27 November 2009

the kind of wrinkles you get from smiling for years

that was my first impression.

today i was making the journey from trujillo to huanchaco, one of my friends is getting married tomorrow and their wedding rehearsal was at the beach tonight. so the first half of the ride i spent in the aisle nest to three school kids, with both hands wrapped around a bar just far enough above my reach that i was on my tiptoes. i still don't understand why the bars are so high in the buses. i feel like im pretty average peruvian sized or even a little taller than some, i feel pretty normal here. but i can barely reach the bars! how do they do it?? well, halfway through my ride the bus cleared out and i found a seat in the back next to a sleeping grandpa and a woman holding an anxious baby. and thats when i noticed her. she was sitting across from me, on a huge bag of rice that was probably hers. contently riding along with her feet outstretched and her hand on a bar keeping her from flying into my lap for the next 15 minutes. it was hard not to stare. you know, those times when you are sitting straight across from someone andeverything in you just wants to look at them. and if you studied psychology you really just want to sit and study them for the rest of the ride. each time our eyes met she would smile, and the wrinkles would gather in the corners of her lips and eyes. the kind that come from years of experience smiling and years of experience in the light of the sun. she wore no jewelry but a sun charm on her silver necklace. somehow it reminded me more or a teenagers style charm and i quietly wondered what the story was behind her wearing it. it looked like the only piece of jewelry she wore, and like she wore it everyday. like a wedding ring. i started to wonder about the rice, about where it was from and where it was going. maybe she was going to sell it in the market the next day, or maybe she was taking it home to her family. probably a months worth of rice, although you would be surprised, rice goes quick here. she looked like a country woman, her boots and jeans and floral print pearly button up sleeveless shirt and yet she lived on the beach, at least from what i gather. and how on earth was she going to carry that rice off the bus??? okay the money taking guy would get it off the bus, but what is she going to wait at the bus stop for someone? surely that rice weighed twice her weight.

every time i ride a bus i think about things like that. i like to study people, and you never know who you will see on the bus. try to imagine their stories. public transportation may be uncomfortable sometimes, but it sure is more interesting. and thats what memories are made of.



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