I first met Trudy and Walter as I was leaving the city to begin a day’s hike during a steady rainfall. Upon stopping at their tienda to ask for directions, Trudy looked at me with an expression that said: “this must be some crazy gringo. Who wants to climb in the rain, alone?”
Once telling her of my motivations to escape the noise of Carnival festival, she provided me with directions while still laughing at my perceived foolishness. We parted ways with her saying: “you better come see me on your way down, or I’ll go look for you myself.”
Over the following days, I made sure to pass by Trudy and Walter’s tienda. Each day, we would converse, slowly to see one another less as foreign, rather more as friends. And I think this is one of the greatest riches of traveling to unfamiliar places: it allows you to access a feeling of shared humanity, of common sentience, of true similutde, regardless of one’s skin color, nationality, race, profession, etc.
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