surroundings. We arrived the day before election day. We have been advised that its best to not go out at all tomorrow, because as our hostel owner said, there is too much ¨laundry money¨ involved in this election, I´m guessing this means dirty money. We are in dirty money country now.

monterrico.jpg

Okay, this is a P.S, the elections went off without a hitch. Although I guess Colom, the new president, promises to plunge the country into further disarray. I hear he owes too many favors. I am writing you from a beach in the far south of Guatemala, so far south that if I spat I´d hit a Salvadorian. The sands are black, it is true, and the surf is terrifying. At night it’s pitch black and the sand and waves are full of phosphorescent magik. If you kick the sand a spray of glowing blue dust comes out. There is also a folk band from Antigua here that serenades us while we swing in hammocks. We also met a bad bad father and son duo that never wear shirts or shoes, claimed to have moved here so they could drink and drive, run a hotel with a pool full of fiber optics, and tried to get us to do some special k with them. This place is slow and hot and no one does anything. I don´t know when I´m coming home.

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Mexico City 2007. Dear friends, I could not techno tonight because I have blisters the size of baby fetuses. Instead I am served overpriced cerveza by a bartender who is the worst person I cialis makes you last longer have ever met. He seems to have learned English by watching Claude Van Dam movies, you know the ballerina. Actually, he seems a little like a bartender from 21 Jump Street. Point being, I´m at hostel, amigo, in the historic center of Mexico City. The first night I was here a girl was topless at ten o´clock. Later I left my room to go the the bathroom to stumble upon a frenchie in nothing but a tie and a smile. He was pleasant enough, I was just worried when he sat down on the hostel floor. Athletes foot you know, you gotta pee on that shit. Anyhoo, it´s late, and I feel like I´ve been away for a very long time. Here is a quick recap: My favorite bit of Mexico City thus far is the bootleggers. They fill their backpacks with speakers and sell CD mixes on the metro. Their sound systems are incredible. The other day we were heading out of town and this kid got on with a 90s dance mix. It was so amazing. It´s loud here, everywhere.

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Present day [Mexico City] used to be a lake, and as a result it´s all sinking. All of the sidewalks are wonky and the cathedral leans to one side. There will viagra make me bigger used to be these fantasy

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Mayan islands, which where later adopted by the Aztecs. Cortez had fun for a bit and then drained the whole region. The only remnants are these canals just on the outskirts in a town called Xochimilco, a town with a street that translates to ¨children killer¨. You can take a boat ride through the network of waterways which are jam packed with taco boats and boats with old guys playing marimbas. There is also an island there called Isla de las Munecas where a man by the name of Don Julian strung thousands of dolls he fished from the canal. I guess he wished to mollify the spirit of a little girl who drowned there by decorating with decaying dolls. Cool, right?

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We spent a day at Teotihuacan, climbing Piramides del Sol y de la Luna. This is the site where Aztecs believed that all of the gods sacrificed themselves to start the sun in motion, er

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something like that. It was pretty india cialis awesome, our tour guide told us where to get mushrooms in Oaxaca, so that was an added bonus. Mexico City: traffic is ridiculous, run when you can. 18 million people live here, OMG. The smog is just as bad as advertised. Our snot has been black all week. However, it´s so beautiful here, and there are people making out on motor bikes all over. We leave Monday morning for Guanajuato. so, there is more to come. I am a little homesick already, rather friendsick, but I´ll manage. Hasta pronto!

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When did heroin chic begin? In the early 70s with the gaunt, affected expressions of New York and London waifs? Or was it Kate Moss’ pointy shoulders and Nan Goldin’s photographs in the late 80s? I would guess that heroin chic has always been about, just never labeled. Whatever, Terry Richardson exploited our naive fascination with sleaze by photographing drugged up nymphs and getting hired by

Gucci. The mid nineties sucked. The noughties sucked. Today sucks. Our society loves nothing more than a starved wench to gawp at. Regardless, when marketing got hold of it, it really got dirty, deplorably dirty. It got the magazine gloss treatment – nothing short of an abomination, and Nan Goldin agrees. The phrase has now passed into our vernacular and out our arses. No shock. It doesn’t even register. Why don’t we give a shit about substances and conditions that send humans to rack, ruin, and flaky organs? Why are we so eager to sweep the dirt and the decay of humanity into our mainstream media? I am concerned about tweenager mags here, not vice magazine. I came to think of this because I came upon Dionisio Gonzalez’ work. I’ve never seen constructions like his before. I refer to it as Shanty-Chic, well aware of the unstomachable connotations the label might conjure and the gross misunderstandings it may unleash. Needless to say, this is art – heavily photoshopped art – and not yet usurped by the ravenous ad agencies. It’s good art, not shit art.

ShantyChic

Dionisio is renowned in Europe and particularly his native Spain, but he hasn’t made it past the Chelsea galleries stateside. He has an impressive track history of exhibitions and collaborative activities, and spent months compiling his Favelas project back in 2003. Dionisio has the ability to manufacture the ludicrous in his modernist shanty without really jarring the viewer. This is as much an indictment of our lack of shock and egregious consumption of fake-image as it is a celebration of his visionary approach. Nonetheless, these are structures not skeletons. He and we are looking at wrecked buildings, not wrecked humans. The dilapidated facades mixed with corporate green-tinted glazing tells us its all

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false. We are not being sold an idea here, or even a pair of boxer briefs. We are being asked to look at a fiction that is depressingly plausible. Does Dionisio want us to reconcile the ingenuity of man with the wastefulness of man? The technicolour largess of these false favelas is made all the more galling because they stand below blue skies. The last time I saw a pristine sapphire sky like that was in an Indonesia Airlines advertisement. It is rare I see something new that I return to again and again, and I’ve been meaning to post about Dionisio for six months. Or maybe I just want to make this humble note before Shanty-Chic becomes a common expression amongst unscrupulous creative directors.

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